“Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do.”
This is the first line in one of my favorite childhood books — Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Yet, despite its popularity, the tale of Alice’s trip down the rabbit hole is one of countless books that have been officially banned in many countries around the world.
In 1931, a governor in China ruled that children should not be able to read about Alice and her animal friends because animals should never be portrayed as using human language and having equal intelligence as people.
Sept. 22-28 is Banned Books Week, a week when we celebrate the power of literature — even books that some might consider dangerous. Some of the world’s classics like Black Beauty or Of Mice and Men have been contested because their content is deemed “unsafe” or anti-establishment. But the Bible is considered the most dangerous Book of all in many countries.
In fact, it is one of the most banned books of all time. From North Korea to South Asia to parts of the Middle East and beyond, Bibles are nearly impossible to find … and sometimes even illegal. In many places, owning a Bible is enough to get someone arrested or possibly killed.
Still, despite the threat, persecuted men and women are begging for copies of God’s Word. They want to experience the hope within its pages for themselves. But to do that, they need your help.
Pastor Jao has been a minister in China for many years. We’ve changed his name to help keep him safe as the persecution of believers in China continues to rise.
Pastor Jao was a teenager when he heard the Gospel and became a believer. A few years later, a church planter came and spoke at his church, and Pastor Jao felt the call to go into full-time ministry. In fact, he and his family began using the basement of their home as a seminary for Chinese believers.
Slowly, they gathered resources like notebooks and study books to train Chinese church planters and furnished the rooms with desks. Most importantly, they collected Bibles — something that was not easy in a country where Christians are heavily persecuted.
Students came and lived with Pastor Jao’s family, spending their days in the basement studying God’s Word. The underground school was preparing pastors to go to the farthest corners of China to share the Gospel — but then they were discovered.
Officials raided Pastor Jao’s home and took everything — the furniture, the kitchenware, and even personal items. But worst of all, they confiscated the Bibles, leaving the church planters with no way to study and grow in their faith. They even arrested Pastor Jao’s father and held him captive until shortly before his death.
Pastor Jao has been arrested a number of times, as well. But that hasn’t stopped him from sharing the Gospel. The only thing that is hindering his ministry is a lack of Bibles.
One partner recently shared a horrifying development in the war against Christianity in China. A new translation of the Bible is being written from an overtly Communist political standpoint.
“Unlike certain occults, which falsely interpret genuine Scripture, this is a complete rework of Scriptures themselves and will undoubtedly have a profound impact on the accessibility of genuine Bibles,” our partner said. His biggest concern, he said, is that new believers will be led astray with this politicized version.
Over the next few years, China will be flooded with false versions of the Gospel — versions that have been tailored to suit the needs of man. But God’s Word is powerful, and it cannot be changed.
This week, you have the chance to help place the world’s most powerful Book in the hands of seekers and persecuted Christians.
Please join us in praying for our suffering brothers and sisters in Christ and providing Bibles for those living in places like China, North Korea, Iran, and Cuba, Rwanda. Any gift you give will be DOUBLED to provide Bibles for twice as many people, thanks to a generous matching gift.
Your involvement will truly help transform people’s lives — and give hope to pastors in need like Pastor Jao.
The Bible may have been banned, but that won’t stop God’s Word from reaching the nations. Will you play a part in that by giving today?