Sometimes the truth is indeed stranger than fiction. The United States has been surpassed by China as the world’s largest printer of Bibles. This includes all versions in several different languages. Who woulda thunk it?
Only one printing company is allowed to print them–the Amity Printing Company in Nanjing. Bibles are printed there in 90 languages with shipments to 70 different countries. Within China, Bibles are only sold in 70 government-registered church stores throughout the nation, which may be the main reason missionaries still smuggle them in.
China has strict controls on churches and requires that they register with the government if they want to be recognized. Those not registered are raided on a regular basis if they are discovered. There are about 16 millions Christians attending registered churches, 55,000 registered churches, 100,000 registered volunteers, 1800 students attending 18 registered seminaries, and 36,000 registered missionaries.
Skeptics believe the registrations are merely a way for the socialist government to market itself to the world as respecting religious freedoms, when in fact there are strict controls on what can be said within the registered churches and regular targeting of non-registered believers in house churches is still huge.
However, Bible distributor Christina Graham, who works with the Chinese government to distribute Bibles in China, believes that “working legally in China is far more effective in the long run.” She believes this affords her the opportunity to establish “incredible relationships with both governmental officials and house-church believers because we choose to respect the religious policies in their country.”
Source: Billy Hallowell. Shocker: Guess Which Country Is The Largest Producer of Bibles. TheBlaze.com. November 15, 2012.
Harry A. Gaylord