In the past we have shared about the soul-winning benefits of providing the Scriptures to hungry believers. In China, feedback has suggested that an average of two or three people come to Jesus Christ either directly or indirectly after Bibles are sent to churches. We know of numerous instances where the church in an area has doubled after receiving a shipment of Bibles. Now, we would like to focus on another major benefit of providing God’s Word to believers. To some, this reason may not sound quite as exciting as the evangelism stories, but it is crucial to the well-being and development of the kingdom of God in Asia. The second major benefit is...
Asia is full of strange and bizarre religious beliefs. Numerous cults and sects flood the continent, and it is a constant battle for Christian leaders just to keep the most dangerous heresies from infiltrating and destroying their flocks. For example, in China a cult called the Eastern Lightning continues to ravage churches throughout the country. At the core of the strange movement is the belief that Jesus has been reincarnated as a woman and is living in central China, waiting for the right time for her identity to be revealed to the world.
When you read this you may think, “That’s ridiculous! No Christian would ever believe such nonsense.” Well yes, but in a country where Bibles been limited to members of the government-approved church in a deliberate attempt to strangle the massive house church movement, many believers with a shallow knowledge of the Bible have been easy pickings for this cult. While in some parts of China the church has strongly resisted the Eastern Lightning, in other areas the impact has been devastating. Several years ago we met a senior house church leader responsible for many churches in northwest China. With tears in his eyes, he recounted how the cult had specifically targeted their congregations. Consequently, in just two years the number of fellowships under his leadership had shrunk from 400 to 250.
This brother is a godly, mature man who loves the Lord Jesus with all his heart. With the Scriptures and Bible teachers in short supply, however, his leadership team had simply been unable to withstand the onslaught of the cult.
Earlier this year we read about a strange situation that occurred in a farming area in New Zealand. Without warning, one farmer found that his cows were falling sick and dying. The illness was a great mystery, and the farmer had never experienced anything like it before. He called in health inspectors who tested the farm’s water supply for contaminants and conducted other environmental tests. While all this was unfolding, more cows fell sick and died. Soon almost his entire herd of 100 cows was sick.
When the results came back from the laboratory, the cause of the cows’ sickness was found to be lead poisoning. The lead readings were off the chart, and the remainder of the herd was slaughtered. The farmer was baffled. A further autopsy of one of the dead cows revealed the cause.
A rifle range was located near the farm. Over time, hundreds of stray bullets and casings had landed in the adjacent farmland. They were inadvertently mulched up with the grass to produce straw, which was then fed to the livestock. The tiny specks of lead, too small to see with the naked eye, had poisoned the cows.
False Bible teaching can have the same impact on a believer that the lead poisoning had on the herd of cows. Over time, wrong teaching produces wrong thoughts about the character of God. This manifests in our lives as sinful behavior, which ultimately leads to spiritual death (alienation from Jesus Christ). For this reason all Christians should pay careful attention to what we are being fed. First and foremost, if we don’t know God’s Word ourselves, we will not be able to discern if fragments of poison are part of our regular spiritual diet.
Surely nothing is more important in Christian work than the teaching of sound doctrine. This is particularly important for those involved in Bible teaching or missionary work. Many Christians think that being politically correct is more important than standing up for truth, even the truth of God’s Word.
The great British preacher Charles Spurgeon once taught about the grave responsibility preachers have to teach sound doctrine. He said, “Ensuring a printing press is correct has to be done with great care since thousands of copies will be faulty if the proof sheet is not as it should be. Similarly, a minister should be seriously earnest to teach truth because his people will imitate him. If the town clock is wrong, half the watches in the place will be set to the wrong time.”
For good reason the Scriptures warn, “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” (James 3:1).
The Apostle Paul gave a dire warning about the dangers of false teaching when he wrote, “If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” (Galatians 1:9).
All who work in Christian ministry should carefully study 1 Timothy chapter 4, which instructs us about the perils of false doctrine. The passage concludes with this exhortation: “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16).
At Asia Harvest, we are constantly doing all we can to ensure that we, and those we work with and support, are upholding and teaching sound doctrine, and not compromising any of the essential truths of God’s Word. We consider this the first and most basic of our responsibilities. If we don’t ensure the message we are spreading is accurate and true, then everything we do is in vain, and all we could look forward to would be the judgment of God for misrepresenting the truth of the Gospel that His beloved Son sacrificed His life for!
The most effective way we know to counteract error and heresy in the Asian church is to provide as many Bibles as possible to serious believers who desire to know and obey the Scriptures. For many years we have seen that God’s Word truly is “living and active”. We have seen the Living Word transform lives as people have read it and allowed their minds to be renewed and transformed by it.
We have seen heresies crumble and crooked teaching made straight by the power of the Holy Spirit confirming the Word of God. Because He is alive, the Word of God Himself, Jesus Christ, can rightfully claim: “my word that goes out from my mouth will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
A Reality Check
Many people ask us, “Aren’t there already enough Bibles for people in Asia today?”
Here are some shocking statistics which may provide a reality check...
There are 7,000 languages in the world today.
Of these, only 513 have the full Bible available.
In Asia, 1,600 languages have no Scripture available at all, not even a single book or portion of the Bible.
Half the people in the world have never even seen a page of the Bible in their lives! Getting God’s Word to those people is our priority and focus, and we invite you to help get this done. Click here to learn how.