Archives For Pastoral Education

Members and leaders of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, China

Editor’s note: Over 100 members of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, China, were arrested beginning Sunday, December 9. Among those taken away were Pastor Wang Yi, senior pastor of Early Rain, and his wife, Jiang Rong. Pastor Wang Yi and his elder Timothy Li Yingquiang are still in custody, along with many others, some now in re-education centers, including students.

Wang Yi is one of China’s most prominent protestant pastors, a respected intellectual, a legal scholar, a renowned human rights advocate, and a church movement leader. His Early Rain Covenant Church is one of the best known unregistered “house” churches in China. 

Under President Xi Jinping, China’s increasing crackdown on religious freedom is escalating especially since a new set of regulations to govern religious affairs came into effect in February 2018 to increase punishments for “unofficial churches” like Early Rain. This story is being reported in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, AP NewsWorld Magazine.

All of the documents below are primary source documents written in Chinese by the persecuted church leaders at Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, China as well as important documents signed by groups of Chinese church leaders.

Please pray and share with others. Thanks!

If you need a quick summary of the situation, I recommend watching the latest CNN video (link below) and reading the excellent introduction (the story and the background) written by Joe Carter from the Gospel Coalition (link below)

100 Christians Detained in China crackdown (CNN Breaking News Video 2:34)

The Story and The Background (Gospel Coalition)


Key Papers by Persecuted Chinese Church Leaders

1. Chinese Churches Appeal for Prayer and Help for Persecuted Early Rain Church(华西区会致基督众教会的代祷信)

To read the original Chinese document(中文): Click Here

To read the English translation: Click Here

To read the Japanese translation: Click Here

2. Urgent Prayer Updates Directly From Persecuted Early Rain Church in China(秋雨圣约教会紧急代祷信息)

To read the original Chinese updates(中文): Click Here

To read the English translation of updates: Click Here

3. My Declaration of Faithful Disobedience (我的声明:信仰上的抗命) – Early Rain Church Pastor and Legal Scholar, Wang Yi(王怡牧师)*

To read the original Chinese document(中文): Click Here

To read the English translation: Click Here

To read the Spanish translation: Click Here

To read the French translation: Click Here

To read the Japanese translation: Click Here

To read the Italian translation: Click Here

To read the Korean translation: Click Here

* More translations coming soon, we hope.

4. In The Face of Persecution, What Will I Do? (14 Step Plan) (面对逼迫,我会怎么做) – Early Rain Church Pastor and Legal Scholar, Wang Yi (王怡牧师)

To read the original Chinese document(中文): Click Here

To read the English translation: Click Here

5. How the Church Should Face Persecution(教会如何面对逼迫)– Early Rain Church Elder and School Headmaster Li Yingqiang(李英强长老)

To read the original Chinese document(中文): Click Here

To read the English translation: Click Here

6. Church-State Conflict: 20 Ways Persecution is God’s Way to Shepherd Us (政教冲突的属灵益处) – Pastor Wang Yi (王怡牧师)

To read the original Chinese document(中文): Click Here

To read the English translation: Click Here

7. Reaffirming Our Stance On The House Churches (95 Theses) (我们对家庭教会立场的重申 (九十五条)) – by Wang Yi and Early Rain Church Leaders

To read the original Chinese document(中文): Click Here

To read the English translation: Click Here

8. A Joint Statement by Pastors: A Declaration for the Sake of the Christian Faith (11th edition, 458 pastors) (牧者联署:为基督信仰的声明)

To read the original Chinese document(中文): Click Here

To read the English translation: Click Here

Please share these documents with others for prayer. Thanks.


We help underserved church leaders
develop churches that transform lives and communities.

Pastor Wang Yi being arrested at his home in Chengdu, China in May 2018

Editor’s note: Over 100 members of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, China, were arrested beginning Sunday, December 9. At the time of this publication, arrests are still being made. Among those taken away were Pastor Wang Yi, senior pastor of Early Rain, and his wife, Jiang Rong, who have not been heard from since Sunday. Many of their students, including seminary students, are still in custody.

Wang Yi is one of China’s most prominent protestant pastors, a renowned human rights advocate, and a church movement leader. His Early Rain Covenant Church is one of the best known unregistered “house” churches in China. Under President Xi Jinping, China’s increasing crackdown on religious freedom is escalating especially since a new set of regulations to govern religious affairs came into effect in February 2018 to increase punishments for “unofficial churches” like Early Rain. This story is being reported in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, AP News, and World Magazine.

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. He wrote his first draft on September 21, 2018 and revised it on October 4, 2018. In it he explains the meaning and necessity of faithful disobedience, how it is distinct from political activism or civil disobedience, and how Christians should carry it out. 

We thank our ministry partners, Rev Julio Delgado, Pastor Emeritus of Palmetto Presbyterian Church, Miami, Florida, Rev Elias U Collado, Pastor Emeritus of Palmetto Presbyterian Church, Miami, Florida, and Rev Edwin Collado, Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Miami, Florida for their contributions in translating this statement into Spanish and helping make this available to the Spanish-speaking world.

To read the original Chinese(中文): Click Here

To read the English translation: Click Here

To read the French translation: Click Here

To read the Korean translation: Click Here

To read the Japanese translation: Click Here

To read the Italian translation: Click Here

To read several other key papers by Pastor Wang Yi and other persecuted Chinese leaders, including their latest bulletins and urgent prayer requests: Click Here


Spanish Translation:

MI DECLARACION DE FIEL DESOBEDIENCIA

Pastor Wang Yi

Early Rain Covenant Church (Iglesia del Agua Temprana)

Ciudad Gengdu, China

Nota del Editor: Más de 100 miembros de Iglesia “Early Rain Coveneant” en China fueron arrestados el domingo 9 de diciembre. Al tiempo de publicar esta traducción se continuan haciendo arrestos. Entre los arrestados se  encuentran el Rvdo. Wang Yi, pastor principal de la Iglesia “Early Rain Covenant”o Iglesia del Pacto Lluvia Temprana, y su esposa Yi Ronde de quienes no se ha tenido noticias desde aquel domingo.

