Blessed are the Advocates

24 July 2013

A Langham scholar passionate about social justice in Vietnam

The church in Vietnam has faced tremendous challenges, evident not least in the history of tensions with the Communist government.  Missionary work ceased in 1975, but since 2004 new government regulations have allowed for churches and Christian NGOs to work openly. It is estimated that the church grew nine-fold among the mountain tribal peoples of central and southern Vietnam since the 1975 crackdown on religion.

Today, government-approved Bibles are being printed and translated into major tribal languages. Churches can now be registered, and there are many more unregistered house churches. Operation World suggests that leader development and theological training are the most urgent needs of the Vietnamese church.

Langham would agree: Vietnam, along with other Communist nations, is a high priority given the time-sensitive opportunities for evangelism and church growth. This is one reason why we have invested in Langham scholar (name withheld for security reasons).

Langham Scholar is a fourth generation believer; his great grandparents from his maternal side were among the first to convert to evangelical Christianity after the Protestant mission group, Christian & Missionary Alliance, started working in Vietnam.  Langham Scholar is now connected with the growing house church movement, and he is passionate about social justice.

Prior to beginning his PhD studies, he served as a Senior Advocacy Officer for an international development organization in Vietnam from 2007 to 2010, where he addressed the needs of disadvantaged children, migrant workers, and human trafficking victims. In the course of his work, he saw that many had found their salvation and comfort in Jesus. His previous theological education came to life in these encounters, as he experienced personally the role and power of the Holy Spirit to deliver people from sin and darkness.  This inspired his ministry, and led to his selection of a thesis topic centered on political theology and the role of the Vietnamese church to become stronger advocates for the poor and marginalized.

Displaced children who Langham Scholar V.L’s church helped settle in a new area.

Displaced children who Langham Scholar’s church helped settle in a new area.

Langham Scholar’s thesis is entitled, ‘Toward a Renewal Theology of Social Transformation in Vietnam’, and he is working under Professor Amos Yong, a well respected Pentecostal-evangelical theologian at Regent University in Virginia. After he graduates, he will return to the Vietnamese Theological College, where he will, like many other Langham Scholars working around the world, influence and shape a nation in need of God’s Word, equipping and encouraging students and emerging leaders to take the light of the Gospel to the poor and forgotten.

Please join us in praise for the many new believers in Vietnam, and in prayer for the many who will come to know Jesus.  Pray that he would multiply himself, equipping and encouraging a new generation of Bible teachers and mobilizing the church in Vietnam to reach the ‘least of these’.

by Tiffany Randall, Langham Scholars