China Raids Church, Detains Pastor and Six Congregants, and Confiscates Bibles

Early Rain Covenant Church in China | Facebook/Early Rain Covenant Church

A church plant of the heavily-persecuted Early Rain Covenant Church was raided by authorities in China’s Taiyuan, Shanxi province, who then detained the pastor and six other members.

Persecution watchdog International Christian Concern reports that on Nov. 15, officials from the public security bureau, ethnic and religious affairs bureau, ministry of civil affairs, and police station raided Xuncheng Church during its morning Sunday service.

The public security commander confiscated the cell phone of the presider before demanding that brother Zhang Chenghao go with them.

After the service, the commander and the staff from the ethnic and religious affairs bureau questioned Pastor An Yankui’s qualifications, asking whether his credentials were approved by the state and whether their gathering was registered with the government.

Though they failed to provide an arrest warrant, authorities then took the pastor away. They then posted the disbandment notice on the house church’s door, prevented people from recording the incident, and confiscated the members’ cell phones. They also recorded everyone’s personal information and confiscated Bibles, hymnals and choir robes.

Police interrogated the Christians and attempted to “mislead them into disclosing unfavorable information about their church,” according to ICC. Authorities then transferred the believers to another facility. There, they were asked to change into prison uniforms and handcuffed in a detention room.

After several hours, the Christians were permitted to change back into their clothes and asked to each provide a statement. These believers were released around 9:30 p.m.

According to China Aid, Xuncheng Church was planted by Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, one of China’s largest unregistered churches. An Yankui, one of the pastors of Xuncheng Church, graduated from the seminary founded by ERCC and is under the influence of reformed theology and ERCC Pastor Wang Yi, who was sentenced to nine years in prison for his ministry work.

Though authorities shuttered ERCC in 2018 and arrested their pastor and other leaders, church members have continued to face harassment. 

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett