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Sung, John (1901–1944)

  1. Allan Anderson

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc1333

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Anderson, A. 2011. Sung, John (1901–1944). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


John Sung (Siong-ceh) was perhaps the greatest evangelist and revivalist of 20th century China. Born in the home of a Methodist pastor in Hinghwa, Fujian in southeast China, Sung went to the USA in 1920 for university studies, graduating with a Ph.D. in chemistry from Ohio State University in 1926. After an eventful year in the USA that included a semester at Union Theological Seminary, New York, he burned all his theological books and renounced theological education. After six months in a mental hospital, he returned home in early 1927. For the next 15 years he devoted himself exclusively to evangelism and healing, bringing tens of thousands to faith in Christ and revival to hundreds of Chinese churches throughout China and Southeast Asia. From 1931–1934 he worked in an evangelistic team with Andre Gih in the Bethel Mission, called the Bethel Gospel Band, until he resigned over differences with the missionary founder and began work as an independent evangelist. His hundreds of meetings were characterized by great drama and emotion, including vigorous handclapping, spontaneous prayer in unison, free-flowing tears, and vivid illustrations. Sung dressed in informal attire and often appeared unkempt, and his messages appealed to common people, despite his education. Numerous cases of healing in Sung's ministry were reported, with overwhelming numbers of people lining up for prayer for healing and exorcism in his meetings. He became a national figure, but his critics charged him with fanaticism.


  • Sung, John (1901–1944);
  • evangelist and revivalist, 20th century China;
  • conservative fundamentalist;
  • preparing the Chinese church, for the Japanese war