Dear Praying Friends,
“I REMEMBER JOHN SUNG came like a scorching flame over our souls with deep deep conviction as we read & reread his words
He mentioned The Holy Spirit fell in NANCHANG PENTECOST
And we quote
V. THE NANCHANG PENTECOST
During this time Dr. Sung preached three times a day, and every time like a house afire. He wore out the paint on the platform, and they asked him to wear rubber-soled shoes. He would come back to our house, take off all his wet garments, and throw them “plop” out of his room into the hall, as I had suggested, and our amah would wash them — three sets a day!
One noon we had all our Fu River pastors come to our house for lunch with Dr. Sung, including Hsiung Fei, our district superintendent. Hsiung was a bright and capable man, but he was very proud. He asked Dr. Sung: “This morning you said that some leader in our work would betray Christ as Judas did. What advice would you give us, so that we would not be that leader?” Dr. Sung replied like a flash: “Don’t be a leader.” Hsiung Fei dropped his head like he had been shot. No one said anything, for all knew that leadership was Hsiung’s temptation.
“I Sin Every Day”
One day, Dr. Sung, in speaking about sin, said, “I sin every day myself.” I was struck to the heart. Here was this man, whom the students almost worshipped, condoning sin, which Jesus had condemned. That night I spent the night in prayer for him. This, unfortunately, is only once of a very few times that I have spent a night in prayer for anyone. The next morning, after breakfast, I asked him to come into our living room. I pointed my finger at him, as he would do to others, and said, “Dr. Sung, you are of the devil.” He exclaimed, “Wha-what?” I said, “Jesus told us, ‘He that sinneth is of the devil’, and yesterday you said that you sin every day.” I never heard him condone sin again, or preach a “sinning religion.”
At the end of the first two weeks, Dr. Sung announced on Sunday morning that he would not preach that night, that he would pray, and any who wanted to pray with him could come: “If six or eight or ten come, that is all right.” In the afternoon 193 students and teachers went to a village, Bean Sprout Lane, about two miles outside the city. I had conducted a “Thousand Character School” there in previous years, but nobody had been converted. The students and teachers went two by two into the village homes to witness. They would come out of the houses with the villagers bringing their idols. The stone idols they threw into the river. The wooden ones they burned. The entire village gave up idolatry.
Water Baptism and Holy Ghost Baptism
On the way back it “rained pitchforks”, a tremendous rain. Only one student had an umbrella, and the wind turned it inside out. The water was running down over their faces, and their hair was plastered down over their foreheads. But they came to me with shining faces, saying, “Mr. Schubert, John the Baptist said, ‘I baptize with water, but Jesus will baptize you with the Holy Ghost.’ We are getting our water baptism now; maybe we will get our Holy Ghost baptism tonight.” And that is exactly what happened.
That evening, instead of the six or eight or ten coming, there were 250 to 300 present in the Baldwin School chapel. The place was filled. Dr. Sung had us sing some choruses about prayer. Then he told us to pray. But nobody prayed. It was rather embarrassing at first. Then two little high school girls stood up and began to pray at the same time. I can still see their double braids. We had never had that; never more than one person prayed at the one time. I remembered what Gypsy Smith had told about when he was preaching in a “Gothic” church in Virginia, controlled by a “Gothic lady”. When two persons prayed at the same time, this “Gothic lady” said, “Mr. Smith, you tell them to stop; we can’t have two persons praying at the same time.” He told her, “Sister, God has two ears.”
The Holy Spirit Fell on All Present
Just then the Holy Spirit fell on everybody. All began to pray at once. There was no rushing wind, and there were no tongues that I know of. But God spoke to everyone in Chinese, and it seemed the natural thing to pray in Chinese, with utterance beyond what I had ever experienced. God spoke to me in Chinese, and I prayed in torrents of Chinese.
At first, Dr. Sung was very much surprised, and not pleased. He called out for us to stop: “We don’t want any fanaticism here.” I don’t think he had ever been in a place where all prayed at one time, though later in his meetings it often happened. Later, it became common, and still is practiced in Taiwan and among most evangelical Chinese groups everywhere. But at the time we had never seen or heard it before. The whole outburst was unplanned and spontaneous — a moving of the Holy Spirit. But that night in March 1931 Dr. Sung stopped us.
