In 1975, Vietnam, united under communism, fell behind a bamboo curtain. Many feared the worst for churches there. But fifteen years later, churches, especially among Vietnam’s ethnic minority mountain peoples, suddenly exploded in number and vitality.
- ISBN: 9780878083046
- Pages: 144
- Binding: Paperback
- Published: 2011
- Publisher: William Carey Library
I have been waiting for this book. What a tantalizing mystery Vietnam is. The long heritage of the people. The trauma of war. Today’s hot economy. The continuing legacy of Marxist persecution. And, through it all, the church of Jesus Christ. What does it mean to be a Christian in this land? How have believers inside and outside the country offered wise witness, service, and advocacy? This book tells the story in solid context. Details never before revealed come to light.
My friend and missionary colleague, Reg Reimer, is a passionate advocate for the cause of religious freedom. I consider Reg to be the most knowledgeable person on the church in Vietnam, and I am grateful he took time to write this moving and informative book. When Roman Catholic clergy and laity were martyred for their faith centuries ago, “the gates of hell did not prevail against it.” When Protestant missionaries, pastors, and believers were imprisoned or killed during the Vietnam War, the light of the gospel continued to shine. After Vietnam’s unification in 1975, the church multiplied, despite restrictions and persecution. That is the encouraging story of this book. I pray that in years to come, the Lord will use the testimonies and experiences of our Vietnamese brothers and sisters to strengthen the church in the free world and to spread the gospel to all the corners of the earth!
“Vietnam’s Christians: A Century of Growth in Adversity” is a must-read for anyone wishing to understand how the gospel of Jesus Christ entered Vietnam. Reg Reimer skillfully weaves personal experiences into the text to offer depth and texture to the turbulent history and exponential growth of the church. This book is a welcome reminder of the great work the Lord is doing in Vietnam.
My fascination with Vietnam began as a teenager after hearing Reg Reimer speak. Since then I have followed Reg’s intriguing journey with great interest. Reg has distinguished himself as a missionary, a mentor, and advocate for all things Vietnam. In these pages he captures the powerful story of a resilient people of God who through a blend of physical courage and spiritual depth have thrived in the midst of huge challenges. I was clearly reminded that God often chooses some of the darkest and most challenging hours in history to do some of His greatest work.
At last the secret is out! For too long the story of the astonishing growth of the Vietnamese church has lain unknown, underreported, or even ignored. Yet it is one of modern Christianity’s most encouraging triumphs. Reg Reimer has done the worldwide body of Christ a huge favour in giving us the first definitive account of the progress of the gospel in Vietnam. Comprehensive and scholarly, nuanced and inspirational, this book deserves to become a modern missions classic. It will challenge and change all who read it.
I call the author of this book my “older brother.” Reg Reimer, a lifelong missionary to my native Vietnam, helped launch my international ministry in a moving event described in these pages and has been a great encourager to me ever since. I know of no better source to find such a moving summary
of the heroic missionary beginnings and of the explosive growth of churches after missionaries left Vietnam than this remarkable book.
I am very pleased with the publication of Reg Reimer’s short and precise telling of the expansion of the Protestant movement in Vietnam during its first one hundred years. This is the only such publication which includes the tumultuous last thirty-five years. Reimer is a keen observer of the social, political, and religious conditions in Vietnam. He skillfully weaves his own missionary experience into the story. As a professor I highly recommend this short history as a valuable sourcebook for those interested in the growth of the church in the Global South, as a textbook for seminarians, and as a guidebook for church planters.
I was mesmerized from the first page. This book will challenge your definitions of commitment, suffering, and devotion to the cause of Christ. Even I, as a Vietnamese pastor, did not know the extent to which Vietnamese Christians before me risked everything to follow Christ, some paying the ultimate price. If you are up for a faith challenge I invite you to read here stories of great courage and true sacrifice. You will meet Vietnamese believers and foreign missionaries faithfully witnessing and serving Christ under extreme conditions and tremendous difficulties over many years—simply sold out for Christ. In my opinion, all Vietnamese Christians owe missionary Reg Reimer a debt of gratitude for this record of our story.
This book is exactly what you would expect from the world’s foremost expert on evangelicalism in Vietnam: inspired, intelligent, and incisive. Erudite and eyewitness, Professor Reimer tells a powerful and personal story that also provides perspective. Comprehensive and contextual, this account will serve both students and scholars, in seminaries and Southeast Asian studies. As he links familiar history with faithful presence, Reimer’s presentation of the past will help Vietnam frame the future: a future where all Vietnamese have the freedom to choose or change faith.
For many of us, Reg Reimer is the person with the best read on the situation of the church in Vietnam over the past thirty years, and so I am very pleased to see the publication of this book. Reg provides his readers with a passionate and insightful overview of the state of the church, particularly the suffering church, of Vietnam. His writing is compelling: well-documented accounts of the growth of the church, probing analyses of the issues that shaped the life of the church through and after the war of the 1960s, and carefully chosen narratives of the lives and experience of specific individuals. It is all a testimony to the grace of God and the perseverance of the church through a particularly difficult chapter.
Reg Reimer simply refused to give up. Pushed out of his country of choice, he and Donna continued to serve the Vietnamese in diaspora everywhere. When I met Reg it wasn’t long until I learned of his heart for Vietnam and its people. He had become fluent in their language and deeply understanding of their life and ways. All of that comes together in this marvelous book of insight and challenge. Significantly, alongside this invaluable chronicle of history and personal memories, a vibrant Christian community grows in Vietnam today. Surely a legacy of his vision, love, and deep resolve.
Nobody is more qualified than Reg Reimer to write this seminal book on the history of the church in Vietnam. Conceived out of history, birthed in his own years of ministry on-site, and followed by decades as a watcher and advocate, Reg will move you to gratitude, to worship, to mission.
The history of the church in Vietnam is the saga of courageous followers of Christ who often experienced the reality of His presence under very difficult circumstances. The examples of faithful Vietnamese Christians and the brave missionaries who brought the gospel to them will inspire and challenge all who read this book. I highly recommend it.
I represent many, many Christians here in Vietnam when I sincerely thank Professor Reimer for telling our story to the world. I hope it will soon be translated into our language. Please let this book help you pray for us.
- Vietnamese Culture and Religion
- Alexandre de Rhodes and Early Roman Catholic Missions
- The Coming of the Protestants
- The Protestant Church during Three Wars
- The “Fall of Saigon” or “Liberation Day”?
- Birth of the House Church Movement
- The Remarkable Hmong People Movement
- The Vietnamese Diaspora
- Vietnam and Religious Freedom