Monday, February 23, 2009

When Iron Gates Yield

In the fall of 1950, the Red Army invaded Tibet. A young British missionary, Geoffrey Bull, was serving the LORD in Tibet at the time of the invasion. He was arrested by the communists and put into their prisons in China for three years. "When Iron Gates Yield" is the story of Geoff Bull's work in Tibet, his arrest and subsequent difficulties during the "thought reform" programs forced upon him by the communist Chinese.

It is a story of one man's struggle to maintain the faith in the face of seasoned, determined, and forceful men campaigning to "reform" his thoughts and allegiance. Here are a few examples from the out-of-print book.

"For about twenty hours of "learning time" the five cell members raged at me on the questions of evolution. The Marxist development of the teaching of Darwin is the very core of their atheistic social concepts. Apparently to disbelieve the idea that Labour was solely responsible for man's position above the beasts was considered a most reactionary "heresy". My "tung hsiohs" (teachers) did just about all in their power, apart from rending their garments, to convince me of "their" viewpoint. By their harsh words and fierce attitudes, they displayed how "progressive" were their concepts, and how totally enraged they were at the words of this imperialist in their midst who dared to resist indoctrination and reform by preaching Christian beliefs. The controversy stretched over days and at night I lay down with my mind in a whirl. This was the beginning of the notorious "brain-washing"." (emphasis added)

"Now, in China, by the government-backed agencies of the press, radio, education, entertainment, and most important of all, the discussion group, the indoctrination was proceeding. In university, factory, school and office, town and village, yes, even in the church and the home, by means of "learning" discussion groups, basic lessons in Marxism were being thrust upon the people."

In this simple statement, Mr. Bull summarizes the importance and meaning of all that happened to him. "I am convinced, after more than three years in their hands, that not only must we never yield an inch on our basic faith in Christ but, in the assertion of our heavenly citizenship and all that that involves practically, we must be absolute. On our knees, we must search out, whether in China or England, that which belongs to God and that which belongs to Caesar. Today in China it is through the ever increasing claims of the state that the Christian who is determined to stand can yet find himself seduced. Let us also remember it is of course just as unthinkable for a Christian to serve imperialism as Communism. We serve the Lord Christ. For the believer His interests are supreme."

Interestingly enough our family watched "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" just as I was finishing this book. Make no doubt about it, "the teaching of Darwin is the very core of their atheistic social concepts." We have socialism and communism dominating our cultural thoughts, actions, and politics. It is being thrust upon the people through the government backed agencies of the press, education, and entertainment. And MANY Christians are being seduced by it.

"When Iron Gates Yield" is the first of three books written by Mr. Bull about his experiences. "God Holds the Key" and "The Sky is RED" are the other two titles. Worth the effort to learn from someone who has been in the furnace and can still sing the praises of our God and His purposes.