“Chinese Christians are quite clever,” my Chinese friend told me.
She started the conversation by saying, “We can no longer buy Bibles online. The government now prohibits that.”
Online Bible sales banned
On April 5, the New York Times confirmed what my friend knew. “The Chinese government has banned online retailers from selling the Bible, moving in the wake of new rules to control the country’s burgeoning religious scene…. The move aligns with a longstanding effort to limit the influence of Christianity in China. Among China’s major religions — which include Buddhism, Taoism, Islam and folk beliefs — Christianity is the only one whose major holy text cannot be sold through normal commercial channels. The Bible is printed in China but legally available only at church bookstores.”
Axios.com observed, “Censorship has always been an issue in China and it continues to accelerate, especially within its digital borders, as President Xi Jinping consolidates his power. The government's efforts to ban online sales of the Bible serve as the latest example of Xi's attempts to assert his control over what he sees as promoting China's traditional values.”
God's Word is not chained
My friend didn’t seem particularly upset by the new regulations, however. “Christians will find ways to distribute Bibles,” she said. “This law won’t stop that from happening.”
Paul told Timothy, “The word of God is not chained” (2 Timothy 2:9, EHV). The pages of history record how every attempt to limit the spread of God’s Word has not only met with failure, it has met with defeat. Please join your prayers with ours for that outcome to come swiftly throughout China.