China (MNN) – Little accessibility to the global Church and to the Gospel makes China a difficult place to live as a Christian. Poor accessibility to the Gospel is a growing concern as opportunities for foreigners to bolster the Chinese Church dwindle.
Available or Accessible?
In every mission field the questions of availability and accessibility must be considered. Availability speaks to the possibility of attaining Scripture. Can people find the Word of God, in Chinese, in China?
Accessibility speaks to how easy it is to get the Bible. Can anyone get it, or is Scripture only accessible if you meet certain criteria and live in a certain place?
An Accessibility Issue
Wendell Rovenstine, President of Bibles for China, says the Bible is available. “A lot of times I think people become confused. The availability of Bibles within China is still fair. They’re available and people can still receive Bibles that are legal, that are printed in China at Amity Press. We at Bibles for China make and provide those Bibles in the rural Chinese communities through the associations and networks we have there.”
Accesibility, on the other hand, is harder to come by.
Rovenstine acknowledges that different ministries go about the problem of accessibility in different ways. Bibles for China commits to legally spreading the Word of God. Through their ministry, many churches and Christians in rural areas have access to Scripture that wasn’t afforded prior.
However, Rovenstine admits that outside the registered Church, China shuts down any kind of ministry. The window of opportunity for foreign support of national believers is closing.
A Need for Study Tools
So, while they continue to focus on providing Scripture, Bibles for China also works toward fulfilling requests for discipling materials.
“They need Bibles, but they’re telling us also that with the Bibles they need resources. In other words, the need study Bibles. They need John Maxwell leadership Bibles, they need commentaries, they need some sort of something that they give the individuals with preaching points and leaders within the registered Church in China.”
Bibles for China obtained the proper permits to give these things out within the registered Church. This increased accessibility of the Gospel in rural areas.
It can be difficult to work within the parameters of what the government deems as correct for Christianity, but Rovenstine still sees the registered churches as a way to get God’s Word in more hands.
“I’m not being naïve to what I read and what I see and what I know. But we are being intentionally involved in accomplishing the delivery of Bibles within China that are legal.”
As Bibles for China grows, they have seen more and more national leaders take up the call to distribute Bibles. Chinese Christians take the lead on Bibles for China projects. Locals see the importance of Scripture and can work without as much suspicion as outsiders.
And as policies on foreigners tighten, locals may have to be the only ones leading the way. That’s why Rovenstine encourages Christians to pray for their brothers and sisters in China.
Pray for religious leaders as they struggle to remain true to the Bible and effectively minister in an increasingly closed off atmosphere.
Pray also that God would open doors not only for more Chinese to come to Christ, but for Chinese missionaries to go to other places with the Word of God. They have a heart for spreading His truth.
Pray that Bibles for China would be allowed to continue their efforts and consider joining their ministry by donating here.
Header photo courtesy of Bibles for China.