Monday, June 8, 2015

Jesus in Beijing by David Aikman

I remember reading John Sung's biography (or was it autobiography?) a few years ago. Back then, I immediately questioned the accuracy of the stories, because it seemed like miracles were being performed left, right and centre. I remember one being an unsaved woman who died, was brought back to life to accept God, before dying again. My skepticism levels went right through the roof (especially since you don't get this sort of things in Singapore).

Reading Jesus in Beijing didn't get me to believe the above miracle, but I do better understand how those miracles could have made it into the book. And ok, I'm a bit more openminded about it - I can't say that it's impossible, especially since I believe that miracles have occurred (I have a tendency towards cessationism, although I can't say I'm firmly in that school of thought).

Basically, Jesus in Beijing is an overview of Christianity in Japan, and a quick biography of the main movers and shakes. Basically, it's like a book of mini-biographies, with a quick history lesson in the front, and a discussion of the role of foreigners and the Church's future at the back. The edition I read is from 2003, and I believe there's been a revised version, so I'm not sure how much stuff I'm missing, especially for the "future" section, because the Beijing Olympics, which was talked about as a good opportunity for spreading the Gospel, has passed.

I really liked this book. For some reason, I found it to be a very convincing piece on how Christianity in China was, and how it is, right now. I liked the appendix, which has the Church's confession of faith, among other documents, although I wish there was a Chinese version as well. I'm not sure how much I can read, but it'll be interesting to take a crack at it.

I wish I read this book earlier. I think having the history of the Church in China explained to me before I started reading autobiographies and biographies of some of the Church leaders would have made the way I read the latter works so much informed, and more balanced.

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