China (MNN) – As religious pressure continues to grow in China, Bibles for China sees the impact. National partners report that the government is forcing more of a presence in every day activities and worship. Even though Bibles for China operates legally, the increased scrutiny can mean challenges for the Church.
Tightening Restrictions, Continued Work
Even as regulations on religious freedom tighten, Bibles for China hopes to see 11 distributions within the next year.
Kurt Rovenstine, President of Bibles for China says, “And the challenge with that, is that because of some of the, the new presence – I guess, is the best way that I would describe it for our particular ministry – of the government in and around the church, it makes it a little more difficult. We’ve already had to make an adjustment on one of our first distributions because of that presence. That presence is a little more scrutiny.”
That increased scrutiny means that as a non-national organization, Bibles for China has to be a little more careful about what they are doing. They need to rely more on local Chinese partners and step back from certain activities. For instance Bibles for China no longer sends Westerners to local churches when Bibles are presented.
But Rovenstine says this doesn’t change the mission.
The Same Commitment
“What hasn’t changed really much [is] what we do; other than we are no longer there. And so we are providing resources for the Chinese Church and the leaders there to secure Bibles to, you know, distribute as the Chinese church, not as the foreigners coming in and passing them out.”
He continues, “It’s still the Bible that’s printed in China at Amity Press that we keep a very close eye on to make sure you know that it’s still the Scripture and it hasn’t been sensitized in any way nothing has been added to it.”
Stepping back has changed the dynamic in many places. Some places need additional space, yet in other areas new doors have opened.
In fact, deciding not to visit in person made a big difference in two areas. Rovenstine says, “Well, immediately when we decided not to visit, we had two new areas open up to us because the pastors felt as if then they could accept the help that we were giving to them without us having to come into their area. It reduced the scrutiny that that was upon them. So we saw that almost immediately, just an increased opportunity.”
Continued work, even under new rules, means continued spread of the Gospel. Rovenstine asks for prayer for Bibles for China as they seek to honor Christ even under a tightening regime.
“And so we want to be able to take the Word of God in ways that we currently aren’t. So that we can think creatively, that we can be good stewards of the gifts that folks give and be able to continue to get Bibles into the hands of folks who haven’t had them before. And that we can do it with integrity, and that we can do it with confidence that the Scripture we’re distributing is the unchanged Word of God.”
Please pray for the spread of the Gospel in rural China. Pray that it would be distributed unhindered and that God would bless and protect His workers in China.
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Header Image Courtesy of Bibles for China.