Anticipando su posible detención el pastor Wang Yi escribió la declaración que sigue con el objeto de ser publicada por su iglesia en caso de que él fuera detenido por más de 48 horas.

Allí, el Rev. Wang Yi explica la diferencia entre lo que él llama la Fiel Desobediencia o Desobediencia de Fidelidad Religiosa y la Desobediencia Civil o el Activismo Político.


EL  DOCUMENTO

Por el pastor Wang Yi

Basado en las enseñanzas de la Biblia y la misión del Evangelio, yo respeto las autoridades que Dios ha establecido en China, porque Dios depone reyes y levanta reyes. Es por esto que me someto al arreglo histórico institucional de Dios en China.

Como pastor de una iglesia cristiana tengo mi propia comprensión y punto de vista basado en la Biblia sobre lo que es el justo y buen orden de gobierno. Al mismo tiempo estoy sumamente enojado y disgustado por la persecusión de la iglesia por este régimen Comunista, por la manera cruel de privar al pueblo de su libertad de religión y de conciencia. Pero el cambiar las instituciones sociales y políticas no es la misión a la cual yo he sido llamado. y no es la meta que Dios ha dado a su pueblo según el evangelio.

La horrible realidad de políticas injustas y leyes arbitrarias manifiestan la cruz de Jesucristo, el único medio de salvación por la que cada persona en China ha de ser salvada. Ellas también manifiestan el hecho de que la verdadera esperanza y la sociedad perfecta nunca será encontrada en la transformación de ninguna institución terrenal, o en ninguna cultura sino solamente cuando nuestros pecados sean libremente perdonados por Cristo en la esperanza de la vida eterna.

La vida del ser humano es extremadamente corta y Dios ferbientemente ordena a guiar y a llamar al hombre al arrepentimiento. Cristo está deseoso por perdonar a todo el que se vuelva a él buscando su perdón. Esta es la meta de la iglesia en China: testificar al mundo sobre Cristo, testificar al Reino Terrenal sobre el Reino Celestial, testificar a las momentáneas vidas terrenales de la vida eterna. Este es también el llamado pastoral que yo he recibido.

Por esta razón yo acepto y respeto el hecho de que el régimen Comunista ha sido permitido por Dios para gobernar temporalmente. Como el siervo del Señor Juan Calvino dijo: “gobiernos malvados son el juicio de Dios sobre pueblos malvados”. La meta es urgir al pueblo a arrepentirse y aceptar a Cristo. Por esta razón yo estoy gozosamente dispuesto a someterme a la aplicación de la ley como sometimiento a la disciplina del Señor.

Al mismo tiempo, yo creo que la persecusión de la iglesia por parte de este régimen Comunista es una acción malvada e ilegal. Como pastor de una Iglesia cristiana, debo denunciar esta iniquidad abiertamemnte y severamente. El llamamiento que he recibido requiere de mí el uso de métodos no violentos para desobedecer aquellas leyes humanas que están en desobediencia con la Biblia y con Dios. Cristo, mi Salvador también requiere de mi soportar gozosamente todas las consecuencias que acarrean el desobedecer leyes malvadas. Pero esto no significa que mi desobediencia personal y la de la iglesia en ningún sentido significa “pelear por derechos” o desobediencia por activismo político porque yo no tengo la intención de cambiar ninguna institución ni leyes en China. Como pastor lo único que me interesa es la ruptura de la naturaleza pecaminosa del hombre por medio de esta fiel desobediencia y el testimonio que ella conlleva al llevar la cruz de Cristo.

La misión de la iglesia es solamente ser la iglesia y no convertirse en parte de ninguna institución secular. Desde una perspectiva negativa, la iglesia debe separarse del mundo y evitar ser institucionalizada por el mundo.

Desde una perspectiva positiva, todos los actos de la iglesia son esfuerzos para probar al mundo la real existencia de otro mundo. La Biblia nos enseña en todo lo que se relaciona con el evangelio y la conciencia humana, que debemos obedecer a Dios y no al hombre. Por esta razón, la desobediencia espiritual y el sufrimiento físico son formas de testificar de otro mundo eterno y de otro Rey glorioso.

Si Dios decide usar la persecusión de la iglesia por parte de este régimen Comunista para ayudar a que más chinos lleguen a conocer a Jesús, si por este medio El continúa disciplinando y edificando la iglesia, entonces yo me someto gozosamente a los planes de Dios, porque Sus planes son siempre benevolentes y buenos.

CARTA PERSONAL

Transformación del alma y no cambio de circunstancias es la meta de la desobediencia espiritual.

En el momento en que la opresión externa y la violencia me roban la paz interior y la capacidad para resistir, de manera que mi corazón engendre odio y amargura hacia aquellos que persiguen la iglesia y abusan de los cristianos, en ese momento la desobediencia espiritual falla.

Yo creo firmemente que la Biblia no ha dado a ninguna rama de ningun gobierno la autoridad para dirigir la iglesia o para interferir con la fe del cristiano. Por tanto, la Biblia demanda que yo, por medios pacíficos en humilde resistencia y activa paciencia, lleno del gozo cristiano resista todas las políticas y medidas legales que opriman la iglesia e interfiera con la fe de los cristianos.

El evangelio demanda que la desobediencia de fe debe ser no-violenta. El misterio del evangelio descansa en el sufrimiento activo, aún el de estar dispuesto a sufrir castigos injustos. La desobediencia pacífica es el resultado de amor y perdón. La cruz significa estar dispuesto a sufrir cuando uno no debiera sufrir. Jesucristo tuvo innumerables oportunidades de contrarrestar los ataques, sin embargo él soportó las humillaciones y sufrimientos.

