Bold as a Lamb: Pastor Samuel Lamb and the Underground Church of China

Sarah E. Doyle. Review of: Bold as a Lamb: Pastor Samuel Lamb and the Underground Church of China, by Ken Anderson. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1991.

The story of Samuel Lamb is a very inspiring one. Brought up in a Christian home, he preached his first sermon at only age nineteen. He very quickly had a fast-growing congregation built solidly on his Biblical teaching foundation. He was, however, arrested in 1955, and again in 1958, when he was imprisoned for the next twenty years. During that time, in which he served first at an agricultural labor camp, then at a coal mine, he was able to keep God's love and truth foremost in his mind and always desired to share the Good News with his fellow captives. After his release, he diligently began again to build his congregation, which soon grew to more than a thousand members despite threats from the Chinese government. He gained recognition throughout China as the pastor of one of the largest house-churches in the nation, as well as being noticed by the American media. He continues to minister to his flock in Guangzhou, even in his advanced age.

This biography of Samuel Lamb, while not extremely well-written, is nonetheless a wonderful contribution to any personal library. The exemplary life of this man speaks for itself.

The book has several excellent aspects. One is that it gives a good understanding of Chinese ideology - that of Communists, of those trying to escape the system, and of those who simply disagree with Communism's tenets. Another highlight is the account of Samuel's imprisonment - the book does a wonderful job of showing Samuel's daily dependence on God in specific circumstances. It makes the idea of being joyful in suffering seem feasible by showing the struggles and doubts Samuel had before he was able to surrender them to the Lord. Also, this story points out the importance of being absolutely saturated with Scripture, since one may, like Samuel, not always have access to a Bible, and because God can put specific verses and promises into one's mind when a reminder of His Word is desperately needed.

This story of a modern-day persecuted saint teaches us much about ourselves and our relationship to God without ever attempting to preach. We can only pray that God would mold us more and more into His image, the way He has molded Samuel Lamb.