Vietnam’s Economic Expansion & Its Effects on the Church
Vietnam is known as one of the few remaining communist states in the world. All power still lies with the Communist Party, and only recently have the executive and decision-makers in the politburo started a dialogue with the National Assembly, which has been elected, but not under free and fair conditions. Surprisingly enough, because of their lack of independence, in June 2010, the National Assembly opposed for the first time in history a major infrastructure project of the government for economic reasons and thus stopped it. Despite a few independent lawmakers, all members of the NA are also members of the Communist Party. Due to Vietnam’s large population and geographical position, the economy is developing, but this is happening much more rapidly than the political development.
Christianity first reached Vietnam in the 16th century and became firmly rooted in society as early as the 19th century.
In 1911, Protestantism arrived by the coming of the Christian and Missionary Alliance.
According to the last census in 1999, around 80 percent reported themselves as non-religious. In fact, it is likely that at least around 50 percent of the population lives as required by Buddhist rules and rites.
Open Doors estimates the Christian population at around 9.7 million. About 8 million are Catholic Christians, the others belong to several Protestant churches of which some are united in the evangelical church. This church celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011.
Over the past two years, the communist government has tightening controls on freedom of expression, association and assembly. Media censorship is increasing, especially on the Internet.
- For Christian leaders and pastors in the north and central highlands; authorities keep a close watch on their activities
- Praise the Lord for the 584 young people who drew deeper in the Lord through five Open Doors-sponsored youth camps across the country in 2014
- That the Christians who are imprisoned might keep the faith, and that their families and fellow believers will encourage them