La manera que Cristo expresó su resistencia al mundo hostil fue extendiendo un ramo de olivo significando su paz en la cruz donde el mundo lo crucificaba.

Yo firmenente creo que Cristo me ha llamado para llevar adelante esta desobediencia de fe a través de una vida de servicio bajo este régimen que se opone al evangelio y que persigue a la iglesia. Esta es la manera como yo predico el evangelio, y esto es la expresión del misterio del evangelio que yo predico.

El siervo del Señor,

Wang Yi.


We help underserved church leaders
develop churches that transform lives and communities.

Editors note: These Early Rain Covenant Church Bulletins (below) are directly from the church in Chengdu, China seeking to communicate with their church members in the underground movement and seeking prayer and help from the watching world, especially followers of Christ. 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.

To read all the original Chinese bulletins and reports to date(中文) : Click Here

To read several other key papers by Pastor Wang Yi and other persecuted Chinese leaders, including their latest bulletins and urgent prayer requests: Click Here


Early Rain Covenant Church Bulletin (01/09/19-01/15/19)

“’May every street know the name of the Lord Jesus!’

We don’t know how many streets have heard the name of the Lord Jesus until now, but we know this number is increasing. This increase is not on account of our initiative, nor did we orchestrate it. And God is still continuing to send his ‘special ambassadors’ to prison. This week, eight brothers and sisters were released on bail pending trial, and four more were placed in administrative detention. We use the passive voice here because regardless of whether we are being arrested or being released, we are not doing this of our own initiative.

Jan. 8: The lawyer whom Pastor Wang Yi appointed for himself was taken away by Chengdu police after meeting with Pastor Wang Yi’s mother and son. He was released after six hours. As of now, none of the lawyers working the “12/9” case have seen their clients.

Jan. 9: Brother Zhu Xiaoguang, who was locked up for 27 days in criminal detention, was released on bail pending trial and returned home. He is the first brother we know of to triumphantly return home. He was charged with “illegal business operations,” and his crime was helping the church mail some books. He is the father of little Abel mentioned in the last church bulletin. All of his children were still counting flower petals today looking forward to their father’s return. God has given them an unexpected surprise!

Jan. 10: Brother Fu Lijun and sister Lü Jinheng, who were both in criminal detention, were released on bail pending trial. Brother Liu Yingxu, with whom we had lost contact for a long time, was also released on bail pending trial. Only then did we learn that he had been locked up the whole time. We could not learn any information about him no matter who we asked.

Brother Fu Lijun was the first Christian arrested during the first wave of the “12/9” arrests at Early Rain Covenant Church. His crime was selling the book with the highest volume of sales in the world, the Bible. The sales volume of this book in China is no exception.

Jan. 11: Through help of Facebook staff, our stolen account was returned to us. We officially began using it again on the 11th. These past few days, people have still continually been trying to break into it, resetting the password, and so on. But they have not succeeded. It is likely that these attacks will continue.

We were notified by chance that one sister has been continually and closely guarded at her home by 20 to 30 people since December 9th. She is not even being allowed to leave her home. When she tried getting on a public bus she was dragged off. Because communication channels are being blocked, we did not know that there are some brothers and sisters facing situations like this. Please pray fervently for them!

Jan. 12: Sister Huang Yaling and brother Luo Yao were released on bail pending trial.

Brother Li believed and was baptized in the intensive care ward at the hospital. Praise the Lord! He caused brother Li, who had been in a coma, to wake up that afternoon. His mind was clear and he could clearly communicate. His baptism went smoothly.

Jan. 13: For this second Lord’s Day of 2019, the Scripture was Matthew 12:28-34 and the topic was ‘Loving God and Loving Neighbor.’

One small group was raided while worshipping at a home. A total of eleven adults and three children were taken away during the ordeal. The youngest child was two years old, and the oldest was seven. While police were waiting for more people to come to take them away, brothers and sisters there still continued fellowshipping. Throughout the afternoon until late at night, news trickled in of the brothers and sisters being released one by one. On the second day, it was confirmed that five brothers and sisters had been placed in administrative detention. The sentence of one of them was temporarily suspended, and he was allowed to return home because his wife is still in detention and they have a young child.

Jan. 14: We learned that sister Huang Yutian was released on bail pending trial and returned to her home in Chongqing on the 13th. Brother Wang Fei was also released on bail pending trial.

A young couple announced that they are beginning a relationship together. They shared with everyone about how God led them these past six months from not knowing each other to falling in love with each other, and especially about how God worked all things together for good in the midst of danger and persecution. Through this, God made each of them know for sure that He was the one leading them to enter into a relationship. Even though they are currently forced to be apart and cannot see each other, may God bless them and allow them to break through the distance barrier so that they can know and love each other more, seeking a future running the Heavenly race together.

Jan. 15: Brothers and sisters are still often suddenly being visited by police and taken to the police station for a few hours of interrogation (in some cases even more than 20 hours). Police are searching their phones and trying to crack their passwords. This happened to two more brothers and sisters today. Video cameras have been installed outside the doors of brothers and sisters whose homes are being monitored. They are still being closely followed or secretly stalked. Photos are still secretly being taken of them, and so on. May the Lord give us brothers and sisters an alert mind to help us look out for each other!

National News:

Jan. 10: Fountain of Life Church, which belongs to Western China Presbytery, was raided. The Civil Affairs Bureau, the Religious Affairs Bureau, the Department of Culture, and the police came together, led by the deputy director of the police station. They cited social management regulations (Civil Affairs Bureau), the new religious regulations (Religious Affairs Bureau), and cultural management regulations (Department of Culture). They gave a verbal warning that the church could not organize illegal religious activities. The elders were briefly interrogated and refused to answer many questions. Authorities took a few books.

