"Without Christian materials, we're like soldiers without ammunition."
How many Christian books have you read since you became a Christian? Can you imagine how your spiritual maturity would have been affected without them? And imagine if your pastor did not have any Christian books either.
That is the situation for many Christian believers in China. So when they do receive a book, they do not just read it once and then leave it on a bookshelf. In many instances the books are passed from believer to believer until they are falling apart.
Letters received from believers within China reveal just how urgently Bibles and Christian teaching books are needed in China today:
"Please send us more Bibles and other spiritual booklets. We have a preacher here who does not have any material to help in his preaching."
"The Christians are new babes in Christ. Without spiritual materials the ministry is very difficult. Many Scripture passages need to be understood. I pray that you would increase our spiritual materials to help us study the Bible."
"What we need are teaching materials, so that people's spiritual lives can be enhanced. The teaching materials will certainly help to prevent heresy in the Church. Some pastors are virtually untrained and tend to put their own interpretation on passages of Scripture that they don't fully understand."
One of Antioch Missions - Chinese Church Support Ministries' main aims is to translate, print and distribute Christian teaching materials without charge to the church in China. Examples of titles we have produced include:
Abundant Life - This is a simply designed Bible course covering the basic doctrines of salvation and how to live the new life of a Christian. With the large numbers of new believers in China, such books are greatly needed.
Foundations of Christian Doctrine - This book is designed to help lay a strong Biblical foundation. It is very thorough, dealing with the major Christian doctrines and covering areas such as revelation, Scripture, God, the Holy Spirit, angels, Satan, man, sin and the atonement. It is particularly suitable for church leaders.
A Comprehensive Handbook for the Christian Family - The book gives practical answers to husbands and wives seeking to establish a Christian home. There has been very little teaching on the Christian family in China. The rapidly rising divorce rate makes such teaching an urgent requirement.
Examination of Lightning from the East - This is a book that points out the errors associated with the ‘Lightning from the East' cult, which claims that Jesus has returned in the form of a Chinese woman. Many heresies have arisen in the Chinese Church because of lack of spiritual teaching. One house church leader explained: "People are so hungry for spiritual food that they can easily be drawn into false groups, without having the skills to discern the truth."
So far we have printed over 15 million copies of these and many other titles. The Chinese believers have responded enthusiastically to our materials:
"Thank you for bringing so many books for our church. We promise that we will give these books to good, faithful servants who are in great need of them. We want to see these books go to villages and poor farming areas around this region, so that they can stand up for Jesus and their faith. We will also use some of them to equip the co-workers to know God and serve Him better. They are desperately needed in China. Thank you for being so helpful to us." - Response from a Chinese house church pastor.
"Our hearts have been truly touched by the books you gave us. We have been Christians for several years, but we didn't know the real truth and pure message of the Gospel. Some-times we were confused by heretical beliefs. After we read [your books]... we learned the true Biblical teaching and principles... You have done a lot for the Chinese people and the house churches, and we believe, 'Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."' - Letter to AM-CCSM from China.
However, when we look at the needs of the Chinese church, all these books constitute only a drop in the ocean.
The main issue holding us back from producing more is lack of finance. It costs less than one US dollar to translate, print and distribute each of AM's books.
Pray with us that more churches and individual Christians will feel able to help us in this ministry. Please ask the Lord whether He is calling you to join with us in serving our brothers and sisters in China in this way.