He asked all to go to their rooms and pray quietly. He said, “Now I’ll pronounce the benediction.” But as he prayed, the Holy Spirit fell the second time, and everybody began to pray in chorus again. Again he stopped us: “You didn’t understand; I didn’t say to pray here; please go quietly to your rooms and pray there.” I later asked him why he stopped us, and he told me, “I didn’t want the missionaries to say ‘That crazy Sung made all the students crazy.’”
Communist Students Converted
Then, as he began to pronounce the benediction again, the Holy Spirit fell upon the whole congregation the third time. So he finally let us go on, and the spontaneous prayer must have continued forty-five minutes to an hour. Christians got under conviction and confessed their sins. There were about seven or eight communist students, who later confessed that they had been paid to come there to school to cause trouble.
These communist students were in the center of rows, scattered throughout the audience where they could make the most disturbance. When they got under conviction, they tried to get out, but the Christian students wouldn’t let them out of the rows. The Christian students had been praying for them. I can remember seeing the Christian students beating their own knees for joy when the young communists got so under conviction. All the agitators could do was to stand up and beat their breasts and cry out, “Oh, my unspeakable sins.” They all became earnest Christians.
VI. ALL MY PREACHERS BORN AGAIN THAT NIGHT
When the Holy Spirit fell on us that night in Nanchang, all the Chinese preachers from my Fu River District had come in for the district conference. The Kan River and Nanchang District pastors were there also, as well as the students and teachers of both high schools and the doctors and nurses of our Methodist Nanchang Hospital.
Up to that time most of my pastor friends had not been born again, I fear, though I had worked with them for several years, and had prayed for them, and had talked and preached the New Birth. But that night I think every one of them was born again, including Pastor Wang Shan-chih. I had been his assistant pastor several years before, in the big institutional church in Nanchang. He once confessed to me: “Mr. Schubert, I don’t even know if there is a God.” I exclaimed, “Why, Pastor Wang, how can you be a Methodist pastor when you don’t even know if there is a God?”
He replied, “I believed in God until I went to America. But there I lost my faith while in Union Theological Seminary. Later, when I was visiting in England during the war, I went to see Oxford University. There I saw the pictures of the great preachers, and I thought, ‘It is all empty.’ But something said to me, ‘No, anything that can produce men like this, there must be something to it’.”
That was the extent of his theology: “There must be something to it.” Someone asked me, “What did he preach?” He preached Comparative Religion. In his big institutional church, which he patterned after some he had seen in America, he had an English school (which I ran the year I was with him), a library, a reading room, and many social activities. In that way he eased his conscience, but he wasn’t able to preach any Gospel of salvation.
The power of God came upon THE NANCHANG PENTECOST and that was the pivotal change of Dr. John Sung into a Revival Preacher. Many Pastors of those times were converted and genuinely born again.
Today, the Churches all over the world are filled with unsaved Preachers & Pastors preaching a man centered social gospel with “prosperity” and not God as the main focus.
Then we came to this heart searching chapters written for converts
IX. CLOSE DEALING WITH SEEKERS
Another secret of Dr. Sung’s lasting success was the thorough work he did with seekers. He not only preached unsparing two-hour sermons three times a day, but then he would have altar services in which he asked searching questions. He would name sins, and have seekers all over the big church raise their hands when he mentioned their particular sin.
I thought because I was a missionary, and his close friend, and was there to learn, that I could look. But he pointed at me and said in English, in no uncertain tone: “Shut your eyes.” I did! However, I took rather full notes of his Nanking sermons and altar work. (See Chapter X and Appendix.)
