1908  — 1973

Zhao Shiguang

Chao Shi-kuang, Timothy Chao

Chinese evangelist, writer and founder of Ling Liang or Spiritual Food Christian Church.

Zhao Shiguang, the thirty-third generation of Song emperor Zhao Kuang-yin, Zhao’s given name was Yuan-Chang. In 1921, at the age of 13, Zhao was brought to Sunday school by his cousin. He was baptized on Christmas Day in 1924.

Zhao dedicated his life to full-time ministry at a revival meeting led by missionary Paget Wilkes. He felt that he was born again by the Holy Spirit, and he thus decided to be a light to the world. He changed his name to Shi-kuang (literally, “world light”). He then entered a Bible college established by the Mission Alliance Society and studied there for three years. In 1928, Zhao was invited by Shanghai Shou Zhen Church of the Mission Alliance Society to become a pastor; he was subsequently ordained in 1932. During these years, he held evangelistic and revival meetings in many places.

In 1934, Zhao married Tang Ling-An, a graduate of Shanghai Chinese Women’s Seminary and a great partner in his ministry. They had seven children.

In 1940, Zhao accepted an invitation from missionary Zhai Fu-min to conduct evangelistic meetings in the countries of Southeast Asia. In 1941, while pastoring Shanghai Shou Zhen Church, he received a letter from the church in Jakarta, Indonesia. Zhao saw a vision and heard the Macedonian call. When he was about to travel to Indonesia, the Pacific War broke out on 8 Dec 1941, preventing his trip. In prayer, Zhao then received another mission vision from the Holy Spirit, and together with seven young people founded Ling Liang (“Spiritual Food”) Mission Team. In Aug 1943, Ling Liang Church was formed in Shanghai and rented the auditorium of a school for worship services. Between 1942 and 1947, five other Ling Liang churches, a seminary, primary and secondary schools, orphanages, and homes for the elderly were founded in the eastern region of China.

In Jun 1946, at a meeting of all Ling Liang churches, the decision was made to form the Christian World Ling Liang Evangelism Association. In Dec 1948, Le Chuan-zhen was sent to Calcutta, India, for pioneering evangelistic work, and Zhou Zhu-pei was sent to Ling Liang Church in Jakarta, Indonesia, as its pastor. On 1 Jan 1950, Zhao began renting Hong Kong Entertainment Theater as a place to hold worship services. This arrangement lasted for 15 years until the theater was torn down in 1965.

In 1955 and 1956, Zhao received honorary degrees (D. J., D. D., D. Litt.) from three universities in the United States (Taylor University, Boston University, and Baptist Theological Seminary).

In Feb 1956, a Mission Training College was founded in Indonesia, and a university was built in the same year. In Jul 1957, Zhao visited the country for the second time and held evangelistic meetings in many cities. In 1958, the work had to come to a stop due to political changes in Indonesia. In 1980, the Theological College was reopened and took the name of Faith (Iman) Theological Seminary.

In 1964, Zhao built the International Theological College in Hong Kong and at the same time traveled worldwide for evangelistic meetings and international conferences.

Throughout his life, Zhao paid special attention to literary evangelism. He wrote 35 exegetical works on biblical books, four biographies, four mission travelogues. He edited two volumes of Ling Liang Gospel Songs and wrote eight books in English.


This article is reproduced, with permission, from A Dictionary of Asian Christianity, copyright © 2001 by Scott W. Sunquist, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.


  • The 20th Year Anniversary of the Spiritual Food Christian Church (Jakarta, Indonesia) (1972). The 40th Year Anniversary of the World Mission of the Spiritual Food Christian Church (1990).

About the Author

Peter Wongso

Principal, South East Asia Bible College, Malang, Indonesia