One of the China's house church leaders, Li Tian'en who served the church for more than half a century, died on May 3 in Shanghai.
As one of those who witnessed the history of the Chinese churches, Li was listed as one of the patriarches of Chinese house churches along with Wang Mingdao, Ni Tuosheng or Watchman Nee, Yuan Xiangchen, Samuel Lamb, Xie Moshan and Yang Xinfei.
Called by the Lord in college, Li Tianen quitted his study and turned to study in a seminary in Kaifeng, Henan. Later he continued theological education in Nanjing and Hangzhou. He served the local churches in Nanjing, Hangzhou, Shangzhou and the northeastern area in China after graduation in July, 1950.
He had been imprisoned four times for the gospel during his lifetime, who spent more than a decade in Chinese prisons. He was arrested the second time in 1973 and sentenced to death due to his evangelism during the Cultural Revolution. Plus, he faced with execution by shooting three times, however, the Almighty God saved him from "the lion's mouth" amazingly.Then he resumed his preaching and service in the churches across the country after the end of the Revolution.
Pastoral staff and believers in Chinese house churches mourn for his death, commemorating and thanking for his life, saying, "His whole life witnessed Christ, leaving a good example and the message of life for us. May the Lord comfort his family and comfort us to continue to walk in the journey to the heaven."
Recalling his service, a pastor of a Chinese house church comments him as "the root of the church in Henan and the light of the church in Shanghai."
Meanwhile, some pastors share a few group photos of the pioneers of the Chinese house church including Xie Moshan, Simon Zhao and Li Tianen, saying, "Since these chariots and horsemen of Chinese churches have been taken by the Lord one by one, will more people who have good faith arise？They were persons who wanted no fame or wealth, the ones the world was not worthy of."