Pope criticizes China’s religious freedom record

By December 30, 2010

China (MNN) — Pope Benedict XVI's Christmas criticism of China's religious freedom has yet to draw an official response, but newspapers are responding. A state newspaper came out with a strongly worded editorial warning the Vatican to stop meddling in Beijing's business. While religious freedom continues to be a question, Christian organizations are using what freedom there is to do ministry.

President of Bibles for China Jonathan Brooks says they're working through registered churches in China to distribute Bibles. "The outside world has tried to control China for so long. China is just saying, 'No.' But there are ways to touch China, if you cooperate with the powers that be."

Brooks says Bibles for China has made an impact on the church. "We distributed over 27,000 Bibles in China this year. And it looks like 2011 is just going to be a banner year for us — taking Bibles to the rural believers in China." They have a goal of distributing 50,000 Bibles next year.

Their ministry is using registered churches in China to distribute Bibles printed by Amity Press, China's official Bible printer, says Brooks. "The registered churches in China are open. They need Bibles for their rural believers. And if foreign organizations like Bibles for China will come in and purchase the Bibles, they will help us openly distribute them and even assist in taking us to the most rural places in China."

Most rural believers would have to pay a month's salary to purchase a Bible on their own. Bibles for China provides Bibles to those who can't afford them.

That doesn't mean Bibles for China can go anywhere, but it does mean more Chinese believers can have a Bible. Brooks says that's important. "When a Chinese believer has a Bible and he speaks to his neighbor, he speaks with authority. A Chinese person can evangelize a Chinese person with no problem," he says. "When they have a Bible, they become evangelists. They go out and they touch their neighborhood, their family, and their friends. A Chinese person can evangelize a Chinese person with no problem when they have a Bible that's been printed in China."

According to Brooks, there's a reason they're focusing on the rural areas of China. "Out of the 20,000 [people] that are coming to Christ every day, 70 percent of those are in rural China, and they don't have access to Bibles."

$5 places two Bibles into the hands of a rural Christian because of a matching grant that was award to the ministry. Brooks says now you can have double the eternal impact as you invest in the lives of Chinese believers.

If you'd like to help Chinese believers reach out with the Gospel and grow in their faith, click here.

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