To Chinese authorities, Chen Wensheng is a troublemaker who was actually less trouble when he was just a drug addict on the street years ago. But to Chinese Christians, Chen Wensheng is a powerful street evangelist who even after 10 years refuses to stop preaching the gospel even though he has been arrested more than 100 times, including most recently on October 12.
“They call him the ‘Gospel Warrior’,” says Voice of the Martyrs Korea Representative Dr. Hyun Sook Foley. “For years he has walked the streets of Hengyang City, Hunan Province, as well as in other provinces in China and even in Vietnam. He carries a wooden cross displaying the words ‘Glory to our Savior’ and ‘Repent and be saved by faith’, and he hands out gospel tracts, even to the police who arrest him.”
According to Representative Foley, local officials made multiple visits to Evangelist Chen’s home in advance of the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in late October. “Police warned him not to preach during the congress,” she says. “Evangelist Chen says they tried to persuade him to join the local Three-Self church. He says they even offered to let him replace the two pastors of the local Three-Self church. He says they promised him the opportunity to preach to large crowds in government-approved locations in Hunan province. When he wouldn’t agree, they begged his wife to try to reason with him.”
“But Evangelist Chen just welcomed the officers into his home, gave them gospel tracts, and told them, ‘Officers, I’m glad you came again. Jesus loves you and blesses you!’” says Representative Foley.
She says that on October 12, authorities then took Evangelist Chen and his wife to a mountain for a half-month’s forced ‘vacation’, to prevent him from preaching during the Communist Party Congress. She says Chen used the time to rest and study.
Evangelist Chen, a former drug addict, reportedly heard the gospel in a rehab center.
“Years ago he was a drug addict. When he heard the gospel, he was delivered from his addiction and immediately began preaching on the streets. He’s been a street preacher for more than 10 years. He is a member of a small church, and yet even the authorities testify to the breadth of his impact.”
Chinese street evangelist Chen Wensheng
Chinese street evangelist Chen on the streets of Hengyang preaching the gospel
In 2020, national security officers told Chen that he had proclaimed the gospel four to five times each month in various regions to over a thousand people. “That year he was detained multiple times for sharing the gospel, and then he was detained another six times in 2021,” says Representative Foley. “He spent the 2021 New Year in a detention center. After 10 days, he and his 84-year-old mother shared the gospel and handed out gospel leaflets on the street, and they were detained again.”
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