“The dragon’s battle for China’s one billion souls!”
This little booklet of 74 pages details the experiences of two Chinese Christians and one foreigner whose lives have been drastically changed, in one way or another, through the handling of the Chinese Bible. Chen-Ma, for example, was publicly and severely ridiculed for her faith by the teenage Red Guard in the ’60s, to the point where they literally beat her Bible from her hands with iron rods, crippling her for life. Brother Yun, better known as “The Heavenly Man,” received his first Bible as a teen through miraculous means, and thereafter gave his life to spreading the Word to those who had never heard. Finally, Brother Ralph has dedicated all of his finances and free time to smuggling Chinese Bibles into mainland China through Hong Kong, and he begs for others to help. In this book, Nora Lam develops China’s need for the Word and, though she appeals best to the emotions through these very serious real-life stories, her reasoning in this great effort to spread the Word is also well-established.
The main issue I have with this book is that it is considerably outdated, having been published in 1997. When considering China and her people’s need for the Word, I certainly agree that the Chinese people need more Bibles. No one could argue with this. I do not agree, however, with the methods employed by Bible smugglers today.
In some limited-access countries these days, Bible smuggling is a necessity and the only method of getting the Word out. China is different. Having traveled extensively overseas, I am aware that the Three-Self movement, though doctrinally unstable, offers free Bibles to anyone who wants one. Bookstores also sell Bibles for reasonable prices, especially considering to what lengths Christians have gone in the past to secure the Scriptures. Most important for this discussion on whether or not people need to break Chinese law by smuggling Bibles across China’s borders, however, is the reality that digital Bibles can be downloaded and shared device-to-device in such a way as to be virtually impossible for the Chinese government to trace. God’s Word is spreading throughout China in digital form, making the dangerous ventures of Bible smuggling all but obsolete. To me, anyone who ventures into this unwise profession of headbanging the government seeks more “What can I do for God?” than “How can God use me?” For those of us dedicated to serving Christ, we must understand the difference.
As exciting as it must be to return to one’s home church saying, “I got arrested for the sake of the Gospel!” such ministry suicide is preventable and terribly unnecessary. How much better it is to serve the Lord quietly and receive His praise later, rather than behaving dangerously for the praise of men today!