Michael Haykin gives an encouraging report on a developing missions opportunity in China. It is called the Robert Morrison Project, and it is working to produce gospel-centered, Reformed literature in China–a country known for its antagonism towards Christianity. Here are some of the statistics:
About the year 2003 it became possible to legally publish some forms of Christian literature in the People’s Republic of China. Ten years ago, legal Christian publishing was barely on the radar screen, but today the situation is far different. The demographic and publishing statistics are staggering:
- In the year 1800, 90% of the Christians in the world lived in North America and Europe. Today, about 60% of Christians live in the so-called “two-thirds world” (Africa, Asia, the Middle East). However, Christian publishing in general, and Reformed publishing in particular, has made a weak transition at best to these new regions. The center of gravity for Reformed publishing is still the English-speaking world.
- The church in China is 80 to 100 million in size and continues to grow at a rapid rate.
- China’s adult literacy rate, between 2003 and 2008, is reckoned to stand at 93%.
- There are 167,000 bookstores in China.
- 6.3 billion domestically-published books were sold in China in 2007.
- On average, the Chinese read 5 books a year and 1.7 magazines and 7.4 newspapers per month.
- Over the past ten years, more than 200 Christian bookstores have opened throughout China.
- Currently, the total number of Christian books in legal circulation in China is approximately 600, using a broad definition of “Christian.” About 50 to 60 new titles are being added each year.
- Of that 600, only about 25 or 30 have a Reformed theme.
- Many of the 600 titles now in print were published by one of the nine China-based Christian publishers that have emerged in the past ten years.
The goal of this ministry is to take Banner of Truth, Evangelical Press, and other Reformed classics–a genre that is most likely to receive rights for publication in China–and to translate them and distribute them in the near future. The cost is not cheap, but the investment is priceless. Imagine the 80-100 million Chinese Christians reading Jonathan Edwards Religious Affections, John Bunyan’s The Pilgrims Progress, or even John Calvin’s Institutes.
This is prayerful, hopeful opportunity to feed the malnourished church in China with great Christian truth–something that may seem small now, but in time may grow to produce voluminous fruit. You can read his whole article here: The Emergence of Legal Christian Publishing in China and you can learn how to get involved here Robert Morrison Project.
Until the whole earth hears, dss