Wang Yi, pastor of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, Sichuan, was previously a human rights activist and a constitutional scholar. YouTube
Anticipating his arrest, the pastor of the persecuted Early Rain Covenant Church penned a list of 14 powerful directives his church should and should not do in the face of government oppression.
Pastor Wang Yi wrote the list before he and around 160 others from his church were imprisoned by Chinese authorities for their faith in mid-December. Police also took Bibles and shut down a seminary and school run by the well-known church during the raid. Yi is currently being held on “inciting subversion” charges, which can lead to at least five years imprisonment in severe cases.
The pastor began the list, originally posted on his blog in October, by announcing his determination to “resist by peaceful means when the government oversteps the boundary of the secular power God has given – attacking and usurping the spiritual affairs that belong to God and his church. “
Wang then highlighted a list of “positions and resolutions” for his congregants to adopt should he be arrested.
” I pray that Christ’s death will always be upon me, so that the power and resurrection of Christ will cover me at every time,” he said. “I am fully aware and accept that I am a sinner unworthy of grace, but I trust that Christ’s sovereignty will protect me from persecution. “
First, Wang charged that Early Rain will refuse to stop gathering despite government orders: “God’s sovereignty is higher than any secular authority and the church’s mission and the Bible’s teaching on not neglecting to gather together is higher than any secular law,” he explained.
The pastor said he will continue to demonstrate non-violent resistance in the face of oppression; will not accept or obey the government agency’s decision to ban, seal up, and dissolve the church and its gatherings; will not sign any document of administrative decision sent by the Religious Affairs Bureau; will not answer any questions the police ask regarding his faith and the church, and will refuse to admit to any crimes imposed against him on matters of faith and church.
He also said he would refuse to accept a government-designated defense lawyer or appear on TV. Wang also stated that he would not accept an ideological reform order, refuse to pay “one penny” in fines, penalties, bail, or bail, and refuse to accept any additional punishment of depriving political rights.
” “I will do my best to preach the gospel and plant or shepherd churches, write and publish articles and live out the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ until I lose my liberty again,” he stated.
However, Wang said he will request the freedom to obtain and read the Bible during his imprisonment, will continue sharing the Gospel, and will demand a public trial.
He said: “Because I refuse to appear before a court with a secret trial, and because the Bible does not command me to do so, I will refuse any order from the judge. I will reply with no speech or defense to any unlawful trials of faith and the church except when I share the gospel. “
The persecuted pastor concluded by asking God to give his family and his church peace amid his imprisonment and give him “peaceful resistance, positive perseverance and joyful disobedience in all matters of conscience, faith and the church. “
As part of the growing crackdown on religion, the Chinese government has banned online sales of the Bible, burned crosses, demolished churches and forced at least a half-dozen places of worship to close. Despite such persecution, it’s estimated that unofficial churches in China serve as many as 30 million people.
Wang, in a prewritten message released after his detention, spoke about the importance of disobedience.
“The Communist regime’s persecution of the church is an extremely vicious crime,” he wrote. “As a pastor in the Christian church, I must publicly and strictly condemn such crimes. “
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