That Day the Sky Was Especially Clear and Sunny (Part 1)
By Tian Ying, China
I used to be a believer in the Three-Self Church in China. When I first started participating in gatherings, the pastors would often say to us: “Brothers and sisters, it is recorded inthat: ‘For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation’ (Rom 10:10). We’ve been justified due to our faith. Since we believe in , we have been saved. If we believed in any other, then we wouldn’t have been saved….” I held on to these words of the pastors. As a result, I ardently pursued and actively attended gatherings as I waited for the Lord to come and let me into the kingdom of heaven. Later on, as unlawful deeds kept occurring in , it made me feel fed up with the gatherings there. Among the pastors they were divided and partitioned, each trying to establish themselves at the top of the faction and set up independent kingdoms. The sermons from the pastors needed to obey the United Front Work Department (UFWD). The UFWD didn’t allow them to discuss the Book of Revelation out of fear that it would disturb popular sentiment, so the pastors didn’t preach it. The pastors would often preach about donation, saying that the more one donated then the more blessings they would receive from God…. So when I saw that these were the circumstances in the church I felt quite bewildered: Why did the church change into this current form? Do the pastors not believe in the Lord? Why do they not follow the Lord’s word? Why do they not have a heart of reverence for the Lord? From that point on I no longer wanted to go to gatherings at the Three-Self Church, for I felt that they did not truly , that they were false shepherds who acted in the name of believing in God in order to obtain the hard-earned money from brothers and sisters.
In the second half of 1995, I left the church without hesitation and joined a house church (adherents of sola fide). At first I felt that their sermons were not subject to the restrictions of the national government, and they even integrated the Book of Revelation and discussed, the Lord’s return and so on. Their preaching was much better than the pastors’ in the Three-Self Church, and I felt there was more enjoyment to be had by gathering here compared to gathering in the Three-Self Church, which made me very happy. But after a period of time, I discovered that here too among the co-workers there were some who became envious, disputed things and wanted to break up the group. None of the brothers and sisters were living out the requirements of the Lord, they were without the love that they had in the past…. When I saw that this church didn’t have any real difference with the Three-Self Church I felt very disappointed, but I also didn’t know where I could go to discover a church that had . For lack of a better option, all I could do was stay with these adherents of sola fide. As before, I pressed on with attending gatherings. The pastors and preachers all said “to be saved once is to be saved forever” and “so long as you exercise patience until the end, toil for God and defend the way of the Lord then you will be able to enter the kingdom of heaven.” So I kept thinking to myself at that time: Regardless of how other people are, as long as I press on in my faith in the and do not depart from the way of the Lord, then when the Lord returns I will have a chance to be raptured into the kingdom of heaven.