Having held the "Development of Bible Ministry in China" Exhibition successfully in Hong Kong, the National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of Protestant Churches (TSPM) and the China Christian Council (CCC) are planning to move it to the United States. Feb 12, leaders from these two Chinese national Christian organizations held a press conference in the New York Theology Education Center (NYTEC).
In the eyes of the Chinese national Christian Christian leaders, it is obviously a good way to show the religious status in China by holding such an exhibition. According to Rev. Sheng-jie Cao, President of CCC, the Chinese Bible ministry exhibition would be a "very good chance" for the overseas Chinese, as well as Americans, to know the development of Chinese churches. While Ms. Mei-lin Chan, Vice Executive General Secretary and Director of International Liaison Department of CCC, discribed the upcoming exhibition as a "flatroof" which would allow the churches from both China and the United States to communicate with each other.
The exhibits will be almost the same with the ones in Hong Kong, which included the history of Bible ministry in China, while highlighting its rapid development in the past 20 years, data of Bible publication in China, pictures of Christians buying and reading Bible, and Christian artworks, including a large wood carving titled "The Life of Jesus" which represents more than twenty stories of Jesus.
Previously, the CCC and TSPM have been planning to hold this exhibition in the U.S. In August, 2004, while the same exhibition was being held in Hong Kong, leaders of CCC and TSPM had expressed their hope to hold it abroad. The first country they mentioned was the United States.
Currently, they are traveling by a route of Washington D.C - New York City - Chicago - Los Angeles through America, in order to promote the exhibition to both Christians and non-Christians. According to Rev. Timothy Chiu, General Director of the NYTEC, which is the corresponding organization in this exhibition project with CCC and TSPM, the exhibition is going to be held during September and October, in two cities - one is New York City, the other one, probably will be Los Angeles.
NYTEC had a lot of communication and cooperation with churches in Hong Kong and Mainland China in recent years. According to Rev. Chiu, the upcoming Bible ministry exhibition would provide another aspect of Chinese exoteric churches other than the "unilateral impression that many people have upon this issue". "Americans know very few [facts] about China and Chinese churches," he said.
"Many of them think that there's no Bible in China, or the Chinese government only provides Christians Bible without some important books, for example, Daniel or Revelation. And some people even asked me, 'is there electricity in China now?' They imagine China to be a very uncultured and obturated country, but the fact of China is very different." Thus, he agreed to the Chinese Christian leaders that this exhibition would be a good chance for churches and Christians from the two country to have a closer look at each other.
Furthermore, Rev. Chiu also pointed out that "in China, there is political difficulties for Chinese churches." However, he still hopes the progress that Chinese churches and Christians have made will not be ignored. "There are 50,000 exoteric churches in China now, with 16,000,000 Christians who are mostly yearning for God, and who, in the limited religious freedom given by a communist country, are trying to expand the Kingdom of God. Do we really have to be out of touch with them, as if nothing has happened in that land?"
So far, CCC and TSPM have confirmed that one of their exhibition will be held in New York City, this September or October. According to Rev. Cao, it will either be held in the American Bible Society, or the Cathedral of St. John the Devine, which is the largest cathedral in the United States.