As he would name their sins, and they would respond to each sin mentioned, and acknowledge by raising their hands by scores, and sometimes by hundreds, he would say: “Will you make restitution? Will you ask forgiveness? Will you forgive this person? Will you return the money you stole? Will you make right the wrong you did?” Some questions were:
Questions Dr. Sung Asked Seekers in Nanking, May 1937:
DO YOU HATE? Father, mother, brother, sister, teachers, grandmother, daughter-in-law, husband, wife, friend, children, fellow workers, students. Have you not talked to them for years? Do you hate in your heart? Do you hate to the very bone? Are you willing to write to them? You must ask forgiveness, face to face, or write. If you will, raise your hand. Now pray: “Lord forgive.” Have you done it? Pray: “Lord, I will forgive; I will write.” Raise your hand if you will. There was a widespread response, and many tears.
MONEY STEALING: Did you “borrow” and “forget” to return things, or don’t want to return them? $100? $1000? $50? $5? 5 cents? 5 coppers? On the train, did you borrow from a friend, and not return a handkerchief, books, an umbrella? If you have no money now, return it later. If they have died or you don’t know their address, give it to the poor, or to the church. If you are willing, raise your hand! Promise aloud. (These questions might apply in your church. You might try using them.)
STEAL: Did you steal from your parents, from your husband, wife, friends, or your business partner? Did you help others steal, and keep quiet? Did you take public funds, much or a few cents? Did you cheat God? Did you steal a letter? Did you cheat in examinations? Did you use false stamps? Did you steal $500? $60? One cent? From birth to now? Return it! Pray aloud: “When I arise from my knees, Lord, I’ll return it.” Bracelet, rings, handkerchief, books, umbrella, toys, food, fruit, flowers? Did you use public things for personal use, such as office paper? Did you ride on a pass when you had no right? Pay back the fare! Did you pick up something not yours? $500? $50? 50 cents? One cent? Or books? Umbrella? (Oft repeated: there must have been a lot of umbrellas taken!) Maybe someone left something in your room. Return it. (In Peiping, officials returned thousands of dollars to the Chinese government after Dr. Sung’s meetings. It greatly impressed other officials.)
DID YOU COMMIT ADULTERY? From the beginning to today? Did you almost? Mentally? With people in your own family, sister, brother, man and man, woman and woman, with animals? Have you been guilty of self-abuse? Did you take someone’s wife or husband? Or concubine, or someone’s else concubine? Before marriage? (Is this too close? Will you go on reading?)
DID YOU KILL? By abortion, by poison, or other way? Have you entered the communist party?
HABIT: Do you gamble? Play mahjong, drink, use cigarettes, opium, heroin, wine? Do you sell opium, cigarettes, morphine, idol worship materials? Do you buy or sell lottery tickets? Do you dance, go to movies, read bad books? Do you look at pornographic pictures? BURN THEM!
SINS IN THE FAMILY: Do you beat members of your family? Do you sell servants or slaves? Do you lend money at a high rate of interest? Are you disobedient to your parents? Do you quarrel with your sister-in-law, or others? Will you write a letter asking forgiveness?
SUPERSTITION: Do you worship idols or ancestors, or the picture of Sun Yat-sen? Do you draw lots or go to fortune tellers? Do you eat idol food? On Sunday, do you buy or sell food? (Travel if necessary, and buy a little food, is O.K. —Sung) Do you omit Bible study? Have you stopped praying? Do you testify for Christ? Have you kept your vows?
INNER SINS: Do you still have the old temper, jealousy, pride, covetousness, backsliding, blasphemy? Have you an unforgiving spirit? Did you want to commit suicide? Have you an unbelieving heart? and not believe the Bible? Do you doubt God, and think God is unjust? When you were sick, did you make some promise to God, then when well did you forget your promise? Do you worry, and have no faith? Put your worry on God, not on yourself. Did you blame God when someone died? Did you ask. “Where is God?” Did you bear false witness? Did you criticize people? Did you write a false letter home? Did you make love for fun, then give up? Do you have jealousy in your heart, and fight for position? Do you love the world?
Dr. Sung asked many more questions; then had everyone pray a prayer of praise, and sing: “For me, for me, it was for me the Savior died.”
Dr. Sung prayed, and all said, “Amen.” He told me later, for more questions see the Free Church Common Prayer Liturgy of Confession. When I asked at lunch that day if people really did all these things, he told me that he didn’t ask the worst things people had confessed to him.
