Battling barriers and censorship to provide God’s Word.
Whether we think of it as the “lamp to our feet” which guides our lives, the “sword of the Spirit” which fends off attacks from the evil one, or as “spiritual milk” on which every believer depends for maturity, God’s Word is crucial.
How sobering it is then, to consider the church in China, where millions await a copy of Scripture for themselves. With an estimated 100 million members living under ever–increasing oppression and opposition, access to God’s Word will be essential for their endurance.
We are privileged, therefore, to support a ministry providing God’s Word to the church in China – a nation which sees the church as a threat. Understanding the significance of the Bible to believers, the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have made it ever more difficult to obtain a Bible in–country.
CENSORSHIP & CORRUPTION
Efforts to carry Scripture into the nation have been successful in the past, but border patrols are vigilant and teams have been caught, with Bibles confiscated as a result. Many of the routes used by teams and groups known to us have become closed off, making physical Bible distribution incredibly difficult.
China is also the world–leader in technologies such as surveillance through facial recognition, and “The Great Firewall of China” has been in place for some time, blocking access to many prohibited pages including popular social media websites. The close attention paid to internet use has resulted in trepidation among Christians when seeking to access God’s Word online. We are thankful that digital distribution still occurs, although this often takes place through offline methods to avoid detection.
When Chinese authorities are not suppressing the spread of Scripture, they distort it instead. A few years ago, the government openly announced plans to “reinterpret” the Bible to emphasise aspects sympathetic to the CCP’s values. A glimpse of what this looks like was discovered in an ethics and law textbook used in schools. In it, the story of Jesus’ encounter with the woman caught in adultery from John 8 was retold. Rather than calling anyone without sin to throw the first stone, the CCP version instead has Jesus stoning the woman to death himself to uphold the law, and even confessing that he too is a sinner. This is a convenient corruption for the CCP to make, undermining the perfection of Christ while suggesting that the law is so sacred that even Jesus would execute a woman to uphold it.
Such attacks on God’s Word come as part of a wider effort to subsume the Christian faith into Chinese Communist values. Continued and easy access to accurate and faithful copies of Scripture is crucial for the church to resist these attempts.
A Closing Door
It is into this context that our partner continues to distribute Bibles. Their work has been monumental, with over 17 million copies provided to date, and 230,000 more Bibles being produced and distributed every month.
Our partner is an expert on the church in China and shares incredibly encouraging news. Despite the oppression, it is thought the church is China in continuing to grow by 10,000 to 15,000 believers every day! God is truly moving in this hostile land but the need for Bibles is only increasing with millions waiting for their first ever copy.
This highly sensitive work has had to overcome many challenges over the years, particularly amid the government clamp down on Christianity. Many in our partner’s network have been arrested or disappeared, and hundreds of churches have been forced to close by the authorities. Sadly, while Bibles may be going out in large numbers today, he suspects that increasing efforts to suppress the faith will soon cause the door to be closed.
Bibles are urgently needed while this opportunity remains. For the church in China to endure and continue to grow, please help us continue to provide God’s Word so that millions of Chinese brothers and sisters might have the lamp, sword and milk which will be so crucial to their walk with the Lord.