Last month, Voice of the Martyrs Korea partner Pastor Bob Fu told Congress that China is working with state sanctioned Christian church networks (the Three Self Patriotic Movement and the Chinese Christian Council) to rewrite the Bible. This is part of China’s five-year plan to make Christianity more compatible with socialism.

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Voice of the Martyrs Korea has received written proof that China is indeed planning to rewrite the Bible. According to Voice of the Martyrs Korea representative Hyun Sook Foley, a contact in China reports that a Seminar was held in Shandong Theology Research Centre, asking state-sanctioned pastors and scholars to research Bible text with the overall aim of producing a new Chinese Bible.

Documents given to seminar attendees, have been translated and include the following statements:

  • Today’s Bible was not recognized as authoritative scripture from the very beginning of Christianity but hundreds of years later. Scriptures were selected/translated by early Church Fathers and adapted to the fourth century’s society. Even Catholic and Protestant churches have different selections/translations of the books of the Bible.
  • Jesus was born in a Jewish country, so he used the Torah as theory, but if Jesus had been born in Ancient China he would have used Confucius or Taoism books. Therefore, as Chinese people, we cannot forget our ancestors’ splendid philosophy and theories. It is necessary to add the Chinese Traditional theories into the new Chinese Bible.
  • The new Chinese Bible should include Chinese cultural expression and vocabulary.
  • The doctrines of what Christians believe should be changed in this new age of great China, to adapt to today’s needs and views.
  • Christians should preach a Gospel that is immersed in Chinese traditional culture.
  • Christians should not only practice Bible reading and prayer, they should also undertake activities such as political study, outdoor exercise, painting and dancing.
  • Biblical truth should be taught in the context of Chinese Culture.
  • New commentary should be combined with China’s Political Party theory in concordance with core socialist values.
  • New commentary should eliminate and remove the feudalistic superstition in the Bible and adapt rational science.

“Due to changing laws, many foreign Christian denominations, churches, and NGOs prefer to deal with Chinese-approved state churches instead of underground churches. Pope Francis’ most recent bargaining with the Chinese Communist party is an example of this,” Representative Foley explains. “But one important thing to understand is that, as time goes on, these churches are becoming increasingly less Christian.”

According to representative Foley, Chinese-approved state churches are required to sing songs of praise to the Chinese government, give sermons about the supremacy of the Chinese state, and post portraits of Xi Jinping in place of crosses. These churches are required to profess the supremacy of the Chinese Communist party over everything—including Christ, himself.

“Churches in China go underground because they refuse to put anyone or anything in God’s place and, in China, this is a punishable offense,” Representative Foley says. “Participating in the Chinese underground church is dangerous and many are being interrogated and imprisoned because of it. However, we need to follow their example of not putting anything (like our own safety) in God’s place.”

Representative Foley encourages the Korean church to pray for and support the Chinese underground church.

한국 VOM(Voice of the Martyrs Korea)은 중국의 지하 교인 같은 순교자들의 목소리가 잊히지 않도록 헌신하는 비영리 선교 단체이다. 중국 기독교인들의 상황에 관하여 더 알고 싶으면, 한국 VOM에서 매주 페이스북에 게시하는 ‘하나의 교회로 살기’ 시리즈 중국 편을 참고하기 바란다.     

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