Jan. 15: At 9:00 a.m., around 50 people with the City Management and Law Enforcement Bureau in Xiamen, Fujian Province, illegally and forcefully removed the aluminum-framed glass partitions, the stainless steel security door, and the electronic lock on the 5th floor of the No. 6 commercial building in Yuanbo Liuli on Xinglin Street in Jimei District without presenting any legal documents. They did so under the pretense of it being a security risk, but their real reason was because the owner of the 5th floor is homeschooling many children and toddlers and throughout the year puts on many cooperative community group activities on the 5th floor, gives education training for teaching mixed classes of regular and special-needs children, hosts activities for families to help each other, holds training for parents, and so on. The security door prevented them from easily entering.

At 11:00 a.m., around 150 Christians in Nanyang prefecture in Henan Province were surrounded by armed police while attending a dinner at the Nanyang Bright Moon Hotel. A few believers who fainted were taken by ambulance to the emergency room. Phone signals inside the hotel were blocked. Details of the situation are not clear.

Summary and Prayer:

After seeing that brothers and sisters of one of our small groups were taken away, a pastor in Wenzhou responded in a message saying, “Thank God! The persecution you are encountering has greatly encouraged me. In the midst of trials and tribulations, you have steadfast hope. This has caused me to repent by fleeing comfort. The next time my church encounters persecution, you suffering saints will remind me that the cross is my glory. Christ’s perfect Kingdom of Heaven has sounded forth out of this environment in which you are trapped and has caused a chain reaction. God has heard our cries.”

Our lives are a play. People will watch it, whether we want them to or not. Sometimes it seems like we are living in peaceful times, but in reality, danger lurks around the corner. Sometimes it seems like the waves are crashing in, but in reality, we are safe and sound. If God uses us to let people see spiritual reality through the play of our lives, then we have lived worthy lives.

As we watch this persecution continue, churches and brothers and sisters from all over the country are being pulled into this storm. This is an opportunity to spread the gospel to the authorities and to all of society, to tell them that God’s only Son Jesus, the savior and king of mankind, was killed in order to save us sinners, was buried, and was raised from the dead by the power of God, that he overcame the power of sin and death. Out of his his love and mercy, God has prepared forgiveness and salvation for all who are willing to believe in Jesus, including Chinese people. At any time, any person can repent of any sin and turn to Christ and fear God, obtaining for himself eternal life and bringing upon his family and country the generous blessings of God.

Early Rain Covenant Church
January 16, 2019”

Attached:
List of Early Rain Covenant Church Christians with whom we have lost contact or who have been put in jail throughout the “12/9” persecution:

“List of those in criminal detention (22 people, 8 have already been released on bail pending trial, 14 are still in detention):

1. Pastor Wang Yi (inciting to subvert state power, in secret detention)
2. Pastor’s wife Jiang Rong (inciting to subvert state power, 12/10/18, in secret detention)
3. Elder Li Yingqiang (picking quarrels and provoking trouble)
4. Elder Qin Defu (illegal business operations)
5. Deacon Ge Yingfeng (illegal business operations)
6. Sister Li Xiaofeng (illegal business operations)
*7. Sister Lü Jinheng (illegal business operations; 01/11/19 released on bail pending trial)
*8. Brother Fu Lijun (illegal business operations; 01/11/19 released on bail pending trial)
*9. Sister Huang Yaling (picking quarrels and provoking trouble; 01/12/19 released on bail pending trial)
10. Elder Li Zihu (picking quarrels and provoking trouble)
11. Brother Wang Fei (picking quarrels and provoking trouble)
12. Elder Su Bingsen (picking quarrels and provoking trouble, 12/17/18, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
*13. Brother Zhu Xiaoguang (illegal business operations, 12/13/18, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center; 01/09/19 released on bail pending trial)
*14. Sister Huang Yutian (picking quarrels and provoking trouble, a Christian from Chongqing, detained for visiting a sister from Early Rain; 01/13/19 released on bail pending trial and sent back to Chongqing)
15. Brother Dai Zhichao (picking quarrels and provoking trouble, 12/19/18, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
16. Brother Zhu Dong (charge unknown, 12/15/18, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
*17. Preacher Cao Qingen (picking quarrels and provoking trouble, 12/14/18, detained at Chengdu Detention Center)
18. Brother Liang Huali (illegal business operations, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
19. Brother Song Enguang (illegal business operations, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
*20. Brother Luo Yao ( charge unknown, 12/12/18, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center; 01/12/19 released on bail pending trial)
21. Preacher Cheng Zhangchun (placed in administrative detention by authorities for 14 days on 12/15/18 on charges of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” and transferred to criminal detention after serving his sentence, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
22. Brother Liu Yingxu (originally lost contact for a long time; 01/11/19 released on bail pending trial, after which we learned that he was locked up)

List of those with whom we have lost contact for an extended period of time (1 person):

23. Brother Ding Shuqi

List of those in administrative detention (12 people, 1 has been transferred to criminal detention, 4 have completed their sentences, 7 are still in detention):

24. Preacher Cheng Zhangchun (placed in administrative detention on 12/15/18 for 14 days then transferred to criminal detention)
25. Brother Wang Jun (placed in administrative detention by authorities for 14 days on 12/18/18 for worshipping outdoors; sentence completed)
26. Brother Liu Hongliang (placed in administrative detention for 10 days on 12/17/18; sentence completed)
27. Brother Liu Xin (placed in administrative detention for 5 days on 12/10/18; sentence completed)
28. Brother Chen Bin (placed in administrative detention for 5 days on 12/17/18; sentence completed)
29. Sister Li Chengju (placed in administrative detention for 14 days on 01/07/19)
30. Brother Zhu Hong (placed in administrative detention for 14 days on 01/07/19)
31. Sister Deng Keli (placed in administrative detention for 14 days on 01/07/19)
32. Brother Zhang Jianqing (placed in administrative detention for 15 days on 01/12/19)
33. Sister Yu Zhixue (placed in administrative detention for 15 days on 01/12/19)
34. Brother Qiu Hao (placed in administrative detention for 15 days on 01/12/19)
35. Sister Zhang Haiyan (placed in administrative detention for 15 days on 01/12/19)

Early Rain Covenant Church
01/15/2019”


Early Rain Covenant Church Bulletin (01/12/2019 – 01/14/2019)

Saturday, January 12:

“I’m going to pack socks and underwear, put on warm shoes, put on my down coat, delete everything from my phone, turn it off, and then go to Lord’s Day worship. I will bring a printed Bible and take notes by hand. These are the worst of times, Lord, and they are the best of times. The only question left is should I prepare dress clothes or jail clothes?”

