Excerpts from an interview with Rev. Dr. Gao Ying, Vice Principal of the Nanjing Union Theological Seminary
Rev. Dr. Gao Ying has been in the Lord’s service for the last 3 decades. She has these words to say about the growth of Christianity in China and the collaborative relationship between the China Church and the United Bible Societies (UBS):
“Unlike the West, China does not have a Christian cultural background. Christians are a minority group here; they may count for only about one per cent of the total population in China. The figure is small although the absolute figure might be a large number. After more than 20 years of printing Bibles locally, the supply of Bibles is still insufficient to meet its demand. Not only the Christians are asking for the Bible, there are also a vast number of non-Christians who want to read the Bible for different reasons: some of them want to learn about Christianity from a cultural point of view. In addition, there are many believers who do not attend church services, but they believe in God and they request to own Bibles privately. So China is unique in this respect.
As you know, the Bible cannot be sold openly in China; the only channel of distribution is through the churches. Members from both the registered churches and the non-registered churches can obtain a Bible through the registered churches. Now, the non-registered church members can purchase Bibles from the registered churches. I am thankful that TSPM/CCC is able to provide for them, regardless of their non-affiliation. In this way, everyone in China has access to the Bible.
I would also like to thank UBS. Through the faithful donation of paper to TSPM/CCC and printing machines to Amity, UBS has contributed to the success of the publishing and printing of Bibles in China. The Christian brothers and sisters in China have been greatly blessed by their contribution.
I felt honored because I have been able to know more about the work of UBS in China since the 1980s. In all my years of working with UBS, I felt that the servants in UBS really loved God and have a great burden for the Church in China. The UBS leaders would try anything just to work with the Chinese churches. Especially in the early days, when UBS faced many difficulties and challenges working with the Church, they kept a very open and flexible attitude throughout the collaboration. It was precisely because of this mindset that the cooperation lasted until today, and hopefully for many years to come. I really appreciated their flexibility, open mindedness and practicality.
Finally, I’d like to express my gratefulness to the donors of UBS. If it were not for their generosity, the Bible would have been too expensive for many poor Christians. The price of the Bible has been kept low and most of the Christians in China are able to afford it. Now even the very poor can own a Bible because UBS donors have donated Bibles for churches to give them away free of charge. Because of the donors’ love for Chinese Christians, we have been blessed. I believe that no matter how many Bibles we had printed, it would never be enough to meet China’s growing demand. Therefore, I hope that donors would continue to be generous.”
Written by Chris Neo. Edited by Pamela Choo
for United Bible Societies, China Partnership