March 15, the Executive Associate General Secretary of China Christian Council, Mei-lin Chen, received the interveiw from the Gospel Post and introduced their journey to the United States and their plan for the Exhibition of Bible Ministry in China which they will hold in New York City and Los Angeles this fall.
The deputation of Three-Self Patriotic Movement of Protestant Churches (TSPM) and China Christian Council (CCC) arrived in the United States on Feb 2. From Feb 2 to Feb 26, the deputation visited seven cities including Washington D.C., Charlotte, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Colorado and Atlanta in succession, under the leadership of Rev. Shengjie Cao, the president of CCC.
Though the main purpose of their journey was to promote the Exhibition of Bible Ministry in China, the deputation also attended the National Prayer Breakfast, joined the Executive Forum on Ministry in China which was held in Colorado, and met famous American Christian leaders such as Rev. Billy Graham, the most famous evangelist in USA, Rev. Rick Warren of Saddle Back Church, Dr. Schuller of the Crystal Cathedral, Rev. Richard Cizik, vice president of National Association of Evangelicals, and so on.
As the deputation visited Billy Graham, he said, "I'm thankful for the news of the exhibition of the Bible that will be brought to the United States. They had a tremendous reception in Hong Kong when it was exhibiting and I believe it will in the United States. We certainly are delighted this is going to take place and we will be praying for its success."
According to Ms. Chan, the reason they are planning to hold the bible exhibition in the United States is because they were invited by many American friends. When it was first held in Hong Kong, the guests from the states invited them to bring the exhibition to America because many have misunderstandings towards the religious situation in China, said Chan.
"Many people don't know that churches in China are publishing Bibles, but we have published over 370,000,000 different bible editions in the past 20 years." She said.
"That's why we feel the need to hold the exhibition in the United States. Through it, American churches and American people can come to know about China and the church in China."
The content of the exhibition will be almost the same as the one that was held in Hong Kong, which includes the history of Bible ministry in China, while highlighting its rapid developments in the past 20 years, data of Bible publications in China, pictures of Christians buying and reading Bible, and Christian artworks, including a large wood carving titled "The Life of Jesus" which illustrates more than twenty stories about Jesus.
However, Chan admitted that the publication of Bibles is only one aspect of religious status. As to the issue of religious freedom, she hopes people can go to China and see with their own eyes.
"We say it is the best time of the church in China now. We can even call it 'Golden Times'. The life and social status of Chinese people are becoming better and better. But, of course, it does not mean that there are no difficulties or problems."
Chan said that they are not planning to hold the exhibition in Mainland China, though many of the exhibits are rare to ordinary Christians, and the exhibit boards amazed many committeemen of CCC.
"Currently, it seems more necessary to hold it overseas than in China. In China, at least every one knows that the Amity Press is publishing Bibles in Nanjing, and that bible can be bought in many places."
In the future, they will hold the exhibition only in two cities within United States. Chan said that they would prepare a small board and let them itinerate to many theological seminaries and cities.
At the end of the interview, Chen expressed their hope of building a relationship of mutual understanding and respect between the church in China and the American churches. "We send deputations to overseas churches every year, and we invite friends from different countries to have mutual communication....Because we are one body in Christ."