A letter written by a Chinese pastor who was detained alongside 100 other members of his congregation has been released, speaking of “disgust” at the Communist Party.
Wang Yi, pastor of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, Sichuan, apparently wrote the letter in the event that he would be taken by Chinese Communist authorities, which happened during a raid on Sunday.
In the letter, published and translated on social media on Wednesday by Brent Pinkall and Amy Cheung, Wang says that he is “filled with anger and disgust at the persecution of the church by this Communist regime, at the wickedness of their depriving people of the freedoms of religion and of conscience.
“But changing social and political institutions is not the mission I have been called to, and it is not the goal for which God has given his people the Gospel,” he said, explaining that his role is to lead people to Jesus Christ.
He said that following the Bible, he accepts and respects “the fact that this Communist regime has been allowed by God to rule temporarily.
“As the Lord’s servant John Calvin said, wicked rulers are the judgment of God on a wicked people, the goal being to urge God’s people to repent and turn again toward Him. For this reason, I am joyfully willing to submit myself to their enforcement of the law as though submitting to the discipline and training of the Lord,” he continued.
“At the same time, I believe that this Communist regime’s persecution against the church is a greatly wicked, unlawful action. As a pastor of a Christian church, I must denounce this wickedness openly and severely,” the pastor wrote.
“The calling that I have received requires me to use non-violent methods to disobey those human laws that disobey the Bible and God. My Savior Christ also requires me to joyfully bear all costs for disobeying wicked laws.”
As South China Morning Post reported, the church leader is under criminal detention for allegedly inciting subversion of state power.
Chen Yaxue, Wang’s 73-year-old mother, noted that it is not known where Wang’s wife, Jiang Rong, was taken.
Those arrested on Sunday included other church leaders and seminary students, with Communist officials detaining other Christians in Chengdu hiding in their homes as well.
Police officials say that they are cracking down on illegal gatherings. Persecution watchdog groups, including ChinaAid, have said the actions are "a major escalation of religious persecution in China," targeting innocent religious believers.
Chen revealed that she and her 11-year-old grandson are under constant surveillance by guards working with the atheistic government.
“They follow us whenever and wherever we go,” the elderly woman said. “The surveillance has taken a huge toll on my grandson. He is emotionally shocked with [his parents taken away]. He has not slept for two nights.”
Wang clarified in his lengthy letter that he has not been trying to change any institutions or laws in China, and that the only thing he cares about “is the disruption of man’s sinful nature by this faithful disobedience and the testimony it bears for the cross of Christ.”
“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,” he wrote.
“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.”
He shared his hopes that God will use the persecution of Chinese Christians “to help more Chinese people to despair of their futures, to lead them through a wilderness of spiritual disillusionment and through this to make them know Jesus.”
He said that the persecution of believers and followers of Christ “is the most wicked and the most horrendous evil of Chinese society.”
“This is not only a sin against Christians. It is also a sin against all non-Christians. For the government is brutally and ruthlessly threatening them and hindering them from coming to Jesus. There is no greater wickedness in the world than this,” he argued.
“If this regime is one day overthrown by God, it will be for no other reason than God’s righteous punishment and revenge for this evil. For on earth, there has only ever been a thousand-year church. There has never been a thousand-year government. There is only eternal faith. There is no eternal power,” the pastor declared.