Sunday, January 13:

Police detained at least one small group as they met for Lord’s Day worship this morning in China. The member who talked about not knowing whether to wear dress clothes or jail clothes to church this morning (see our previous post) was one of the many who was taken away. An account of the incident is given below:

“Our small group, the college small group, met at C’s home. At around 11:40 a.m., two police officers from a local police station came while we were having fellowship. They wanted us to register our IDs. We didn’t cooperate. They called over four more police officers and demanded again that we register. We still did not cooperate because they did not follow proper protocol for entering a home. Therefore, with the exception of sisters X and L, who were allowed to stay behind to look after the many children, all of the other brothers and sisters were taken away. Before we were taken, J wanted to lead us in a prayer and was forcefully kept from doing so! But God has already heard! While they were calling the other police officers, we continued fellowshipping together and ended with a time of sharing. Praise the Lord! The Lord is with us!”

Monday, January 14:        

Four of the brothers and sisters arrested this Sunday during their small group worship were sentenced to 15 days in jail. Chen Shaowen (receiving family) was released because his wife (Li Chengju) was already in the detention center and had a child at home:

Lord, please look after them and commemorate them for your church. May the Lord be with them personally and give them an unexpected peace! May the Lord personally comfort, inspire, use these limbs to go to the footsteps of the mission, and bring the gospel to those who are desperate and suffering in the dark!


Early Rain Covenant Church Bulletin (01/02/19-01/08/19)

“Praise the Lord! Brothers and sisters at Early Rain Covenant Church welcomed the new year with a New Year’s prayer meeting. Brothers and sisters sacrificed their love and their knees for the church and for those brothers and sisters in prison. They were also comforted and encouraged by God and by each other. In this new year, members of Early Rain Covenant Church are still being harassed in their workplaces and persecuted because of their faith. School authorities are greatly pressuring some members at their schools, and church workers who have not yet been detained are still being closely monitored through various methods.

Jan. 3: Brother C, who went missing for 48 hours, suddenly returned home and was being monitored by community police officers with “red armbands.” During these 48 hours, brother C was detained at the Chengdu City East Gate Police Station. On the first day of interrogations, police handcuffed this brother to the interrogation chair for 24 hours. He did not sleep or rest and was given no food or drink during this time. Many phones and computers from his home were taken. His wife was taken to the police station for interrogation while carrying her swaddled child. Three men and one woman, none of whom identified themselves, interrogated brother C for 48 hours straight using harsh language, threats, and yelling.

Jan. 4: 90-year-old scholar and brother Zhang Xianchi came down with a sudden illness and was rushed to the hospital. Brothers and sisters dropped what they were doing and went to the hospital. Brother H, from one of the church plants, was being strictly monitored at the time. He broke away from those trying to prevent him from leaving and came to Chengdu to be at the bedside of brother Zhang with the other brothers and sisters. They prayed, sang worship songs, and accompanied him during the hospital stay.

Jan. 5: In the afternoon, the pregnant wife of one brother in criminal detention hemorrhaged. Brothers and sisters rushed to help her get to the hospital. Our Father in Heaven took the child in her womb back to himself. His mom named him Abel and wrote a poem titled “On the Road.” Little Abel has already returned home. We are still on the road, waiting for the day when we all arrive home! (During the Dec. 9th incident at Early Rain Covenant Church, area police officers broke down their door in the middle of the night and dragged this sister from her bed to the courtyard of their complex. She was interrogated for a long time at the police station.)

Jan. 6: This was the first Lord’s Day worship of the new year. The Scripture was the Gospel of John 14:1-14 and the sermon was “Do not Be Troubled.” At 5:00 p.m., while nearly 20 students of the Gospel Class [a Sunday School class for seekers] were eating at a restaurant, area police officers from the Shuyuan Road Police Station arrested them. Students of the Gospel Class were released one by one around midnight. They were required to sign pledges that had been printed off ahead of time which forbid them from meeting together and from attending Lord’s Day worship and Bible studies at Early Rain Covenant Church. The next day, three people were taken back to the police station and interrogated. These three members (sister Li Chengju, sister Deng Keli, and brother Zhu Hong) were still not released after 24 hours. After many inquiries, we were told that they are being kept at the Pixian County Detention Center. Their relatives have not yet received any legal documents regarding their detention.

Jan. 7: Brother Chenbing finally found sister Xiaofeng’s detention notice at the post office. The reason it was stuck at the post office was because the mailing address on the notice did not contain the name of her residential district. Brother Chenbing can finally send clothes to his wife. Some sisters said, “We are truly joyful people in the Lord. When we receive a detention notice we are excited and thankful, as though we just received a letter of admission into the Kingdom of Heaven…God has not forgotten the female criminals in prison. He has sent them a few gospel heroines!”

