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Todd Nettleton, director of media development for the Voice of the Martyrs USA, Jonathan Brooks, president of the Voice of China and Asia Missionary Society, and Gary Russell, international director for China Harvest, weigh in on whether Christians should continue to smuggle Bibles into China.

Bible Smuggling Is Still Necessary

Remember the sheer size of the Chinese church.

Todd Nettleton

Several years ago, my wife and I delivered a small suitcase of Bibles into the hands of a Chinese house—church pastor. When he opened the suitcase and saw the treasure inside, his face displayed the same look I'd seen on the faces of my young sons on Christmas morning, when they realized "Santa" had left a basketball hoop in our driveway: sheer, unfettered joy.

I think of that pastor whenever I hear that the Chinese church has enough Bibles and doesn't need more than those printed legally in China. I wonder about those who argue against getting God's Word into the hands of as many people as possible by every means available.

One important fact to remember about Bibles and China is that China is still a restricted nation. The Communist government seeks to control Christian activities, including Bible distribution. Yes, China has changed and is changing. But don't let pictures of American preachers or presidents in large, ornate churches fool you into thinking that all of China's Christians are free. They are not.

As you read this, Christian bookstore owner Shi Weihan is serving out a three—year sentence at the Qinghe Detention Center of the Haidian Sub—Bureau in Beijing. His "crime": printing and distributing Bibles without the government's permission.

Another important fact to remember is the sheer size of the Chinese church. ...

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August 2010

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