The Billy Graham Library was chosen as one of four touring stops for the traveling exhibition, “The Bible in China: A History of Hope and Transformation,” which runs Nov. 8-19.
Opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 8, the exhibition was organized by the China Christian Council and Three-Self Patriotic Movement and was previously displayed earlier this year in Washington D.C., Chicago and Dallas.
“We believe the Bible to be the greatest book of all time because it’s the Word of God from cover to cover,” said Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, in a video greeting on Nov. 8. “I think this is one of the greatest things we’ve done at the Library.”
Accompanying the “Bible in China” exhibition is a second exhibit retracing the Graham family’s roots and long-standing relationship with China.
Billy Graham’s late wife, Ruth Bell Graham, was born in China and lived there until attending boarding school in North Korea at age 13. Her grave marker at the Library includes the Chinese character that means “Righteousness.” The same character is on the gravestone of her father, Dr. Nelson Bell, who spent 25 years in China as a medical missionary.
“Some people think that I’m Chinese, but the only part of me that is Chinese is my heart,” Ruth Bell Graham once said.
Billy Graham first preached in the People’s Republic of China in 1988, a trip that spanned 17 days, five cites and nearly 2,000 miles. And Franklin Graham has taken numerous trips to China, bringing the Gospel and much-needed emergency medical supplies and has been given the name Ge Fu Lin, which means “Bring the Good News.”
“We thank God for China,” Franklin Graham said. “I believe (the exhibit is) going to touch the hearts and open the eyes of all those who visit during this time.”
The “Bible in China” exhibit is divided into three parts.
The first segment “Touching History: The Early History of the Bible in China,” uncovers the first Bible in China, “The Easy Wenli Version” in 1902 and runs through 1980, when the first 50,000 New Testament Bibles were printed.
Secondly, “Bible Publication and Distribution in Three Decades Since 1980,” talks about the Amity Printing Press, which published 80 million Bibles from 1988 to 2010.
The third chapter, “The Fragrance of Flowers: The Bible and the Church Life,” details how 2,500 students are enrolled in Chinese seminaries and Bible schools today.
“The BGEA stands ready to join the church in China in encouraging the seminaries and equipping the pastors,” Cliff Barrows said. “On behalf of Bev Shea, Billy Graham, the BGEA and myself, we welcome you and are grateful to be co-laborers with you.”
Supporting the exhibit’s ribbon-cutting ceremony were many from the Chinese delegation as well as Charlotte mayor Anthony Foxx.
“This is a wonderful, wonderful moment for Charlotte,” Foxx said. “By having this exhibition here, we will grow to know that our brothers and sisters in China are praying to the same God.”
Included in the Graham family’s China exhibit are photos from Ruth’s return trips to China, one with three of her siblings, Rosa, Virginia and Clayton (1980), and another with her three daughters, Gigi, Anne and Ruth (1989). Another picture shows Ruth and Mr. Graham touring Ruth’s childhood bed room.
“On behalf of Mr. Graham, he is indeed so happy that you’ve chosen the Billy Graham Library for this exhibit,” Barrows said. “He knows it would bring a great joy and blessing to Ruth.”
Both exhibits are free and available for public viewing during the Billy Graham Library’s regular hours, Monday through Saturday, from 9:30 to 5 p.m. For more information, please visit www.billygrahamlibrary.org.
Read more about the BGEA’s China Legacy by clicking here.