Dr. Einar C. Erickson
Ancient Document Mormon Scholar
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In the council of community there shall be twelve and three priests who are perfect in all that has been revealed of the whole law, true witnesses, practicing truth and righteousness, and justice and loving devotion and walking humbly each with his man, his fellows, in order to maintain faithfulness in the land with a steadfast intent and a broken spirit.

INTRODUCTION

After the fall of Jerusalem in 587 BC Jews were found in many cities of the Ancient Near East.  For centuries after, Jewish traders were moving around the Mediterranean and Black Sea areas as merchants, farmers, and craftsman, especially as traders, extending into Georgia, southern Ukraine and Russia. At the beginning of the Christian era Jewish communities flourished throughout the Carthaginian Empire in North Africa. Was the mother of Mulek a Phoenician Jew from Carthage? Simon, the Jew from Cyrene, had come 1000 miles to be in Jerusalem that fateful day, destined to do what no man would ever do again, or had done before, carry the cross for Jesus. Who else had ever carried a terrific burden intended for the Lord? (Mathew 27:32)  He and his two sons, Alexander and Rufus (Mark 15:21)  converted to Christianity and became  prominent leaders.  The Jews began to spread to the Latin speaking west of the Roman Empire. In Egypt Alexandria was a center of Jewish Culture. The great Diaspora expanded with the cessation of the evening sacrifices and the destruction of the Temple by Titus and his Roman 10th Legion, in 70 AD. (Dowley p. 134)

Jewish settlements were widespread in Western Europe after 800 AD and by 1200 by forced migrations into Central and Eastern Europe and China.  I have seen the genealogical records of a Chinese family who are Levites, they have carefully kept their records and someday the reason for doing so will be made known to some of their descendants.  There is a significant Jewish presence in China, an even larger presence of Ephraim. So far, some 90 % of Chinese converts until recently, are identified as of the lineage of Ephraim. The Inquisition drove the Jews out of Spain in 1492 and by 1640 the only safe refuge for Jews was under Dutch rule or the Americas. The Chmielnicki massacres of 1648-51 sent the Jews back westwards and southwards, but a strong Jewish culture remained in Central Europe, some 5 million concentrated in Poland until the Nazi Holocaust which killed nearly all of them. There were great migrations after 188l to 1914 by then some 2 million Jews had crossed the Atlantic,  more  emigrated at the outbreak of WW11 to America. Following the war there were massive emigrations to Israel from displaced person camps of Europe, eastern Europe,   Russia and elsewhere, (Dowley p. 134) swelling the Israel homeland to more than 7 million of which more than 10 % are Arabs.  The wars and land changes and political extremes are well known after the 1967 war with the surrounding Arab countries. The future is not bright as the prophecies of  Isaiah 10, 11, 19, must be fulfilled, but at the end time,  at the coming of the Lord to the Mount of Olives, the Jews will still be in Jerusalem, and many will by then have been gathered out of China, and at least one temple will be functional on the Mainland. In China Christian church growth is expected to be more than 5 %;  (Dowley p. 138)  but when the LDS missionary thrust begins, it will be much greater.  When the Lord is ready the missionaries will be ready.  The preparations for that is still in progress. 

THE RISE OF THE HOME OR HOUSE CHURCH IN CHINA

In China, after the 1966 Cultural Revolution which lasted until 1978, Christianity was driven underground. This gave rise to the secret house church movement which has spread quickly. This movement was non-denominational.  The communist government had to act in some way to obtain or control to some extent Christianity in China. "The only Protestant Chinese organization that is permitted by the Communist Part  to function openly is the CHINA CHRISTIAN COUNCIL  (CCC) ...[an] organizational umbrella for China's government sanctioned protestant churches. Its Catholic counterpart, the CATHOLIC PATRIOTIC ASSOCIATION  (CPA), is the only official Catholic entity allowed to function. The CCC was formed in...early 1980's to provide China's  Protestant Christian church hierarchy a small measure of distance from the government organization established by the Communist Party in the 1950's to take control of Chinese Protestantism. This organization was the THREE-SELF PATRIOTIC MOVEMENT  (TSPM), an administrative entity whose job it is to ensure that all the activities of China's officially approved Protestant churches conformed to Beijing's political and social objectives. ..the relationship of the CCC and the TSPM from the beginning has overlapped. The CCC...claims to have some 15 million baptized believers ...the CPA says its churches have registered 6 million baptized Catholics. ...but the Public Security Bureau, the official police force, indicated that there are least 25 million Christians in China." (Aikman p. 7)  Chinese within China and visiting observers believe that the number of Christians who attend churches and "not approved by the government--unofficial, so-called 'house churches' -may exceed by a factor of three or four those under the various Chinese government approved umbrella...the number [in 2003] ...may be closer to 80 million." (Aikman p. 7)  Since then the success of ABS and the AMITYY  Printing Press, and the massive distribution of bibles the number could well be double this now [2013]. Whatever, there are a lot of bible believers now in China.

