House Church in Xilinhot Raided: Officials Destroy Property, Detain Pastor

Friday, February 24, 2012

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

BEIJING, CHINA (Worthy News)-- In Xilinhot, officials from the Religious Affairs Bureau, the Public Security's Domestic Security Protection Squad, the United Front Work Department as well as local police raided a house church, confiscating its property and arresting the pastor and several of his congregation.

Pastor Wang Dawei and two others were taken to the Xilinhot police station and interrogated for hours before they were finally released.

The officials warned that if those attending the the Canaan Church didn't join a Three-Self church, their house church would be banned and they too would be arrested; the officials then confiscated all the Bibles and hymn books, installing new locks on the doors before they left the building.

The officials later threatened the landlord of the meeting site and told him that Pastor Dawei was a wanted criminal and that his lease with the church should be terminated. But the landlord replied, "Even if I don't rent this place out to the church, they will go find another place to rent and worship there. And if their pastor is a wanted criminal, how come you released him the same day you took him in?"

"Because I’ve been doing evangelistic work in Inner Mongolia for many years, so I have had many experiences of persecution by local authorities, including direct physical harm to me," said Pastor Dawei. "After we planted more than a few churches, they (the government) have been constantly pressuring me to lead these congregations to join the official Three-Self church. Our church follows the Reformed Christian tradition and our allegiance to the faith does not allow us to ally ourselves with anti-Christ forces and fake churches. Our believers are very clear about this, that forcing us to join the official church is the same as forcing us to abandon our faith."

Pastor Dawei said that he and his congregation are prepared to suffer persecution for the sake of faith; he asked that churches everywhere pray for them.