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Christian Today has reported that Samuel Lamb, a long-time leader of China’s house church movement, passed away on Saturday, August 3, at age 88. Lamb famously shared the precept “more persecution, more growth.” He urged Christians to be prepared to suffer for their faith, even advising them to pack a bag for prison.

Born in a mountainous region overlooking Macau, China, Samuel Lamb was the son of a Baptist minister and his wife. When 19-year-old Samuel began preaching, China only had a few million Christians. Refusing to align his church with the government-regulated Three-Self Patriotic Movement, Lamb was arrested in 1955 for “anti-revolutionary activity,” and sentenced to 18 months in prison. In 1958, he was arrested again, and sentenced to 20 years hard labour. During his lengthy incarceration, most of which he spent as a coal miner, he continued to share the gospel. One year before leaving prison, he was informed about the passing of his wife, whom he visited during a five month remand from prison.

Two years after his release from prison, Lamb started a house church in Guangzhou city. Due to the church’s exponential growth, it was soon relocated to a larger building nearby. Today his church is still in operation but remains unregistered. Each week it holds several sermons and welcomes more than 4000 attendants.

Lamb used to remind his parishioners that the “law of God is more important than the law of man,” thereby encouraging Christians to obey laws insofar as they do not conflict with Biblical teachings. At a time when China has 80 million Christians, the legacy of this one man will not soon be forgotten.