The Heavenly Man’s visit to Malaysia caused quite a stir with thousands flocking to his meetings in Petaling Jaya, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Ipoh, Malacca and Johor Baru. At the end of his whirlwind trip spanning the north and south of Peninsular Malaysia, many people had responded to his challenges to: receive Jesus as saviour, commit their lives to sharing the gospel, or participate in the Back to Jerusalem (BTJ) mission to bring the gospel to the many nations lying between China and Jerusalem.
Liu Zhenying – or Brother Yun as he is known worldwide – has indeed been an impactful witness for the Lord here. Yet, his visit was not without controversy. Even as he was preaching, e-mails questioning and attacking his authenticity were circulating fast. Most of them pointed to a website that was specially set up to refute his testimony, alleging he is a fraud who is out to gain wealth and status. The website carries pictures of several China house church leaders – such as Samuel Lamb Lin Xiangao, Moses Xie Moshan and Allen Yuan – signing a letter calling for his repentance.
Berita NECF executive secretaries Ong Juat Heng and Ngeh Hoong Eng met up with Brother Yun several minutes after his arrival back in Petaling Jaya from his Ipoh meetings, and unabashedly raised the allegations and posed other questions to him. The interview lasted less than an hour, for he was being hurried off to a dinner and was set to travel to Malacca and then Johor Baru the following day.
Brother Yun, how do you reply to the accusations that you are a fraud and that your testimony is a big lie?
Good tree bears good fruit, bad tree bears bad fruit. From the fruit, you can know whether the tree is good or bad. What people say about me is not important. What is important is that Jesus knows who I am and I know who I am. I know whom I serve. I actually don’t like to explain or clarify those attacks because according to God’s Word, everyone has to bear his own cross to follow Jesus. But I have aboslutely no ill feelings towards those who have attacked me.
Some people say I’m a liar, my testimony is false. Actually these are not necessary because firstly, they don’t glorify God. Secondly, they won’t edify the listeners, and thirdly the people (who make the allegations) won’t get any benefit. I was in Paris in early January at the annual BTJ meeting. It was the third meeting and it was the same with many e-mails and phone calls asking people to avoid the meeting. But despite all the rumours, over 1,000 people turned up and many people accepted Christ.
After the meeting, several people came up to me and apologised to me for not attending the last two meetings because they listened to the rumours. They wanted to attend this time to find out for themselves. The rumours are a hindrance to the gospel and the Great Commission.
At the meeting there were two other speakers, Dr Ernest Chan (principal of a leadership institute in the US) and Dennis Balcombe (Senior Pastor of Revival Christian Church in Hong Kong). They told me they were not happy with the rumours and if the rumours were not clarified, that would hinder people from coming to Jesus and obstruct the BTJ movement. They said they would write a letter to that will help to clarify the rumours. I think the letter has been faxed to the Singapore BTJ office. I realise that wherever I go, there will be opposition.
Can you comment about your experience in prison where you fasted for 74 days without water and food? Some people have said you are claiming to be greater than Jesus who only fasted 40 days.
Let me clarify that it wasn’t my intention to fast and pray at that time. At that time, I wanted to die because I was not able to preach the gospel, to serve Him. There was no point to live. Also, I did not want to betray my brothers and sisters because the prison guards wanted me to name them. I did not want to be Judas, to betray them. So I decided not to talk, drink and eat, hoping I would die. But even though I did not eat and drink, I did not die for He has other plans.
The allegations against you give the impression that the house churches in China are very divided.
The situation in China is the same as other places. There are denominations. I believe the BTJ vision is from God and no matter how many people oppose it, God’s will shall not be hindered. During my time here in Malaysia, I have been really encouraged by the response from the people to the vision. We don’t have to bother about rumours. You see the fruit and you recognise the tree.
Do you still keep in contact with the other house church leaders in China?
In this era, communication is advance. Even while in Malaysia, I’m constantly on the telephone with the leaders. China is no longer closed. Now, if you have a passport and visa, you can leave the country. So every year, they will come out of China and we will meet at some place for one to three weeks to exchange news and to pray. (For security reason, Brother Yun asked that we do not mention the places that they have met thus far.)
How many countries have you visited thus far and what has been the response to the BTJ vision from the countries you have visited?
Not more than 40 countries. The response is good but I would say that it has been most impactful in England. In South-east Asia, the Christians in Philippines have responded very well. One Christian there donated a five-storey building to be used as a training centre for the BTJ mission and right now there are over 80 people from China being trained there.
The response in Singapore has also been very good, even though they did not hear about the vision from me. Some Christians there went straight to China and found out what the vision was. They have started a BTJ office in Singapore. After coming to Malaysia and seeing the response, I believe that Malaysia will be in the frontline of the BTJ movement because there’s unity among your pastors. I know that when I go off, Satan will continue to try to destroy the work. But fear not, nobody can destroy what God has planned.
Compared to your life in China where you endured severe hardship, life now must be far more comfortable. What temptations do you face and how do you keep yourself right?
The greatest temptation is man’s applause. This is why before I preach, I always ask people to give God a clap offering. If God’s grace leaves me, there’s nothing I can do. About money, I’ve already decided long ago I won’t bother about it. If anybody asks me how much I receive (here in Malaysia), I’ll ask him to ask Rev. Wong (NECF’s Secretary-General). It’s the organisation that invites me to come, so they are in charge of the money. My responsibility is to preach the message.
Another thing, I have decided long ago never to be alone with a woman. But I think the main accusation now is that I claim to be an evangelist. I never said that. But because people have responded to the salvation call through my messages, they call me an evangelist.
Every day, I spend at least two hours with God to hear Him. I don’t want to hear my voice, other people’s voice or Satan’s voice. I want to hear God’s voice.