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David Lin, jailed for his faith for 17 years in China


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Though he was later exonerated, Seventh-day Adventist Church administrator David Lin was jailed for his faith for 17 years in China under Chairman Mao Zedong's regime.

lin-web.jpg David Lin backstage at the Adventist Church's General Conference Session in St. Louis, Missouri in 2005. [photo: Richard Dower]

Lin, who died February 10 at age 93, was serving in Shanghai as secretary of the Adventist Church's China Division when the country was swept by momentous political and social changes under Chairman Mao. When the assets of the Adventist Church in China were frozen, Lin turned to other employment, while in his spare time translating the Adventist book Desire of Ages from English to Chinese.

Lin and his family's commitment to practicing their faith continued to attract the attention of authorities. He was arrested in 1958 on charges of "counter-revolution activities," and in 1960 he was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment.

After serving his term, Lin went on to pastor one of the largest Adventist congregations in Shanghai. He retired in Loma Linda, California, United States where he continued his translation and philanthropic work. In 1991, Lin was fully exonerated by the Chinese government of all charges of wrongdoing.

Lin later wrote about his incarceration, forced labor and separation from his wife and five children without bitterness, saying: "In retrospect, I praise God for His providential care in making all things work out for the good of all those concerned."

John Graz, secretary-general of the International Religious Liberty Association, called Lin a "giant of moral courage, whose life stands as a testament to the endurance of faith."

"In the story of David Lin's life, I hear echoes of the stories of hundreds and thousands of men and women around the globe today who are harassed, jailed, and sometimes put to death, simply because they have chosen the path of faithfulness," Graz said.

Adventist world church President Ted N.C. Wilson spoke of Lin as a "valiant servant of the Lord who stood courageously for God's church during very difficult times."

"On behalf of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist family, we offer our deep sympathy to members of Pastor David Lin's family," said Wilson. "Through God's leading, may we learn from David Lin's stalwart example of proclaiming the three angels' messages as we face the future challenges to our faith in God and His Word. What a blessed hope we have in Jesus as we look forward to seeing Pastor Lin at Christ's soon return."

ANN World News Bulletin is a review of news issued by the Communication department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church World Headquarters and released as part of the service of Adventist News Network. For reproduction requirements, click here. The opinions expressed by Commentary authors and sources in ANN news stories do not necessarily reflect those of Adventist News Network© and/or the Seventh-day Adventist© Church.

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God bless that man. What a witness he was (and still is) for his faith in Christ. He was no afraid to stand up for truth and be counted even though it meant saying good-bye to everything but Christ.

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  • 10 years later...

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