Bibles are hard to come by in China, and the story of the Gospel is needed in the country now more than ever.
China has dealt more quickly with its coronavirus outbreak than many other countries, but also with more draconian lockdown measures. For months, China has been free of any severe COVID-19 spikes, but a recent outbreak in Beijing from a food market caused the city to go into a lockdown once again.
This exhibition of control concerns Christians in China, as the government has continued cracking down on the Church.
Kurt Rovenstine of Bibles for China says as things began returning to normalcy, churches have slowly opened. “[Many] churches are opening, but requiring their people to reserve a spot. Many come to church through an online platform so that they don’t [the building].”
Getting Bibles into the country
Rovenstine says Bibles are hard to come by in China. “I mean, they don’t sell them on street corners. And in every bookstore in town, there are only specific areas where they’re available. Even in the cities . . . there could be as few as five to 10 church-sponsored bookstores where Bibles could be purchased. In a town of millions, that’s not a lot.”
To add to the difficulty, the poverty gap in China is growing. Rovenstine says, “The rich are getting richer, and the poor are not closing that gap at all. The affordability of the Bible is not something [many] could achieve.”
Now more than ever, Rovenstine says, Bibles for China is committed to getting the story of the Gospel into the hands of Chinese people.
The Communist Party in China feels threatened by this story. This comes as no surprise; political leaders throughout history have taken exception to the proclamation of Jesus as the rightful king of all things.
This angst, Rovenstine says, may cause the Chinese government to try to rewrite the Bible to fit the ideals of the Communist Party. “That rewriting is happening within all of the holy writings of the religions that are approved in China. It’s definitely something that’s more than just a murmur,” he says. Bibles for China is watching the situation carefully to make sure Chinese people receive Bibles with the Gospel story intact.
Pray for Christian leaders in China that have to make daily decisions about following Christ while maintaining relationships with the Chinese government. They want to freely proclaim the Gospel as it was originally written.