Imprisoned ERCC Pastor Wang Yi: “the Disobedience of Faith”

Pastor Wang Yi delivering a sermon prior to his imprisonment.
(Photo: ChinaAid)
(ChinaAid, Midland, TX—October 25, 2021) On December 2, 2018, ChinaAid posted the news that according to an official notice delivered to Pastor Wang Yi’s mother, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities criminally detained Pastor Wang after arresting him during an overnight crackdown Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC). Approximately one year later, the day after Christmas in a closed-door trial, a Chengdu court sentenced him to serve nine years in prison. The sentence evolved from the fabricated charges of “inciting subversion of State power and operating an illegal business.”

Two days after CCP authorities seized Pastor Wang and more than 100 ERCC Church members, Church members released an open letter Pastor Wang wrote in September 2018. He gave instructions to the Church that if he were missing for more than 48 hours, the Church should publish his message. The following shares selected excerpts from Pastor Wang’s “My Statement: the Disobedience of Faith”:

 

 According to the teachings of the Bible and the mission of the gospel, I respect the founding powers of God in China. Because the king of waste and the king of kings are all in God. To this end, I obey God’s arrangement of Chinese history and institutions.

 

As a pastor of the Christian Church, I started from the Bible and have my own understanding and views on the social, political, and legal fields, what is justice, and the governance of goodness. At the same time, I am full of disgust and hatred for the CCP’s persecution of the church, the deprivation of human faith and the freedom of conscience. However, the change of all social and political systems is not the mission of my calling, nor the purpose of the gospel being given to the people of God.



Because all the ugliness of reality, the political injustice, and the arbitrariness of the law show that the cross of Jesus Christ is the only salvation that every Chinese must have. It also shows that true hope and perfect human society do not exist in any institutional and cultural changes on the earth, but simply how human sins are forgiven by Christ and have the hope of eternal life.



As a pastor, my faith in the gospel and the teachings of the people, and the blame for all sin are out of Christ’s command in the gospel, out of the unmeasurable love of the glory king. Everyone’s life is so short, and God is so eager to command the church to lead and call anyone who is willing to repent to repent.

Christ is so urgent and willing to forgive all who turn from sin. This is the purpose of all the work of the church in China. It is to witness Christ to the world, to witness the kingdom of heaven to China, and to witness the eternal life of heaven to the short life of the earth. This is also my pastoral call.



To this end, I accept and respect the CCP’s regime as a temporary ruler allowed by God. As the Lord’s servant, John Calvin, said, the ruler of evil is God’s punishment for the wicked people, and the purpose is to urge the people of God to He repented. To this end, I am willing to obey their law enforcement behavior physically, as if obeying the Lord’s discipline and training.



I also believe that the persecution of the church by the Chinese Communist regime is an extremely evil crime. As a pastor of the Christian Church, I must sternly and openly blame such sins. The calling also requires me to violate all human laws that violate the Bible and God in a non-violent form, in peace and patience. Christ, my Savior, also asks me to joyfully bear all the costs of transgressing evil laws.



But this does not mean that my personal and church disobedience is a political act in any sense of activism or civil disobedience. Because I have no intention of changing any of China’s systems and laws. As a pastor, the only thing I care about is the disobedience of faith, the shock of sinful humanity, and the testimony of the cross of Christ.


As a pastor, my disobedience is part of the Gospel mission. The great mission of Christ requires our great resistance to the world. The purpose of resisting is not to change the world, but to witness another world.

It is precisely because of all my words and deeds that I do not seek and expect any change at the social and political level; I am no longer afraid of all social and political powers. Because the Bible teaches that God’s authority to set up the government is to fear the people who are evil, not to fear the good. Those who believe in Jesus do not do evil, and they should not fear the power of darkness. Although I am often weak, I believe that this is the promise of the gospel. It is the good news that I have tried my best to spread in the Chinese society.

I also understand that this is precisely the reason why the Chinese Communist regime is full of fear for a church that no longer fears it.

If I am detained for a long or short period of time to help those in power reduce their fear of my faith and my Savior, I am happy to help them in this way. But I know that I can truly help the souls of those in power and law enforcement only when I say no to all the persecution of the church’s sins and fight in a peaceful way. I long for God to use me to tell those who let me lose my personal freedom in a way that loses my personal freedom.

 

There is a higher authority than their authority, and there is a freedom that cannot be held by them, full of Jesus Christ. The church that died and was resurrected.

I firmly believe that the Bible does not give any government department authority to manage the church and intervene in Christian faith. Therefore, the Bible requires me to, in a peaceful manner, in a gentle rebellion and positive patience, full of joy, resist all administrative and judicial measures that persecute the church and interfere with the Christian faith.

I firmly believe that this is a kind of religious action. In the modern totalitarian state that persecutes the church and resists the gospel, the disobedience of faith is an inevitable part of the gospel movement.

I firmly believe that the disobedience of faith is a kind of end-time action, a testimony to the eternal city of sin in the short-lived city of sin. The disobedient Christian, following the path and manner of the cross, followed the crucified Christ. The resilience of peace is the way we love this world and the way we avoid becoming part of this world.

I firmly believe that the Bible requires me to rely on the grace of Christ and the power of resurrection to follow the two insurmountable bottom lines in practicing this religious disobedience.

The first is the bottom line of the heart. The love for the soul–not the hatred of the flesh–is the motive for resistance in faith. The change of the soul, not the change of the environment, is the goal of religious resistance. At any time, if external persecution and violence take away my peace and patience, and my heart gives rise to resentment and bitterness to those who persecute the church and insult Christians, this religious disobedience fails. It is.

The second is the bottom line of behavior. The gospel requires that the religious resistance must be non-violent. The mystery of the gospel is to replace the physical resistance with positive suffering, and is willing to bear the punishment of unrighteousness. The resilience of peace is the result of love and forgiveness. The cross means being willing to suffer where you don’t have to suffer. Because Christ has unlimited resistance, he has endured all humiliation and hurt. Christ’s way of resisting this world against him is to extend a peaceful olive branch on the cross to a world that crucified him.

I firmly believe that Christ calls me to practice this religious disobedience in this life-long service under this regime that resists the gospel and persecutes the church. This is the way I preach the gospel and the mystery of my evangelism.

Only known photo of Pastor Wang Yi in prison.
(Photo: ChinaAid resource)
For full version of Pastor Wang’s message: 

Pastor Wang Yi’s powerful letter to authorities—written 15 months before 9-year sentence

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to open their eyes, 
in order to turn them from darkness to light, 
and from the power of Satan to God, 
that they may receive forgiveness of sins
and an inheritance among 
those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’
“Therefore, King Agrippa, 
I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 
but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, 
and throughout all the region of Judea, 
and then to the Gentiles, 
that they should repent, 
turn to God, and 
do works befitting repentance.
                                                            ~ Acts 26:18-20 (NKJV)

 

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