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Linfen Pastors Protest Destruction of Golden Lampstand Church

ICC Note: Chinese government set to demolish Linfen Jindengtai Chruch, mirroring destruction of sister church in 2009. Church members begin 120 days of prayer and fasting.

4/20/10 China (ChinaAid) – On March 10, 2010, two severely persecuted pastors, Wang Xiaoguang and Yang Xuan, appealed for administrative reconsideration to Raodu People’s Government on behalf of Linfen Jindengtai Church, vowing to do all they can to protect the Jindengtai from being demolished. The Raodu Land Bureau had contacted Jindengtai members on March 4, informing them their church building was scheduled for demolition (See the CAA report). On March 31, the Raodu People’s Government accepted the Wang and Yang’s appeal and sent out confirmation letters to the two pastors on April 2.

The government’s current plans to demolish the head Linfen church (Jindengtai) are intended to strike another devastating blow to the morale of the more than 50,000 Linfen Church members. The threat echoes the bloody and devastating attack on Jindengtai’s sister church in Fushan County, led by 300 government officials and hired vandals in September 2009 (Full story on Linfen Fushan Church).

Linfen’s Six-story “Golden Lampstand Church” cost members years of labor and millions of Yuan to build, and Jindengtai has served as the flagship of the Linfen house church movement for over ten years. The church has grown steadily in membership size and influence in the communities, a fact not lost on local officials who view the expansion of the church as a threat to their control. Although the evidence shows that Linfen Church members peacefully contribute to healthy civic growth and social activities in their respective townships and counties, government officials continue to threaten them on the basis of the church “disturbing the peace” and “threatening the social order.”

In his administrative appeal to the Linfen Intermediate Court, Pastor Wang Xiaoguang stated the reasons for building the church and why house churches are reluctant to join the Three-Self church. He pointed out that demolishing the church will disturb thousands of believers and is not consistent with the principle of “establishing a harmonious and judicial society.” He asked the government to fully consider the consequences, as this incident might antagonize the relationship between China and the international community. Pastor Wang suggested that keeping the Jindeng Church is beneficial to the church members as well as the government, and therefore attributes to the stability of the society.

Pastor Yang Xuan pointed out in his administrative appeal that Raodu People’s Government’s administrative reconsideration violated the legal procedure and is therefore invalid. As the construction manager for the church during its building, Pastor Yang testified that the Raodu Bureau of National Resource and Land’s calculation of the church land was inconsistent with the facts. Pastor Yang Xuanstrongly believes demolishing the church building by force is not wise: it might cause misunderstandings between the nation and the international Christian society. (Wang Xiaoguang’s and Yang Xuan’s Authorization Letters to Appeal).

In response to the impending threat to their church, members of Jindengtai called for a 120-Day Vigil of Prayer and Fasting on April 13, 2010. Thousands of members committed themselves to praying daily for their church, and appealing to the governing authorities to recant their punitive decision, and to grant them their rights to freedom of expression and worship. Members of Linfen Church now urge believers around the world to join them in their prayer for deliverance.

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