“According to the Chinese Communist government sources, over the past 24 years the government has made available 60 million legal Bibles, or possibly 25% of the actual need just to supply believers. No one knows exactly how many have been provided illegally, but we know that we encounter Christians every month who have never owned a Bible or whose Bible is very old and worn.” Chinese underground Church leader.
For many years, we have known from reliable sources that there has been a shortage of Bibles for the underground church in China. There has been much speculation by many respected missions about statements like this and it has certainly caused controversy for some decades. What we can reveal to you from statements made by respected leading Chinese believers is that after many years, they have reached the tipping point and are now desperate. “We need more Bibles!” We are hearing their cry and are committed to supplying God’s Word in their own language so that their needs may be met.
One question you may be asking yourself � what restrictions or limitations are placed on Chinese Christians who want to possess a Bible? When asked this question, our national contact replied, “Only a few, and certain types of Bibles are legal in China. Modern language translations are not permitted. Bibles can only be sold through the government-approved Three Self Patriotic Movement bookstores so that the people in the countryside and many people in the cities do not have access to them.”
The majority of China’s population still lives in the rural countryside. Their view of the world from these regions is very different to what is portrayed in the Western media. It prefers to show China through the glossy pictures of the Shanghai skyline with all its lights and wealth. The truth is, millions still live in primitive grass or wooden huts in rural or jungle settings and a visitor would be struck by the poverty and see only the weary, hungry faces of the villagers.
Many live in shacks built with large cracks or openings between the weather boards. In winter when the wind blows, it forces the snow into the house and for warmth, there is a fire pit in the centre of the dirt floor. Many Chinese live this way and our research shows that Christians living in these conditions live on approximately 87 cents per day.
Their Christian brothers and sisters throughout Eastern China try to give assistance by saving their used clothes to give to them, but food collection is far too expensive for even the middle class in the cities of the East. Christians living in rural China often share one Bible with several families in one church. They don’t know how to access legal Bibles and because the region is so vast, no one really knows their need. China has no fewer than 600 million people who are classified as ‘poor’ and ‘hungry’ and they are not only in the countryside, but also reside in the back streets of every city.
For the Christian in China today, Bibles and the provision of a basic Life Pack fits well within our Bibles Plus program which is designed to meet the ever increasing hunger for God’s Word and to satisfy their physical hunger as well. After many discussions with our national contacts, they recognise the need for this program and so this year, China is on the list to receive help from our Bibles Plus program.
Naturally, we cannot satisfy every need but we must endeavour to set a course to do the very best we can here in Australia, to consistently show the compassion and love of Christ by helping our brothers and sisters in China.
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10
Our VOM contact said “We are already working in these areas and with these needy people. We see every week, the need and we receive the requests every week for this kind of help. We have the relationships, we have the delivery infrastructure but we do not have the money to meet the need. Bibles Plus will meet the need that we cannot meet now!”
Click here to learn more about Bibles Plus