By 1990 it was estimated that there were more than 10 million Protestants and 6 million Catholics in China, not counting the house church believers  (Dowley p. 154), as we have just noted, and which dominate in China today.  If you were to draw a line from the southwest to the northeast through the center of China you would separate for the most part the Buddist western areas from the mixed Buddist, Confucian and Taoist believers on the east. (Dowley p. 152)  The home believers are everywhere. And every bible placed in China initiates a new home or house church.  Because of bible sharing, the more than 1 million bibles placed in China last year may have resulted in more than 10 million more believers.

Organized work by the United Bible Society began in 1869, offices were established in Hong Kong in 1949, (Dowley p. 143)  about the time the Communist takeover of China was completed. I was completing my military assignments in Japan at the time and we were monitoring Chinese broadcasts in the spring of 1949.   I  would provide a briefing each morning. Only Dutch ships were allowed in China at the time, Russians were going through the Chinese Embassy in Japan to China, but the Chinese had their own agenda and didn't swallow the Russian enticements.  By the end of 1949 the Communists had taken over China, without a Russian grip on them.

SUMMARY OF HISTORICAL EVENTS AND HIGHLIGHTS

China had started to become part of the converging world after the vast exploration of the world following the discovery of America. (Kagan p. 207)  Exploration of the world was dominated by the Portuguese. (Kagan p. 214)  Prince Henry had established a Navigator's center at Sagros collecting information for mapmaking,  improved the cross-staff , the quadrant and mathematical tables that made them successful navigators and explorers. (Kagan 215)  In China the neo-Confucian thinker Wang Yongming influenced Ming China laying the  foundation for opposition to the coming restoration doctrines. The Chinese expelled the Portuguese in 1523. (Kagan p. 218)  In 1550 the Mongol Leader Altan Khan attacks north China and the Mongols besiege Beijing. In 1570 the Japanese open the port of Nagasaki to western traders. Some 465 years later the port would vanish in a nuclear blast. China in 1573 begin to plant New World crops, sweet potatoes, maize and peanuts. (Kagan p. 226) In 1592 a popular novel about the Journey to the West of XUANZANG,  the intrepid Monk, in search of Buddhist scriptures was published. (Kagan p. 220) They were keeping a knowledge of XUANZANG alive. (Wriggins p. xiii)   In 1609 the Chinese publish their illustrated encyclopedia and their printing trade flourishes. (Kagan p. 232)  In 1644-45 the Manchus massacre the city of Yangzhou, invade the north, overthrow the Ming ruler, conquer China, and establish the Qing dynasty. The Qing force the Han Chinese, most Chinese are Han, to shave their heads with a single braid behind, establishing the Chinese pigtail. The first Roman Catholic church is established in Bijing in 1650. (Kagan p. 240)  By this time many Sephardim Jews have immigrated to England and Holland and then formed the first Jewish communities in the Americas, later thousands of Ashkenazi Jews will follow them fleeing persecution in Eastern Europe. Key people were getting in place to influence the events leading up to the last days.

China finally opens its ports to European trade in 1685 and the Qing occupy Taiwan and consolidate their conquest of China in 1689. (Kagan p. 242)  By 1700 there are 300,000 Christians in China. (Kagan p. 244)  In 1720 Tibet  becomes a Chinese protectorate,  Emperor Yung-Cheng tightens control in China, abolishes hereditary servitude and promotes education in 1723, then in 1724 the imperial edict bans the teaching of Christianity in China and Christian missionaries are expelled from the country. (Kagan p. 246) To get a little favor, in 1747 Jesuits design the Summer Palace at Beijing for Emperor Qianlong.  In 1750 Chinese population reaches 300 million and China reaches its greatest geographical extent. (Kagan p. 248)  In1760 Canton becomes the only Chinese port authorized to trade with other countries, (Kagan p. 260). It is from this port that most of the Chinese come to western America. (Hoexter  pp.17-20)   In 1780 the Qianlong emperor launches the Complete Library of the Treasures project to compile the entire literary heritage of China in to one massive collection. (Kagan p. 266) The thirteen American colonies were developing a new nation that would exceed all nations of the world. In 1807 Robert Morrison of the London Missionary Society arrives in Canton to begin Protestant missionary work. (Kagan p. 272)  Joseph Smith was born in 1805, he would change the world.                                                    

