According to the latest report from Open Doors USA, being a Christian in Vietnam is definitely not easy. The Christian minority in Vietnam faced both state and tribal forms of persecution. Many Christians in Vietnam had to face social exclusion, discrimination, and physical abuse from local authorities, their neighbours, and even their family’s members. The gospel message is completely banned from being proclaimed. It is extremely difficult to share the gospel with other Vietnamese. It is hard for anyone to hear the gospel message in Vietnam.
Despite the persecution and the ban on the gospel, there is a God who can save.
He graciously saved me from my sin and death. I grew up in a non-Christian family in Vietnam, so rationally the opportunity for me to hear the gospel was none, and logically, the chance for me to be saved was obviously slim. How can anyone be saved without hearing the gospel when the gospel is banned?
However, by God’s infinite grace, I got the opportunity to study in the United States, where I heard the gospel of Jesus Christ from a friend in a car. Amazingly, God opened my heart and helped me see the sinfulness of my heart. He made me recognize my need for a Saviour who can save me from the wrath to come. By God’s grace, I put my trust in Christ alone for salvation and became a Christian. While being in the U.S, I became more mature spiritually, and my walk with God has been strengthened.
The freedom of religion is guaranteed by the U.S Constitution, which allows all Americans to worship God freely, without worrying about persecution, and it was a huge blessing for me. I had the freedom to freely worship the Lord and to apply the word of God to live a life that glorifies God in the U.S.
This summer, I came to Vietnam to visit my hometown and family. Indeed, Vietnam is a rough place for Christians and also for me. No freedom of religion is backed by the constitution, and the Vietnamese culture is very hostile to Christianity. There is a lack of gospel preaching, and there are only a few churches. The culture is very secular and hostile against God. Fortunately, the level of violence against Christians has dropped for the past several years, but it didn’t lead Vietnamese Christians to optimism. The Vietnamese authorities still continue to crack down on ethnic minority Christians.
Nevertheless, there is hope, and it is found the promise of God in Matthew 16:18, in which Jesus said, “I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” I attended a Sunday morning service in my hometown, and I realized that even though there are many oppositions against Christianity in Vietnam, many Vietnamese Christians still continue to be faithful to the Lord. They sang their praises to God and expressed their gratefulness for the forgiveness of sin to the Lord. They came to bible studies weekly to study the word of God and to apply it to their lives. The threat of persecution is real, but their zeal for the Lord is even stronger.
The churches in Vietnam are not perfect. There is still a lack of gospel-focused preaching in the local churches. Some Christians in Vietnam are still illiterate to proper theology. Nevertheless, it is always God’s church, which He purchased with His own blood (Acts chapter 20 verse 28). Persecution cannot thwart His plan for His church. In fact, the church thrives under the pressure of persecution (Acts chapter 8 from verse 1 to 8), and Christ will have His inheritance and the prize which He died for. When He comes back, He will make all things new, and there will be no persecution, and all Vietnamese Christians will be in His presence, freely worshiping the Lord forever.
Dat Nguyen is from Vietnam and a student at the Master’s Seminary and a member of Grace Community Church in Los Angeles, California. I desire to be a faithful minister of the Word of God. I love playing basketball and American football and watching movies.