Liu Jingwen (刘景文女士-1909-1992)

Helpmate and Prisoner

Before Prison

Liu Jingwen, a quiet and patient lady, was the wife and suitable helpmate God gave to Wang Mingdao (王明道), China’s courageous prophet. Jingwen was born in Dinghai, Zhejiang on March 29, 1909 into a pastor’s family. She met Wang Mingdao when he visited their home in Hangzhou in 1925. After graduation from high school, she worked at the Hangzhou Bible School until their marriage on August 7, 1928.

They first lived in Beijing with his mother and sister in circumstances that were very difficult for Jingwen. In 1930 she gave birth to their son and only child, Tianduo. When Mr. Wang’s growing congregation built the Christian Tabernacle in 1937, the family and several co-workers moved there. Jingwen played the piano and quietly helped those in need.

Mr. Wang was pressured to join a government-sponsored church union after Japan invaded China in 1937. Before a critical meeting with officials, he prayed with Jingwen and several other church workers. God gave him great peace and strength to refuse, and the Japanese puppet government left him alone. After the Communist Party took over China in 1949, Mr. Wang was again pressured to join a government-sponsored church union, the Three Self Patriotic Church. In August 1955 he sensed a time of decision was approaching. Because of his success in handling the issue under Japanese rule, he neglected to pray with Jingwen and others in this time of crisis. Later he was to admit that this was a major mistake on his part.

In Prison

Mr. and Mrs. Wang were both arrested on August 7, 1955. Mr. Wang’s courage deserted him. Under fear for his life and Jingwen’s, he betrayed his convictions, stated that the Three Self was good and correct, and confessed that he had committed a crime. When he promised to join the Three Self, he was released on September 29, 1956, but Jingwen was not released until he read his confession publicly at the YMCA. Deeply depressed that he had compromised, Mr. Wang resigned from the Tabernacle. He and Jingwen moved back to the old Wang family home in April 1957.

A year later, when it became clear that Mr. Wang was not going to join or preach for the Three Self, they were re-arrested. For five years they were in separated in jail awaiting sentencing. In 1963, when the government finally became convinced that Mr. Wang would not change his stand, he was given a life sentence, and Jingwen was given 15 years. Mr. Wang then realized that his lack of prayer and resulting fall into lies had kept him apart from the Lord for 8 years, and when he repented his joy returned.

Jingwen was shuttled between several prisons and labor camps near Beijing for the next decade. During the Cultural Revolution she lost the sight in one eye when her medicine for glaucoma was withheld. God continued to use her, and a Muslim inmate who once beat her eventually accepted Christ. Jingwen’s sentence ended in 1973, but only after another two years was she finally allowed to visit Mr. Wang for the first time in 17 years.

After Prison

She moved to Shanghai in 1977 to live with her son’s family in a one-room apartment, and Mr. Wang joined them there in January 1980 after his life sentence was commuted. In 1983 they moved to a three-room apartment and began having regular Sunday meetings. By then Jingwen had lost the sight in her other eye, and Mr. Wang was nearly blind and deaf. He continued to write appeals to the government to reverse his unjust conviction. She continued to let the whole matter rest with the Lord. Mr. Wang went to be with the Lord on July 28, 1991, and his beloved helpmate joined him on April 18, 1992.

References
  1. Harvey, Thomas Alan. Acquainted with Grief. (Brazos Press, 2002).
  2. Wang, Stephen. The Long Road to Freedom - The Story of Wang Mingdao. (Sovereign World Ltd., 2002).