In China, Moses delivers only nine commandments. Ironic? Perhaps, this was the worst news in the 2019 world of Christianity. The Chinese Communist regime erased the first commandment – “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” and forced Christians to put the Communist Party above God as the nation’s Savior. In some Catholic churches, the painting of St. Maria and her baby Jesus was replaced with the portrait of Xi.
The Bible says clearly – if any man adds anything to the holy scripture, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in the Bible; if any man takes away any words from the Bible, God shall take away his part out of the book of life (Revelation 22:18-19). However, in defiance of God’s warning, Xi and his Communist Party have ordered to rewrite the Bible to fit their “socialist values.” This action is demonic and disastrous.
The Chinese authorities claimed that “The new editions [of religious scriptures] must not contain any content that goes against the beliefs of the Communist Party, and paragraphs deemed wrong by censors will be amended or re-translated.” Pastor Wang Yi, a prominent Chinese Christian leader who was sentenced to 9 years in prison on the last day of 2019, said that we were not called to abide by damnable heresies invented by the Communist regime. It is so true!
God’s words have always been essential in the life of a Christian. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119: 105). With the situation of human rights getting worse by the day in China, the authentic words from the Bible become more important than ever, for the whole armor of God can empower Chinese Christians to fight against the rulers of the darkness and spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6).
As a witness of the power of God’s words, I experienced how the Bible changed my life and purified my soul. In 1986, I was a freshman at Peking university, which was founded by Western missionaries in the 19th century. Although the Bible and Christian churches were banned in China, my English professor thought that the Bible should be included in the must-read books list for students studying English literature.
Then, the 15 copies of the Good News Bible that were secretly locked in the library became our textbook. The Good News Bible was first published as a full Bible in 1976 by the American Bible Society as a “common language” Bible. It is a clear and simple modern translation that is faithful to the original Hebrew, Koine Greek, and Aramaic texts. I fell in love with “my textbook” immediately.
At that time, English reading was extremely difficult for me. To read a text with 800 words, I spent almost four hours looking up words in the dictionary and translating sentences into Chinese. However, reading the Good News Bible was different. I read fast; I could understand the book without using the dictionary; I really appreciated the book. “Wow, it is really good news,” I said to myself.
Thanks to the professor’s decision, I started my spiritual journey to become a Christian. After taking some risks, I received a copy of the Bible in China. The book had a disguised cover with the title “International Studies.” When I opened the third page, it said the Old Testament and the New Testament, in English as well as in Chinese. Later, I learned that some unknown Christians “smuggled” Bibles to mainland China from Hong Kong and Taiwan.
God’s word sets us free, as the Bible tells us. Because of this, Chinese rulers wanted to change and erase God’s words. They do not want us to be free. It is sad that many young people like me cannot read the authentic Bible. In the end, Chinese leaders will have to answer to God, as the Bible says, “Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:6).