After the sentence was announced, Early Rain members posted on the church’s Facebook page, sharing a message from Pastor Wang Yi:
“I hope God uses me, by means of first losing my personal freedom, to tell those who have deprived me of my personal freedom that there is an authority higher than their authority, and that there is a freedom that they cannot restrain, a freedom that fills the church of the crucified and risen Jesus Christ.”
Two days after he was arrested on December 28, 2018 and taken away, church members released an open letter Pastor Wang wrote in September 2018–giving instructions that it be publicized if he went missing for more than 48 hours. Below is the powerful letter in its entirety—written 15 months before learning Chinese authorities would sentence him to nine years in prison.
“My statement: the disobedience of faith”
Pastor Wang Yi
According to the teachings of the Bible and the mission of the gospel, I respect the founding powers of God in China. Because the king of waste and the king of kings are all in God. To this end, I obey God’s arrangement of Chinese history and institutions.
As a pastor of the Christian Church, I started from the Bible and have my own understanding and views on the social, political, and legal fields, what is justice, and the governance of goodness. At the same time, I am full of disgust and hatred for the CCP’s persecution of the church, the deprivation of human faith and the freedom of conscience. However, the change of all social and political systems is not the mission of my calling, nor the purpose of the gospel being given to the people of God.
Because all the ugliness of reality, the political injustice, and the arbitrariness of the law show that the cross of Jesus Christ is the only salvation that every Chinese must have. It also shows that true hope and perfect human society do not exist in any institutional and cultural changes on the earth, but simply how human sins are forgiven by Christ and have the hope of eternal life.
As a pastor, my faith in the gospel and the teachings of the people, and the blame for all sin are out of Christ’s command in the gospel, out of the unmeasurable love of the glory king. Everyone’s life is so short, and God is so eager to command the church to lead and call anyone who is willing to repent to repent.
Christ is so urgent and willing to forgive all who turn from sin. This is the purpose of all the work of the church in China. It is to witness Christ to the world, to witness the kingdom of heaven to China, and to witness the eternal life of heaven to the short life of the earth. This is also my pastoral call.