USA (MNN) — It's been about a month since the Summer Olympics in Beijing, and Christians believe it's a new season in China for religious freedom. But is it?
Patrick Klein, founder of Vision Beyond Borders (VBB), was involved in a situation that made international headlines. He and three others had more than 300 Bibles confiscated in China last month as: 'This is our country. You do everything by our rules now. We're going to set the stage for the whole world now.'"
While many Western media outlets criticized the group for politicizing the situation, Klein says that's not the case. They have done this a number of times before because the need is so great. "There's a list of 400,000 pastors that are waiting for these study Bibles. Each of these pastors wants 10 to 100 Bibles. If they could buy these on the black market, they would pay six months to a year's salary."
The VBB team was detained because of a Chinese law. "They supposedly made a law June 1, 2007 that any foreign person coming into the country can only bring one religious article with them into China, and that's for your own personal use," says Klein.
He says he had never heard of this law before. "When we talked to the U.S. Embassy, they said, 'We've never heard of this either,' and they were upset. They said, 'We're on our way.' They asked to see the law in Chinese, and they translated it and said, 'Yes, you broke the law.'"
While news reports indicate Bibles are being printed in China and are available, Klein says, "There are some available in the cities, but I think those people are being watched that are getting the larger quantities. And they're [being] followed to see who they're ministering to. [China is] printing millions of Bibles, but a lot of those Bibles are being exported to foreign countries."
Klein is asking you to get involved, first of all by praying. "Only God can change this law in China. Also, if people want to support [us] financially, that always helps. We also need people to come over and help us carry Bibles into China."
While the team did get their Bibles back when they left the country, Klein says this was a small situation. "What we went through was so little compared to what our brothers and sisters face inside China, those who are sent to hard labor. One pastor we've worked with for years has spent over 22 years in prison for his faith in Jesus Christ."