In 1830 the Opium imports outstrip Chinese exports of tea and silk. (Kagan p. 279)  Britain had introduced opium to China from India. In New York the Church of Jesus  Christ of Latter Day Saints is organized. In 1839-1842 the Opium War between Britain and China occurs. China is forced to open ports to Western trade and cede Hong Kong to Great Britain. (Kagan p. 278)  The 1842 Treaty of Nanjing ends the Opium War between Britain and China and in 1844 an imperial edit relaxes a ban on the Catholic Church. (Kagan p. 280) That year Joseph Smith is killed, his influence on China will still be more than 200 years away. Six years later the Chinese population reaches 420 million.  (Kagan p. 281) A few thousand saints were suffering in the valleys of the mountains to establish the head quarters of a church that would spread throughout the world. The discovery of gold in California in 1849 stimulates thousands of Chinese to leave for Gold Mountain, the Chinese name for America. (Lisa See p. xvii)  In 1854, Yung Wing is the first Chinese student to graduate from an American University, Yale. In 1856-1860 the second opium war between Britain and China leads to further incursions on Chinese sovereignty.  The Treaties of Algun and Beijing bring the Russian frontier south to the Amur River and south of Vladivostok, (Kagan pp. 282-283)  starting a century and half of agitation.  The anti-missionary sentiments lead to the Tianjin massacre in China in 1870. Two female Chinese mission school graduates sail to America and earn medical degrees at the University of Wisconsin in 1892. (Kagan p. 295) A great many of the Christian missionaries in China are medical missionaries.   In 1895-1900 the Boxer Rebellion erupts in China against the Qing emperor and foreign influence in Chinese affairs. The popular uprising is put down by an eight nation alliance and imperial troops. (Kagan p. 294)  1895 is the year that Sun Yat-Sen leads the Canton uprising, a failed rebellion against the Qing dynasty. The  top of the Mountain of Change in China had been reached.  My wife and I, while in Canton China, climbed the beautiful steps up through the temples commemorating the life of Sun Yat-Sen. The next rebellion led by Sun Yat-Sen would  be successful and he would be elected president of the First Chinese Republic! (Kagan p. 205)   

S. DOUGLAS BIRDSALL

One of the most important men who will next have  an impact on the preparation of China for the restoration, without knowing that he is doing so, is S. Douglas Birdsall, who in early 2013 was appointed president and chief executive officer of American Bible Society.  American Bible Society has already played an important role in preparing China for the restored gospel to be preached there, and references to their work and accomplishments have been made in the preceding parts of this series on China.

At his appointment he was given a really large Key. Later he said: "I am not a locksmith, but one look at this and I was pretty sure it didn't fit any lock that I had ever seen...this key was pretty special...It was given to me as a symbol of my calling to serve as the next president of American Bible Society...to...unlock more and more of God's wonderful mission here...I keep thinking of that oversized key as we enter this season...I see the first disciples themselves also handed what must have felt like an oversized responsibility and challenge. ..they were faced with so much that was new...their Savior and friend suddenly striped away by roman guards, the savagery of Golgotha's cross; the first breathless reports of an empty tomb; and that same Jesus, with nail scarred hands and pierced side, standing resurrected in their midst...after that first Easter...this first generation did not shrink back, but took up the call...to tell the story...all they knew of Jesus to invite the world to see the Gospel that unlocks the hopes of every human heart...to 'Stop doubting and have faith': (john 20.27) To come "Follow me" (John 21:22)  To "Tell everyone about [Jesus] in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and everywhere in the world. (Acts 1:8)... When this key turns, the stories that result are simply incredible...the power of God's Word in the lives of believers across China's growing churches...this is...the beginning...so many more lives to be reached...who do not yet know the Savior who loves them...who struggle to understand the wonderful purposes of God...still longing for the living hope of the Word." (Birdsall p. 2)

