Pastor Yuan was imprisoned by the Chinese Government for 21 Years
Wu Siu Yan
10 Oct 2002
After the Chinese Communists took over in 1949, the Communists ordered all churches to cut off ties with their foreign counterparts. Churches in China in the 40s were mostly established by foreign missionaries sent by foreign churches.
The churches were put under the control of the Religious Affairs Bureau.
Chinese Communists practice totalitarian rule. The Party has the power to order people to do this or that, even if they have done nothing against the Laws. People accustomed to "Rule of Law", which is, "total freedom if one doesn't break the law" would have difficulties in understanding the situation in China. (For example, if the Leninists find someone to be a threat to their control and power, they would order the son to spy on, to test, to set trap to the parents! or parents to their children !)
Mr. Yuan : Everyone calls me "pastor Yuan"; actually, I am only a preacher, a humble servant of GOD. Everyone else is my brother or sister. Bringing GOD's gospel to people is the greatest joy in life. I only obey Him, never any organization or government. This is the principle I stick to, whatever the cost.
Mr. Yuan had a church of his own, which was self-sufficient and did not receive financial support from abroad, and he decided not to join the "Official Church" which was under Communists' direction.
Becasue of his refusal, he was imprisoned for 21 years and 8 months, in a far away "labour-camp/farm" in Heilongjiang, which is on the North near the Russia border, a very cold place. Four other Catholic fathers were imprisoned there too, and only two survived. Surprising, he hardly fell ill, and his health improved !
He did not have the Bible with him there, but he remembered many hymns, and his most favorite one was the "Old Rugged Cross",
He was released in December 1979. And he set up a house-church. It went on un-disturbed for some years until 1996, when there was a crack-down on house-churches. Officials from Religious Affairs Bureau demanded him to register. He refused. He told the congregation that his house-church had to stop. But people kept coming back to him ! He no longer used loud-speaker and sang hymn in a low voice. What is his situation today I don't know.
LORD : You shall not revile GOD, nor curse a ruler of your people. [Ex 22:28]
Note : All authorities come from LORD. Those in authority have to care for many things, therefore we should show proper respect to them, and never curse them.
Therefore, if there are government rules and regulations (e.g. register a church), and which do not clash with LORD's Laws/Commandments, we should obey.
But if there is a clash, and obedience to which means breaking LORD's Laws/Commandments, we MUST NOT obey.
Also, obey ONLY those laws/regulations Government HAS MADE PUBLIC, for example, have published them in the Government Gazette. Never obey the "dark authority", e.g. Secret Alliance, though they are extremely powerful and have the Secret Police on their side. These kind of authorities are not approved by LORD.
In Hong Kong, I would definitely agree with "registering a church with Government", because Hong Kong adopts the principle of "Rule of Law", that is, "complete freedom if not break the laws" and the government and police will not bother us if we break not the laws (though the situation today is slowly changing to "Rule of Man" through Secret Agents from China).
The situation in China is different, which from the very beginning, practised "Rule of man", much like that in the Ching Dynasty where absolute obedience to the king and Mandarins was required. Moreover the Communists are atheists and have no regard for Commandments like "You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not covet your neighbor's things, Honor your father and mother, You shall not deal falsely nor lie to one another, You shall not follow a multitude to do evil, Love your neighbor as yourself, ...".
Yesterday, I heard from TV about the sentencing of some Underground Church Leaders in China. I think the house churches in China, whether they be Catholics or Christians, would face difficulties. The year 1996, when Pastor Yuan was demanded registration again, may be the dividing year.
(*) Law of GOD and His Commandments
(*) Jesus' Sermon on the Mount
(*) Other Teachings of Jesus
(*) Hymn loved by Chinese
(*) Online Bible