Since the “December 9th incident” at Early Rain Covenant Church, churches from all around the world have been praying for Early Rain Covenant Church in many ways. There have been outdoor prayer meetings. There have been calls to pray every day at a certain time. There are also brothers and sisters from all around the country who are fasting and praying on their own for the members of Early Rain Covenant Church. We believe that God has allowed suffering to come to his children in order to accomplish something greater. Our ultimate hope is not that this country would allow freedom of worship, for the kind of worship our Father in Heaven desires is worship in spirit and in truth, and this worship cannot be restricted. Our ultimate hope is that the gospel would spread throughout the whole world and that the Kingdom of Heaven would come in its fullness!

Early Rain Covenant Church
January 8, 2019”


Early Rain Church Report: Sunday, January 6, 2019

Police raided a Sunday school class for seekers this Sunday while the class was meeting in a restaurant. They took everyone to the police station. Three members have still not been released. An account of the raid is given below by one brother from the church who was taken:

“Today was the exam for the Gospel Class [a Sunday school class for seekers]. It was also our final class. We met at a restaurant to study and to have a fellowship meal together. We began around 5:30 p.m. At about 6:00 p.m., around 20 officers from the Jinjiang District Police Station rushed in and confiscated all of our cell phones and ID cards.

Then they took us to the nearby Shuyuan Road Police Station. At around 7:30 p.m., brother Zhu Hong and sister Ke Li were taken to the interrogation room and interrogated. At around 8:00 p.m., they took three to four brothers and sisters upstairs to be interrogated. Sister Ke Li was interrogated for around two and a half hours. The brothers and sisters upstairs later came down one by one. I left the station at around 12:10 a.m.

According to my cousin who came to pick me up, I was the second person released. I think the first person must have been sister Ren Pingying and her child (I was told that two police officers took them home). When I was released, brother Zhu Hong was still being interrogated (loud and angry yelling was coming from the interrogation room). Sister Cheng Ju is praying with everyone.

Praise the Lord, the police were fairly gentle this time. In the beginning they were quite severe, but later, while we were waiting, we could talk freely, read our Bibles, and sing hymns. During this time, sister Cheng Ju shared the gospel with an assistant officer and prayed for him.

Please pray for those seekers who have not yet believed in the Lord. This is a big test and trial for them. Please pray especially for brother Zhu Hong and sister Cheng Ju. Ask the Lord to protect them and give them words to speak.

The floor outside of the interrogation room is very cold. No one there has eaten or drunk anything yet. May God help us. May he destroy the schemes of Satan. May he give us the full armor of God so that we may testify well to the gospel and fight the good fight for the Lord.

When the police rushed in, my heart was at peace. Everyone was very cooperative. When we got to the police station, I remembered those brothers and sisters who had worshipped and prayed here before. When I realized that we got to share with them in the bitter cup of the Lord, my heart was continually grateful. May the Lord bless this night. Amen!”


Early Rain Covenant Church Bulletin (12/26/18-01/01/19)

“12/26: In addition to Christmas Eve gatherings in small groups, there were also small group gatherings in the middle of the week. Brothers and sisters studied, shared, and prayed together, and everyone was greatly comforted. The homes of some brothers and sisters were closely monitored on Wednesday evening and all day Sunday, preventing them from attending the gatherings.

12/28: Preacher Cheng Zhangchun was transferred to criminal detention after his sentence in administrative detention was served.

12/29: Little sister Zimi returned to her heavenly home. Around 70 brothers and sisters gathered at Zimi’s home in the evening to bid her a solemn farewell. They were very grateful. Two police officers came. It was a testimony of the gospel for them.

Twenty-some families have husbands or wives in jail. Family members who expressed their thoughts on Weibo or WeChat all had their accounts closed and their articles deleted. They started a public Telegram channel called “Reflections on the Early Rain Covenant Church 12/9 Incident” (https://t.me/qysysnpd). You are welcome to subscribe!

12/30: On the Lord’s Day, we gathered together for worship using special methods. The sermon was “The LORD Will Double Your Blessings” and the Scripture was Job 42:1-17. Everyone was greatly encouraged. However long we suffer, we will be blessed with double blessings for just as long, and this entire process will testify to the glory of God.

On the previous Lord’s Day, worship was interrupted at the home of Elder Su Bingsen. Almost 20 adults and children were taken to the police station until 5:00 p.m. On this week’s Lord’s Day, all of these people still persisted meeting together and used this as an opportunity to practice doing “small things” for the Lord and to practice overcoming fear and worry in their hearts. Praise the Lord! This was the first time these two groups finished a worship service in its entirety without interruption since December 9th.

Brother Wang Jun, who led the outdoor worship service on the Lord’s Day of December 16th by the river, completed his sentence today and returned home! Everyone called him “The Long-Bearded Knight” and “The Missionary.”

As New Year’s Day approaches, there are still brothers and sisters being forced to leave their homes immediately. They are looking for temporary places to say and trying to pack. They are experiencing many difficulties. The law firm where one sister works terminated her contract after she refused to sign a pledge promising not to attend gatherings at Early Rain Covenant Church. She may now not be able to obtain her lawyer’s certification. Many brothers and sisters have been given a “final notice” that if they attend a gathering at Early Rain Covenant Church again, they will be placed in detention.

12/31: The New Year’s prayer meeting began at 8:30. Each small group took turns leading everyone in a song and in a prayer and shared what they were thankful for. The brothers and sisters were greatly comforted and encouraged. As they entered the new year, everyone listened to the hymn “Everlasting Lord,” based on Psalm 90, hoping that they will have as many days of joy as they do of suffering.

1/1/19: Many family members of those detained have appointed lawyers to take on the 12/9 case, but the lawyers are still not being allowed to meet with their clients. The reason given by the detention center is still that the case is being reviewed. One of the litigants is from Guangdong and is not a Christian. She has been kept in Chengdu under suspicion of “illegal business operations.” Her lawyer has also not been able to meet with her. Not only have these appointed lawyers not been able to see their clients, they have been asked, one after another, by relevant departments to drop their cases.

