An exhibition sponsored by Christian churches in China will open in three cities in United States between April and June, said the China Christian Council (CCC) on Tuesday.
The exhibition, at the joint sponsorship of the CCC and the Protestant Churches in China, will be the first to travel abroad.
"The theme of the U.S. exhibition is 'A lamp at my feet lights my path'," said Cao Shengjie, president of the CCC, adding that the show will be held in Los Angeles from April 27th to May 4th, Atlanta from May 19th to May 24th, and New York City from June 5th to June 12th.
Cao said the main purpose of the historic exhibition is "to show conditions of Chinese Christians, the good news of the Bible's spread in China, how the body of Christ has been built under the guidance of the 'word' as well as how the church contributes to society."
"The exhibition is also intended to bring new understanding between Americans and Chinese, and to create a greater dialogue between Christians in China and the United States," she said, adding few Americans are aware of the rapid development of Chinese churches.
"I know that many Christians in the United States are very concerned about China," Cao said. "They think Chinese Christians have no access to bibles."
Between 1980 and 2005, almost 40 million bibles had been published in China, Cao said, adding that they include some minority language editions.
Cao said the misunderstanding stems from the belief that the government persecutes people with religious beliefs.
"I have not heard of Christians being arrested because of their faith. Believers have been arrested just because they conducted illegal activities, which should be punished by law," Cao said.
She also dismissed overseas criticisms that Chinese churches are silent in face of various social problems.
Cao said churches and their youth groups are doing a lot to help laid-off workers to seek employment and teach them to have a positive attitude towards challenges in life, Cao said.
She said many leaders of local church bodies are members of the advisory bodies to the government. This gives them an opportunity to voice their concerns and give suggestions through meetings of People's Political Consultant Conference at various levels.
According to a recent CCC estimate, the number of Protestant Christians in China exceeds 16 million. "Let's pray to God the figure will grow larger," Cao said.
Cao said she hoped the exhibition to the U.S. would help dispel existing misunderstandings.
A similar exhibition was held in Hong Kong in August, 2004, drawing an audience of 30,000. Cao said the majority of the exhibits being taken to the U.S. will be on display outside the Chinese mainland for the first time.
Organizers said, one of the rare works of art being taken to the U.S. is a giant wood carving, named "The Life of Jesus", in which 75 Bible stories with 1,000 biblical figures are carved in sixty-layers on a 100-year-old block of camphor wood.
"As Bishop K.H. Ting, a prominent leader in the Chinese Church, says: 'The Bible unites us.' We anticipate that these Bible Ministry Exhibitions will bring unity and love of God between the two countries and their people," said Cao.