By Liu Xin
Ever since she was little, Chu Xiao followed her mother in believing in the. She often went to the church with her mother to listen to messages. Each time she saw the scene that Pastor Jia preached unceasingly on the platform and many people looked up to him, she felt very excited and envious. She couldn’t help but make a resolution: When I grow up, I am going to become an excellent preacher like Pastor Jia.
In order to realize this dream, except attending classes, Chu Xiao spent all her time studying thehard and listening to messages. Sometimes, when seeing the verses she did not understand, she would walk a long way to Pastor Jia’s home to seek help from him. Every time he would explain to her with patience until she understood them. Chu Xiao thought what Pastor Jia lived out was really devout, and so unconsciously she respected and worshiped him more. And every time she went to conduct services, she would hear the brothers and sisters’ praise for Pastor Jia. She could not help admiring him in her heart: How admirable Pastor Jia’s living out is! He is really the one who loves the Lord! Seeing the respect and love of brothers and sisters for Pastor Jia, Chu Xiao thought in her heart: How wonderful it would be if one day in the future I can, like Pastor Jia, be worshiped by others.
Time files like an arrow, years pass in an eye blink. Gradually, Chu Xiao grew up, and Pastor Jia had made a rising reputation and the boundary of his administration was continually spreading. At that time, a denomination called Eastern Lightning aroused the deep concern of various denominations and sects. This was because they testified that the Lord has come back and they had stolen away the head sheep and good sheep who pursued more in every church including the church that Pastor Jia belongs to. Chu Xiao was surprised and shocked when she heard this news. And this caused fluctuations in her mood. She could not calm herself down: Because for Christians, the return of the Lord is the major issue of man’s fate and destination, and how could she be indifferent to this matter? After calming down a little, she began to think why the good sheep and head sheep had been stolen by Eastern Lightning followers. Chu Xiao thought that an important thing like this needed to be treated seriously, and she should not draw conclusions casually. So she came before God to pray and seek His guidance and enlightenment, and then began to carefully study the biblical prophecies of the Lord’s return.
But after a few days, Chu Xiao still did not find the answer and then she fell into despair and confusion. At that time, she thought of going to seek out the answer from Pastor Jia. She thought: He who is familiar with the Bible must be capable of helping me understand the prophecies of the Lord’s return and welcome the returned Lord.
It was then winter and gusts of biting wind blew in Chu Xiao’s face which was blue with cold. She could not help shivering and then wrapped her clothes. On the way to Pastor Jia’s home, she thought: The return of the Lord is a great thing. Later, when I see him, I have to seek it seriously and listen carefully. After getting to Pastor Jia’s home, his wife told Chu Xiao that Pastor Jia had gone to church at noon to discuss the work of church with co-workers, and had not come back yet. Knowing this, Chu Xiao turned around and hurried to the meeting place of the church. Who would have thought that as soon as she arrived at the door, she heard a sudden bang, and it sounded like someone was slapping the table, which stunned her. Listening carefully, she then found out that it was the voice of Pastor Jia. She couldn’t help feeling nervous, thinking: What’s the matter? What has made him so angry? He never behaves like this at normal times, but instead was modest and amiable to others. Now, Chu Xiao was so scared that she dared not knock at the door. She thought to herself: I can put my questions aside for the moment, until he has finished dealing with the matter and his anger cooled.
Just as she was about to leave, there were some louder shouts coming from inside. This time, Chu Xiao heard as if they mentioned the words “Eastern Lightning,” which attracted her interest. Because that was just what she was eager to understand, she halted her steps, wanting to listen to what they actually were saying. She heard someone saying, “Eastern Lightning is developing so quickly. They have stolen more than 200 people from us in less than a month. And these are all quality believers and preachers with foundations. The preaching of Eastern Lightning is very lofty, and I heard their church is currently expanding to nearby churches.” Another one said, “Pastor Jia, if it goes on like this, I am afraid that our church will be at risk!” Then, Chu Xiao heard Pastor Jia saying in a very angry voice, “If we want to keep our church and the believers, there is only one way: Do not let them read the Eastern Lightning books, or listen to the Eastern Lightning sermons. Only by doing this can we resolve the root of the problem. Now the best approach is to read to all believers the Chinese Communist Party’s negative propaganda materials condemning, cracking down on and repressing The Church of Almighty God, and put them in their hands. In this way, the believers will naturally dread to come into contact with people from Eastern Lightning. We have to notify all the churches as well: Whoever discovers Eastern Lightning followers coming to our church to steal sheep must call the police immediately!”
Hearing these words of Pastor Jia, Chu Xiao outside the door could not help showing an unconvincing and very shocked look. She thought: How could this happen? How could these words come from the mouth of Pastor Jia? He is familiar with the Bible; doesn’t he know that to do so is against the Lord’s teachings and is the Judas’ act of betraying the Lord and his friends? So much puzzled, Chu Xiao really wanted to rush in right now to ask what the matter actually was. Just at that moment, from the house came the voice of Elder Yang, “Pastor Jia, I don’t agree with this approach. Even the unbelievers now all know that China is the country with the least human rights and religious freedom in the world. The CCP, in order to maintain its dictatorship, is not beyond making up any rumor or doing any despicable thing. Haven’t the evil deeds of the CCP persecuting Christians been enough? How many Christians have been tortured to death by them? Once, you and I were sent to prison because of believing in the Lord, and the CCP tried to make us abandon our beliefs by using every means to torture and afflict us. Have you forgotten that? In addition, anyone with a discerning eye all can see that these materials concocted by the CCP are rumors and slanders about The Church of Almighty God. How can we spread something like this? If Eastern Lightning is the true way and is the return of the Lord, then in this so, would not we become accomplices to the CCP, the puppets of Satan, and the sinners who resist God?”
