Zhang Rongliang and Eugene Bach, I Stand with Christ: The Courageous Life of a Chinese Christian (Whitaker House, 2015), 240 pages, ISBN 9781629113371.
God has written a message to His Church in these last days through the lives of the underground church movement in China. I Stand with Christ is a historical narrative of the life of Zhang Rongliang which tells a story the western church needs to hear. This book chronicles Zhang’s struggle through China’s Cultural Revolution and as he states in the last chapter, “My story is not just the story of Chinese Christians – it is the story of China.”
This book is a gripping read that will astound the western Christian with an individual’s courage and devotion to Christ through intense persecution. Not only does Zhang overcome his adversaries by his devotion to the blood of the Lamb and the persevering word of his testimony, but because he did not love his life even unto death (Rev.12:11). Zhang spent the majority of his life in prison for his faith yet became a central figure in growing the church in China. Zhang explains that, “The church in China did not crumble under persecution – it thrived. It didn’t grow in spite of suffering – it grew because of it” (p. 230). 1 Peter 4:19 tells us that there is a suffering according to God’s will while doing good, and this book chronicles that struggle.
Zhang’s courage, devotion and vulnerability is inspiring to say the least. The story takes you through the years of heartache, pain and suffering as Zhang endures intense persecution as a faithful witness for Jesus. His devotion to Christ despite the painful separation from his wife, children and fellow believers is moving. The hero of the story is Christ, His faithful intercession on behalf of His people.
This book should inspire western believers to understand the value and devotion of being united in the body of Christ. Zhang is driven for his love of the family of Christ and winning the lost unto that body. There are many departures from the western mindset that would do the church well to understand. I believe the story of the Chinese Church was written by Jesus to instruct His church for this hour of history. Reading I Stand with Christ is a primer for the last days.
The only critique I have is that the story becomes a little tedious concerning Zhang’s persecutions. I would have enjoyed hearing more revelation and insight that Zhang gained from Christ. There are so many gems in this book concerning the revelation of Jesus and His body. All in all, this book tells the story of the sustaining power of Christ through persecution and God’s sovereign plan for the Church to overcome in these last days.
Reviewed by Tim Tyler
Preview I Stand with Christ: https://books.google.com/books?id=7zzeCQAAQBAJ