Birdsall can't remember a time when his family did not read the scriptures together, something most Mormon family members may very well echo. His earliest memories are of the 10 volume Illustrated Bible Stories from which his parents would read to him.  His abiding affection and commitment to the word of God, the scriptures, was stimulated by these home emphasized encounters with the Bible and the encouragement from parents to feast on the word of God. But then he was blessed with a long Christian heritage, he is a fifth generation minster. (Wolf p. 26)

 "I've been raised to love and study the scriptures, and I've seen its impact on the lives of individuals, families, churches. I rejoice and thank God that I could do this in my ministry and now as president of American Bible Society." (Birdsall  p. 26) While Birdsall holds many scripture verses close to his heart, one of his favorites is : "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth." (Romans l:16) That verse has propelled Birdsall throughout his long career of pointing people to the message of the Bible.   The bible he favors is the Kings James Version, that is the bible most circulated in translation around the world by the American Bible Society.  After WW11 Birdsall and his wife Jeanie, spent 20 years as missionaries in Japan. The experience was hard and humbling.  When overhearing a dog being scolded in Japanese by an elderly Japanese woman, the animal seemed to understand every word she spoke in Japanese while Birdsall had no clue. "Here I was, a graduate of Wheaton College, and the dog understood more than I did." (Birdsall p. 26)  That moment taught him the importance of relying on God for everything. "Being raised in America, we were taught to be self-reliant, but in Japan we learned to be God reliant. For twenty year, God taught us to learn to trust him in everything. As the Scriptures say: 'without me, you can do nothing.' I really learned what that meant." (Birdsall p. 26)  In his new role as president of ABS Birdsall understands that Scripture verse anew. I helped open up the Japanese Mission right after WW11, I know exactly what he means. The lst LDS temple in Japan was dedicated early in 1981.

Before coming to American Bible Society, he served as executive chairman of the Lausanne Movement. In this role, he led efforts to mobilize leaders equipping them to face the most pressing challenges to Biblical Christianity around the globe. Advocating for the Bible is not a one man job. Birdsall knows he needs God and others to help him. "I'm eager to join hands and arms with other-pastors, scholars, leaders of Christian organizations, and the staff at ABS-to make the case for Scripture. I believe ABS can play  redemptive role in America and its future."  (Birdsall p. 26)  Little does he know what he is saying. "The Bible is everything in my life and in the life of the Church, it is the lantern that illumines our path." (Birdsll p. 26)  The man who loves God's word with all his heart and soul is ready to embrace the challenge.  In the modest role that I am involved in with the ABS, like with its former president, Lamar West, I expect to  have brief contacts with Birdsall from time to time.  For more on Doug Birdsall visit American Bible.Org/welcome. 

THE AMERICAN BIBLE SOCIETY- BIBLES FOR CHINA  

American Bible Society is a member of the United Bible Societies, a partnership of the Bible Societies throughout the world cooperating to make Scriptures available to people everywhere in their own language.  The KJV is generally the underlying text being translated.  ABS has prepared for nearly all of the Bible content  translators handbooks and guides to help get the meaning into any language worth translating a Bible for readers of that language.  I have been using these books every since they have been published, mostly in the past 50 years.  The RECORD a publication that ABS has been distributing since 1818 is generally sent out four times a year. That publication updates their activity throughout the world.

Currently ABS has a program where $1.00 covers the cost of the paper to print a bible that can be sent to China.  During the past year that program provided 350,000 Bibles to men, women and children in China alone, a land that is suffering a scripture famine, and the population is growing faster than this program can provide bibles.

Doesn't the scripture say: "There is a large harvest, but few workers to gather  it in. Pray to the owner of the harvest that he will send out workers to gather in his harvest." (Luke 10:2 (GNT)  There seems to be a lot of preparation being stimulated among a lot of concerned  people and institutions to inform the Chinese of the scriptures.  That is not an end in itself, for the clear purpose seems to be that the preparations being made are for the eventual initiation by the LDS Church of missionary work in China. The timing is the Lords, but he seems to be having a lot done in preparation for that time.  Part of the emphasis of the general conference in April 2013, was taking the gospel to lands and people where it has  yet to go. 

AMITY PRINTING PRESS THE CHINESE PRINTING PRESS FOR BIBLES.

