SBTS welcomes governmental leaders from Vietnam

Communications Staff — March 26, 2009

A group of governmental leaders from Vietnam recently visited The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary as part of a broader tour of agencies and churches of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Leaders from Vietnam’s departments of religious affairs and public security toured the seminary campus on March 10-11, meeting with President R. Albert Mohler Jr. and Billy Graham School Dean Chuck Lawless.

The dignitaries spent nearly 10 days with various SBC leaders, visiting denominational headquarters in Nashville, Tenn., and attending worship services at First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Ga., as guests of SBC President Johnny Hunt and First Baptist Church of Taylors, S.C., as guests of former convention President Frank Page.

Members of the visiting party included Tran Manh Hung, associate director of the Department of Protestant Affairs of Vietnam, Vo Sy Binh, of the same department, Pham Ngoc Viet and Le Nhat Thanh of the Vietnam Department of Public Security. Le Quoc Huy, executive secretary of the Vietnam Baptist Convention, also accompanied the group.
Vietnam’s government recently gave official recognition to the Baptist convention in that country. Atlanta pastor Chinh Van Dao served as interpreter and Mike Hand, special assistant to the SBC president, led the tour.

In a meeting with Mohler, Southern’s president explained Baptist beliefs concerning good citizenship and religious liberty. He congratulated the Vietnamese delegation on their government’s recent recognition Baptists as a legal religious group.

‘We rejoice in the official recognition of the Baptist convention in Vietnam and consider this a great act of brotherhood on the part of the Vietnamese government,’ Mohler said.

Chuck Lawless, dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth, hosted a dinner for the contingent on Tuesday night at the seminary. While they dined, Lawless and the leaders discussed topics ranging from religious liberty in Vietnam to the number of Protestant denominations and religious faiths that are officially recognized in Vietnam.

“It was an honor to have our Vietnamese friends on campus,” Lawless said. “Our discussions, particularly about religious liberty, were interesting and informative. My prayer is that our friends saw Christ in us during this visit.”

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