CHINA: 116 pastors issue joint statement on new regulations

In a rare step 116 Chinese pastors have released a joint statement protesting against the sharp increase in religious freedom violations by authorities since the Religious Affairs Regulations were revised on 1 February 2018.

In July, 29 pastors issued a letter speaking out against the relentless interference by the state in regular church activities since the new regulations had come into effect. Among the signatories are some well-known names such as Pastor Wang Yi from Chengdu Early Rain Covenant Church, Pastor Yang Hua from Guiyang Living Stone Church and Pastor Jin Mingri from Beijing Zion Church (pictured l-r).

A further 87 pastors, ministers, teachers and elders signed the letter in September. It reads as follows:

A Joint Statement by Pastors: A Declaration for the Sake of the Christian Faith (2nd edition, 116 pastors)

We are a group of Chinese Christians, chosen by the Most High God to be His humble servants, serving as pastors for Christian churches throughout various towns and cities.

We believe and are obligated to teach the world that the one true and living Triune God is the Creator of the universe, of the world, and of all people. All men should worship God and not any man or thing. We believe and are obligated to teach the world that all men, from national leaders to beggars and prisoners, have sinned. They will die once and then be judged in righteousness. Apart from the grace and redemption of God, all men would eternally perish. We believe and are obligated to teach the world that the crucified and risen Jesus is the only Head of the global church, the sole Savior of all mankind, and the everlasting Ruler and supreme Judge of the universe. To all who repent and believe in Him, God will give eternal life and an eternal Kingdom.

In September, 2017, the State Council issued the new “Regulations on the Administration of Religious Affairs” and began implementing these regulations in February, 2018. Ever since then, Christian churches across China have suffered varying degrees of persecution, contempt, and misunderstanding from government departments during public worship and religious practices, including various administrative measures that attempt to alter and distort the Christian faith. Some of these violent actions are unprecedented since the end of the Cultural Revolution. These include demolishing crosses on church buildings, violently removing expressions of faith like crosses and couplets hanging on Christians’ homes, forcing and threatening churches to join religious organizations controlled by the government, forcing churches to hang the national flag or to sing secular songs praising the State and political parties, banning the children of Christians from entering churches and receiving religious education, and depriving churches and believers of the right to gather freely.

We believe that these unjust actions are an abuse of government power and have led to serious conflicts between political and religious parties in Chinese society. These actions infringe on the human freedoms of religion and conscience and violate the universal rule of law. We are obligated to announce bad news to the authorities and to all of society: God hates all attempts to suppress human souls and all acts of persecution against the Christian church, and he will condemn and judge them with righteous judgment.

But we are even more obligated to proclaim good news to the authorities and to all of society: Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, the Savior and King of mankind, in order to save us sinners was killed, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God, destroying the power of sin and death. In His love and compassion God has prepared forgiveness and salvation for all who are willing to believe in Jesus, including Chinese people. At any time, anyone can repent from any sin, turn to Christ, fear God, obtain eternal life, and bring great blessing from God upon his family and country.

For the sake of faith and conscience, for the spiritual benefits of the authorities in China and of society as a whole, and ultimately for the glory, holiness, and righteousness of God, we make the following declaration to the Chinese government and to all of society:

Christian churches in China believe unconditionally that the Bible is the Word and Revelation of God. It is the source and final authority of all righteousness, ethics, and salvation. If the will of any political party, the laws of any government, or the commands of any man directly violate the teachings of the Bible, harming men’s souls and opposing the gospel proclaimed by the church, we are obligated to obey God rather than men, and we are obligated to teach all members of the church to do the same.

Christian churches in China are eager and determined to walk the path of the cross of Christ and are more than willing to imitate the older generation of saints who suffered and were martyred for their faith. We are willing and obligated under any circumstance to face all government persecution, misunderstanding, and violence with peace, patience, and compassion. For when churches refuse to obey evil laws, it does not stem from any political agenda; it does not stem from resentment or hostility; it stems only from the demands of the gospel and from a love for Chinese society.

Christian churches in China are willing to obey authorities in China whom God has appointed and to respect the government’s authority to govern society and human conduct. We believe and are obligated to teach all believers in the church that the authority of the government is from God and that as long as the government does not overstep the boundaries of secular power laid out in the Bible and does not interfere with or violate anything related to faith or the soul, Christians are obligated to respect the authorities, to pray fervently for their benefit, and to pray earnestly for Chinese society. For the sake of the gospel, we are willing to suffer all external losses brought about by unfair law enforcement. Out of a love for our fellow citizens, we are willing to give up all of our earthly rights.

