(April 16, 2011, Pastor Jin Tianming’s letter to Shouwang Church members) Translated by China Aid Association
During the April 10 outdoor worship service, more than 160 brothers and sisters were detained, some for at least seven or eight hours, others for as long as 16 to 24 hours. During their detentions every brother and sister went through testings and trials, especially Pastor (Li) Xiaobai and his wife. They were held for 48 hours, during which time they endured much suffering. Pastor Li’s wife Bingxia fasted and prayed the entire time. By relying on God, they stood the test.
When Pastor Xiaobai was released, his interlocutor from the Beijing Domestic Security Protection Department had a message for him to relay to the Shouwang Church Governing Committee. (Other relevant persons also had similar words to say.) The major points were basically:
1. On the 17th (of April), regardless of the circumstances, Shouwang Church must return to indoor worship
2. After the 17th, the current Governing Committee must be relieved of its duties (if not, the Domestic Security officers will make it happen), and a new governing committee must be assembled to continue leading Shouwang Church; however, the dismissed governing committee members will be allowed to continue to preach in the church
Before I continue my sharing, I have to first say: “Satan, get thee behind me!”
At this point, we have no need to say anything more to further explain the issue at the heart of (our decision to move to) outdoor worship. Nor is there any reason for any further doubt that this really and truly is a spiritual battle. The devil Satan has taken advantage of the authority God has granted to the national government to destroy God’s church. His devil’s claws have finally been revealed and they are now stretching toward the church of Christ. In response, I will once again use the words of the Governing Committee’s April 10 notice on outdoor worship to make clear my attitude:
We believe the church is Christ’s church, and Christ is the head of the church. The church ought to honor only our Lord Jehovah as God. There is no other god besides Him. Therefore, the church will never be controlled or manipulated by any external forces; she belongs only to our Lord. What this outdoor worship expressed was our uncompromising position with regard to (the practice of) our faith. Furthermore, we believe that holding on to this faith position is itself a form of worship. Therefore, we believe our outdoor worship is pleasing to the Lord.
Brothers and sisters, this is the reason that I have no choice but to step out (on this path); this is also the reason I believe that our church should step out. This is also the reason for my call to you again today, in the name of the Lord – my dear brother and sisters – to step out, whatever the cost. For the sake of the Lord and for his church, let us step out together!
But no, wait, let us first say this again before we step out: “Satan, get thee behind me!” (Matthew 16: 23)
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (II Corinthians 4:16-18)