Nation-wide News:

A Three-Self Church in Luoning County, Henan Province has been forced to remove the First Commandment from the Ten Commandments. Earlier in August, the cross on this church’s building was taken down by the government. Bibles have reportedly been completely removed in order to make way for a new translation of the Bible based on so-called “traditional culture” and the core values of socialism. The government has also required all churches to teach the “core values of socialism” as doctrines.

The homes of villagers in Anhui Province have started being searched and all things related to Christ are being destroyed. Some illiterate sisters have been sending voice messages to encourage each other not to voluntarily take down religious décor in their homes. As a result, their WeChat accounts have been deleted. House churches in cities are also being closed and banned.

Summary and Prayer

The new year will bring more challenges. Persecution may become commonplace in more areas. Ask the Lord to lead us and protect us as we walk in the will of God, that we would do so by faith and not by sight, that we would trust in the good purposes of God, that we would have hearts of gratitude and joy, and that we would respond to all maltreatment with a spirit of gentleness. Pray for all pastors, leaders, brothers, and sisters who are detained and in prison Ask the Lord to comfort, strengthen, and protect their bodies, souls, and spirits from harm. Ask him to open doors for the gospel, that they may boldly preach the gospel! Ask the Lord to look after and protect those who have been forced to move, those who have been threatened at work, and other brothers and sisters who are being coerced and forced into difficult situations. Ask that they would resolutely follow Him, that they would give the most beautiful testimonies for him on earth. Ask that those in authority would not abuse their authority, that those carrying out laws would not violate their consciences, and, more importantly, that God would soften their hearts and open the door of salvation! May the Kingdom of God come quickly!”


NOTE: There are two bulletins for 12/28/18: 1) Morning Bulletin and 2) Evening Bulletin:

Early Rain Covenant Church Bulletin (evening of 12/28/18)  

“At 6:00 p.m. this evening, a number of police officers came to the home of Preacher Cheng Zhangchun and searched his house. They took a few books, CDs, and his cell phone. Those who came notified his family that Preacher Cheng Zhangchun has been transferred from administrative detention to criminal detention. He is now being held by authorities at the Chengdu City Detention City.

On December 15th, authorities placed Preacher Cheng Zhangchun in administrative detention for 14 days on charges of ‘picking quarrels and provoking trouble.’ He was originally scheduled to be released on the 29th of this month. According to Chinese criminal law and the usual practices of the justice department, Cheng Zhangchun and the other brothers and sisters in detention might be facing indefinite detention. Authorities can continually alternate forms of detention, prolonging it for several years. The coming days will determine whether or not this is the case for Preacher Cheng Zhangchun.

We just received news that many family members of those in detention have been told they cannot leave their homes tomorrow because city leaders are coming.

A preacher from Enfu Church was notified that authorities are currently trying to determine how close the connection is between the two churches [i.e. Early Rain Covenant Church and Enfu Church].

During this ‘smokeless war’ in China today, when you see the Chinese government shutting down an influential house church on December 9th, when you see Pastor Wang Yi and other brothers and sisters continually being thrown in prison, when you see the following list of those in detention, all of this tells you the actual situation in China.

List of Early Rain Covenant Church Christians with whom we have lost contact or who are being detained (as of 7:51 p.m. on 12/28/18):

List of those in criminal detention (21 people):

1. Pastor Wang Yi (inciting to subvert state power, in secret detention)
2. Pastor’s wife Jiang Rong (inciting to subvert state power, 12/10/18, in secret detention)
3. Elder Li Yingqiang (picking quarrels and provoking trouble)
4. Elder Qin Defu (illegal business operations)
5. Deacon Ge Yingfeng (illegal business operations)
6. Sister Li Xiaofeng (illegal business operations)
7. Sister Lü Jinheng (illegal business operations)
8. Brother Fu Lijun (illegal business operations)
9. Sister Huang Yaling (picking quarrels and provoking trouble)
10. Elder Li Zihu (picking quarrels and provoking trouble)
11. Brother Wang Fei (picking quarrels and provoking trouble)
12. Elder Su Bingsen (picking quarrels and provoking trouble, 12/17/18, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
13. Brother Zhu Xiaoguang (illegal business operations, 12/13/18, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
14. Sister Huang Yutian (picking quarrels and provoking trouble, a Christian from Chongqing, detained for visiting a sister from Early Rain)
15. Brother Dai Zhichao (picking quarrels and provoking trouble, 12/19/18, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
16. Brother Zhu Dong (charge unknown, 12/15/18, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
17. Preacher Cao Qingen (picking quarrels and provoking trouble, 12/14/18, detained at Chengdu Detention Center)
18. Brother Liang Huali (illegal business operations, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
19. Brother Song Enguang (illegal business operations, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
20. Brother Luo Yao ( charge unknown, 12/12/18, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
21. Preacher Cheng Zhangchun (placed in administrative detention by authorities for 14 days on 12/15/18 on charges of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” and transferred to criminal detention after serving his sentence, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)

List of those in administrative detention (4 people, 3 have completed their sentence):

22. Brother Wang Jun (placed in administrative detention by authorities for 14 days on 12/18/18 for worshipping outdoors)
23. Brother Liu Hongliang (placed in administrative detention for 10 days on 12/17/18)
24. Brother Liu Xin (placed in administrative detention for 5 days on 12/10/18)
25. Brother Chen Bin (placed in administrative detention for 5 days on 12/17/18)

List of those with whom we have lost contact for an extended period of time (2 people):

26. Brother Liu Yingxu
27. Brother Ding Shuqi

Early Rain Covenant Church
8:56 p.m. on 12/28/18”


Early Rain Covenant Church Bulletin (Morning of 12/28/18)

“Since the ‘12/9’ incident began, Early Rain Covenant Church’s WeChat [i.e. social media] groups, including evangelism groups, Bible study groups, fellowship groups, education groups, and humanitarian groups (nearly 200 in all), as well as over half of the personal WeChat accounts of church members, have all been permanently shut down or restricted from sending messages. Tencent, the company to which WeChat belongs, did not give any explanation when they shut down these ministry groups of Early Rain Covenant Church. Church members’ personal WeChat accounts have been shut down with notices saying the accounts are “fake,” “too large,” or “unused,” and they have not been given an opportunity to appeal.

