China (MNN) — 46
years ago this month, China entered the Cultural Revolution.
It was meant to
establish socialism and the strength of the Communist party as China's
future. The result was devastating. The expression of religious life in
China was effectively banned. Atheism
became the new religion that would affect generations to come.
Bibles For China President Wendell Rovenstine says, "There
is a great need for Bibles because they were all disposed of in the Cultural
Revolution [previously] when they ruled that China was going to be an atheistic
country. They got rid of every Bible that they could possibly get rid of, and
so they've been without the Bible for years."
In the years since the end of the Cultural Revolution, there's
been a steady growth among those who are following Christ. According to Bibles For China, within two
decades the Chinese Church will grow to over 400 million believers, and China
will become the largest Christian nation in the world. And yet few believers
have their own copy of God's Word.
of rural Chinese Christians are impoverished, living on less than $100 per
year. Access to Bibles and expense means
believers often resort to hand-copying precious pages and memorizing chapters
they circulate in amongst their church body. That's why Bibles For China wants to provide as many Bibles as they can
in rural China.
Rovenstine acknowledges it's a daunting task. "If you can
imagine one billion 33 million plus, and there's an estimate of 130 million
people that are Christians in that area, you get kind of overwhelmed to think
'that is a lot of people that need Bibles.' If you're poor and can't afford one,
or if you're in that remote area where there's not access to a Bible, it's a
They're working with the Amity Press, printing and helping to
distribute Bibles legally through the registered churches. "If they say we
can give Bibles, and they approve that, and it's part of their jurisdiction to
say we can do that, we're not out of line or illegal or doing something that
they say we can't. We work with the churches there, with the individuals
They also keep track of where the volumes go, explains Rovenstine.
"For every Bible that we place, we will go and have someone from our team
there to verify that that Bible did go to a
church, did go to a spiritual leader. That spiritual leader tells us
where those Bibles are going, and we have
full accountability from them."
Bibles For China wants to place 100,000 Bibles this year
among the rural churches. This year, he
says, they have something unique in place that will play a key role in a
Spiritual Revolution, of sorts. "For every Bible that we place in China, there's an anonymous donor
that will match Bible for Bible. So we get two Bibles for $5."
Rovenstine says people will find ways to use the Bible, and the Spirit
will do the rest. He shares, "There
was a grandmother receiving a Bible, and I said, 'What are you going to do with
this Bible?' She said, 'We are keeping
our grandchildren while their parents work in Beijing. We are going to use this
Bible as a textbook for our grandchildren to learn to read.'" Rovenstine remarked, "You can't tell me that someone who's
sitting reading God's Word, that God's Spirit doesn't quicken them and they
become followers of Jesus Christ."
It's the cost of a fast food lunch, or a medium latte from your favorite
coffee house, but this has staying power. "Five dollars makes a difference for
eternity, for an individual, and a family."
From the Gospel comes a revolution that's gaining speed and
transforming China's culture from the inside out. Can you help?