Members and leaders of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, China
Editors note: Early Rain Covenant Church (above) is affiliated with an indigenous Chinese denomination called Western China Presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian Church. This denomination has issued a formal, public appeal (below) to Christians and churches around the world for prayer and help.
We appeal to the churches of God to join in this spiritual battle through your prayers, your encouragement, your comfort and your support; to hold with love the members in distress, and to crush Satan’s neck with your knees and tears. If possible, please make efforts to provide for their practical needs, such as visiting their families, taking care of their children, cooking, or opening up your home for those who are in need of refuge.
To read this in the original Chinese (中文): Click Here
To read the Japanese translation: Click Here
Western China Presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian Church
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, who are also called as children of God and disciples of Christ,
Peace be with you!
We trust that you have heard the news that since December 9, 2018, Early Rain Covenant Church, a church that belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ, has been attacked and persecuted by the secular authorities. God’s children are being persecuted unconstitutionally and illegally and are experiencing great suffering.
After losing contact with Pastor Wang Yi and his wife for over 48 hours, his family was told that Pastor Wang Yi was in criminal detention on suspicion of “inciting subversion of the state;” Elder Tan Defu has been lost in contact for over 72 hours; Elder Li Yingqiang is under criminal detention on suspicion of “internet provocation;” and Deacon Ge Yingfeng is under criminal detention on suspicion of “illegal business operations.”
Forty-seven brothers and sisters are being detained at Xinjin County Legal Learning Center and two sisters were stripped searched.
One sister is now at the hospital delivering a baby while her husband has been out of contact for almost 72 hours.
Additionally, the police took away some elders, deacons, staff members, and brothers and sisters by force, to the point where some even suffered violence, receiving scars and wounds on their bodies. While they are gradually being released, they are still under surveillance.
So far, ministry staff members are still being dragged to the police stations and the government is still putting pressure in various ways on church members, demanding them to sign a pledge agreeing not to attend Early Rain Covenant Church. Many are being monitored at home and some brothers have been deported back to their hometowns. The authorities have used landlords to force some brothers and sisters to relocate and the total number of congregants directly subjected to illegal persecution is well over a hundred.
The government has also seized the church’s sanctuary and all other facilities, closed down the seminary, the college, the Reformed [church] academy, and issued penalties banning several church plants.
Its purpose is to destroy the Lord’s church, which is obviously severe religious persecution.
Yet we are deeply aware that this is not only a persecution from the secular government but also Satan’s scheme to attack God’s church; it is a spiritual battle against God’s people, and no child of God is left out.
As the Western China Presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, we are bound to stand with them. We share with Early Rain Covenant Church the same catholic, orthodox faith, and therefore identify with the persecution they are under because we are part of the body of Christ. The persecution they suffer for the sake of Christ is the persecution we are going to suffer. “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). They are experiencing suffering and we are willing to suffer with them. “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Corinthians 12:26).
Since this is a spiritual battle, we are not wrestling against the flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12 ). For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but the divine power of the Holy Spirit. “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4).
Therefore, what we need most is to go before the presence of God through prayer, so we may receive spiritual power to bear witness to the Lord and to identify with the members who are in spiritual warfare.
Meanwhile, we appeal to the churches of God to join in this spiritual battle through your prayers, your encouragement, your comfort and your support; to hold with love the members in distress, and to crush Satan’s neck with your knees and tears. If possible, please make efforts to provide for their practical needs, such as visiting their families, taking care of their children, cooking, or opening up your home for those who are in need of refuge.
Please pray for the members behind bars. May the Lord grant them confidence and strength so that they would be as bold as Paul and Peter to preach to the kings and prisoners about Christ who died and was raised.
Please pray for the members who are frightened and for those who have been released but are still being monitored. May the Lord keep them, whether free or bound, from losing heart, so that they may testify to the true, trustworthy, and glorious gospel before their family, neighbors and law enforcement.
Please pray for the members who are facing pressure to sign the pledge not to attend the church. May the Lord guide them through the Holy Spirit in all circumstances so that whether they turn left or right, they will hear the voice that says “that is the right way,” so that they can walk in it.
Please pray for the ministry team of Early Rain Covenant Church. May the Lord fill them with his unifying Spirit, his Spirit of wisdom and discernment, and grant them strength, courage, love and self-control so that even in distress they will not be confined by hardship. May the Word of the Lord increase and multiply through them.
Please pray for every church member of Early Rain Covenant Church. May the Lord turn all of them into warriors of the gospel and grant them confidence so that in the midst of the storm, they will be rooted even more deeply and made more resilient.
Please also pray for the police officers and local community leaders who have been involved in the attack.May the Lord have mercy on them as most of them do not know the truth but are only doing what they were ordered to do. May the Lord reveal to them through the sufferings of brothers and sisters, the mystery of the gospel truth. May the Lord call some among them, so that they will come to know the true ruler – Jesus Christ.
Through this storm, may the Lord’s church be a city set on a hill that is built firmly on the rock, the lamp on a stand that shines light into darkness.
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?’ ‘Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?’ For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:33-36).
May all the members in the Lord pray together in one voice, saying:
“Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.”
Sharing these with the members of the Lord’s body,
May God bless you and use you,
Western China Presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian Church
December 12th, 2018