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Vietnam’s church recognition suspect

ICC Note:

A Christian who spent years in Vietnamese prisons for his faith has mixed reactions to the news that the communist government in Vietnam has legalized a Pentecostal church.

By Allie Martin

10/29/09 Vietnam (OneNewsNow)–Recently, the Vietnamese government granted recognition to the Assemblies of God after considering it an illegal Christian denomination for 20 years.

Evangelist Paul Ai knows firsthand about the government of Vietnam. He was jailed in the communist nation for more than ten years for his faith in Christ. However, communist authorities expelled him from the country because so many prison inmates and guards were coming to Christ because of his witness behind bars.

Ai is cautious about the recent development concerning the AG churches, suggesting that legal recognition could be another way for the communist government to exercise more control over a denomination.

“When they recognize Christian Missionary Alliance, they use the church to persecute the other underground churches,” Ai shares. “And now if they recognize some of the denominations…[it makes] them to have to be compromised with the government. So when you are recognized by the government, [it may] look like you have more freedom — but in fact, they will control you more [tightly] than before.”

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