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-Luis Palau Allowed to Preach to Thousands in Communist Vietnam

by Dr. D ~ April 12th, 2011

Evangelist Luis Palau was allowed by the government to preach the Gospel to tens of thousands in a soccer stadium in Ho Chi Minh City (Formerly Saigon), Vietnam this past weekend. The event marked the 100th anniversary of the Protestant church in the country.

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(Photo: Luis Palau Association/Brad Person)

Vietnamese church leaders worked with government officials up to three hours before the event was to begin on Saturday before they finally received permission to hold the festival. It was the first time that an international Christian leader was able to preach the Gospel to such a large audience in Vietnam.

Evangelist Palau remarked about the occasion:

“I am humbled to take part in this historic effort in Vietnam. The Christian community here is so passionate, so patriotic, so optimistic, and so excited for the future of the nation. It is thrilling to see. We love Vietnam and we are overjoyed. We look forward to many years of service to the nation, as God allows.”

Christians make up only about 7.2% of the population in Vietnam and of that only 0.5% are Protestants. In Vietnam, ‘freedom to worship’ is seen as a privilege rather than a fundamental human right. It is mandatory for all religious groups to register with the government and all must receive official permission and follow official guidelines in order to meet and operate.

There are some ‘unofficial’ house churches operating illegally in Vietnam but their leaders and members are subject to arrests and confiscation of all of their property. Even the ‘official’ churches are subject to the whims of local authorities at times and church leaders occasionally have been arrested and beaten for trumped up violations.

Church leaders have a hard time securing official permission for large events and conferences in the country. Many times government authorities will not officially sanction meetings until right before they are scheduled to begin. More often than not church leaders are turned away at the last minute. Just last Christmas government officials refused to sanction several planned celebrations in the country just before they were to begin. 

Evangelist Palau has been invited by National church leaders to Hanoi to hold a similar event in Hanoi on April 15 and 16. The Christian leaders are still trying to secure official government approval for that festival.

Response: This really is a miracle of sorts. Over the last year or so we have documented the opposition of the Vietnamese government to the expansion of Christian churches in the country. The fact that members of the  international press were attending the Palau event probably helped in securing the venue and official permission.

Please join with me in prayer for the Vietnamese people that they will be able to receive the Gospel in spite of their government and that the Christians will also secure government approval for the Hanoi event on April 15 and 16.            *Top

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