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Friday
Jun192015

Reformed Seminary in Vietnam

Friday May 29 Rev. Nhiem Tran (former Westminster student) met with J.V. Fesko (Academic Dean, Westminster Seminary California) to discuss establishing a reformed graduate seminary in South Vietnam.  The Lord has graciously opened many doors including the purchase of land and permission to build.  The long process begins as four young American men (bi-lingual in Vietnamese and English) will begin their studies at Westminster this Fall in order to train to be the initial faculty at the fledgling reformed seminary in Saigon.  Please implore the Lord's grace for this endeavor to the end that Vietnamese believers might have the blessing of trained pastors who can preach Christ-centered sermons from all the Scripture and rightly distinguish law and gospel.

Historical Timeline

1975
. Fall of Vietnam to communist
. Few churches closed
. Pastors placed in reeducation camps
. Seminary in Nha Trang closed

Summary: churches went underground, many pastors died in the camps, leadership trained only informally but "illegal" because not recognized by the Communist Vietnamese government

1993
. Limited freedom granted for assembly of worship
. Few pastors left to lead the church, desperate need for new leadership
. New leaders trained out of the country in Bangkok

2003
. Increased freedom for assembly
. Some new churches built or reopened
. Continuing hostility especially in rural areas (mountains and Mekong Delta)
. Vietnamese government granted the opening of the first undergraduate seminary for the Tin Lanh Church in Ho Chi Minh City (Evangelical Church of Saigon), granting 50 students per year (one from each province)

Summary: For the past ten years hundreds of new pastors have graduated from the undergraduate institution and returned to their home towns to pastor churches. However, their training is minimal and preaching tends to be moralistic, so there is a great need for good, reformed, graduate-level training.

2014
. Vietnamese government granted a second undergraduate seminary to be opened -- Tin Lanh Church in Hanoi (Evangelical Church of Hanoi)

2015 (May 28)
. Initiation of reformed graduate seminary under Westminster Theological Seminary (land already purchased and permission to build already granted)