The first American martyred by the communists
John Birch, on August 25, was martyred by Chinese communist soldiers near the end of World War II, in Hsuchow, China. His influence had spread over hundreds of miles where he was known to the nationals as “Bey Shang We“, a title of respect. John Birch had gone to China, after finishing a three year course in two years at the Bible Baptist Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas, the Fundamentalist school sponsored by Dr. J. Frank Norris, Pastor of the First Baptist Church, and the World Baptist Fellowship. He had gone there after graduating from Mercer University in 1939, magna cum laude. In one year John could speak Chinese. After Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese attempted to arrest him, but he escaped. He gave himself to the preaching of the gospel and to the encouraging of the saints as he traveled in war-torn China. While traveling to minister to suffering believers, John was put in touch with Col. Jimmy Doolittle and the four airmen from his plane that he had to ditch in China after their bombing raid on Tokyo. It was Birch that led them to safety. At that point he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served as the Intelligence Officer for Gen. Charles Chennault. He was able, because of his knowledge of the language and culture to help in setting up radio contacts. John knew the dangers of communism and witnessed its inroads. John’s parents were Presbyterian missionaries in India on Sept. 12, 1918, when John was born. Because of recurring malaria George Birch moved his family back to the states, became a Baptist, and moved to Macon, Georgia where John received Christ at the age of eleven.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 350-52.
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