China takes a gold medal in several categories. First, with a population of 1.4 billion people it is the world’s largest nation. Second, China enjoys the world’s highest economic growth rate.
Unfortunately, China also gets a gold in the category of spiritual poverty. Of its 1.4 billion citizens 1.1 billion live without any knowledge of a God who loves them or His son who died for them.
How Many Believers?
According to some sources there are anywhere from 70 – 100 million Christians in China. Exact figures are next to impossible to come by. Political conditions make access to such data in the country very difficult. From experience however it can be deducted that in Communist countries the real number of Christians is likely to be significantly less than western analysts maintain.
No matter what the figure, it is too high for government authorities. Consequently unregistered Churches have increasingly become targets of a renewed wave of government oppression.
TV—A Window into Millions of Homes
As one walks the streets of China’s big cities one cannot but notice a peculiar re-occurring scene. Satellite dishes have appeared like mushrooms on rooftops of apartment houses.
Recently an unexpected door opened for GCM Ministries to broadcast the Gospel in Asia. STAR WORLD satellite TV informed GCM Ministries that its programs are seen in over 1 million homes in mainland China. During a visit to STAR TV headquarters in Hong Kong we were told that viewership of the channel had increased to 2.2 million homes in mainland China—that is over 10 million viewers! Most viewers have absolutely no comprehension of spiritual matters.
Who is watching?
According to STAR TV the channel is plugged into the home of every government employee. The colossal steel works in Beijing has cabled this channel into all of its staff housing. The channel is also widely available in universities and hotels. Responses from Chinese viewers are difficult to monitor.
Today, GCM Ministries telecasts programs every Sunday at 8 am over Hong Kong TV reaching South China, Hong Kong, Macao.
More initiatives are under way. This website will follow developments as they happen.
One Million Bibles
The Gospel in millions of homes by television is an important part of the solution—but it is not the whole solution. People who respond to the Gospel and who find Christ need the written word of God as well.
Not long ago I walked through the Beijing branch of China’s largest publishing house and in my hands I held an official government permit to print one million Chinese Bibles. Considering the present political climate this seemed a dream.
But it wasn’t. We had just placed an order for the first printing of 20,000 copies of the Bible for distribution to Chinese congregations. Compared to the need it was but a drop in the bucket. A million would have seemed more appropriate but at 2 dollars per copy our funds were enough for only 20,000.
Two Faces of China
Sadly, all is not well in the Church in China. There is a cry of anguish and suffering rising from the Chinese Church.
Unfortunately persecution is part of everyday life for many unregistered churches in China. The extent of the persecution depends on local authorities and varies from province to province. Let us remember these believers in our prayers.
At the same time we now have the greatest opportunity in modern Chinese history to reach one billion people with the Gospel, the message of hope, peace, joy, freedom from sin.
It is very likely that God requires something of each of us. We cannot turn a blind eye to a billion Chinese perishing without any knowledge of Christ and wait for better times.