To Testify to Eternal Life

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.

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“Through the house church, I was spiritually renewed, theologically reformed and equipped, and eventually called by the Lord to become a pastor.

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.


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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.”

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“‘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.

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“I can keep serving the Lord. For doing that, I face persecution, even being imprisoned…These marks of humiliation are still opportunities to testify to the 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.

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Further Reading

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The External Cross: A Pastoral Letter
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Qingdao: How to Pray
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Qingdao: Locals and Outsiders
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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church

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ABOUT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

About Shenyang

Shenyang is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Liaoning Province. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shenyang is also a hub for China’s heavy industry, with companies such as the China First Automobile Group and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation having their headquarters in the city.

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About Qingdao

Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.

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About Xiamen

Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.

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About Chongqing

Chongqing is a city located in southwestern China and is a major economic center in the region. The city is known for its spicy cuisine, especially its hot pot dishes, and is also famous for the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam. Chongqing is also home to several historic sites, including the Dazu Rock Carvings, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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About Nanjing

Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.

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About Changchun

Changchun is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Jilin Province. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several historical landmarks such as the Puppet Emperor’s Palace and the Jingyuetan National Forest Park. Changchun is also a hub for China’s automotive industry, with several major automobile manufacturers having their headquarters in the city.

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About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.

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About Kunming

Kunming is a city located in southwest China and is the capital of Yunnan Province. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild climate, Kunming is a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and cultural diversity. The city is home to several scenic spots, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stone Forest, Dian Lake, and the Western Hills. Kunming is also famous for its unique cuisine, which features a mix of Han, Yi, and Bai ethnic flavors. The city has a rich cultural history, with ancient temples and shrines like the Yuantong Temple and the Golden Temple, and it’s also a hub for Yunnan’s ethnic minority cultures, such as the Yi and Bai peoples.

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About Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a city located in southeastern China and is one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolises. The city is renowned for its thriving tech industry, with companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and DJI having their headquarters in Shenzhen. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and parks. Shenzhen is also known for its modern architecture, such as the Ping An Finance Center and the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center. Despite its modernization, Shenzhen also has a rich history and cultural heritage, with landmarks such as the Dapeng Fortress and the Chiwan Tin Hau Temple.

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About Chengdu

Chengdu is a city located in the southwestern region of China, and the capital of Sichuan province. It has a population of over 18 million people, and it is famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and its cute and cuddly residents – the giant pandas. Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where visitors can observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The city also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous temples, museums, and historical sites scattered throughout its boundaries. Chengdu is a city of contrasts, with ancient traditions coexisting alongside modern developments, making it an intriguing and fascinating destination for visitors to China. 

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About Beijing

Beijing is the capital city of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 21 million people. The city has a rich history that spans over 3,000 years, and it has served as the capital of various dynasties throughout China’s history. Beijing is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in China, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. The city is also a hub for political, cultural, and educational activities, with numerous universities and research institutions located within its boundaries. Beijing is renowned for its traditional architecture, rich cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene, making it a must-visit destination for travelers to China.

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About Shanghai

Shanghai is a vibrant and dynamic city located on the eastern coast of China. It is the largest city in China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 24 million people. Shanghai is a global financial hub and a major center for international trade, with a rich history and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The city is famous for its iconic skyline, which features towering skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is also home to a diverse culinary scene, world-class museums and art galleries, and numerous shopping districts. It is a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, making it a fascinating destination for visitors from around the world.

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