Brother Yun: Back to Jerusalem

We had a powerful presentation at church today from Brother Yun, a representative of the Back to Jerusalem organization and former pastor within the underground house church movement in China that claims 130 million Christians. The Back to Jerusalem group’s goal is to complete the Great Commission by preaching the gospel from China back to Jerusalem, covering all of China, India and the Muslim countries of the Middle East. Evidently Mao’s intended extermination of Christianity had the opposite affect and the church has experienced ongoing revival instead.

082546207x.jpgI’ve not read Yun’s book, “The Heavenly Man“, but his stories this morning were captivating, especially of having his legs broken in a maximum security prison, then having Christ Jesus appear and tell him to rise and walk out of the prison, ala Peter and the apostles in Jerusalem (Acts 5:19). Four sets of locked doors were miraculously opened and he got up and walked out. He prefaced this portion of his sermon with a dynamic account of the story of Lazarus. (Or rather, I should say, his English translator gave a very dynamic account – Yun seemed restrained compared to the interpretation that we heard.)

Yun and his translator were considerably more animated than normally seen here in frozen Minnesota, though there were a few brave souls willing to say “Amen” and “Hallelujah” in response. They were engaging enough to forgive them their obvious premillennial view of things as well as the inevitable offering call. They obviously took great pride in seeing China as being filled with the Holy Spirit, to the point of saying that America was no longer a moving spiritual force in Christianity and that “the dragon was coming!” (I have to assume that had been an unintended apocalyptic image.) That had to make a few people squirm in the pews and certainly made me reflect on my spiritual activity.

Has anyone else seen Brother Yun and his translators make a presentation and/so seen information on Back to Jerusalem? I’m curious to see how others have responded.

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9 Comments

  1. Bryan
    Posted February 18, 2008 at 8:07 AM | Permalink

    I’ve read both Heavenly Man, and Back to Jerusalem, which are incredibly engaging reads. Some of the accounts are… fantastic… to say the least. But the vision they have cast is incredible in Back to Jerusalem.

    Two summers ago, I spent two months in China, and it was absolutely incredible. I won’t go into details here, because some things are still very sensitive concerning the trip. There are a lot of cool things going on there. There is also a lot of crap, wherein American culture is being mimicked to a dangerous degree, such as prosperity and health and wealth issues.

  2. Daniel
    Posted February 18, 2008 at 8:10 AM | Permalink

    I have heard Brother Yun speak a couple of times. His presentation is interesting, but I have had doubts concerning the veracity of some of his accounts. I encourage you to read the book and see what you think – as many of his experiences are written down there in more detail. With regard to the comments on China, quite frankly I find these to be inappropriate . I would find them inappropriate as said about any earthly race or nation. One of the problems that I have had with Brother Yun ( as well as some other Christian leaders out of China) is that they can mix that country’s intense nationalism with their genuine spirituality to belabor the point that God is now using them as opposed to the West. The spiritual then becomes just another factor in the historic China vs. the West dichotomy.

  3. Posted February 18, 2008 at 9:12 AM | Permalink

    @Bryan: I spent some time on the Back to Jerusalem web site last night and found they clearly identified the “Westernization” of their youth as a significant hurdle to overcome and an obstacle to their goal of 100,000 missionaries going out of China. But, yes, their vision is passionate and it’s hard not to be moved by it.

    @Daniel: yes, it was very clear that Brother Yun and his companions felt that only China could evangelize to the rest of the “10/40 window“. I’m not sure, though, how telling a congregation of white Americans that their children will serve the economic power of China is supposed to motivate them to give freely from their pocketbooks. It certainly wasn’t the most compelling offering call I’ve ever heard…

  4. Posted February 18, 2008 at 10:03 PM | Permalink

    I’ve read the book but haven’t heard him in person. I would agree that a spiritual revival is happening in China today. The government won’t admit the growth of the underground church because it fears the political repercussions of the church becoming a political force. I do believe that China will eventually become a powerful missionary nation. It’s not surprising to me at all. Take a look at South Korea, a small country in comparison to the USA but it sends out almost as many missionaries as the USA. If and when China becomes liberalized, it will potentially surpass S. Korea as a missionary nation.

  5. Posted February 19, 2008 at 12:03 PM | Permalink

    I heard Brother Yun a few years ago here in England. Again, his translator was more dynamic than he was, and a rather sceptical person who was with me suggested that in fact it was the translator preaching – a risky thing to try in a large audience in which there were sure to be some Chinese speakers. Friends in China point out that there is another side to this whole issue, that the legal churches in China are also flourishing but not helped by outside interest in the underground church. I hope this is true, but it is no reason to abandon our persecuted brothers.

  6. joo
    Posted February 19, 2008 at 10:04 PM | Permalink

    Brother Yun is a very controversial figure among underground church leaders in China. I find it impossible to sort out the truth after careful reading of different accounts (mostly in Chinese) about him and his ministry. God is doing great things in China. But it is dangerous to romanticize underground churches in China or their leaders.

  7. Bryan
    Posted February 19, 2008 at 10:49 PM | Permalink

    The legal churches are indeed flourishing, which is amazing because the preachers are not allowed to evangelize from the pulpit, i.e. there is no Gospel presentation from the pulpit.

    This work has been picked up by the congregations, who strike up relationships with new-comers and present the Gospel, though it is also somewhat illegal for them to do.

  8. Welna van Dyk
    Posted March 24, 2008 at 3:21 AM | Permalink

    I live in South Africa. I have recently finished Bother Yun’s book “The Heavenly Man”. It made a huge impression on me, and I am reminded by Paul’s words that says we (here in South Africa) haven’t feel real persecution yet. My prayer for South Africa is that the Holy Spirit may lift us (Christians) up to a place where we will endure the persecution that my come unto us in the years to come to liberate our country from the grip of this world. Brother Yun, you have inspired me even more to stay in this country, even where everybody wants to leave. This is my country, God placed us here for a reason. We (those Christians who choose to stay) will make the difference. We will intercede for our country…! God will bring change in our country at the given time. This I strongly believe after I have read “The Heavenly Man”.

  9. Posted March 24, 2008 at 5:58 AM | Permalink

    Welna, thank you for that testimony and I would pray for your encouragement and steadfastness in the face of whatever is to come in South Africa.