David Lin, 93, Adventist Pastor in China, "Giant of Moral Courage," Dies
Remained faithful despite Communist regime’s persecution
BY BETTINA KRAUSE, International Religious Liberty Association
David Lin, a man renowned for his courage and endurance in the face of religious persecution under China’s Communist regime, died February 10, 2011, four days before his 94th birthday. Lin, a Seventh-day Adventist pastor and administrator, refused to abandon his faith, and so endured 17 years’ imprisonment, forced labor, and separation from his wife and five children.
He wrote later about his incarceration 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.”
Lin was serving in Shanghai as secretary of the Adventist Church’s China Division in the late 1940s when China was swept by momentous political and social changes under the leadership of Communist Party chairman, Mao Zedong. 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’ imprisonment. After serving his term, Lin went on to pastor one of the largest Adventist congregations in Shanghai. He retired in Loma Linda, California, where he continued his translation and philanthropic work. In 1991, Lin was fully exonerated by the Chinese government of all charges of wrongdoing.
CHINESE PIONEER: Seventh-day Adventist pastor David Lin, and wife Clara, speak with Pastor Mark Finley behind stage at the 2005 General Conference Session in St. Louis, Missouri. David Lin died Feb. 10, 2011, just four days before his 94th birthday. [Photo: Richard Dower]
Dr. John Graz, Secretary-General of the International Religious Liberty Association, calls 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,” said Graz.
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.”
His wife Clara, and children Flora, Roger, Ruby, and Angelina survive. A funeral service was held February 20 in Loma Linda, California.