Friday, June 08, 2007

China, Christianity, and the Bible

My hotel in Beijing provides me with an English language newspaper, the China Daily. I don't know how the content differs form what is in a typical Chinese language newspaper in Beijing, but right on the front page was a small story Call it a sign, word is out on the Bible. The story has some encouraging statements.
  • China has printed more than 43 million copies of the Bible in the past three decades, and the number of Protestants in the country now exceeds 16 million.
  • The free expression of Christianity in China is ensured and the Bible is widely available, said Rev Cao Shengjie, president of the China Christian Council, at the "Bible Ministry Exhibition of the Church in China", which concluded in Germany yesterday.
  • There are some 55,000 places of worship and 18 divinity and Bible schools
  • According to the Rev Yu Xinli, president of the Christian Council in Beijing, the number of Protestants is fast increasing in the capital with about 5,000 being baptised annually, he said.

When I visited the Beijing Haidian Christian Church on June 3, 2007 I was simply amazed hear a moving sermon (English translation received in real-time by a small FM radio receiver) on "taking up your cross" to follow Jesus and then to witness the baptism of 41 believers. There was a twenty foot long counter outside the sanctuary containing many Chinese Bibles for sale. Someone who spoke English told me some of the books where "how to be a Christian" books. Incidentally, I believe this church is the closest government-registered Protestant church to the Olympic Village.

I have had a few English-speaking Chinese tell me that some Chinese polititicans now openly talk about religion in China helping to create a "harmonious society". See the March 7, 2007 article Religion Can Contribute to Building a Harmonious Society. The story says that on March 4, 2007 "China's top political advisor Jia Qinglin called on religious groups to give full play to the positive role of religion to boost social harmony at a panel discussion with the country's political advisors from religious community. Jia also called for frequent exchanges between different religions and between religious believers and non-religious people to promote social stability and unity, and happiness of the people."

Copyright © 2007 by Philip Hartman - All Rights Reserved

1 comment:

ccc said...

"For the earth shall be filled with the knowleage of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" Habakkuk 2:14.

There shll be a latter rain in China and even the Earth not understand the work of the Lord but the simble Servants of God.

Philip, I am so happy about YOUR foot on the missionary land, What amazing! the History of poineer of Gospel fruits yields in China.