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John MacArthur’s Strange Fire, reviewed by Dennis Balcombe

Pastor Dennis Balcombe praying for people with Pastor Liu Yang in April 2014.

The last week of April 2014, I was invited to speak at the Daqing Three-Self Patriotic Church. Daqing is a large city in Heilongjiang Province in the very far northeastern part of China, an oil producing region of relative prosperity. I first went to this city in 1989 and at that time the whole city had less than 2,500 Christians. With some preachers from Henan Province who accompanied me, we prayed for about 100 of these believers, who were baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in fluent languages.

At that time I gave a prophecy to Liu Yang, the 12 year old son of the preacher who hosted the house church meeting in his home, and said that one day he would be a preacher and the leader of the largest church in Daqing. He told me recently at that time he did not even believe in Jesus, but after I left a great revival came to Daqing, he got saved, was called to preach, went to Bible Seminary and now is basically over the whole official church movement in the city of about 3 million people.

Now the official Three-Self churches in Daqing alone number 145,500 in their congregations, and there are tens of thousands more in the house churches. If counting the rural counties around Daqing city, there are close to 300,000 Christians. The house churches alone have sent dozens of missionaries to over 10 provinces to do evangelism and church planting.

Part of Daqing Christian Church of 3000.

I spoke in two official churches, one of 3,000 and the other 1,200. Most of believers are Spirit filled, speak in tongues, and are seeing phenomenal church growth. The anti-Charismatic preachers associated with Rev. Stephen Tong of Indonesia recently tried to come to the Northeast Bible Seminary in Shenyang and other churches in the Northeast, but the Spirit-filled Three-Self Patriotic Church leader, Rev. Liu Yang, forbid these people to speak in any church in Northeast China. They have the power to do this, and told me that whenever their anti-Charismatic theology comes to any church, the church will die and often close doors within one to two years.

According to Mark 16:15-20 speaking in tongues, healing and miracles were an integral part of the Gospel ministry in the first century. The writer of the book of Hebrews confirms this: “how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?” (Heb. 2:3-4).

Sometimes we laugh at reports that some Catholics praying to Mary were healed of some incurable disease, or statues of Mary would weep or blood would be on the statue of Mary or Jesus. Often one or two confirmed miracles in the Catholic Church performed by a Roman Catholic qualify one eligible to be declared a “saint”. In our ministry we see healings and supernatural miracles often, and no one makes a big fuss about it, for it is simply a part of preaching the Gospel.

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Category: Spirit, Spring 2014

About the Author: Dennis Balcombe knew he was called to be a missionary to China while he was a teenager, and was one of the first to enter the mainland when it opened to the West in the 1970s. He founded Revival Christian Church in Hong Kong in 1969 and continues to plant churches, travelling and ministering in China and internationally. He shares his story in One Journey, One Nation: Autobiography of Dennis Balcombe, Missionary to China (2011) and he is the author of China's Opening Door: Incredible Stories of the Holy Spirit at Work in One of the Greatest Revivals in Christianity (Charisma House, 2014). Revival Chinese Ministries International

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