Communism Turned for God’s Glory: The Remarkable Story of Bob Fu
The year was 1989 and Bob Fu was on the verge of becoming a murderer.
The now prominent Christian missionary and human rights leader was then just a student at Liaocheng Teacher’s College. China was in the midst of a student revolution, or so the students hoped. Fu had quickly become a leader in the movement, organizing protests, class lockouts, and even a trip to Tiananmen Square, narrowly escaping before the Square turned deadly.
Fu had always been a leader, tracing back to his high school days in Gaomi City. Despite the communist opposition to free speech, Fu was able to start a newspaper analyzing world events by taking a group of articles written by fellow students to the town secretary’s office, which housed a group of typewriters. The secretaries were persuaded to type and print the articles for distribution to the town, giving birth to the newspaper which Fu named The Green Leaf.
“I like to joke,” Fu wrote in his autobiography God’s Double Agent, “that The Green Leaf was my first nonprofit organization, one that I managed to get completely funded by communists.”
The young Fu might not have known then, but this turning of communist resources for God’s purposes would become a common thread running throughout his life.
However, fast forward several years, and Fu was far from starting another non-profit. In the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, the Chinese government cracked down hard on those who had taken part in the nationwide movement for education reform, especially on the movement’s leaders.
Fu was forced into isolation by university police, pulled from most of his classes, and ostracized from his group of friends.
“I was invisible,” Fu remembered. “People didn’t even notice me. I had been removed so thoroughly from their lives I wasn’t even a consideration.”
The separation drained Fu’s mental health, and he fell into a deep depression, wondering if it would be best to end his life instead of living through the embarrassment of public disgrace and rejection.
Prior to the government forcefully ending the protests, Fu had been quite close to the leader of the university, President Ming. Like his status as a student leader, however, this relationship was swept away, and the president quickly shunned Fu.
President Ming became the sole target of Fu’s anger and desperation, leading Fu to plan on blowing himself up along with his former friend. However, his lack of resources led to difficulty executing this plan.
“In the pre-Internet age,” Fu recalled, “English literature majors were at a serious disadvantage when it came to figuring out how to build bombs.”
During this time of confusion and depression, God interrupted Fu’s plans and placed his life on a new trajectory. Through a book about an old Chinese Bible translator, Fu was introduced to Christianity and accepted Christ while at the university.
Later, he undertook one of the most dangerous occupations available in China: Leading the underground church.
After Fu finished his studies, he began teaching English at the Communist Party School in Beijing, even though he did not belong to the Communist Party. However, this was only his day job. By night, Fu began leading and organizing the underground church in the area.
God continued to use Fu’s position among the communists to bring other Chinese to Jesus. Around that time, Fu and his fellow church leaders were secretly forming campus ministries in the area but needed more copies of the illegal Christian worldview videos they’d been using to train new leaders.
So where did they turn? The Communist Party of course.
“I didn’t have the technology to copy videos at the time,” wrote Fu, “so I went to the Communist Party School’s video publishing center...It was Beijing’s main publisher for Communist Youth League’s propaganda video materials…”
Fu and his associates convinced two young men at the Communist publishing house to copy hundreds of Christian teaching videos at night.
“While they made copies of the films,” Fu explained, “the message took hold of their hearts. There, in the Communist propaganda department, they were secretly converted.”
Later, Fu and his friends realized the need for a secret training center, where they could bring house church leaders and teach them in Christian ministry in one place. They soon found the perfect spot: an old abandoned factory in Beijing. However, they still needed the supplies.
Specifically, somewhere for the many students to sit.
Like bringing water from the rock in Exodus, God again delivered what His people needed from the most unlikely of sources.
“The next day,” Fu remembered, “when I went to work, I asked about a large stash of old chairs with attached desks. When I found out the Communist Party School was willing to sell them at a reasonable price, I purchased them. That’s how our new Christian ministry training center was stocked with red desks decorated with Communist Party logos.”
Fu and his wife, Heidi, would eventually be arrested for their faith, and forced to attempt a daring escape from China. Their testimony of secretly ministering to Chinese university students, smuggling persecuted and tortured families out of the country, and risking imprisonment or death to spread the Gospel of Christ can be read in Bob Fu’s gripping autobiography God’s Double Agent.
Time and time again, Fu and his band of underground Christian brothers and sisters were presented with harsh obstacles because of governmental powers. And yet, in all circumstances, they leaned on their Creator, and He delivered exactly what they needed to tell more people about Jesus.
I recently found a Scripture, John 11:16 that pointedly describes the life of Bob Fu, his dedication and willingness to follow the Savior wherever He leads, and the ultimate sacrifice made by many of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world.
Facing a dangerous trip back to Judea where the Jews had tried to stone Jesus only days earlier, Thomas offers a simple yet profound statement to his fellow disciples:
Let’s go, too – and die with Jesus.