New Church Life NCL May/June 2018 - Page 89

  rights – a truth worth reflecting on by people fortunate enough to live in a free society. Rights have responsibilities that go along with them and make the rights possible. Civil liberty can only exist in a society in which the citizens act rationally and place self-imposed limits upon the exercise of their rights. The continuance of the social structure that protects our rights depends upon a general acknowledgment and respect for their limits. (WEO) brave new church world Early in April the Chinese government extended its longstanding effort to limit the influence of Christianity by banning online retailers from selling the Bible. China is tolerant to Buddhism, Taoism and Islam but is hostile to Christianity, despite surging interest. The Bible is printed in China but is legally available only at church bookstores. Online sales threatened that control; hence the ban. There are estimates of some 38 million Protestants in China and 6 million Catholics, but the number may be higher because of many underground churches. One of them is the New Church of China. We have a very brave and dedicated minister there, identified only as Rev. Tim – the first New Church minister in China. We withhold his last name for his protection. But that does not make him timid. In the January/February 2017 issue of New Church Life, the Rev. Yong Jin, regional pastor for Asia, reported that Rev. Tim conducts worship every Sunday for students, teachers and others. He has also opened a New Church high school, and because it is an alternative school he is allowed to teach from New Church doctrine. There were wonderful testimonials from studen ts whose lives are being changed. But they are challenged to find enough teachers. They have conducted seminars for New Church people in China, including many baptisms. Among the themes have been: “What are the basic teachings of the New Church?” And, “How can we build the New Church in China?” There are plans for a theological school, translation and publication. The Chinese government can build its Great Wall against the Bible and Christianity, but Rev. Tim and his followers are not deterred. The Rev. Jin says simply: “These people are trying to spread our church one member at a time and believe that this New Church will continue to grow.” (BMH) 265