Words Pastor Jin Tianming wrote 11 years ago while under house arrest encourage Christians today
Pastor Jin Tianming, founder of Shouwang Church.
(Photo: ChinaAid resource)
(ChinaAid, Midland, Texas—June 3, 2010 / September 29, 2021) On June 3, 2010, ChinaAid posted, “Jin Tianming’s Pastoral Letter: Mend the Fractures and Continue to Raise the Banner of Truth….” Chinese Communists Party (CCP) officials held Pastor Jin Tianming, founder of Shouwang Church,* under house arrest in Beijing from April 2011 until October 2020. Although CCP authorities never tried Pastor Jin in court, after banning the Church from several locations, they detained him March 23, 2019 when raiding Shouwang Church for hosting services outdoors at a city plaza.
In Pastor Jin’s pastoral letter that ChinaAid posted 11 years ago, he wrote that according to two passages from the Bible, Ephesians 4:15 and Corinthians 4:6:
The original text of the Bible [for Ephesians 4:15] for “honest words” is “truth” and it is in a verb form. In other words, the words we speak with a loving heart should be truth and they are not only truth, but the way and the feelings with which we speak them should also be true. Therefore, though we speak our true feelings in the name of a loving heart, these words are after all spoken with injured feelings. Therefore, most of the time, they sound like “angry words” to our listeners. The speaker may think he or she says it with a loving heart, but the listener will not feel the loving heart of the speaker and can get hurt because of this. Therefore, our injured souls and feelings should be restrained by the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, the fractures will not only fail to heal, […they may also become] wider and deeper. From the forum, we can see that the responses to each other uttered from an unrestrained injured heart will not only fail to heal us but will increase the fractures between us. Then, how can we speak the truth from our loving hearts? It is said in the Bible: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:6).
Pastor Jin wrote that according to these two passages from the Bible:
1) Our words must be constructive, that is, they must build up people’s faith and loving hearts, instead of activating other people’s temper, thus affecting their confidence and loving hearts;
2) These words must be words of kindness. These words of kindness are not words of flattery or words that other people love to hear. However, these words must be uttered 100% out of God’s benevolence without being tainted with our personal flavors (Please allow me to use this metaphor: just like the 100% odorless pure fruit juice and the odorless purified water.)
3). They must benefit the people who listen to them. These must not be determined or provided by the speaker. Instead, they should really occur in the listeners.
4). They must be kind, elegant words spoken out of love, forgiveness, and harmony. If [not] so, who dares to speak?
In his letter, Pastor Jin also quoted 2 Corinthians 4:7-12:
But we have this treasure in jars of clay
to show that this all-surpassing power
is from God and not from us.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed;
perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed.
We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
For we who are alive
are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake,
so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.
So then, death is at work in us,
but life is at work in you.”
~ 2 Corinthians 4:7–12
Pastor Jin encouraged the Church, “Though we are jars of clay, yet there is the precious Holy Spirit in these jars of clay, which is the spirit of the eternal God who brings the life of Christ. Because of this Spirit, we …weaklings… become strong and just….”
The bond between Christians, like that Pastor Jin and Pastor Fu share, reflects the value of words Pastor Jin shared in ChinaAid’s post on June 3, 2010. They still encourage Christians today.
Pastor Jin with his wife on October 1, 2020. (Photo: ChinaAid)
*In Mandrian, “shouwang” means “to keep watch.” CCP authorities banned Shouwang Church (守望教会), one of the largest Protestant house churches of approximately 3000 in Beijing, China, for refusing to register. In 2006, when Shouwang Church tried to register with the Haidian District Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau, officials rejected their application because the State had not officially ordained Pastor Jin. Even though the State does not give them credentials, many clergy in China serve in unregistered churches.
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