China (MNN) — The stories are woven into the history of Christianity with exquisite detail — missionaries smuggling Bibles into areas of the world closed to the Gospel. But does the need to smuggle Bibles into China still exist? Wendell Rovenstine, President of Bibles for China, says there is a better — and safer — way to put the Word of God in the hands of believers.
Rovenstine is currently in China with a team of missionaries, distributing Bibles and offering encouragement to seminary students in the country. He says it is a common misconception that those Bibles are brought from the United States, when in actuality, they are printed in China.
“There are Bibles available in China that are legal, that are approved by the Religious Affairs Bureau under the umbrella of the Communist Party,” shares Rovenstine. “These Bibles are provided for sale only through the Church, and it’s these Bibles that Bibles for China distributes.” The Bibles produced at Amity Printing, the largest manufacturer of Bibles in the world, do not carry an ISBN number so they cannot be legally sold in retail stores — making them a safer option for Chinese believers to own than Bibles provided by other countries.
While the misconception still exists that Bibles are being smuggled into China, Rovenstine says that is far from the truth. “We work in tandem with the Chinese people and the Chinese government to provide Bibles to what is considered a minority group — the Christians.”
He shares, “It’s a brand new Bible that’s not going to be harvested and resold. They are distributed by pastor leaders who have a heart for their people.” The Bibles are provided free of charge to all who need them.
While Communist Party members are required to profess atheism in China, religious freedom is protected by the Chinese Constitution. Christianity continues to grow in the country, with an estimated 100 million people professing faith in Jesus Christ. With the current rate of growth, experts predict China will eclipse the United States in the number of Christians within the next 15 years.
Rovenstine says it’s this explosive growth that makes partnership with Bibles for China so important. “We are so confident that Bibles for China is a ministry of the Lord’s, and the Lord really has given Bibles for China favor, and I just thank God for partners who know and sense the need for Bibles,” he shares.
“Bibles are our passion and China is our heart.”
He continues. “There is a great revival taking place in China, but with that great revival comes great responsibility on the heart of Bibles for China to have funds sufficient enough to provide the numbers of Bibles that are being requested from us, so God’s been good. We rejoice together as many join us in purchasing Bibles online, just simply going to BiblesforChina.org and helping us with the great need that exists in China for Bibles.”
As he has witnessed the outpouring of generosity over the years, Rovenstine offers a powerful reminder of how the Lord uses believers to impact the world through the Gospel. “We cannot take what God gives us as the ministers of the Gospel for granted when He blesses and uses those that are willing to have passion for what needs to be done.
“I believe where love exists for the lost, there’s always action that follows.”