Dr. John Sung (宋尚節博士) 1901-1944
By Stephen Chen 陳中潔 to the Taiwanese site 2009.02 [Read full text]
My father, as I recall during my childhood, would prepare the mosquitoes’ net, pillows, and blankets upon a cluster of ta-ta-mi (Japanese straw-mattresses where everybody slept on) while singing, “I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud, and your sins like a heavy mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you…” Isaiah 44:22 NASB (Góa chhàt-siau líau lí ê chōe-kòa, ná o’-hûn siau-sòaⁿ…Lí tioh kui-ng Góa, in-üi Góa kiù-siok lí…) My father was not much a singer, and he was always out of tune when he sang. But his love to us and his respect for Dr. Sung’s revival hymns were unquestionable.
My mother, on the other hand, always talked about Dr. Sung as if he were the real model preacher of her life. Perhaps he was. I thought for sometime that Sung was one of the Taiwanese preachers. I also remember that my mother told me when Dr. Sung boarded the ship in Kaohsiung harbor on his final day in Taiwan, he still found time to pray and perform the healing power of the Holy Spirit for those who came to say goodbye.
My 86-year-old aunt told me a side story of Dr. Sung recently. She said that a group of people from Kaohsiung attended Dr. Sung’s final revival meeting in Tainan. Afterward, they took a train home. And in the train, they’d keep on singing that famous song, “Come on home, Come on home!” (Tò-lâi ah, tò-lâi ah, m-thang koh hòng-tōng. Chû-ài Thiⁿ-Pē chhun khui I siang-chhiú, Ng-bāng lí tò-lâi!) She also said that some pictures of Dr. Sung with Dr. C Y Peng (http://thetaiwanese.blogspot.com/2006/01/dr-c-y-peng.html) and friends were taken in Kaohsiung before Sung returned to A-Moy (廈門.)
Mrs. Au Chìn-an (歐進安牧師娘) well into her 90’s, has told me that while preaching in Mandarin, Dr. Sung, who knew Taiwanese very well, would correct the translator immediately when some words went wrong. The translators would take them with smiles.
Well, the event that made a long and huge wave in Taiwan Christian history in the first half of the 20th Century took place in 1936. The impact of Dr. Sung remains in effect even today. His revival hymns are still sung and sermons quoted. Dr. Sung was very much among the most influential preachers in the 20th century even in his rather short life.
His early Years
Sung was born in Putian (莆田), Fujian, China. His father, Rev. S L Sung (宋學連) was a pastor of a Wesleyan Methodist Church while the younger Sung had helped some parish work including preaching when his father was ill. The young Sung was even called a “Little Pastor.”