AT WHAT POINT DO WE DISOBEY THE GOVERNMENT?

The following is a treatise written by Wang Yi, a pastor in China under house arrest for preaching the gospel and faithful disobedience. The time in America for faithful disobedience is on the horizon and we must possess the loving attitude and the holy courage that our Chinese brother and leader displayed. This excellent letter was drafted by Wang Yi.

China's Pastor Wang Yi gets nine years in jail for 'inciting ...

What Constitutes Faithful Disobedience

I firmly believe that the Bible has not given any branch of any government the authority to run the church or to interfere with the faith of Christians. Therefore, the Bible demands that I, through peaceable means, in meek resistance and active forbearance, filled with joy, resist all administrative policies and legal measures that oppress the church and interfere with the faith of Christians. 

I firmly believe this is a spiritual act of disobedience. In modern authoritarian regimes that persecute the church and oppose the gospel, spiritual disobedience is an inevitable part of the gospel movement.  

I firmly believe that spiritual disobedience is an act of the last times; it is a witness to God’s eternal kingdom and the temporal kingdom of sin and evil. Disobedient Christians follow the example of the crucified Christ by walking the path of the cross. Peaceful disobedience is the way in which we love the world as well as the way in which we avoid becoming part of the world. 

I firmly believe that in carrying out spiritual disobedience, the Bible demands me to rely on the grace and resurrection power of Christ, that I must respect and not overstep two boundaries. 

The first boundary is that of the heart. Love toward the soul, and not hatred toward the body, is the motivation of spiritual disobedience. Transformation of the soul, and not the changing of circumstances, is the aim of spiritual disobedience. At any time, if external oppression and violence rob me of inner peace and endurance, so that my heart begins to breed hatred and bitterness toward those who persecute the church and abuse Christians, then spiritual disobedience fails at that point. 

The second boundary is that of behavior. The gospel demands that disobedience of faith must be non-violent. The mystery of the gospel lies in actively suffering, even being willing to endure unrighteous punishment, as a substitute for physical resistance. Peaceful disobedience is the result of love and forgiveness. The cross means being willing to suffer when one does not have to suffer. For Christ had limitless ability to fight back, yet he endured all of the humility and hurt. The way that Christ resisted the world that resisted him was by extending an olive branch of peace on the cross to the world that crucified him.  

Chinese Pastor Wang Yi sentenced to 9 years in prison for ...

I firmly believe that Christ has called me to carry out this faithful disobedience through a life of service, under this regime that opposes the gospel and persecutes the church. This is the means by which I preach the gospel, and it is the mystery of the gospel which I preach.

The Lord’s servant,
Wang Yi 

First draft on September 21st, 2018; revised on October 4th. To be circulated by the church after 48 hours of detention. English translation provided by Amy, Brent Pinkall, and the China Partnership translation team.

Wang Yi
December 12, 2018,