Chinese pastors’ letter becomes 4,400-signature petition

Voice of the Martyrs Korea sent the Chinese Embassy in Seoul a copy of a letter originally written and signed by 439 Chinese pastors, with one addition: 28 pages of signatures from 4,400 Christians from Korea and around the world showing their support and concern for the pastors.

The signatures were gathered through an online petition website set up by Voice of the Martyrs Korea, www.chinadeclaration.com. The website shared the original Chinese document, along with translations of the document into Korean, English, and Russian. It invited Christians around the world to add their signatures in solidarity with the original signors, 439 pastors from across China. The signatures were collected over the past year.

In September 2019, 439 Chinese pastors published a document entitled, “A Joint Statement by Pastors: A Declaration for the Sake of the Christian Faith”. It was written by Wang Yi, the pastor of Early Rain Church in Chengdu who was later arrested along with more than one hundred members of his church. Pastor Wang remains imprisoned, and many of the other pastors who signed the document are now facing similarly serious difficulties. We set up www.chinadeclaration.com to give Christians around the world the opportunity to show the Chinese government that we stand with these pastors and will continue to closely monitor and publicize how they are treated.

More than 4,400 Christians signed the petition—that’s more than 10 Christians for every Chinese pastor who originally signed the document.

The joint statement published by the pastors contains four declarations:

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.

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.

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.

4.            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.

In addition to the declaration and the 4,400 signatures, Voice of the Martyrs Korea sent a cover letter in Chinese. A translation follows:

Dear Honorable Ambassador,

Herewith please find attached a petition consisting of 4,400 signatures from Christians in Korea and around the world, to be added to the signatures of the 439 Chinese pastors who authored ‘A Joint Statement by Pastors: A Declaration for the Sake of the Christian Faith’, which was originally published for your government’s consideration in September 2019.

These 439 Chinese pastors are members of the one body of Christ which extends around the world and across history. As members of the same body, the 4,400 signors of the attached petition do hereby signal our intent to continue to monitor closely the treatment of your government toward the pastors who originally authored this declaration.

We implore you to remember that as you treat them, you are thus treating the Jesus Christ himself, the Lord of heaven and earth, and the one authority before whom every knee will one day bow.

Be reconciled to God and to his servants, including the 439 Chinese pastors who authored this declaration. They remain your faithful servants for Christ’s sake. They also remain beloved members of the Christian body around the world. On their behalf we will be diligent to update the leaders and fellow citizens of our countries—from South Korea to Russia, from the USA to Europe, from Chile to Cameroon—on your treatment of each of them.

With prayers for you as commanded by Christ,

The Voice of the Martyrs Korea

Individuals interested in learning more about Voice of the Martyrs Korea’s work in partnership with the house church Christians of China can visit https://vomkorea.com/en/china/.

About Pastor Foley

The Reverend Dr. Eric Foley is CEO and Co-Founder, with his wife Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, supporting the work of persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world and spreading their discipleship practices worldwide. He is the former International Ambassador for the International Christian Association, the global fellowship of Voice of the Martyrs sister ministries. Pastor Foley is a much sought after speaker, analyst, and project consultant on the North Korean underground church, North Korean defectors, and underground church discipleship. He and Dr. Foley oversee a far-flung staff across Asia that is working to help North Koreans and Christians everywhere grow to fullness in Christ. He earned the Doctor of Management at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio.
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