Bold Rebellion in China

Bold+Rebellion+in+China

Mary Clare A, Columnist

In China, Christians face severe persecution under the communist government. If brave enough, Christians organize secret house-church assemblies to worship, refusing to submit to the Chinese government. Wang Yi, pastor of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, faces grave consequences for his bold preaching and testimony. 

According to Paul Mozur and Ian Johnson, writers for The New York Times, in 2017 the Chinese government passed laws restricting nongovernmental organizations’ rights. Soon, new regulations on religious life were enacted. Due to these new laws, individual churches and organizations were ordered to register under the government’s rules or face consequences — the destruction of property, imprisonment, and discrimination. Early Rain Covenant Church, however, began as an illegal house-church congregation but soon “had more than 500 members, a seminary that trained clergy from across China, a kindergarten and elementary school, and a bookstore — none of which were registered with the government.”

Pastor Yi openly expressed his disdain for the communist regime. He not only rebels by founding Early Rain Covenant Church, but he preaches against communism, controlled religious life, and abortion. In his “Declaration of Faithful Disobedience” Yi writes, “As a pastor, my firm belief in the gospel, my teaching, and my rebuking of all evil proceeds from Christ’s command in the gospel and from the unfathomable love of that glorious King. Every man’s life is extremely short, and God fervently commands the church to lead and call any man to repentance who is willing to repent…This is the goal of all the efforts of the church in China — to testify to the world about our Christ, to testify to the Middle Kingdom about the Kingdom of Heaven, to testify to earthly, momentary lives about heavenly, eternal life. This is also the pastoral calling that I have received.” 

In 2019, Early Rain Covenant Church was raided. Over one-hundred members and associates of Pastor Yi, including his wife, were captured and tried at court. Pastor Yi’s wife and most of the imprisoned members were released, but Pastor Yi was sentenced to nine years of prison, convicted of illegal business operation. Pastor Yi boldly claims, “I firmly believe that Christ has called me to carry out this faithful disobedience through a life of service, under this regime that opposes the gospel and persecutes the church. This is the means by which I preach the gospel, and it is the mystery of the gospel which I preach.”

Pastor Yi further explains the mission of a true, loyal church: “For the mission of the church is only to be the church and not to become a part of any secular institution. From a negative perspective, the church must separate itself from the world and keep itself from being institutionalized by the world. From a positive perspective, all acts of the church are attempts to prove to the world the real existence of another world. The Bible teaches us that, in all matters relating to the gospel and human conscience, we must obey God and not men. For this reason, spiritual disobedience and bodily suffering are both ways we testify to another eternal world….” 

Pastor Yi’s bold testimony in the face of torture, death, and imprisonment not only encourages Early Rain Covenant Church to continue worshipping but inspires Christians globally – whether persecuted or not – to proclaim their faith. Even though evidence suggests Pastor Yi faces torture, he stays strong and faithful to Christ. His faithful disobedience inspires millions of Christians around the world to persevere through trials and exhibit pertinacious actions and testimonies. 

References

Mozur, Paul, and Ian Johnson. “China Sentences Wang Yi, Christian Pastor, to 9 Years In Prison.” The New York Times, 30 December 2019, Asia Pacific, The New York Times, nytimes.com/2019/12/30/world/asia/china-wang-yi-christian-sentence.html.

Yi, Wang. “My Declaration of Faithful Disobedience.” China Partnership, China Partnership, 12 December 2021, chinapartnership.org/blog/2018/12/my-declaration-of-faithful-disobedience.

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