This was pretty convicting to read. May God keep us faithful, and deliver His church.
However, as I read, some statements struck me a bit odd, with almost an r2k flavor to them. I don’t want to nitpick this man or take away anything from his witness, because I don’t think I am worthy to shine his shoes in that respect. But it seemed as if he had little to no concern as to whether the laws and government were made more just in China, so long as souls were reached and Christ was proclaimed. Why not both?
Wow. Thanks for sharing this. It was very convicting!
For this reason, 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.
Can you even imagine an American saying that? And I could pull many more quotes. Thanks be to God for the Chinese church!
I hear what you’re saying about the R2K stuff, but I think that’s only if you read particular sentences in isolation. He even calls for the Chinese officials to turn away from evil:
And so, respectable officers, stop committing evil. This is not for my benefit but rather for yours and your children’s. I plead earnestly with you to stay your hands, for why should you be willing to pay the price of eternal damnation in hell for the sake of a lowly sinner such as I?
The letter doesn’t remotely resemble R2K in this country, I don’t think.
Read that letter last night. Very encouraging. Brought to mind how pathetic our western evangelical rhetoric is in comparison… Soft speech, political correctness concerning sin, whining about social justice, immigration stuff, etc., etc…
And then you read this letter and hear basically, “bring on death… I’ll take Christ, because He took me.”
“While we were writing this book, Pastor Saeed Abedini returned to the United States and had a joyful reunion with his loved ones. Iran freed him after almost four years of imprisonment.
An Iranian judge found him guilty of sedition. The judge closed the doors of his courtroom and had Pastor Abedini beaten in an effort to get him to admit that his real purpose for being in Iran was to overthrow the government. Pastor Abedini reports this exchange with the judge:
Judge. You know why you are here.
Abedini. Yeah, I’m here because of my Christian faith and starting the house churches. . . .”
Judge. No, you are not here for this. You are here because you want to use Christianity to remove government.
Abedini. No, I don’t want to do that. I just came here to start orphanage, loving people, and share the Gospel with people. And, just that.
Judge. No, you guys are using Christianity to remove the government. That’s the reason that you are here.
Abedini. No, I didn’t do that. I pray for you. I love you. And, I didn’t come for that.
Pastor Abedini says his denial of the charge that he was trying to overthrow the government did not please the judge: “He started yelling at me, very angry.”1
Now, a simple question. Who was right—the judge or Pastor Abedini? They both couldn’t have been telling the truth, could they?
Actually, yes. Pastor Abedini was telling the truth when he denied he had come to Iran to overthrow the government, and the judge was telling the truth when he said that Pastor Abedini had come to overthrow the government. Both statements were true. Abedini was there to preach the truth of the Gospel, and the judge was right to see that truth as revolutionary.
I’d also like to add that my dad recommended God Is Red to me, and I recommend that all of you read it along with letters like the one linked above. (If you didn’t actually read Pastor Wang Yi’s letter, go ahead and click through and read it. It’s well worth the 5 minutes.)
As Christians in a culture that increasingly hates God, we need to be learning from those who have gone before us.
Also, on a related topic, China doesn’t just arrest people and put them in jail. It has a history of doing much worse things after arrest, particularly to prisoners of conscience (both political and religious). You will see some of that in the book I recommended above, but that’s old. The most recent thing I’ve seen is this paper that came out three days ago which confirms that China has been using such prisoners as a source of organs for transplant.
I’m sure Pastor Yi knows what are the possible dangers he faces. I’m sure he also knew when writing this piece that in requesting its publication if he was ever detained for longer than 48 hours that he was in all likelihood guaranteeing greater persecution for himself and his church. I can’t imagine being the one responsible for going ahead and pulling the trigger on publishing this. These are men who are prepared. Determined. Faithful. May God bless them with safety and much fruit.