China (MNN) — When it comes to China, everyone has a different story. Is the Church persecuted or supported by the government? Do Bibles need to be smuggled in or can they be legally purchased in the country? Are believers struggling or thriving?
According to Wendell Rovenstine of Bibles for China, the answer is simple. “If someone tells you something about China, you can almost always look them in the eye and with a smile and almost a peace in your heart say to them, ‘Yes, that’s right.’”
That’s because, thanks to China’s massive size and population, two very distinct personalities make up China’s Church. While Bibles for China works with believers in the registered Church, “There are Christians — and there are millions of them — that meet in houses and business buildings that are often considered the underground Church.”
(Photo courtesy of Bibles for China)
That means that distribution methods for Bibles depend on the region. Bibles for China purchases and distributes Bibles to members of the registered Church who can’t afford their own, but there are others that work to get Scripture to the underground Church. Either way, because Bibles are not given ISBN numbers, they are not sold in normal shops and must be purchased directly from printers.
Even calculating the number of Christians in the country can be a challenge. “Some will say there are 40 million believers in China, but others say there are more than 150 million,” Rovenstine says. “When you do the research you just don’t get any definitive answers.”
But Rovenstine says the difference in missions’ approaches shouldn’t mean the Church can’t be united. “The greatest travesty is that Christians spend their time trying to work through these things so that they know what they should do rather than go see and be with someone or with a group.
“With [1.379 billion] people, 195 organizations working together will never accomplish the distribution of Scripture in China because it is a vast number of people that need His word, not without everyone doing their part.” Find out how you can get involved.