For several years, reSource has been part of the planning process for a new theological school
in the city of Hanoi. In 2013, the Evangelical Church of Vietnam North – ECVN (N) – received
approval to launch the Hanoi Bible College (HBC), and the school began operations in time for
the start of the fall semester. Of the 25 students in the first class, 13 are Kinh (ethnic
Vietnamese) and 12 are from minority groups such as the Hmong. HBC will serve both the
established, registered church and the Christian population of Hanoi, preparing pastors to lead
the congregations of northern Vietnam, both in the urban centres and in the highland regions of
Some background on Christianity in Vietnam
Christianity was first brought to Vietnam in the 17th century by Roman Catholic missionaries.
Protestantism was introduced later, primarily through the efforts of Christian & Missionary
Alliance workers. The churches multiplied for several decades, but during the war for
independence in the 1960’s and 70’s the number of churches in the North decreased
Since reunification in 1975, the relationship between the church and the state has not always
been easy. The government offers official recognition to some organizations, allowing freedom
to worship but requiring government approval for all operations, including the appointment of
church leaders. The two largest officially recognized Protestant churches are the Southern
Evangelical Church of Vietnam – ECVN (S) – recognized in 2001, and the smaller Evangelical
Church of Vietnam North – ECVN (N) – recognized since 1958.
By some estimates, the growth of Protestant believers in Vietnam has been as much as 600
percent over the past ten years. Some of the new converts belong to unregistered evangelical
house churches. With limited opportunity for theological education in the country, pastors and
professors both must travel to Bible colleges and seminaries in other countries to gain the
training needed to lead the new Christians. HBC will provide an opportunity for theological
training to many Christian leaders in northern Vietnam without having to leave the country.