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On the evening of Dec. 9, Chinese authorities raided several homes and around 100 believers were rounded up and imprisoned. Shortly before the raid, the pastor of the Early Rain Covenant Church penned a declaration that was distributed shortly after members of the church were put in jail.
Forty-eight hours after the raid took place, China Partnership, an organization dedicated to “a vibrant and life-transforming Chinese church,” translated and published a prayer from Pastor Wang Yi after he saw the writing on the wall.
China Partnership wrote, “Foreseeing this circumstance Pastor Wang Yi wrote the declaration below to be published by his church should he be detained for more than 48 hours.”
Yi starts off his declaration by saying he acknowledges that “on the basis of the teachings of the Bible,” he respects that God has established the authorities who are in China “for God deposes kings and raises up kings.”
“This is why I submit to the historical and institutional arrangements of God in China,” he said.
However, he goes on to say 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.”
Changing social or governmental institutions, though, is not what he is called to do, “and it is not the goal for which God has given his people the gospel,” he wrote.
He acknowledges that a perfect society cannot be found here on earth or within the culture.
Yi then slammed the Communists regime’s persecution against the Church as a “wicked, unlawful action.”
“As a pastor of a Christian church, I must denounce this wickedness openly and severely,” he said. “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.”
Throughout the rest of the letter, Yi continued his discourse saying that while he is not trying to change any of the laws or institutions within China, his faith requires an act of disobedience towards the government’s laws.
“As a pastor, my disobedience is one part of the gospel commission,” Yi said. “Christ’s great commission requires of us great disobedience. The goal of disobedience is not to change the world but to testify about another world.”
He ends his declaration saying that he has no plans to give up preaching, despite being persecuted for his faith.
“I firmly believe that Christ has called me to carry out this faithful disobedience through a life of service, under this regime that opposes the gospel and persecutes the church. This is the means by which I preach the gospel, and it is the mystery of the gospel which I preach,” he said.
Pastor Wang Yi was just one of 100 Christians rounded up in the raid on Dec. 9.
One member of his church went to Yi’s house after the raid and couldn’t find either the pastor or his wife.
He told the South China Morning Post, “His home was ransacked. It was a mess.”