Elder Zhang shares his spiritual growth during imprisonment

Photo: Elder Zhang Chunlei with his wife (ChinaAid source)

(Guiyang, Guizhou Province – May 9, 2024) Recently, a defense lawyer visited Elder Zhang Chunlei, who has been imprisoned for three years, at the Guiyang City Detention Center. Elder Zhang appeared slightly thin, with completely white hair. When he heard that Elders Hao Ming and Elder Wu Jiannan of Qingcaodi Reformed Church in Deyang had been released, he felt very comforted.

 

Elder Zhang Chunlei reflected that he previously wanted to do many things in the church but neglected the feelings of brothers and sisters. He focused on ministry work but lacked love. He also reflected that when criticizing unbelievers in the past, his intention was to spread the gospel, but due to a lack of love in his language, he pushed them away instead. He said people will only share good things with each other in a safe relationship. He feels he was still immature before and believes he will be different after being released from prison.

 

Elder Zhang Chunlei told the lawyer that people’s lives go through different stages. Many of Jesus’ disciples back then, although they criticized each other, they were loyal to the Lord and even martyred. You see others’ incompleteness, but God sees their completeness; you think others are not profound, but God will make them profound. He often remembers a saying by Pastor Peng Qiang: the core of doctrine is grace, the core of ethics is gratitude, and the core of life is joy. This sentence gives him great strength and comfort.

 

Elder Zhang Chunlei said that when he was young, he worked as a secretary in the Standing Committee of Guizhou Provincial People’s Congress. Later, he was also quite successful in business. Now he realizes he wasn’t great, it was God’s protection, and without God he can do nothing. He increasingly realizes that the church belongs to God, not to any individual or any government. Serving the church is also not the same as running a business.

 

Elder Zhang Chunlei is especially concerned about the recent situation of brothers and sisters in his church. Hearing that some brothers and sisters have left, he expressed gratitude for serving together with them, including the experience of iron sharpening iron. He will bless the brothers and sisters who left and also be grateful for those who stayed.

 

Back then, Elder Zhang Chunlei had made a determined vow to the Lord: “Since you gave me truth, I will proclaim it for you; since you gave me the path, I will run for you; since you gave me life, I will offer it up for you.” But now, Elder Zhang Chunlei increasingly realizes that he is completely corrupt. If a person lacks love, they lack an understanding of grace; they have received grace themselves but are so legalistic towards others. If love is lacking, it is because prayer is lacking, and there is a problem with the relationship with the Lord. He has shortchanged his family and brothers and sisters. Fortunately there is God, otherwise he would only be left with guilt.

 

Elder Zhang Chunlei recalled the apostle John in his later years repeatedly saying, “Dear children, love each another.” Mutual acceptance in love does not necessarily mean agreement. He said:

In the detention center, God stripped me bare. On one hand, I know I am nothing. The direction is to sincerely offer myself for the Savior and encourage brothers and sisters to be rooted in God’s word. We also should not abandon ourselves. God gives each person a unique portion of grace that can encourage brothers and sisters and also encourage the church.

Elder Zhang Chunlei learned about some recent scandals in the church and felt regret. He believes the reason scandals erupt in the church is very simple: lacking of prayer and lacking of watching over each other. Independent churches especially lack supervision and watchfulness. May the sins some pastors commit not be sins leading to death. A good, genuine preacher is so important. We don’t believe in theology alone, but having correct theology does not necessarily mean having a correct life. Pastors like John Wesley are truly worthy of gratitude.

 

Elder Zhang Chunlei said:

In an exilic period, pray for China’s economy and national stability, so the common people suffer less. View history with a last-days, kingdom perspective. As Jeremiah exhorted back then, build houses, be fruitful and multiply, glorify the Lord in every profession. Often think of what other pastors have mentioned: the scale of doctrine, the scale of God’s Word, the scale of spiritual practice. The complete gospel, the reformed church, holy service. Also the power of vision, the power of the Word, the power of example.

Elder Zhang Chunlei said loving someone and praying for that person is better than any gift. Now he often prays by name for congregation members and co-workers. He said he is an impatient person, but being able to endure these three years involves the work of the Holy Spirit; it feels like it happened yesterday. If he can get out of the prison a little earlier, he will be grateful; if he gets out a little later, he will also be grateful, but hopes it will not be delayed.

 

He said he often meditates on God’s Word and benefits greatly from it. He also hopes the brothers and sisters will be grateful in all things and always be joyful.

 

Elder Zhang Chunlei said educating the next generation is so important. The Israelites heard Moses’ heaven-shaking exhortations but still quickly forgot about God, because they did not educate the next generation well.

 

If God gives him another twenty years, he will still run for the Lord.

 

The lawyer said that it can be seen that Elder Zhang Chunlei is not only a suffering saint, but also an increasingly mature and humble pastor. He loves the country and the people, previously resigned from a government official position, yet was falsely accused of inciting subversion of state power, much like Su Shi being wrongly accused of treason in the past. Additionally, the Christian tradition of tithing has existed for over two thousand years. Zhang Chunlei never deceived the congregation by claiming he had a pastor’s certificate issued by the religious affairs department. The church’s banning was already publicly announced by the government and the congregation was well aware; he could not have concealed it. He has always diligently preached, visited, and shepherded. The congregation supporting him and his family is also rightful and proper. According to legal provisions, at most it involves administrative management disputes and absolutely cannot constitute fraud.

 

The lawyer said one year and four months have passed since the trial, dragging on without a verdict.

