“The Communist Party wants salvation to come by being a good communist,” says Todd Nettleton, a spokesperson for Voice of the Martyrs USA.
Pastor Wang Yi disagreed with the Chinese government and is facing the consequences.
Nettleton says the sentencing of Pastor Wang Yi of Early Rain Covenant Church highlights the Communist Party’s fear of Christianity. His sentence, nine years in prison, is the longest for an ethnic Chinese Christian in several years.
“The Communist Party is directly threatened by that message,” Nettleton says. “They are directly threatened by people who say following Christ is the way to achieve salvation.”
Nettleton points out a reason for this fear. “The church teaches salvation comes not having anything to do with the Communist Party. Salvation comes through the Blood of Christ, and through committing our lives to Christ, and following after him.” This difference is creating a political rift that the government is trying to squash by going after large, prominent churches.
“The communist government is saying, ‘We will control the church,’ ” Nettleton says, noting that the rise in persecution towards Christians in the country corresponds with the explosive growth of Christianity.
Wang Yi personifies this rift, often writing and speaking on political issues. He criticized the Chinese government for practicing forced abortions and for the Tiananmen Square Massacre. He even criticized China’s current leader, Xi Jinping, for his constant consolidation of power.
In addition to the subversion of state power, Wang Yi was sentenced for illegal business operations: his church is unregistered with the government and had over 500 members in 2018.
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SOURCE: Mission Network News
CALL TO ACTION
- Ask God to protect Pastor Wang Yi in prison. Pray for encouragement and perseverance.
- Pray for provision for Yi’s wife and son. The Chinese government has limited her ability to communicate with family and church members.