Vietnam's largest evangelical church group has called off its assembly to elect new leaders after the Vietnamese government denied permission to hold the meeting. The Evangelical Church of Vietnam (South) announced on November 25th that the gathering scheduled for early February was being postponed. That same day, the government's Bureau of Religious Affairs released a statement urging the ECVN(S) to observe Article 34 of the Law on Belief and Religion in order to hold the assembly.
The issue revolves around a legal requirement introduced during 2018, in which the names and résumés of all leadership candidates must be submitted to the government for approval prior to church elections. This mandate is perceived by the church as a way to filter out candidates who are not supportive of the government. The church insists that such a requirement is contrary to the constitution and practice of the ECVN(S), further declaring that they will not give a Communist government the authority to determine who is fit to lead the church. For more on the challenges facing Christians in Vietnam, go to our country report.
Please lift up in prayer this church and others in Vietnam that are seeking ways to faithfully serve our Lord Jesus Christ, even amid these intensifying government restraints. Pray for a resolution to this impasse, asking God to break down the barriers and grant favour to His followers by working in the hearts of governing officials. May the light of Christ shine brightly through the lives of Christians in Vietnam, radiating His love and saving grace to all those around them.