Magazine article Anglican Journal

Amity Press Prints Bibles for Chinese Christians

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Amity Press Prints Bibles for Chinese Christians

Article excerpt

AMITY Press' strong presence in China got its start in 1987 with three questions the United Bible Societies asked of the Chinese government: Would it permit the UBS to build a printing press? If so, would it permit the press to print Bibles? If so, would it permit distribution of the Bibles?

"The government answered `yes' to all three. If you don't ask questions, you don't get answers," says Rev. Greg Bailey, national director of the Canadian Bible Society, on his return last year from the celebration of the 20 millionth Bible to roll off Amity Press in Nanjing. Today, that figure is closer to 22 million.

Fr. Bailey sees Amity's Bible production as a vital factor in the health of Christianity in China where new congregations are added daily.

Vigorous Chinese Christianity reflects the early Christian church, Fr. Bailey said. Following the Chinese revolution, Chinese Christians realized divided Christianity could not survive.

"Today, despite 50 years of hardship, they are light years ahead of us because infighting has been terminated with the elimination of all denominational structure other than Roman Catholic. The Protestant Church is utterly portable with Christians welcome to worship and minister in any Christian community as in the Book of Acts."

Official churches of about 1,000 each hold regular services. The many "meeting points" of several hundred each coming together for less formal worship are not yet fully organized as churches, still do not have congregational names and so are not registered to be in line for an ordained pastor. Unregulated, fast growing, grassroots movement groups have a hard time in a nation of absolute regulation and fall under some suspicion, he said. The demand for Scriptures now exceeds supply.

"Canada has had an influx of Chinese since the repatriation of Hong Kong. We want to encourage Canadian Chinese Christians to support our work in China," Fr. Bailey said.

"It's our policy that we don't smuggle Bibles across unfriendly borders," he said. "Legitimate negotiation for permission with governments differing from the North American perspective gives us an edge because our Bibles go into those countries with virtual impunity. …

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