Before his arrest by Chinese authorities, pastor Wang Yi left a powerful letter for his church to release in the event that he was detained for more than 48 hours.
In his letter, Wang Yi decried China’s persecution against the Christian church as “wicked” and “unlawful,” Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) reported on Sunday.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the Chinese government coordinated raids that resulted in the arrests of not only Wang but more than 100 of the church’s other members.
Wang’s house was reportedly ransacked as well. His assistant deacon described how the government banned churchgoers from attending their gatherings.
“The police said our church is an illegal organization and we cannot attend any more gatherings from now on,” assistant deacon Zhang Guoqing said.
Watch Wang speak about president Xi Jinping below:
Wang’s letter blasted what he called the country’s emphasis on worshipping its ruler and indicated that Chinese Christians faced a tough dilemma:
As a pastor of a Christian church, I have my own understanding and views, based on the Bible, about what righteous order and good government is. At the same time, I am 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.
Wang explained that although he respected governing authorities in China, he also saw it as his duty to call out the wickedness perpetrated by his government:
I accept and respect 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.
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 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.
But this does not mean that my personal disobedience and the disobedience of the church is in any sense “fighting for rights” or political activism in the form of civil disobedience, because I do not have the intention of changing any institutions or laws of China. As a pastor, the only thing I care about is the disruption of man’s sinful nature by this faithful disobedience and the testimony it bears for the cross of Christ.
As a pastor, my disobedience is one part of the gospel commission. 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.
Wang also predicted that if the Chinese government was overthrown, it would be because of God’s righteous punishment and revenge.
He pledged that he would maintain his faith despite whatever trials the Communist regime put him through:
Separate me from my wife and children, ruin my reputation, destroy my life and my family – the authorities are capable of doing all of these things. However, no one in this world can force me to renounce my faith; no one can make me change my life; and no one can raise me from the dead.
At the end of his letter, he pleaded with Chinese authorities to “stop committing evil” and to try and avoid “eternal damnation in hell.”
His powerful final sentence read: “I will resist in meekness those who resist God, and I will joyfully violate all laws that violate God’s laws.”
After Wang’s arrest, he received support from politicians and others on Twitter:
The Communist Party's depraved persecution of Christians never pauses, and is especially cruel this year during Christmas. Americans are praying for Pastor Wang Yi and his congregants, and the United States should press Xi Jinping for their release. https://t.co/XH3I5DGC6v
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) December 17, 2018
As I write Christians are being arrested, stripped, and shamed in China. Here is a stunning statement on "Faithful Disobedience" from Pastor Wang Yi just published. Gather the family tonight and read this. Show your children the "Cost of Discipleship." https://t.co/dSMqj9jJQU
— John Piper (@JohnPiper) December 12, 2018
Christians, please pray for Pastor Wang Yi and the persecuted church in China. https://t.co/4Hu66GLpGx
— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) December 16, 2018
“The Communist Party’s depraved persecution of Christians never pauses, and is especially cruel this year during Christmas,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said on Monday.
“Americans are praying for Pastor Wang Yi and his congregants, and the United States should press Xi Jinping for their release,” he added.