WASHINGTON – American Christians have the opportunity to learn more about the development of Chinese churches and society at a traveling exhibition in Washington, D.C.
The exhibition, titled “Thy Word Is the Truth: The Bible Ministry Exhibition of the Protestant Church in China,” was launched Wednesday at the Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C., where it will remain until Oct. 2. From there, it will continue to travel to other U.S. cities, ending with an exhibition in November at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Charlotte, N.C. The exhibition features various versions of the Chinese Bible, as well as calligraphy, works of art and historical documents.
It aims to increase the overall understanding of how the Bible was brought to China and spread throughout the country.
“We hope to build mutual understanding between American Christians and Christians in China,” said the Rev. Bao Jiayuan, associate general secretary of the China Christian Council. The CCC co-sponsored the exhibition with the Three-Self Patriotic Movement.
Jiayuan said Americans have a lot of false ideas about the way Christians are treated in China. According to him, Christians in China are not persecuted. However, while the Chinese constitution allows for total religious freedom, in reality the communist government has restricted those freedoms to include only religious practices authorized by the government.
The U.S. State Department issued its first “countries of particular concern” list under the Obama administration this month, and China was among eight countries designated as a CPC for egregious violation against religious freedom.
Still, Jiayuan maintained, “We want the U.S. to know that God is in China. Jesus Christ is moving within the Chinese people. We want to strengthen the relationship between the two churches. This exhibition acts like a bridge for that.”
“Many Americans don’t know that since 1985 there have been 55 million Bibles printed in China,” the Rev. Shi Guo Yuan told The Christian Post. “We print about 3.5 million per year.”
The visit is a result of the success of the exhibit’s first U.S. showing in 2006, when it traveled to New York City, Los Angeles and Atlanta. This year, the showing will include stops in Dallas and Chicago. Before coming to the United States, the exhibition was shown in Hong Kong and later is expected to travel to Germany.
“We ask that all Christians pray for us. Pray that the Holy Spirit works through this event and can use it for His plan,” Jiayuan said.