The radio station used by the church to spread the gospel has been deleted by NetEase. NetEase has not only restricted the public from listening to the gospel through the NetEase cloud service, they have also deleted all of the gospel materials in the account and forcefully taken away Early Rain Covenant Church’s ownership of all the audio recordings in the account.

On December 11th, the church’s Facebook account was stolen, preventing us from telling the public about the harsh persecution brothers and sisters of Early Rain Covenant Church are experiencing.

Through a series of restrictions on Early Rain Covenant Church and on the faith of brothers and sisters, and through increasingly strict measures preventing church members from preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven, authorities are suppressing true churches like Early Rain Covenant Church by controlling various public resources. In this moment we see the mighty arm of God upholding his people, showing them favor and performing wondrous works.

Through much hard work, Early Rain Covenant Church members have opened new media accounts in order to spread the glorious gospel and eternal hope of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are as follows:

Early Rain Covenant Church’s Gospel information Telegram channel: https://t.me/earlyraincovenantchurch

Early Rain Covenant Church’s Telegram group for “seekers” [i.e. non-Christians interested in Christianity]: https://t.me/joinchat/KgFdAle4UqB81s4Q6Zc2KQ

Early Rain Covenant Church’s Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/cha…/UCn7IF7YEKrgKi0LaCsX8YCg/about…

Early Rain Covenant Church’s GitHub account: https://github.com/chengduqiuyu/-/issues

Email: earlyraincovenantchurch@gmail.com

Early Rain Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church
Friday, December 28, 2018″


Early Rain Covenant Church Bulletin (Dec 27, 2018)

Chinese authorities have forcibly taken away four foster children from one couple at Early Rain Covenant Church. The following is an excerpt from a piece written by Early Rain member Jia Xuewei贾学伟)titled “A Kind of Evil Called Intentional Cruelty” (有一种 叫故意的残忍). Names have been changed for security reasons.

“What makes me weep most is what I saw this morning. The four children in sister C’s family are all being sent back to their birthplace in Xuanhan County and may never be able to return.

The biological family of these four children from Xuanhan is facing extremely difficult circumstances. Their father is absent. Their mother has a mental disorder. Their grandmother and grandfather are very old and have no energy to take care of them. Local welfare agencies won’t take them because of some strange rule. Of these four poor children, the youngest is three years old and the oldest is not yet ten. They were barely surviving at home. C and W brought them to Chengdu to foster them. I remember it caused a stir within the church at the time. With the addition of their own biological child, their family all of a sudden had five lively children. Of course, they were financially strained. W is just a normal mail courier. Providing for his whole family has been difficult. But this has not been a huge concern. God provides for his own children. We all supported them together. For more than a year, the children have been living here and going to school here. They have been so happy.

What is so upsetting is that after the [persecution against Early Rain] began, demons unleashed an even greater spiritual attack on sister C’s family, convincing Xuanhan authorities that those children have fallen into the midst of an ‘evil cult’ from which they must be saved. After they were forced to leave Chengdu today, C cried uncontrollably with her friends. Nothing brings me more pain and grief than what has happened today. My heart has been pierced.”


Early Rain Covenant Church Bulletin (Dec 22, 2018)

“As of today, 16 members of Early Rain Covenant Church have been placed by authorities in criminal detention, 4 have been placed in administrative detention, 5 have gone missing, and more than 150 have been arrested and taken to police stations for long interrogations, including pregnant women, children, and elderly people. Nearly 700 members are being monitored, followed, and threatened by community authorities and security departments of their workplaces. Two people have been beaten and suffered serious wounds. The sanctuary on the 23rd floor, the library on the 21st floor, the liberal arts college and seminary on the 19th floor, and the sanctuary and K-12 school on the 6th floor have all been ransacked and emptied.

Brother Wang Jun, while peacefully and reasonably negotiating with police, was seriously and violently attacked. His head, knees, and toes received wounds in multiple places. After the church lost its sanctuary, he, along with other brothers and sisters, worshipped Christ the Lord beside the Funan River on the Sabbath last Sunday, where he was once again detained. His child, who had just turned one year old, and his wife Tang Shuangfei were also detained. After being interrogated for more than 30 hours straight, brother Wang Jun was sentenced to 14 days in administrative detention.

On December 20th, police came again to the home of Elder Su Bingsen and searched it without a warrant, violating the privacy of other family members. Elder Su Bingsen, as well as the other pastors, elders, preachers, and members in criminal detention, have been deprived of the right to meet with an attorney. We have no way of knowing with reasonable certainty how police are treating them, whether or not they have been abused or tortured while in detention. We plead for the Lord’s mercy.

Normal gatherings at the homes of brothers and sisters are being greatly disrupted. Authorities are sending unidentified men to stand guard outside the buildings and residential areas where these homes are located. These men are following members when they go out and preventing people from visiting them. Families opening their homes for Bible studies are being greatly pressured and coerced. Police are threatening them by saying that if they open their homes again, they will immediately be placed in criminal detention on charges of ‘picking quarrels and provoking trouble.’

Even so, brothers and sisters are still holding fast to the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Bible to not stop meeting together. They are still bravely preaching His Truth and meeting together in various forms to study the Bible and to comprehend God’s Word.

We offer up thanksgiving to God. As his church is under great assault, he is reviving multitudes of His faithful children.

Early Rain Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church
Saturday, December 22, 2018”


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