In year 1972 September 15 I got saved when the precious blood of Jesus washed away all my sins.
But this is entirely new to me.
STEAL: Did you steal from your parents, from your husband, wife, friends, or your business partner? Did you help others steal, and keep quiet? Did you take public funds, much or a few cents? Did you cheat God? Did you steal a letter? Did you cheat in examinations? Did you use false stamps? Did you steal $500? $60? One cent? From birth to now?
When i read, “From birth to now?”
The Holy Spirit flashed before my very eyes the past 16 years before I became a Christian
And these were the sins which I sought to make restitution. Many might not agree but the Spirit of God was upon me in deep conviction
- I remembered living in KL Bukit Bintang Slum (Where Sun Complex) stood today
About the age of 7 to 8 I saw a little girl with a black purse in the shape of elephant. I stole that purse and inside it was 65 sen coins.
I also remembered when I was in Standard 4, Shaw Road Primary School, KL I stole a wooden pencil box from my classmate.
Then as I prayed & resolved to amend more sins appeared. When I was staying in the Slum the Federal Hotel in Jln Bukit Bintang was building a Revolving 2nd Building at the Back with a Relvolving Restaurant at the Top. As my friends passed by I stole some cement to make fish tanks. I also stole the toilet rolls & paper napkins.
One night I was with a gangster boy entering into the Big Housing Estate to steal rambutans. After the first time we again entered the second time. This time the security guard was alerted & he ran. So I followed. At the gate just as i was climbing over I was hit by an iron rod in great pain.
My father sent me to see the doctor. And i told a lie that i got into an accident
All these were sins after sins that came before. Years later I tried to sent money to those i could trace. Those I could not trace I gave them to Old Folks Home or Church Offerings. As Zacchaeus said that he will return 4 times what he had extorted.
But there was one sin that came before me
DO YOU HATE? Father, mother, brother, sister, teachers, grandmother, daughter-in-law, husband, wife, friend, children, fellow workers, students. Have you not talked to them for years? Do you hate in your heart? Do you hate to the very bone? Are you willing to write to them? You must ask forgiveness, face to face, or write. If you will, raise your hand. Now pray: “Lord forgive.” Have you done it? Pray: “Lord, I will forgive; I will write.” Raise your hand if you will. There was a widespread response, and many tears
Have you not talked to them for years?
Yes, in SOM there was a brother from KL called Isaiah Choe. He was the Proctor for year 1975.
I was then a first year newbie. A total green horn. Very slow. And I was a problem for all especially Isaiah who was the Proctor.
1975 passed eventually and early in year 1976 New Batch of SOMERs gathered in PK Jesus Saves Mission to elect a new proctor for year 1976
I was totally unprepared and it never occur to me as well.
Every one is given a blank piece of paper to write the name he/she wants to be the Proctor
At the tally Isaiah Choe’s name came up. And my name came up. Only 2 names & we got equal number of votes. So it was a tie.
Again to my surprise we got 50/50 votes again. It was a tie. Then Rev. Dr. Peter Ng said, “Let us pray” before casting the third time
As the counting neared the end my name was chosen
At that I bowed my head with a deep burden
And that was the start of a strained relationship between me & brother Isaiah
We could not talk as usual. Did i became over bearing or what? Some how there was a barrier between us.
And the Words of Dr. John Sung burned within. “Get right with brother Isaiah Chow”
So I humbled myself, approached Isaiah and confessed my faults to him. And he did likewise.
It was a glorious time of great victory as we prayed from 8pm to 10pm in SOM, 22 Jalan Belang, Singapore for the rest of year 1976, notwithstanding other crisis and trials that befell us
Of all songs this one from Psalm 23 stood out
“My soul He doth restore again
And me to walk doth make
Within the path of righteousness
Even for His own Name sake”
Amen & Amen
Note: This searching & confessions happened in year 1976
Next year in 1977 God met with us in the REVIVAL CAMP of Penang Hill in a very marvelous glorious way
It was Revivalist Evan Robert who said, “Bend the Church and save the world”
Or should we say, “Bend the Pastors and save the Church”