I have recently been thinking about the topic of bible smuggling in China. I have been asked about it a lot and it has been the topic of many recent conversations. It is a sensitive subject because there seems to be two contradictory sides that are causing much confusion to “senders” as to what the real situation in China is.
It would not be unheard of for a church member to hear a missionary talk about the need of smuggling bibles into China and then hear another missionary say something completely opposite, such as, “we no longer need to smuggle bibles into China because you can freely buy bibles in a Christian bookstore.”
The person sitting in the pew is confused and doesn’t want to judge that one of them is wrong. The likely result is to set the subject aside and simply be happy throwing money at missions to check off the box on your tithing envelope.
I want to take a couple of post and talk about this subject of bible smuggling in China.
First things first, let me give some clarifying statements so there will be less confusion throughout this series of posts:
- This is not an attack on bible smugglers. It is an open discussion. It’s an attempt at the disconnect between the two different ministry philosophies. It’s a way to see if there is a better way to use our resources for China.
- Just because a pastor allows a missionary to speak in front of the church doesn’t mean that missionary is being truthful, has the best plan for a country, or that he is not ignorant of the true condition and need of the country he is representing.
- Senders need to be investors, not simply givers. Be good stewards of God’s money and invest it with wisdom and faith.
- Just because I think there are better options than bible smuggling doesn’t mean that I am against the bible.
- I am not against “bible smuggling,” I am just considering its’ relevance in modern China.
- I may be wrong in some of my assumptions and information. Thus, I am willingly to learn from those who are leading the way for bible smuggling in China.
Now, with these clarifying statements being understood, let’s answer two important questions:
Is it legal for a Chinese person to buy a bible in China?
Yes! A Chinese person can legally buy a bible from a government approved Church and some Christian bookstores located inside China. Also, they can buy bibles online. Bibles are being legally and illegally published in China. Bibles are inexpensive, affordable and fairly easy to get.
What formats can Chinese people access the Bible?
Besides buying a traditional Bible, a Chinese person can freely access and read the Bible on the internet through many unblocked websites. They can get access to the Chinese audio Bible for free download on many websites, as well as access podcast, CDs, and audio players that contain the Word of God. The digital age has really put an end to the days where people only have a few pages of the Bible where they are reading with candle light.
Now, you are probably thinking that if the answers to these two questions are true and correct then why are people still smuggling bibles into China. Good question, right?