Guest / Limited Access /
Discipling the Dragon: Christian Publishing Finds Success in China
M. Scott Brauer

China's communist government may be constricting freedom of worship in some places, such as Beijing's Shouwang house church, but Chinese consumers are gaining access like never before to legally published books by best-selling American evangelical authors.

Since early April, the 1,000-member-strong Shouwang church has held services outdoors rain or shine, and eight of its pastors are under house arrest. The government, citing the church's lack of registration, pressured the church's landlord to cancel Shouwang's lease.

At the same time, there has been a surge across China in the availability of popular Christian titles by authors Rick Warren, Gary Chapman, and Beth Moore, as well as classic titles by C. S. Lewis and others. Statistics on Christian book sales are unreliable in China. But figures on Bible publishing provide one reliable snapshot of the phenomenal growth. Amity, the official publisher of Bibles inside China, increased Bible printing each year from 1998 (2.8 million) to 2008 (10 million). Other than Bibles, top sellers are Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life, with more than 100,000 in print, and the Francine Rivers novel Redeeming Love.

A big reason for this growth is the 2008 debut of the online-only retailer Baojiayin (GoodNewsinChina.com). For decades, the government heavily limited the retail sales of Christian literature. But all that changed with Baojiayin.

For instance, Paul Douglas, an Australian medical doctor living in China, uses Baojiayin to send about $140 worth of books to local churches, creating an instant lending library. Douglas can donate sets of theological commentaries, marital advice books, and biographies of Christian leaders.

In addition, Douglas, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only My Top 5 Books on Christians in Politics
Picks from Stephen Mansfield, author of 'The Faith of Barack Obama.'
RecommendedThe Bigger Story Behind Jen Hatmaker
The Bigger Story Behind Jen Hatmaker
The benefits and challenges of women’s ministry in the age of bestsellers, viral blog posts, and inspirational conferences.
TrendingWhy Do We Have Christmas Trees?
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?
The history behind evergreens, ornaments, and holiday gift giving.
Editor's PickA Journey as Old as Humanity Itself
A Journey as Old as Humanity Itself
What’s behind our timeless fascination with religious pilgrimage?
Christianity Today
Discipling the Dragon: Christian Publishing Finds Success in ...
hide thisJanuary January

In the Magazine

January 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.