Forty years ago China saw the end of the Cultural Revolution, a time which is often described as one of the most painful events in Chinese Christians’ history. It ran across a ten year period, from 1966- 1976. During this time all Christian activity was forbidden, people saw their Bibles burned and confiscated and all churches were closed.
Just last year, a member from the United Bible Societies China Partnership team met with Madam Zhou, a 70 year old Chinese Christian who bravely managed to keep her Bible safely hidden during the difficult period of the Cultural Revolution. Madam Zhou’s unwavering faith gave her the strength to keep her copy of the Bible stored in her thatched roof even during rigorous searches by the Red Guard. Madam Zhou states that she risked her life for her Bible because she knew of its importance as a result of what her mother had taught her:
…the God of the Bible is the true God. She taught us never to abandon the Lord; we are to walk the path of heaven. So the Bible is very precious to me, it is filled with truths to help me live.
At the end of the Cultural Revolution as China began to reopen its churches, there was a severe Bible drought and Christians began to rely heavily on the few copies that had been hidden during the Cultural Revolution. People like Madam Zhou became crucial in keeping the Word of God alive within China’s communities.
The last 40 years has seen a great turn around for the country. The official estimate of Chinese Christians is 40 million but the unofficial number reaches a staggering 100 million. As churches throughout China continue to grow and thrive, there is an increasing demand for more Bibles and trained pastors to encourage and support the rising Christian population. With 128 million Chinese living on less than $1 a day there is a great need for free distribution of Bibles and low-cost Bibles.
A number of encouraging steps have already been taken within China by the United Bible Societies and the Chinese government to try and address these issues.
In November of last year, the China Christian Council/Three-Self Patriotic Movement (CCC/TSPM) gathered to celebrate 30 years of partnership in Bible Ministry with the United Bible Societies (UBS) and Amity Foundation. Leaders from UBS and Bible Societies around the world were invited to join in the celebration.
Almost thirty years previously, in 1987, after a continuing lack of Bibles and a rise in the number of Christians, there was a turning point for Bible ministry. Through the support of UBS and the Chinese government; Amity Printing Press (APP) was established. Since its establishment, the Church in China has gone on to distribute more than 70 million copies of the Bible in Mainland China and millions more throughout the world, making it the largest Bible distributor worldwide. UBS have continued to support APP by supplying and funding Bible paper.
After the 100 millionth Bible in China was printed in 2012, Mr Qiu Zhonghui, Amity Printing Company’s Board Chairman reinforced the strong importance of Bible distribution throughout China and indeed the world. He highlighted that it is not only about spreading the Word of God but also about bringing the Chinese people closer to God and to the world.
There are still millions of Chinese Christians who do not have access to a copy of the Bible and desperately seek to have one of their own. With your help, we want to continue to put the Word of God into the waiting hands of those in need.
So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily
- Pray for the millions of poor rural Christians in China who still do not have their own Bible.
- Pray for the funding of these Bibles.
- Pray for each Christian who receives a copy of the Bible that they may read and understand the Word of God and be nurtured and transformed.
- Pray for each non-believer or seeker who receives a copy of the Bible, that their heart will be opened to the Word of God.