In previous entries in the Web site in this series on the Preparation of China for the Restoration it was mentioned how Amity Printing Press,  a government printing press had agreed to print the bibles for just the price of the paper. This arrangement, such a departure from the previous policy, had been set up in the winter of 2011 and 2012 where the Chinese Government  is involved and will print the bible based on the KJV for the cost of the paper, about $1.00 per Bible. On November 8, 2012,  nearly a year later, the Amity Printing Press in Nanjing, celebrated the printing of its 100 millionth Bible. This special edition Bible with a wooden cover was made to commemorate the 100 millionth Bible printed at Amity Printing Press. (RECORD. for Spring 2013) The Asiatic Bible Society, doing parallel work to the  American Bible Society, is similarly involved but details are not known.  So, not so long ago, you couldn't bring into China a bible, and printing Bibles in China was illegal. But today, Amity is the biggest Bible publisher in the world. Little did I know in 1981 when we were in Nanjing and absolutely prohibited from bringing anything into China like the Bible or Book of Mormon, that a government printing press would be set up in that city and within 32 years would be the largest printer of bibles in the world!  

Liu Shaoqin has been working at Amity for 13 years. "Before I joined Amity, I knew nothing about the Bible. I thought Amity was just a printing press."  Shaoqin had the opportunity when the bible printing began to be printed to read it and "found that the Bible is a treasure."(Shaoqin p. 11)  Pei Qingyan came to Amity specifically to work at a Christian press. Imaging that, a Christian Press in China! "I am a Christian and I heard about Amity and wanted to work here for the Bible. This celebration of the 100 millionth Bible being printed is very meaningful to me, my dream is that the entire population of china  (1.3 billion) receives Bibles. I sincerely pray to god that this will happen." (Qungyan p. 11) It is a long road,  but it will happen.

NANJING UNION THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY 

The Nanjing Union Theological Seminary is China's only national theological seminary. Some  200 students come to Nanking from all over China after having been recommended  by their local pastors and passing competitive entry exams.  For Many, the cost of a theological education would be impossible for their families to shoulder, so they are supported in part, by their local churches.  In 2011, a Bible Resource Center was established at the library of the Seminary with more than 6,000 biblical reference books, computers, and computer soft ware. The center is invaluable in equipping Chinese pastors.  Other seminaries have been established  and as they receive necessary funds to establish their own reference libraries, the Bible Resource Center can serve as an excellent model of this much-needed resource. (Evans p. 11)  All of this under government control and management.

The librarian and New Testament professor at the Seminary,  Ms. Liu Meichun, says: "These scholarly resources are wonderful gifts for the student...they are very expensive to buy and many of the students are being sponsored by their home churches which are not wealthy." (Meichun p. 11)  ABS is making contributions of select materials for the libraries.

These scriptural resources are available to pastors-in-training, who will in turn take what they are learning from God's Word and share it with the countless believers in their churches and congregations. (Evans p. 11)

The American Bible Society contributes to these resources, making a difference in China through the local church and with each project they are adding to the number of workers who are equipped to harvest the fruit of spiritual growth and maturity in China. ABS comes alongside the government-registered Church in China by working with the United Bible Societies (UBS) China Partnership,  to strengthen leaders in the church. Through biblical study materials, practical pastor resources and training programs, Christian leaders in China can effectively lead the growing Chinese authorized church.  Recall that most of this bible activity is supporting individual reading  of the bible and group studies.  There is no aim for supporting a particular denomination or recognized church outside of China. The government also plays a role, with limitations,  as it tries to maintain some influence and control of the Chinese house movement.

 Not long ago the dream of Bible ownership in China was just that-a dream.  Through distribution  efforts, Christianity in China is growing at an unprecedented rate, and believers around the world are starting to take note. The BBC estimates that on any given Sunday, more Christian are attending church in China than throughout the whole of Europe.  But the church needs leadership with sound theological training who can equip and shepherd the believers.  China will soon approach 1.5 billion people.  Estimates place the number of Christian in China anywhere from 35 million to more than 100 million with an average growth of l-3 million new believers every year, probably reflecting the availability of Bibles. Certainly China is one of the fastest growing in the world.  China is greatly outstripping the available leaders and teachers.  Seventy to eighty percent of believers live in rural areas, challenged by geographical distances, available leaders are spread too thin. There are only 19 seminaries or bible schools, studying there is prohibitively expensive and geographically inconvenient.  The individuals reading and studying the Bible with any denominational association are especially vulnerable to the influence of cults that distort the truth of the bible. One cult is a group called Eastern Lightening, teaching that Jesus did not rise from the dead, which totally negates the scriptures. (Evans p. 10)