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Elder Zhang shares his spiritual growth during imprisonment

Photo: Elder Zhang Chunlei with his wife (ChinaAid source)

(Guiyang, Guizhou Province – May 9, 2024) Recently, a defense lawyer visited Elder Zhang Chunlei, who has been imprisoned for three years, at the Guiyang City Detention Center. Elder Zhang appeared slightly thin, with completely white hair. When he heard that Elders Hao Ming and Elder Wu Jiannan of Qingcaodi Reformed Church in Deyang had been released, he felt very comforted.

 

Elder Zhang Chunlei reflected that he previously wanted to do many things in the church but neglected the feelings of brothers and sisters. He focused on ministry work but lacked love. He also reflected that when criticizing unbelievers in the past, his intention was to spread the gospel, but due to a lack of love in his language, he pushed them away instead. He said people will only share good things with each other in a safe relationship. He feels he was still immature before and believes he will be different after being released from prison.

 

Elder Zhang Chunlei told the lawyer that people’s lives go through different stages. Many of Jesus’ disciples back then, although they criticized each other, they were loyal to the Lord and even martyred. You see others’ incompleteness, but God sees their completeness; you think others are not profound, but God will make them profound. He often remembers a saying by Pastor Peng Qiang: the core of doctrine is grace, the core of ethics is gratitude, and the core of life is joy. This sentence gives him great strength and comfort.

 

Elder Zhang Chunlei said that when he was young, he worked as a secretary in the Standing Committee of Guizhou Provincial People’s Congress. Later, he was also quite successful in business. Now he realizes he wasn’t great, it was God’s protection, and without God he can do nothing. He increasingly realizes that the church belongs to God, not to any individual or any government. Serving the church is also not the same as running a business.

 

Elder Zhang Chunlei is especially concerned about the recent situation of brothers and sisters in his church. Hearing that some brothers and sisters have left, he expressed gratitude for serving together with them, including the experience of iron sharpening iron. He will bless the brothers and sisters who left and also be grateful for those who stayed.

 

Back then, Elder Zhang Chunlei had made a determined vow to the Lord: “Since you gave me truth, I will proclaim it for you; since you gave me the path, I will run for you; since you gave me life, I will offer it up for you.” But now, Elder Zhang Chunlei increasingly realizes that he is completely corrupt. If a person lacks love, they lack an understanding of grace; they have received grace themselves but are so legalistic towards others. If love is lacking, it is because prayer is lacking, and there is a problem with the relationship with the Lord. He has shortchanged his family and brothers and sisters. Fortunately there is God, otherwise he would only be left with guilt.

 

Elder Zhang Chunlei recalled the apostle John in his later years repeatedly saying, “Dear children, love each another.” Mutual acceptance in love does not necessarily mean agreement. He said:

In the detention center, God stripped me bare. On one hand, I know I am nothing. The direction is to sincerely offer myself for the Savior and encourage brothers and sisters to be rooted in God’s word. We also should not abandon ourselves. God gives each person a unique portion of grace that can encourage brothers and sisters and also encourage the church.

Elder Zhang Chunlei learned about some recent scandals in the church and felt regret. He believes the reason scandals erupt in the church is very simple: lacking of prayer and lacking of watching over each other. Independent churches especially lack supervision and watchfulness. May the sins some pastors commit not be sins leading to death. A good, genuine preacher is so important. We don’t believe in theology alone, but having correct theology does not necessarily mean having a correct life. Pastors like John Wesley are truly worthy of gratitude.

 

Elder Zhang Chunlei said:

In an exilic period, pray for China’s economy and national stability, so the common people suffer less. View history with a last-days, kingdom perspective. As Jeremiah exhorted back then, build houses, be fruitful and multiply, glorify the Lord in every profession. Often think of what other pastors have mentioned: the scale of doctrine, the scale of God’s Word, the scale of spiritual practice. The complete gospel, the reformed church, holy service. Also the power of vision, the power of the Word, the power of example.

Elder Zhang Chunlei said loving someone and praying for that person is better than any gift. Now he often prays by name for congregation members and co-workers. He said he is an impatient person, but being able to endure these three years involves the work of the Holy Spirit; it feels like it happened yesterday. If he can get out of the prison a little earlier, he will be grateful; if he gets out a little later, he will also be grateful, but hopes it will not be delayed.

 

He said he often meditates on God’s Word and benefits greatly from it. He also hopes the brothers and sisters will be grateful in all things and always be joyful.

 

Elder Zhang Chunlei said educating the next generation is so important. The Israelites heard Moses’ heaven-shaking exhortations but still quickly forgot about God, because they did not educate the next generation well.

 

If God gives him another twenty years, he will still run for the Lord.

 

The lawyer said that it can be seen that Elder Zhang Chunlei is not only a suffering saint, but also an increasingly mature and humble pastor. He loves the country and the people, previously resigned from a government official position, yet was falsely accused of inciting subversion of state power, much like Su Shi being wrongly accused of treason in the past. Additionally, the Christian tradition of tithing has existed for over two thousand years. Zhang Chunlei never deceived the congregation by claiming he had a pastor’s certificate issued by the religious affairs department. The church’s banning was already publicly announced by the government and the congregation was well aware; he could not have concealed it. He has always diligently preached, visited, and shepherded. The congregation supporting him and his family is also rightful and proper. According to legal provisions, at most it involves administrative management disputes and absolutely cannot constitute fraud.

 

The lawyer said one year and four months have passed since the trial, dragging on without a verdict.

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Click Here
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