China (MNN) – China can be a difficult place to be a Christian. And it appears that the rules of what the government will allow from Christianity are changing, again.
Changes in Church Life
Kurt Rovenstine with Bibles for China says their contacts are facing many of the same troubles other Christian organizations have expressed; the government is cracking down on Christianity.
For many churches, this means programs are being shut down.
“Sunday school is going away. [There is] pressure from the government to try to control and limit the scope of Christianity. And part of that is, I believe, that the church is still strong. And we visit folks that are doing great things and still have a passion for the Bible, still have a passion for evangelism, still have a passion to see the Church grow. And we know that when things are moving forward that the enemy will come in and try to thwart that.”
A New Focus
The growing pressure to limit the scope of Christ in China is changing the way many ministries operate. Bibles for China sees these changes as a way to broaden or shift their focus.
Instead of solely Bibles, they want to offer study Bibles and commentary sets as well. These items are more difficult to get to their partners. However, they are valuable assets for training younger, rural generations and lay-pastors. Because of security concern, these materials are handed out one-on-one to specific partners instead of en masse.
However, the focus on Scripture is not going away, Rovenstine explains. “We still will be primarily about Bibles, as many as we can, as far away as we can. You know into the remote areas, we’ll try to see that Bibles are distributed so that there’s plenty of copies of God’s Word if things would ever shift, you know, really radically.”
A New Verification System
In addition to a small shift in focus, Bibles for China has been forced to change the way they operate. Changes in government have made it very difficult for Westerners to do much beyond traditional sight-seeing.
That’s why Bibles for China relies more heavily on partners they have made in the past. They no longer send teams into China to verify Bibles and encourage local believers; instead, they work with Chinese partners who do the coordination for them.
“They send us reports. Numbers of Bibles to specific churches and those kinds of things. And then we’ve had partnerships for many years with several provinces. We trust the leaders. We’ve been there multiple times. They send us a similar report. Number of Bibles, names of Churches … So, we do still have a verification process, it’s just a little different.”
These changes can be difficult. However, Bibles for China is continuing to bring Bibles and study materials to people who need them in China, at least for now.
Pray for Revival
When asked how people can pray, Rovenstine recounted the last time he was permitted to attend a church service in China. The pastor spoke about the dry bones in Ezekiel. He asked his people to seek a revival in China through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Rovenstine explains, “Not that there aren’t good things already, but it’s so easy to see the conflict, trouble, and persecution and strife and think that the dry bones are going to just remain in the valley and continue to rattle around in the desert wind. But as Ezekiel saw that great vision, I think we can pray for a great coming together of the Church in China and the Church around the world. That the Holy Spirit through the word of God, through the determination and faithfulness of His people there would be a great revival.”
Please join Bibles for China in praying for God’s spirit to revive the Church in China and protect His people who are facing troubles.
Please also consider joining Bibles for China financially here.
Header photo courtesy of Bibles for China