Over the past year, I have tried to fill in some of the details of my suggestions for an “old strategy” to meet a “new situation.”
More than once, I have stressed the importance of the Internet, including web pages and email communication.
Without minimizing the ongoing value of Internet publications, even under China’s increasingly restrictive blocking of the Web, there is another, much older, method for spreading the knowledge of God’s truth and love.
Here I must include the writings copied by hand on parchment, papyrus, or paper for hundreds of years before the invention of the printing press. I’m talking about documents that can be handled, stored, and passed on to others in a material form.
Even today, millions of people still read books. In China, Christian publishers continue to issue translations or new titles. Somehow, a book is different from a link to a web site or blog. You can keep it and share it with others as a tangible object. Once you gain possession of a book, you aren’t dependent on access to the Internet to read it. You can mark it up, quickly turn pages to a previous location or glance ahead to the back. And some people just prefer to have a book in their hands.
We have been producing books since the 1980s. Some have been translations, like the Greek-Chinese Lexicon of the New Testament that my students translated under my supervision. The Lord’s Healing Words and Jesus and Confucius have also been translated and published in Taiwan. (Only the sections on Jesus are published in English, as Jesus: The Complete Man.) The Way Home: A Faith for the 21st Century, consisting of lectures I gave at Tunghai University in Taiwan that were translated by a good friend, is available only in Chinese.
You already know about my other books in English, like Reaching Chinese Worldwide. A professor who recently taught a one-week course on religion and American law at a university in China wrote to say that “Reaching Chinese Worldwide was just what I needed. Thank you for writing it.”
Wise Man from the East: Lit-sen Chang (Zhang Lisheng) includes my translation of his critique of Indigenous Theology and an introduction by me. Builders of the Chinese Church, which I edited, contains short biographies of pioneer Western missionaries and Chinese Christians. I wrote four of these plus the Introduction. Just recently, I wrote a chapter for an edited volume on how missionaries can help Chinese churches grow into maturity.
You can find a full list of my books at www.reachingchineseworldwide.org/books/
Our colleagues have also contributed to this effort: Dr. Carol Lee Hamrin, with Stacey Bieler, edited Salt and Light: Lives of Faith that Shaped Modern China, three powerful volumes on Chinese Christians. These laid the foundation for Studies in Chinese Christianity, published by Wipf & Stock, that Dr. Hamrin and I edit together. That series now has twelve volumes, with two more in preparation by Global China Center Associates (Dr. Cui’an Peng and Dr. Gloria Tseng) and others on the way.
Please pray for us. Ask God to:
Enable Dr. Peng and Dr. Tseng to complete their books in the face of considerable obstacles.
Help two other GCC Associates (Dr. Cole Carnesecca and Dr. John Barwick) to finish revisions of their dissertations about Christianity in China for publication as books.
Give me grace to complete a chapter on Karl Barth’s theology in Chinese context for the next Yearbook of Chinese Theology, published by Brill.
Grant wisdom and skill to the translators in Taiwan working on Christ the King and the last volume of my abridgment of the Chinese version of Carl Henry’s God, Revelation, & Authority.
Provide a publisher for The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: A Handbook to Marriage, and the Chinese translation of Carl Henry: Theologian for All Seasons.
Use all these publications to build the kingdom of God among Chinese worldwide.