Vietnamese Evangelicals provide a story of hope even in a deeply divided country.
One indisputable feature of Evangelicals is that we don’t always get along. All sorts of factors play into our lives; our hometowns, family history and schooling influence how we think, feel and vote. In our human brokenness, disunity is often a factor that plays into all we are and what we do.
So, how then do we live as Jesus prayed to the Father in John 17, “May they be one even as we are one”? We know that believing in and following Jesus does not create sameness. For example, in Canada I have Evangelical friends who favour a wide range of political ideals: separatism, socialism, conservatism, liberalism, environmentalism.
In today’s world where conflicting views are the chatter of newscasts, let me point you to a country and its people who, though living in division, chose recently to come together.
A great example from an unlikely place
Vietnam is a classic example of a divided country. It has endured civil and national wars, been fragmented by tribalism, dealt with conflicting economic theories, and juggled a multiplicity of languages. Even its history defines the country as politically split between the north and the south. Some months ago, when I traveled from the northern part of Vietnam to the southern end and back again, I was reminded of its pockets of resistance, its variety of tribes and local ethnic animosities. These demographics don’t cease to exist just because faith is introduced.
Yet here in Vietnam, Evangelicals, though facing headwinds of opposition within their own communities, chose a few weeks ago to buck the trend of division. Instead, they committed to praying and working towards a more unified Christian voice, so as to establish a stronger public presence in the country. …