Then a soprano voice echoed, “I concur with Elder Yang’s words. The CCP government is an atheistic regime. Throughout history, it has always supported evil, cracked down on justice, and opposed God. If we spread the various rumors and heresy created by it, we would be leading brothers and sisters to rely on a satanic regime, this is behavior that resists and betrays the Lord. That way, we will no doubt be condemned by the Lord.” Hearing this, Chu Xiao nodded and thought: After hearing these words, Pastor Jia should agree with it. At the thought of this, she was about to push the door open and walk in, but then Pastor Jia’s angry voice gave her pause, “But according to what you say, aren’t we simply handing the church we worked so hard to build over to Eastern Lightning? If our brothers and sisters are all stolen away by Eastern Lightning, how can we face the Lord when He returns? My approach is completely in order to defend the way of the Lord, and to protect the flock!”
Following this, another co-worker said, “That’s right! No matter what, the approach of Pastor Jia is all about keeping the church, and making the believers keep the Lord’s way and not be deceived. Owing to Eastern Lightning being too powerful, we have no choice but to take advantage of the CCP government’s negative propaganda and use coercive measures, otherwise keeping our church will not be possible.” At that time, Chu Xiao’s expression froze, and her heart immediately hit the bottom. She never thought that Pastor Jia clearly knew that it was wrong to do that but he still persisted in doing it … Suddenly, the stern and just words of Elder Yang broke into her thought, “But did you ever think this: The CCP is now using all their strength to crack down on and suppress The Church of Almighty God. Many believers in Almighty God are being imprisoned, and some even persecuted to death. If we call the police and place people from The Church of Almighty God into the CCP’s hands, wouldn’t we be delivering believers in God to Satan? In doing that, we would be committing a sin and resisting God! This would be a sin, and it incurs retribution! If Eastern Lightning really is the work of God in the last days, wouldn’t we then become the modern-day Pharisees by resisting and condemning it this way? And wouldn’t we be condemned as sinners through the ages? In that case, we will surely be punished and cursed, beyond redemption!”
Next, Brother Hou shouted, “But if we don’t do this, the believers will all follow Eastern Lightning. And church offerings will be fewer and fewer. In future, what will we use to fund expenditures? Who are we preaching to if there’s no one in the church? Let’s do as Pastor Jia says!”
After Chu Xiao heard these words, she immediately understood why they do all in their power to resist and condemn The Church of Almighty God. At that moment, the argument still raged on in the house, but Chu Xiao was in no mood for what they said. She felt sad and disappointed because the lofty image of Pastor Jia in her heart was completely overturned at this very moment. Now she did not know how to
choose between entering in the house to face Pastor Jia and leaving there.
Then she heard Elder Yang saying angrily, “We keep saying that church offerings are reduced and now no one listen to our preaching. What on earth are we thinking about? Just who are we serving? Doesn’t this deserve our introspection? Back then, the Pharisees who preached in the temple did not at all exalt God or bear witness for God. They also never led believers to practice God’s words. What they valued were gold, wealth, and high-ranking positions at the temple. The Lord Jesus condemned them, ‘But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! …’ (Matthew 23:13). In our work and preaching, if we do not lead brothers and sisters to carry out the Lord’s words and obey His commandments, but just serve our own status and livelihood, then aren’t we treading the same path as the Pharisees? Haven’t we become the modern Pharisees? This is too dangerous! Once we have committed all kinds of evil, we will be cursed and punished by God. Then we won’t be able to turn back, not even have a chance to repent!”
Hearing the questioning from Elder Yang, Pastor Jia couldn’t help shouting angrily, “Am I not blocking Eastern Lightning from stealing sheep from our church for the sake of protecting brothers and sisters and protecting the church? How could you say I am a Pharisee? Do you have a conscience? I worked so hard to build this church. No one can take my sheep away from me! End of discussion!”
Hearing that, finally, Chu Xiao could not help pushing the door open and entering the house. Hearing the sound, Pastor Jia and the co-workers all looked toward the door in surprise. Chu Xiao said to Pastor Jia solemnly with justice, “Pastor Jia, from the time I was little, I listened to your sermons and was filled with ambition to become an excellent preacher like you. I always thought what you lived out was devout and you truly loved the Lord, and thus I esteemed you a lot. But today, how disappointed you make me feel! In order to preserve your own position and job, you, as the leader of the church, forget the Lord’s teachings. Facing those who preach theof the Lord, you do not lead believers to seek and investigate, but even go so far so to hand those believers in God over to the CCP government. You are not a person who serves God at all! You are just the same as the Pharisees who persecuted the Lord Jesus!”
Hearing this, Pastor Jia was so angry that he pointed to Chu Xiao with a trembling hand and was totally speechless …