Evangelist’s 110th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service
“REMEMBERING THE PAST”, “Passing on the Present” and “Sending Forth”. These were the three segments of the Thanksgiving Service which was held in memory of the 110th birth anniversary of Dr John Sung, the great Church Revival evangelist.
Dr Sung was instrumental in the spiritual revival of the 20th Century churches in China, Singapore and Southeast Asia. He had touched the lives of many like Ms Shen Sai Guang and Ms Ye Shu Len, 88 and 92 years respectively, who gave their testimonies at the service of being part of Dr Sung’s evangelistic team during his time in Singapore.
The special memorial service was held at Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church (TACMC) on Sept 27, 2011. Some 500 Christians from various denominations were present. e service was jointly organised by the Bible Society of Singapore, the Singapore Chinese Churches Council, the Centre for the Study of Christianity in Asia (CSCA) from Trinity Theological College (TTC) and the Singapore Christian Evangelistic League (SCEL).
Two other events were organised to celebrate the anniversary – the CSCA Annual Lectures on Sept 26 and 27 with the topic “On Revivals: Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Holy Spirit”, and a Conference on John Sung’s Legacy in Singapore and Malaysia on Sept 27 and 28. Both events were held at the TTC.
At the anksgiving Service, the Rev Canon Dr Michael Nai-Chiu Poon, Director of the CSCA, made the welcome speech. Leading the opening prayer was the Rev See Ping Eik, Pastor-in-Charge of TACMC, who went on to lead the congregation in singing some short spiritual revival songs written by Dr Sung. is brought fond memories to the congregation, especially to the elders who had sung these same songs when Dr Sung ministered in Singapore at the very same premises.
First, the Rev Canon Dr Poon led the congregation to “Remember the Past” through tracing the historical trail of Dr Sung’s vigorous life in preaching the Gospel. The combined choir of the Institute of Elders presented a series of seven of Dr Sung’s revival songs.
The Rev Timothy Hoon, Moderator of the Chinese Presbytery, Presbyterian Church in Singapore and the Pastor of Bethany Presbyterian Church, gave the sermon, which was based on the Scripture from John 14:12 – Jesus said: “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these”(NIV).
The Rev Hoon first shared how Dr Sung dedicated himself to the Lord. He told the audience that Dr Sung had obtained a chemistry doctorate degree (PhD) in the United States. Yet he was not proud of his worldly achievements but viewed them as dirt. On the way back home from the US, he threw his PhD certificate into the sea.
Perhaps what Dr Sung received was primarily a doctoral degree awarded in Heaven, suggested the Rev Hoon. He described the PhD Dr Sung had received as representing “P” for preaching, “h” for healing and “D” for delivering. Dr Sung preached the Gospel, healed the sick and delivered those that were bound by sins. He did the best he could until he was called home.
The Rev Hoon used various parts of Scripture to justify how Dr Sung’s life exemplified the verse “whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing”. Dr Sung received the Lord’s command of “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15), “And these signs (miracles) will accompany those who believe” (Mark 16:17). us, he determined that like Paul, he “will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done” (Romans 15:18).
By the works of the Spirit through the hand of Dr Sung, many in China and Southeast Asia saw miracles, healing of the sick, freeing of those oppressed by demons and repentance of sinners.
Dr Sung was able to do all those wonders because as Luke 4:18 stated, “ The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.” Dr Sung relied on the name of the Lord in order to do all these wonders.
The Rev Hoon closed by sharing that Jesus in His last days told his disciples: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever” (John 14:16). e advocate, to Dr Sung, is the Holy Spirit. He was convinced that without the presence of the Holy Spirit, nothing could be accomplished; and by his belief, he was able to do all that the Lord did while on earth.
The next segment of the service, “Passing on the Present”, began with Chin Lien Bible Seminary Choir and TTC Choir taking turns to sing Dr Sung’s spiritual revival songs. An oﬀering was taken for the Bible Society’s outreach programme. The leader of the SCEL, the Rev Zhang Shi En, unveiled the golden-edged Chinese Union Bible with Dr Sung’s spiritual short songs to commemorate his 110th birth anniversary. All pastors and theological students present were given a free copy.
The Rev Zhang then closed with a “Sending Forth” prayer that “the Sprit which touched Dr Sung would encourage us, touch us and bless us all”.
Tan Wee Pin is the Editor of the CAC News. He wrote this article in Chinese, which was translated into English by Christina Law.