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In June of 1955, God called His servant Wang Mingdao to publish a timeless declaration entitled “We Are For the Faith.” This powerful declaration expressed a message throughout churches in China that defined the church as the body of Christ, which should never yield to political pressure, partner with proponents that compromise theology, or align with the “Three-Self Patriotic Movement” (TSPM) that prioritizes allegiance to the government over God.
Mr. Wang Mingdao and many of his faithful contemporaries throughout China firmly upheld the supremacy of Christ in the Church and as a result were imprisoned by the Chinese government on “anti-revolutionary” charges. Guided by the grace of God, these servants remained faithful despite the suffering and trials they experienced in prison. As a result of God’s remarkable plan, prison became a refuge for these servants who were spared from the inhumane conditions experienced by millions of Chinese during the Cultural Revolution. Three decades later, when released from prison, these servants devoted themselves to ministry and courageously spread the Gospel throughout China, rebuilding the Church in China. Their witnesses inspired churches in China to depend on God’s grace, stand firm in hard circumstances, and hold fast to the promises of Christ, thus leaving an invaluable spiritual inheritance in China.
Sixty years later, Christians from China and other parts of the world have convened in Vancouver, Canada to commemorate the life and faith of Mr. Wang Mingdao and other forerunners who remained faithful to Christ throughout their lives and to discuss the legacy of Mr. Wang Mingdao and the house church movement in China today. The Vancouver gathering aims to encourage attendants to emulate those faithful forerunners in China, such as Wang Mingdao; give thanks to our God for protecting the church in China; and ask for forgiveness and strength not to compromise our beliefs in the midst of persecution by the Chinese government. Thus, we confess our sins and ask God to forgive us, strengthen us, and guide us.
Attendants of the conference include Christians who were friends and contemporaries of Mr. Wang Mingdao; students and young professionals; church leaders from abroad; as well faithful servants from house churches in China who have directly experienced suffering and persecution for their faith. Compelled by the grace of God, we gather today to reflect on the past and the present, and guided by the Spirit, and in the name of Christ, we pray the following prayer with one heart and one mind to our Father our God:
1. Dear Father our God, great is your name. You alone are the supreme Lord and everlasting King. You are worthy of praise, glory, majesty and power because you created all things and all things were created for your will and for the purpose of worshiping you. You are good by nature. Your loving kindness lasts forever. Your will will always come to pass. Your faithfulness remains for thousands of generations.
2. Dear Father our God, thank you for giving us your only begotten son Jesus Christ, who came to this world to take on human flesh, died an atoning death on the cross for the sin of humanity, rose from the dead on the 3rd day, ascended to heaven and sat on the right hand of your throne, so that all who believe shall not perish, but have eternal life.
3. Dear Father our God, we thank you for giving our resurrected Lord Jesus Christ the name that is above every name, far above all rule and authority and power. And you have put all things under his feet and have made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. You have made the church the home for your children from all over the world who are elected by God, redeemed by Christ, and called by the Holy Spirit, a city built on the hill, and a lamp placed by the window, who is destined to be the pillar and foundation of Truths in this rebellious world and to proclaim the Gospel with boldness until the coming of Christ.
4. Dear Father our God, we give thanks to you because you allowed fiery trials to come upon churches in China, and raised up servants such as Wang Mingdao, Yuan Xiangchen, Lin Xiangao, Xie Moshan, and Wu Weizun, to go before us. These servants remained faithful to you until their deaths, refusing to let the body of Christ succumb to the government-controlled “Three-Self” Patriotic Movement. Their lives serve to testify for your protection of churches in China, which laid the foundation for the invaluable spiritual heritage of Chinese house churches. For that, we are very grateful to you.
5. Dear Father our God, we pray that you will not forget house churches that continue to suffer under persecution in China. May the Spirit that inspired Wang Mingdao and other spiritual predecessors come upon us more abundantly and empower us to emulate your faithful servants by denying ourselves, carrying our cross, and honoring Christ as sovereign over house churches in China, so that your church’s holy ministry in worship, teaching, and administration is neither not compromised by heretical teachings, nor dominated or controlled by any secular or government power.
6. Dear Father our God, may your blessings come upon house churches in China abundantly so that your church will not be content with TSPM, but instead embrace the “three-fold visions” proposed by your late faithful servant Dr. Jonathan Chao. Preserve the unity of churches in China through the body of Christ, who emulate the love of Christ in sharing the gospel by performing good deeds in their families, schools, and professions, serve those of all walks of life with integrity, and take on the cause of rebuilding ethics, social justice, and universal values in Chinese society.
7. Dear Father our God, may you empower us to serve your people who have succumb to the TSPM and encourage them to join the body of Christ in the house church movement in China to become one body, united under the name of Jesus Christ.
8. Dear Father our God, you are the source of authority and are sovereign over China, may your grace and mercy change the hearts of those with power and authority in China, so that they will stop persecuting your church in the name of atheism and protect the rights and religious freedom of all Chinese citizens, which are endowed by you.