For this reason, we believe and are obligated to teach all believers that all true churches in China that belong to Christ must hold to the principle of the separation of church and state and must proclaim Christ as the sole head of the church. We declare that in matters of external conduct, churches are willing to accept lawful oversight by civil administration or other government departments as other social organizations do. But under no circumstances will we lead our churches to join a religious organization controlled by the government, to register with the religious administration department, or to accept any kind of affiliation. We also will not accept any “ban” or “fine” imposed on our churches due to our faith. For the sake of the gospel, we are prepared to bear all losses—even the loss of our freedom and our lives.

Signatories of the Joint Statement (116 people total)

First Group (29 people):

Pastor Wang Yi (Chengdu Early Rain Covenant Church)
Pastor Yang Hua (Guiyang Living Stone Church)
Pastor Jin Mingri (Beijing Zion Church)
PastorZhang Xiaofeng, Elder Sun Yi, Elder You Guanghui (Beijing Shouwang Church Governance Committee)
Pastor Huang Xiaoning (Guangzhou Bible Reformer Church)
Pastor Dou Shaowen (Zhengzhou Conerstone Church)
Elder Zhang Chuanlei (Guiyang Renai Reformed Church)
Elder Wen Hongbin (Chengdu Xishuipang Reformed Church)
Minister Yang Xibo (Xiamen Xunsiding Church)
Minister Jiang Jianping (Foshan Olive Tree Church)
Elder Xue Honggen (Chengdu Yudu Zhuen Reformed Church)
Elder Char Changping (Chengdu Shengmingzhiquan Church)
Minister Shi Shangbiao (Zhangzhou Feilizhijia Church)
Pastor Li Tao(Kunming Endian Church)
Pastor Shen Xianfeng(Wuhan Zhongfu Chenxing Church)
Elder Tang Bohu (Shanghai Caihong Reformed Church)
Pastor Cui Quan (Shanghai Wangbang Xuanjiao Church)
Pastor Su Yaorong (Taizhou Tianfu Reformed Church)
Minister Wang Teng (Taizhou Mingdao Reformed Church)
Pastor Wang Changyi (Tiazhou Tiantai Fuyin Church)
Pastor Ji Jianyang (Tiazhou Xianju Mengen Church)
Pastor Guo Chuanyu(ChangchunLinhezhifu Reformed Church)
Pastor Li Lianmin(Shenzhen Shajing Bible Reformed Church)
Pastor Zhuang Zhiyong (Shenzhen Huaqiang Bible Reformed Church)
Pastor Chen Jingtang (Shengzhen Guifangyuan Bible Reformed Church)
Pastor Huang Lei (Wuhan Shangxiatang Church)
Pastor Zhang Yong(ChangchunYangguangzhijia Reformed Church)

Second Group (87 people):

