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Editors note: These updates are based on the Early Rain Covenant Church bulletins and reports from the church in Chengdu, China seeking to communicate with their church members in the underground movement and requesting prayer and help from the watching world, especially followers of Christ. The original Chinese report(s) and English translations are below. Special thanks to Brent Pinkall for translating these bulletins and reports and helping make them available to the public. Please pray and share with others.


He was charged with “illegal business operations” for his service at the church, which included providing books and printed resources for church members and printing and distributing hymnals.

Elder Qin Defu’s trial was held last week at the Chengdu Qingyang District People’s Court. He was charged with “illegal business operations” for his service at the church, which included providing books and printed resources for church members and printing and distributing hymnals. On November 29, he was sentenced to four years in prison, leaving behind a wife and two young children (photos below).

He was sentenced to four years in prison, leaving behind a wife and two young children.

According to Pastor Wang Yi’s previous lawyer, “Police reneged on their earlier promise to his family that if they accepted a government-appointed attorney, they would ‘go through the formalities then release him.’

The charge of ‘illegal business operations’ only concerned 20,000 books for the church’s own use … and Pastor Wang Yi actively took most of the responsibility for this in his testimony.” Based on this sentence of a church elder, the lawyer said, “I estimate that Pastor Wang Yi will be sentenced to no less than 10 years in prison.”

The following is from Pastor Wang Yi’s previous lawyer:

Original:
今天下午,覃德富长老的案子突然宣判,覃弟兄被以非法经营罪判处有期徒刑四年。警方违背了此前要求家属接受官派律师时所作“走个过场就放人”的承诺。从覃弟兄的开庭审理中获悉,所谓非法经营,仅是教会自用的两万余册书籍(其中大部分只是类似“你不想听的好消息”这种传福音用的小册子),而且王怡牧师在证词中还主动承担了大部分责任。据此大致可以判断,王怡牧师的刑期不会低于十年。

“This afternoon, Elder Qin Defu was suddenly sentenced. Brother Qin was sentenced to four years in prison for ‘illegal business operations.’ Police reneged on their earlier promise to his family that if they accepted a government-appointed attorney, they would ‘go through the formalities then release him.’ At brother Qin’s trial, we learned that the charge of ‘illegal business operations’ only concerned 20,000 books for the church’s own use (most of these were small gospel tracts like ‘The Good News You Don’t Want to Hear’), and Pastor Wang Yi actively took most of the responsibility for this in his testimony. Based on this, I estimate that Pastor Wang Yi will be sentenced to no less than 10 years in prison.”


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Early Rain Church Elder Li Yingqiang Wang Yi and his wife Zhang Xinyue

Editor’s note: Zhang Xinyue, the wife of persecuted Early Rain Church elder and school headmaster Li Yingqiang (Elder Timothy), in prison since December 2018, wrote him this personal letter of encouragement. 

To read Zhang Xinyue’s first letter to her husband the night after he was arrested in December 2018, Click Here.


“Dear honey,

Today I just have one thing to tell you, only a few sentences. Being imprisoned for the Lord and suffering for righteousness’ sake are good things. Go in peace and do what you need to do. Regardless of whether you are there for two years or three years or eight years or ten years, we will wait for you. We will joyfully wait for you.

Last night the children asked me, “How can we let Daddy know that we are okay and that he doesn’t need to worry about us?”

“The angels will tell him.”

I love you! Keep it up.

Your wife

April 30, 2019”


Early Rain Church elder and school headmaster Li Yingqiang (Elder Timothy) with Steve Childers in China 3 days before he was taken into custody (December 7, 2018).


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Pathway Learning 

The young John Frame teaching at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia

Dr. John M. Frame has distinguished himself as a prolific author and one of America’s foremost theologians and philosophers—significantly shaping the thought of Evangelicalism today. Many of today’s most influential Christian leaders and authors, like Tim Keller and John Piper, readily acknowledge the significant impact John Frame has had on them.

After 49 years of distinguished service as a seminary professor at three seminaries, Dr. John Frame retired in 2017. But his influential writing ministry continues today. Although widely known and deeply respected in church leadership and academic circles for decades, his works are now, finally, becoming well known to the general public.

Framing John Frame: 4 Parts

With the goal of helping introduce Frame and his writings more widely to the general public, Childers wrote this is four-part series below called “Framing John Frame,” that was later published as the foreword for the book, John Frame’s Selected Shorter Writings, Volume 1, by P&R Publishing. Childers wrote this with the goal of helping more people to begin mining the rich theological, philosophical, and practical gems that have for too long been mostly in the hands of academics and church leaders.


The Applied Theology Project

For the last 3 years, John Frame and Steve Childers have been collaboration on the Applied Theology Project. The mission of the Applied Theology Project is to provide accessible, affordable, seminary-level courses to underserved church leaders in their language and adapted to their culture wherever they live and serve.

The vision for the Applied Theology Project is to use the latest advances in educational technology to help bring all the loci of Systematic Theology to the millions of church leaders, especially in the developing world, who have no access or cannot afford high quality traditional seminary education. – John Frame

Click here to learn more about the Applied Theology Project


We help under-served church leaders
develop churches that transform lives and communities.