ABS has a research arm,  Global Scripture Impact,  Lindsay Reilly, a research analyst there, says: China's growing church urgently needs leaders with a solid foundation in God's Word so that the Gospel message is not compromised." (Reilly p. 10)  To meet these needs, China Partnership  works with government-registered Christian organizations in China to provide biblical and theological study resources for teachers and future pastors. "Providing ministerial students and teachers with Scriptures and reliable biblical reference works will help them properly shepherd believers." (Reilly p. 10) There is no pretension to having any kind of authority.  "China Partnership works with the China Christian Council (CCC) and the Three-Self Patriotic Movement  (TSPM) , the two government-registered umbrella organizations for China's  protestant  churches. CCC/TSPM work to meet the need for Bibles, scripture-based materials, leadership training and theological programs in the protestant church, using resources provided by ABS and other Bible Societies through China Partnership.  Parallel organization do similar work in the Catholic church. (Evans p. 10) "Through this "wider ministry of  Bible engagement and advocacy, the China Partnership supports the whole range of Bible ministry in China." (Reilly p. 10)  

Zhou Yunang is a 24 year-old student at the Nanjing Union Theological Seminary. He grew up in a Christian family but he didn't feel anything about his faith until he was in junior high. Then the Christian faith started to make sense him.  He began to understand the importance of God in his life. As he grew in his faith he soon felt God's call in his life to help others with questions like his. He graduated from the university with a degree in mechanical engineering, but chose to join the staff at his church, full-time, assisting the pastors there with their many responsibilities.  Now, Yunang is a first-year- seminary student, studying God's Word so he can fulfill his calling to be a shepherd of god's flock. (Evans p. 10)  "I really like classes that deal with exegesis, there was a need for me to understand the bible more in order to serve the church, which is why I am getting a theological education." (Yunang p.10)  There will be a lot of dedicated young people in China when the restored gospel is introduced on the mainland  who will respond to its greater message.  Many Christians in China are often willing to serve as church leaders, but they have no training and few materials.  Henan Province is considered the region in China with the largest population of Christians.  Multitudes of Chinese believers do not have their own Bibles, some have never even laid eyes on one. But the Chinese churches are growing rapidly, and tens of thousands are coming to the faith in China. The need for Bibles in congregations is also urgent.  ABS is trying to meet this need.  It is a huge job.  For the Restoration to take root in China this is part of the preparation. When the time for action comes, the time for preparation will be gone.

BIBLE DISTRIBUTIONS IN CHINA

Joe McCormich will never forget walking into Church in rural China. First there was the welcoming ritual: firecrackers, gongs and the occasional brass band. Then the congregation lined to usher him into the building. Joe was there upon the invitation of Chinese church leaders to witness Bible distribution.  Joe was a Texas native now living in Tennessee and has supported American Bible Society's Bible-A-Month program for 17 years. In October of 2012, he had the opportunity to see the results of Bible-A-Month in action in China. In just one week, Chinese church leaders and their invited guests, including Joe, handed out several thousand Bibles in more than 10 churches.  For years Joe had felt a burden to reach the people of China with God's Word. Visiting China only confirmed the  importance of the task. During his Church visits, he continued to be inspired by Chinese Christians' over whelming desire for Scripture. At one church a wrinkled woman with bright eyes began to elbow and shove people out of the way to reach the front of the line where Joe was distributing Bibles. When she finally accepted her Bible in rough, work-worn hands, she bowed in thanks and immediately clutched the Bible to her chest. Joe knew she had just received a priceless treasure. It could lead to eternal life. (Stevens p. 23)  "I want someday to hear the Lord say ' Well done faithful servant,'" And for Joe, an important part of serving God faithfully is sharing his Word with others around the world.  The American Bible Society's Bible-A-Month program began operating in 1962, when a small group of ABS employees pledged to give a monthly gift to provide Bibles to those who needed them. The movement caught on, and soon members of the public joined the program, 50 years later, Bible-A-Month has distributed millions of Bibles in more than 100 countries, including China.  To learn more go to American Bible.org/BAM. You may also wish to visit Bibles.Com. ABS provides scriptural resources in multiple languages and formats to see the extent of the work they are doing to prepare China and others for the restoration of the gospel.                                                                                                                           

SATELLITE SEVEN

ABS and other Bible Societies in the Middle East and North Africa are teaming up with SAT-7, a Christian satellite television station, to serve the growing Church in the region through widely accessible and culturally appropriate learning opportunities. With an estimated reach of 15 million viewer, SAT-7  is strategically placed to deliver theological education via satellite  television and growing leadership network via the Internet. Using multimedia instructional technology produced and delivered by nationals, believers in the region will be taught on course topics such as The Bible, Christian Life, Leadership and Ministry Skills, Society and the Church.  In time something like this will be available in China. The Mormon Church is doing similar things with its satellite technology and KBYUTV. In time it will be ready to expand.

