Jacob De Shazer Converts Japan

Jacob De Shazer was part of Lt Col James H (Jimmie) Doolittle’s Bomber Squadron which bombed Tokyo, on April 18, 1942.  Sixteen North American B25 bombers rested on the deck of “USS Hornet” until – at 3.15 a.m. – the alarm was given.  Battle stations!  So it was the first bombing of Japan’s capital city took place.  But B25 number 16, named ‘Bat Out of Hell’, ran out of fuel and the crew bailed out over enemy occupied territory in China.

Jacob De Shazer tells how he and his buddies were captured, “imprisoned, beaten and half-starved”.  Three fellow crewmembers were executed, and a fourth died of “slow starvation”.

Duriing his 40 months of brutality and solitary confinement De Shazer asked a guard if he might have a Bible. The request was granted. “I eagerly read its pages.  Chapter after chapter gripped my heart,” he later wrote.

And then, on 8 June, 1944, “God gave me grace to confess my sins to Him … and He saved me for Jesus’ sake.”

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De Shazer and several other crew members were imprisoned until their liberation a few days after Japan’s surrender in August 1945. After the war, home in America, De Shazer entered Seattle Pacific (Bible) College, and later returned to Japan as a missionary!

One of his first meetings was in the largest auditorium in Osaka – 4000 crowded inside and 3000 listened outside – and Jacob De Shazer (who had once bombed Tokyo), and Mitsuo Fuchida (who once bombed Pearl Harbour and who De Shazer led to faith in 1950), testified together of their common love for the One Who had reconciled them to God … and each other.

De Shazer preached and planted Free Methodist churches in Japan for nearly 30 years, before returning to the USA and retiring. However, he and his wife enjoyed a further 30 years together in retirement.

Jacob De Shazer died in his sleep on March 15, 2008 at his home is Salem, Oregon, at the age of 95.

Further information about Jacob De Shazer can be found at: http://chrisfieldblog.com/ministry/church-history/jacob-deshazer-bombs-japan

An article about De Shazer’s mother and her remarkable sense to pray at the very time De Shazer was parachuting from his plane can be found at: http://chrisfieldblog.com/family/parenting-family/the-prayers-of-a-mother

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This post is based on notes by my late friend Donald Prout. I have updated these historical posts with information gleaned from other sources. I am indebted to Don for awakening in me an interest in Church History. Don’s notes can be found at: www.donaldprout.com

Find hundreds of succinct Church History posts at: http://chrisfieldblog.com/topics/ministry/church-history

Kenneth Taylor

This is the day that … Kenneth Taylor was born, in 1917.

It was at family devotions that one of his children asked him the meaning of a verse in the King James Version of the Bible.  When he had explained it the children retorted:  “Well, Daddy, if that’s what the verse means, why doesn’t it say so?

As a result Kenneth Taylor would sit in the Chicago-bound train day after day armed with Bible, notebook and pencil.  And in 1962 he had paraphrased the Epistles.  He called his book Living Letters, and took it to a publisher.  And another.  And another.

Their refusals did not dampen his enthusiasm.  He took out a bank loan and published it himself.  It sold slowly at first – and then Billy Graham decided to give it free to those who wrote in to his telecasts.  Half a million copies were printed and sent to viewers.

Taylor then tackled the Gospels … and the rest of the New Testament … and the Psalms.  And kept on going.

In 1971 The Living Bible was published by Tyndale House, his own book company.

“In the first 27 months Tyndale House sold 13 million copies of The Living Bible.”

In 1986 Moody Monthly reported that 33 million copies had been sold, and “profits go largely to fund paraphrases in other languages.”

Kenneth Nathaniel Taylor died at age 88, on June 10, 2005.

Personal Note from Chris – My dad used Living Letters because he loved the idea that God’s Word could be made accessible. However there were many nay-sayers. Some questioned how a Bible could use the word ‘boomerang’ and be taken seriously.

When I turned up at church with a Living Bible I was asked, “What do you feed it?” I didn’t get the joke.

I loved the sense of God’s Word being so easy to read.
Then came all the talk about how a ‘paraphrase’ was not a REAL Bible.
Now, everyone takes for granted their easy access to so many translations. Enjoy the privilege. It did not come easy.