Pastor Gao Lijun (Wenzhou Wangkun Church)
Minister Cai Jingliang (Foshan Fangzhou Church)
Minister Xu Jianwei (Hebei Tangshan Church)
Minister Jiangtian (Chengdu Gospel Church)
Minister An Yankui (Taiyuan Xuncheng Reformed Church)
Elder Haoming (Deyang earlyrain Qingcaodi Church)
Minister Li Zihu (Chengdu earlyrain Enyue Church)
Minister Cheng Zhangchun (Chengdu earlyrain Jianan Church)
Minister Cao Qingen (Chengdu Linxishu Reformed Church)
Minister Wang Tianmin (Shamen New Creation Church)
Elder Wang Zhaorong, Minister Wan Changchun (Bangbu Huoshi Reformed Church)
Pastor Li Jiale (Beijing Daohang Zhijia Church)
Pastor Huang Yizi (Wenzhou Pingyang Fengwo Church)
Pastor Lin Yage (Guiyang Mengen Church)
Pastor Wu Yiqi (Changchun Fuyin Zhiguang Reformed Church)
Minister Gu Hongfei (Beijing Aixuan Church)
Pastor Xu Zhibing (Jiangsu Guanyun Xiansi Duizhong New Church)
Pastor Peng Qiang (Chengdu Enfu Reformed Gospel Church)
Elder Zheng Zhaobei, Minister Ren Lichuan, Minister Jie Shoutuan (Chengdu Xishuipang Reformed Gospel Church)
Elder Jiang Guocheng, Elder Peng Yuan (Renshou Enhui Reformed Gospel Church)
Elder Liu Maolin (Linyi Enyue Reformed Church)
Elder Yan Xiaoxin (Rizhao Enzhao Reformed Church)
Elder Huowei (Linyi Enquan Reformed Church)
Elder Chen Shun (Linyi Enyuan Reformed Mission)
Elder Li Rongtai (Linyi Enlin Reformed Church)
Minister Yang Binchuan (Zaozhuang Zhuentang Church)
Pastor Liu Hongwei (Beijing Ganlanshan Church)
Minister Lin Hesheng (Chengdu Fanglin Church)
Minister Liu Zhiyong (Xi’an Jitaicun Cornerstone Church)
Minister Luo Ruisheng (Guangzhou Sui Guizheng Fuyin Tuanqi Huangshen Jiangdian)
Minister Ye Xinde (Fujian Zhangpu Yilin Zhijia Reformed Church)
Minister Meng Yongguang (Gansu Lanzhou Chenxing Church)
Minister Wang Zisheng (Qingdao Jimiya Church)
Minister Huang Wenyou (Hong Kong Chinese Christian Church)
Minister Chen Huizhen (Zhangzhou Longhai Shima Xincheng Church)
Pastor Liu Yang (Xi’an Xinwang Ai Church)
Minister Sun Chao (Yunnan Qujing Feila Tiefei Church)
Pastor Xu Mei (Xi’an Enquan Church)
Pastor Dong Zhi (Beijing Hemujia Church)
Brother Liang Yongen (Dalian Shien Zhen Church)
Pastor Ju Dawei (Xi’an Halleluiah Church)
Pastor Zhao Yanwei (Zhengzhou Zhongai Church)
Pastor Ren Jinbiao (Hebei Botou Shihong Grace Church)
Pastor Huang Lei (Hunan Yueyang Shipan Shisheng Jingdu Church)
Pastor Sun Hong (Jilin Shengyue Zhendao Church)
Minister Zhu Lehai (Zhangjiajie Hope Christian Church)
Pastor Zhang Qianjin (Beijing, missionary)
Pastor Gao Quanfu (Xi’an Zhiguang Church)
Pastor Guo Zhi (Dongguan Reformed gospel Church)
Minister Chen Shengda (Wenzhou Boteli Church)
Minister Wang Lanqing (Shandong Linyi Tiancheng Shengyue Church)
Pastor Guo Yijun (Beijing Endao Reformed Baptist Church)
Minister Xu Fengchuan (Anhui Fuyang Nanzhao Xingqi Faguang Church)
Minister Huang Wenguang (Shenzhen Jehovah Yile Church)
Minister Li Jianxuan (Shenzhen Thanksgiving Church)
Minister Yin Xuguang (Beijing Shijing Shanshuguang Church)
Pastor Zhou Yunfeng (Xianyang Xin Wang Ai Yangwang Church)
Minister Yang Fuli (Shijiazhuang Hongdao Church)
Teacher Cheng Chaohua (Wenzhou Shenzhou Preaching Team)
Minister Qin Shengjie (Henan Balizhuang Church)
Teacher Wang Weixin (Wenzhou Yufutang Church)
Pastor Weng Xiangkun (Wenzhou Shenzhou Preaching Team)
Pastor Huang hanxin (Wenzhou Shenzhou Preaching Team)
Minister Wang Xiao (Henan Dongguocun Church)
Pastor Zhu Jiahao (Wenzhou Shenzhou Preaching Team)
Minister Xinyi Chuandao (Datong Lirenzao Church)
Minister Zhao Lihui (Datong Lirenzao Church)
Pastor Lin Jinlian (Wenzhou Shenzhou Preaching Team)
Pastor Yan Xiaojie (Wenzhou Shangjiang Church)
Minister Chen Jiafu (Chen Dawei) (Fuzhou Boteli Reformed Church)
Pastor Du Youchang (Jingmen Ganlanshan Church)
Pastor Wang Yongcheng, Elder Feng Guangxiong (Shen Ai Shi Ren Fengshou Church)
Pastor Ruan Dawei (Zhanjiang Gengxin Church)
Minister Guan Xinyuan (Jiangsu Liyang Family Church)
Minister Zhao Ruohan (henan Xihuo Church)
Minister Sun Chanli (Hubei Shiyan Rongguang Biliya Church)
Elder Li Youhong (Chengdu Shengming Zhi Quan Church)
Elder Yan Xixia, Elder Su Bingsen, Elder Li Yingqiang, Elder Tan Defu, Minister Zhang Xudong (Chengdu Early Rain Covenant Church)

(Pray for Beijing Shouwang Church (Facebook)/Reuters)

Source: Church in Chains