Pastor Wang Yi of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, China, is in jail, accused by the Communist government in Beijing of “inciting subversion of state power.”
The pastor absolutely denies the charges, which are based on the fact he preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ, including His claim to be “the King of Kings” and His injunction to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and the things that are God’s to God.”
Claiming the Chinese government is subject to God is “inciting subversion of state power,” according to Beijing officials, because under Marxist ideology the state is the absolute and unquestioned source of all authority in the People’s Republic of China and thus has the power to tell everybody how to live, what to think and say and where to be.
What will Wang Yi do, now that he’s in custody for who knows how long? One thing he won’t do is renounce his beliefs. He composed a letter prior to his arrest providing an outline of his defense and giving a hint of his expectations. He arranged in October for the letter to be made public in the event of his arrest.
“This is why I am not interested in changing any political or legal institutions in China. I’m not even interested in the question of when the Communist regime’s policies persecuting the church will change.”
His wife and 100 other members and leaders of the 750-member Early Rain Church were also arrested December 9, according to World magazine.
In his letter, Wang Yi explains why his severe criticism of the Chinese regime’s move to subject all Christian churches in the country to the supervision of the state in all matters, including especially matters of doctrine and teaching, is an illustration of “faithful disobedience” that represents no threat to the government:
“For the mission of the church is only to be the church and not to become a part of any secular institution. From a negative perspective, the church must separate itself from the world and keep itself from being institutionalized by the world.
“From a positive perspective, all acts of the church are attempts to prove to the world the real existence of another world. The Bible teaches us that, in all matters relating to the gospel and human conscience, we must obey God and not men. For this reason, spiritual disobedience and bodily suffering are both ways we testify to another eternal world and to another glorious King.
“This is why I am not interested in changing any political or legal institutions in China. I’m not even interested in the question of when the Communist regime’s policies persecuting the church will change.
“Regardless of which regime I live under now or in the future, as long as the secular government continues to persecute the church, violating human consciences that belong to God alone, I will continue my faithful disobedience.
“For the entire commission God has given me is to let more Chinese people know through my actions that the hope of humanity and society is only in the redemption of Christ, in the supernatural, gracious sovereignty of God.”
Signers of the Declaration of Independence, including those who were fervent Christians and those who were Deists or atheists, would recognize the political spirit of Wang Yi’s words as one with their own because they recognized that suppression of one view opens the way to the suppression of any and all views.
I agree with Stand to Reason’s Alan Shlemon’s declaration: “I’m honored to have a brother in Christ like Pastor Yi, who has the courage to stand up for his Christian convictions in light of a government that opposes Christianity. ”
Go here to read the entire text of Wang Yi’s letter. And if you work on the Hill, I invite you after reading his letter to ponder deeply the question in the headline above.