Pastor Wang Yi, Early Rain Covenant Church

02/04/2022 Washington, DC—Pastor Wang Yi was the pastor and founder of the Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC), a house church based in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, China. Pastor Wang Yi has been in custody for his arrest on December 14, 2018.

Pastor Wang was a strong advocate for Christians and religious freedom in China. Prior to his arrest, Pastor Wang had become a household name among Chinese Christian leaders, having even met US President George Bush in 2006. Among Pastor Wang’s works, he published an essay criticizing the Chinese government’s control over religion .

Like Martin Luther, Pastor Wang addressed his message to the Chinese Communist government, the regulator of religious practice in China. At Pastor Wang’s 95 Thesis, he challenged the government’s sinicization of the gospel, upheld the supremacy of God and God’s delegated authority given to the Chinese state, and encouraged Chinese Christians to peacefully disobey rules imposed on Chinese Christians that would limit their duty to fulfill the Great Commission.

“As long as the government maintains the mentality of ‘unity of church and state’, continues to regard religious affairs as internal affairs of government, violently interferes with the power of the church over the keys of the kingdom of heaven and refuses to allow any local church to register independently with any civil affairs departments, the Church must hold firm to the above statements of the house church, that we will obey all legal and administrative management and respect the authority of the sword of government; but on the other hand, with the use of non-violence, keep our opposition in our conscience, walk the way of the cross, hold firmly sovereignty and freedom of faith of the Church and protect the freedom of conscience of the believer.

Excerpt from Wang Yi 95 Thesis: Reaffirming Our Position on the House Church

Pastor Wang’s Advocacy for the Rights of Chinese Christians and House Churches Quickly brought it under the control of the Chinese state. In December 2018, he and nearly 100 members of church were detained by the Chinese authorities. Have suspicioused a future arrest, Pastor Wang prepared a letter of them month before, Who had to be releasedD shortly after his the arrest. In his Declaration of the faithful DisobediencePastor Wang stood by his sentencing to support for Gods truths, at disobey unfair Chinese laws, and at let her Pain lead others toroom the future kingdom of heaven which come.

“If God decides to use this communist regime’s persecution of the church to help more Chinese despair of their future, to lead them through a wilderness of spiritual disillusionment and through that to let them know Jesus, if at through this he continues to discipline and edify his church, so I am gladly willing to submit to God’s plans, for his plans are always benevolent and good.

Excerpt from Wang Yi My declaration of faithful disobedience

In December 2019, Pastor Wang was found guilty of “inciting the overthrow of state power” and “operating an illegal business,” two charges familiar to those who lead unregistered house churches and who practice outside the sanctioned rules for religious groups in China. The Chengdu People’s Court sentenced Pastor Wang to nine years in prison. Several members of his family were placed under house arrest and the detained members of the church were later charged with less serious offences.

To this day, Pastor Wang continues to endure his imprisonment, denying the charges against him. He continues to run the race destined for him in the passionate pursuit of the Great Commission in China. As the lights may shine on the Beijing Olympics tonight, pray for victims like Pastor Wang, whom China hides in darkness.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:10

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This story is part of the ICC series Chained to the podium, a series where we remember those who have suffered or are currently suffering persecution by the Chinese Communist Party because of their faith. This series will be posted daily for the duration of the Beijing Olympics in 2022. Click here to learn more about the project.

Jerry B. Hatch