Book Review: Across the China Sky (Jul-Aug 2007)

By Matt Dabbs

by Patty Slack
July – August, 2007

Across the China Sky
by C. Hope Flinchbaugh
(2006, Bethany House Publishers, 352 pp., paperback)

Encouraging news has been leaking out of China over the past several years, news about the strength of the underground church movement. Visitors to the vast country bring back reports of a network of house churches that counts its members in the millions. Despite persecution, or perhaps because of it, Chinese Christians are deepening in their faith.

Satan, though, is the master of back door tactics. Those he cannot reach through intimidation and torture, he’s going after with deception.

In Across the China Sky, C. Hope Flinchbaugh exposes some of the new and real challenges facing Chinese Christians. In this second book about Mei Lin and her family and friends, a new danger—Eastern Lightning—threatens to pull believers away from their faith.

Eastern Lightning is a cult that teaches that Jesus has returned to earth and is now living in China… as a woman. The cult targets Christians, especially young believers who have never had opportunity to read the Bible for themselves. More mature Christians have succumbed to bribery, kidnappings, brainwashing, torture and, in a few documented cases, even death.

Across the China Sky is the fictional retelling of one such kidnapping. It is the story of a group of house church leaders who, in their eagerness to receive training, let down their guard and find themselves under the control of Eastern Lightning. A parallel story line, secondary in both intrigue and importance, follows Mei Lin in her work in a Shanghai orphanage.

Since Across the China Sky is the second novel in the Daughter of China series, I did have some difficulty keeping the characters straight. Once I sorted out the characters, I found some of them flat, either completely good or totally evil.

Across the China Sky, despite its weaknesses, tells an important story. It spurred me to read more about the Eastern Lightning Cult and to pray more specifically for house church leaders in China.

Other books on Christianity in China:
Safely Home by Randy Alcorn (fiction)
Jesus in Beijing by David Aikman (nonfiction)New Wineskins

Patty SlackPatty Slack is a graduate of Harding University. She and her family spent 7 years as part of a church planting mission in Togo, West Africa. She currently resides in the Pacific Northwest where she home schools her 3 daughters.

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Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1577 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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