‘No Bible Sunday’
Religion & Liberty Online

‘No Bible Sunday’

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10 NIV).

According to The Christian Post, “On May 22, churches in several parts of the world are planning to hold ‘No Bible’ services where The Bible, even hymn books, over-head-projector slides, or anything else containing Scripture, will be locked away from view.”

The purpose is to illustrate the state of Christians and others across the globe, who do not have the material wealth or resources of the West.

“We hope that No Bible Sunday will help the Christians in the UK appreciate and value the feast of resources God has provided us with from his word. Many people groups only have crumbs,” said Geoff Knott, the Executive Director of WTB in a statement.

Of course it is not only Bible and hymnals that the West has in plenty. Christians in the developed world have the resources to construct huge church buildings, expansions, and other facilities. Often in poorer nations, congregants have no building to gather in, or missionaries struggle with inadequate housing.
Indeed, we need not look far to find material needs for fellow Christians, both in terms of worship and evangelism. For just a quick look from my own denomination, the 2005 Project Giving Guide produced by Christian Reformed World Missions details some of the opportunities for giving.

In Mali, for example, ranked 187th out of 208 by the World Bank for Gross National Income (GNI) per capita in 2003 ($290 per year, less than $1 per day), the missionaries need $900 US to replaster and repair their homes.

Nigeria, ranked 179th ($320 per year, less than $1 per day), similarly needs $750 for house repairs to the homes of the Nigerian evangelists among the Avadi. The Christian Reformed Church of Nigeria needs $23,077 to “develop a multi-ethnic worship and ministry center.” The Reformed Church of Christ in Nigeria needs $6,154 to help rebuild their headquarters, which was destroyed during ethnic warfare in the 90’s.

In Haiti, ranked 176th ($380 per year, just over $1 per day), $28,000 in construction costs are needed for volunteer groups that “come to help put up an office dorm as part of the national ministry center of the Haitian Christian Reformed Church.”

These needs are just a small sample of some of the very poorest countries in which CRWM works. And this is just one category: Building and Land. There are numerous other categories, such as agriculture, equipment, materials, media, relief, support, training and tuition, and transportation. And, again, this is just the work of one North American denomination. As we can see, a relatively little bit of money can go a long way.

Christian Reformed World Missions Project Giving Guide 2005
GNI per capita 2003, Atlas method and PPP, World Development Indicators database, World Bank, September 2004

“And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints” (2 Corinthians 8:1-4 NIV).

Jordan J. Ballor

Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is director of research at the Center for Religion, Culture & Democracy, an initiative of the First Liberty Institute. He has previously held research positions at the Acton Institute and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and has authored multiple books, including a forthcoming introduction to the public theology of Abraham Kuyper. Working with Lexham Press, he served as a general editor for the 12 volume Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology series, and his research can be found in publications including Journal of Markets & Morality, Journal of Religion, Scottish Journal of Theology, Reformation & Renaissance Review, Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Faith & Economics, and Calvin Theological Journal. He is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary and the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity & Politics at Calvin University.