Kim Lock | The Salvation Army

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Kim Lock

Posted March 5, 2009

Kim LockKim Lock was a young Chinese man who wandered into a meeting in the Wellington Citadel one Sunday evening, and was led to make a decision at the penitent form by Ernie Robinson, a colourful character who had been stationed in Chinese waters in the Royal Navy, and who knew a smattering of the language. Laboriously taught the rudiments of English by Ernie and his friend “Dad” Hawker, Kim Lock was enrolled, with 47 others, as a Salvation Army soldier at the 42nd anniversary of the corps in June 1925.

It became a common and stirring sight to see Kim witnessing in the open air to groups of Chinese in their own language in the Chinese quarter of Haining Street on Sunday afternoons. Eventually he decided to return to China to preach the gospel in the district where he was born. He was warned of the turbulent state of the country with large areas under the ruthless control of warlords, but he persisted with his aim. News filtered back that he had gathered about him a group of young men who had been imprisoned several times for continuing with their Christian witness. News ceased for two years, but then confirmation came from Salvation Army headquarters in China that Kim Lock and his companions had been taken outside the village and beheaded after stoutly refusing to deny Christ.

Commissioner Sir Dean Goffin told an interesting sequel to the story of Kim Lock’s martyrdom. In 1957 when serving as Music Secretary in Britain he led meetings at the Oxford corps, and noticing some Chinese children in the congregation, he told them that as a boy of nine years he had been in the meeting when Kim Lock had made his decision at Wellington, and he went on to tell the story of Kim Lock’s martyrdom. At the close of the meeting an elderly officer, Brigadier James Gilman told Dean Goffin that in 1928 he had been a young Captain in China and had been sent to the village to investigate the tragic story of the death of Kim Lock and his friends. Gilman had been able to talk to many Chinese who verified that Kim Lock and his friends had heroically sealed their Christian witness with their blood.