 Things going on in neighboring countries will soon spread into China. The Bible Society of India, and there is a Bible Society in nearly every country of the world, opened its doors of the new Shillong Translation Center building in September   2012.  The center will serve as the hub of Bible translation for the 8 million Christians in Northeast India.  Surely this will be an invitation to non-believers also.  The need for translations, like in China, are great.  Northeast India is home to 250 tribes who all speak different dialects. Currently the Shillong Translation Center works with half of all 79 ongoing translations in India.  The opening ceremony included the inauguration of Dr. Along  Jamir as the new associate director of translations for the Bible Society of India, Dr. Jamir emphasized the importance  of working with local churches to effectively spread God's Word throughout India. Representatives from all major church denominations were present for the opening ceremonies.  As part of the opening festivities,  Rev. Dr. Robert R., Cunville, the United Bible Society of India's president, cut the ribbon to the new Shillong Translation  Center. (ABS RECORD, Spring 2013)  Someday there will be a similar center in China, just to translate the Standard Works into Chinese and its dialects. 

"From the grassroots of the peasantry to high within China's establishment, the country was being seeded with believing Christians. In numerical terms they were still a small minority, perhaps 7 to 8 percent of the country's... [l.5 billion]  population. But they were being noticed, and they kept turning up in the most unexpected places...in Consulate Offices...Entrepreneurs ...actors, singers, and more...It is very probable that Christians are among the officers at Chinese embassies all over Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, ...deputy provincial governors, judges, and lawyers in China...legal experts...working hard behind the scenes to try to implement laws of religious freedom and the larger concept of the rule of law-not just for Christians to be able to worship without harassment, but for followers of all faiths."  (Aikman pp. 8-9) And some of them are Mormons.  All of this to prepare China for the restoration of the gospel.

STATUS OF LDS CHURCH IN CHINA

The Constitution of the People's Republic of China guarantees freedom of religious belief to its citizens. Religious practices, however, are subject to a variety of rules and regulations  It is important to understand these rules and regulations and how the Church works to follow them. The LDS Church is not one of the five recognized religions in China. Overall, because members of the Church  have worked to follow government regulations, the Church has a good reputation and is respected.  For more new information  recently made available, one can access the web site:  lds.org, search China. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

AIKMAN,  David, Jesus in Beijing, Regnery Publishing , Inc.,  Washington, DC., 2003

BIRDSALL, S. Douglas, This Really Big Key, American Bible Society, RECORD, Vol. 158, Number l,  New York, Spring, 2013DOWLEY, Tim, Ed., Atlas of Christian History, Cambridge, 1996

DOWLEY, Tim, ED., The Atlas of Christian History, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1997

EVANS,  Eirena, Equipping The Saints in China, American Bible Society, RECORD, Vol., 158, Number l, New York, Spring, 2013

HOEXTER, Corinne K., From Canton to California, The Epic of Chinese Immigration, Four Winds Press, New York, 1976

KAGAN, Neil, Ed. Concise History of the World, National Geographic, Washington DC, 2006

QINGYAN, Pei, One Hundred Million and Counting,  American Bible Society, RECORD, Vol. 158, Number 1, New York, Spring, 2013

REILLY, Lindsay, Equipping The Saints in China, American Bible Society, RECORD, Vol. 158, Number l, New York, Spring, 2013

SHAOQIN, Liu, One Hundred Million and Counting,  American Bible Society, RECORD,  Vol. 158, Number 1, New York, Spring, 2013

SEE, Lisa, On Gold Mountain, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1995STEVENS, Jennica, Receiving a Priceless Treasure, American Bible Society, RECORD, Vol.  158, Number, Spring, 2013

WRIGGINS, Sally H., The Silk Road Journey with Xuanzang, Westview Press, Perseus Books     Group,  Boulder, Colorado, 2004

YUNANG, Zhou, Equipping the Satins in China, American Bible Society,  RECORD, Vol. 158, Number l, New York, Spring 2013

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