In February 2018, the Chinese government increased restrictions in an attempt to Sinicize religion in China. This means the government is trying to make Christianity match current Chinese ideology. This directly affects the number of Bibles churches can access.
Wendell Rovenstine from Bibles for China explains there are some Bibles available, but these Bibles may have been printed illegally by the underground Church. Other Bibles available have been approved by the government.
Neither option is a good choice. An illegally printed Bible is dangerous to have, and a Bible approved by the government may have been changed or tampered with.
Those living in rural parts of China have even less access to the Bible.
Rovenstine says, “They’re able to provide Bibles but… this is a poverty area, so they’re not able to purchase a Bible. So, we are able to transfer funds to them so that they can purchase Bibles for the churches.”
Bibles for China is working with Amity Press in Nanjing, China to provide legal, unchanged Bibles to rural China.
“We have chosen to stay open and legal and work as closely as we can with the Chinese Christian Council, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, and the provincial leaders to provide Bibles within China. We feel like God has really opened up multiple doors for us to do that,” Rovenstine adds.
New Opportunities to Teach Children
A second way these restrictions are affecting the Chinese churches are the limitations on what they can teach children.
Current restrictions make it illegal to bring children into the church or teach them about religion. This restriction means that churches are no longer allowed to host Sunday School classes anymore.
Rovenstine says, “Within China, they don’t allow Sunday schools, they don’t allow children…[and] there are some pretty strong restrictions… [for] what can be done within China.”
Both the churches in China and Bibles for China are finding ways to adjust to these restrictions.
The churches are stepping outside of the church doors to meet and teach children God’s Word.
“They may do it through a community event…. They may do it through a humanitarian event… [or they] could they do calligraphy and… teach the Bible through calligraphy of some sort,” Rovenstine says.
The main goal of the churches is to teach and disciple the younger generation.
Rovenstine adds, “The younger generation knows that there’s something beyond nothing… for the younger generation to understand and know that Christ exists.”
Bibles for China is also working to provide teaching and training materials to the churches so they may have additional resources to learn from.
Adjusting to Restrictions
These churches are adjusting to these restrictions and finding ways to continue spreading the Gospel. Please pray for the Church in China as they face these restrictions. Pray that many will hear God’s Word and receive Bibles.
To donate to Bibles for China to send Bibles to rural areas, click here. Every $5 sent is one Bible for a Chinese Christian.
Rovenstine says, “Five dollars furnishes a Bible in China and delivers a Bible in China and it stores a Bible in China until the church…is able to have people that are there to receive them.”
Header photo courtesy of Bibles for China.