These Men Fear God

Ever wonder what it would have been like to be a Christian under the Roman Empire? These Chinese Christians are pretty close to it. Their courage is remarkable. Note especially the last line of this confession.

Heard through the Genevan Commons Facebook group:

Pastors in China released a joint declaration September 6, 2018, in light of increasing persecution against the Chinese church. This is sure to go down as a very significant document in Chinese church history.

A Joint Statement by Pastors:
A Declaration for the Sake of the Christian Faith (4th edition, 279 pastors)
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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:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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 of our lives.

Signatories of the Joint Statement (279 people total)

First Group (29 people):

Pastor Wang Yi (Chengdu Early Rain Covenant Church)  Continue reading

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Why I’m Through Dealing with SJWs (for the most part)

First, read John MacArthur’s latest piledriver of the SJW (Social Justice Warrior) antigospel here, then read and sign the Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel.

A brief thread from my Twitter feed last night:

You know what? Focusing on the racially-obsessed sect of American evangelicalism is starting to smell like a real satanic strategy to me. People like Kyle James Howard are drawing far too much of our attention and energy, when there are 1,001 more urgent uses of our resources.

For a while I’ve poured a lot of my energy into interacting with, deriding, rebuking, admonishing, and refuting the SJW sect within American evangelicalism. Why? They’re dead-set in their doctrines of privilege & power differentials. They are apostatizing from the faith once for all delivered to the saints, and shifting the focus of Christianity to a theology of glory. In this iteration, the glory goal isn’t so much personal life fulfillment & self actualization as it is a forceful equalizing of outcomes.

 

Evangelical SJWs are theologians of glory. They’re not prosperity hucksters for money, but they are equality hucksters. The equality they preach is not a type that Christ promised we could create, or even should create. But it’s all a very emotionally-charged sleight of hand. We all know there is a type of equality that the gospel creates: all equally forgiven & justified. All accepted & adopted, regardless of background or whatever else. Our life in the church should reflect that.

 

Church should be about reflecting the equality of how we are loved by Jesus.

Yet being a part of the church’s life cannot make true forms of inequality or hierarchy that are baked into human society suddenly not exist or impact our relationships.

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My Spiritual Autobiography, part 1

This will be the first of a series where I explain the journey of religion that I have followed thus far, and where I am ending up. To many, this may be a waste of time, but to those who appreciate an intimate look through the window into another’s soul, I aim to please. No promises on how long between posts. I pray this benefits many.

I Write Because I’m Working out the Kinks

It seems fairly egotistical to set out to write of one’s own spiritual journey, expecting others to read it. In this case, I had thought to write for the benefit of my wife, daughter, parents, and other family and near friends who would be impacted by where I am headed, but in the interest of the Church catholic, that ancient and enduring body to which I forever belong, I thought to offer this to anyone who would read.

I am slowly moving toward embracing the Reformed faith in totality. Having been a credobaptist my whole Christian life, I know how this seems to us when someone else “goes paedobaptist.” I’ve watched other men move from credo to paedo and often wondered “how could they do that? Haven’t they read the Bible?” And yet, here I stand on the threshold. Follow along, don’t tune me out, dear friends. Your readership will be a blessing to both of us.

Seeking the Church

This is a story of seeking for the rock which does not move in the storms. I am not referring to Jesus, exactly, for He has already found and sealed me in His name. I speak of the Church catholic,[1] that ancient, enduring, and elusive body, for which our need is great. We need the Church, and in one sense, I am searching for Jesus, for He is found wherever one finds His Church. In another sense, I am seeking to follow Him, to lose my ego-centered American individuality in Him, and to somehow land among His people while walking with Him. Continue reading

Confident Evangelism: Roman Catholicism

Here is Week 6: A Confident Answer to Roman Catholicism.

The issue between the Reformation and Roman Catholicism is deeply complex, and easily overwhelming. Many Protestants and Romanists choose to wave away the differences between us as if we’re the same (we’re not), some choose to treat the other as an intractable enemy; but here in the lonely middle, some of us have a desire to find understanding, have evangelistic conversation, and to see them come to a saving knowledge of Christ in His true gospel. What’s your strategy for talking to the Romanist?

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Confident Evangelism: Meekness

Recently I began teaching a class at my local church, which I titled “Confident Evangelism without a PhD in Apologetics.” This is Week 5: Confidence in our Faith Leads to Meek Apologetics. I think you’ll really resonate with this one, my friends. In this lesson we hit on some key points regarding God’s sovereignty. Continue reading

Confident Evangelism: Dealing with Our Own Doubts

Recently I began teaching a class at my local church, which I titled “Confident Evangelism without a PhD in Apologetics.” Thanks to the hard work of one of my church elders, we have it on film, so I wanted to put it up for anyone to enjoy.

My angle is to approach ALL evangelism topics beginning in Colossians 2:2-3 “that [your] hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

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