Editor’s note: This is the transcript and video of a recent interview with a house church pastor, in which he shares his journey of faith, from leaving a heretical sect, to being arrested for following Christ. We hope his story will give you a personal look at how God is moving in the real lives of Chinese, and how their stories bring him glory.
Conversion and Growth
I came to Christ with my parents in 1992. However, at that time, I did not know that the church we were attending was a part of a heresy called the Three Grades of Servants. I didn’t know about it until one day I tuned in to Liangyou Radio Station and started to follow the lessons on “Heresies and Extremism.” Then I was able to identify the heresy and left that church with my family.
Thus, I was able to receive more sound Bible teachings in a more orthodox church. Later on, through the house church, I was spiritually renewed, theologically reformed and equipped, and eventually called by the Lord to become a pastor. I planted a church in the city where I now live, building up the Lord’s church.
In November of 2020, our newly planted church was raided for the first time. After that, I was placed under administrative detention and the church was forced to shut down.
Jesus Is The Treasure
In November of 2021, I was charged with certain crime, for which I was framed, and was imprisoned for a year until my recent release.
Would You Pray With Us Today?
Before I was released, my cellmate asked me, “Are you still going to preach the gospel when you get out?”
I said, “Yes!”
“Then you will be arrested again.”
I answered, “That’s okay. You see a lot of people who have committed crimes. After they get out, they repeat their crimes. Then how can people who do good things get out and are too afraid to continue their good deeds? That’s not fair.”
From conversion to doing ministry, my biggest takeaway or the summary for my experience is that Jesus Christ is the treasure, and he is my life.
I grew up as a slave to sin. I grew up in sin, arguing and fighting with my brother at home every day. Even if I died at that time, it would not cause any repercussions or much sorrow. Maybe people could finally get some peace if I had died. As I grew up, I caused a lot of trouble. I could have died every time when I got into trouble, but I’m still alive now, why? Why am I still alive?
Live Out Christ
I know this from the Lord: God’s will is for me to live, and to live out Christ. God’s will for me is to live, so that through my living I can die with Christ, and so that through my living I can live with Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ died for me; he was crucified for me on the cross; he shed his blood for me, so that I might have eternal life. As long as I trust in him, I have received the promised eternal life.
This eternal life can actually be manifested every day. This eternal life can actually bring out beautiful testimonies day by day. How so? It is through our life, through our faith, and through our service to the Lord.
The fact that I can serve the Lord as a pastor is an opportunity to give my testimony. The fact that I can preserve my faith in the Lord is an opportunity to bear witness to the eternal life of the Lord. I can keep serving the Lord, and for doing that, I face persecution, even being imprisoned, being sentenced and going through many other things. These marks of humiliation are still opportunities to testify to the eternal life, to manifest the eternal life.
Thank you, Lord.
Tan Jian is a pseudonym for a house church pastor in northern China.
FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION
Pray for Tan Jian and his family, and for others leading house churches across China.