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Vince Le

This chapter provides an analysis of the concept of the world, a concept that functions at the core of the evangelical ethos. It served as the motivation for sharing the message of salvation among the Vietnamese people during the turbulent social conditions at the turn of the twentieth century and has undergone expected change with the times. Regarding this concept, the notions of transformation and apocalypse set boundaries for a framework of thought within which Vietnamese evangelicals function as they approach Vietnamese society.

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Vince Le

This chapter identifies the historical shape of Vietnamese evangelical thinking on justice and elaborates the three trajectories of justice—as love, human rights, and miraculous divine deliverance—that are emerging among contemporary Vietnamese evangelicals as they, the underprivileged minority, seek justice in the world.

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Vince Le

The relationship between evangelicalism and Vietnamese culture in contemporary Vietnam takes on a distinctly political nature when evangelicals receive pressure from the State to make their beliefs and practices more aligned with Vietnamese culture. The implication of this pressure is that the communist state-party serves as the ideal of that culture. This chapter provides historical evidence to suggest that the cultural agency of the Vietnamese evangelical tradition has manifested more strongly in the intention to employ evangelicalism for the purposes of improving culture and promoting modernity than in the development of cultural forms of evangelicalism to ease cultural tensions. Today, evangelicalism continues to grow among several ethnic minority sectors in Vietnam for the same reason.

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Vince Le

Two perspectives, modernity for the nation and prosperity for all, are presented as occupying two opposing positions that express the intellectual-versus-grassroots tension evident in the contemporary Vietnamese pursuit of development. Here prosperity teaching among pentecostal evangelicals is described as representing both a grassroots evangelical response to the evangelical institutional adoption of transformational development, and a part of a grassroots Vietnamese response to the top-down design of the national development dictated by the State.

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Vince Le

Pentecostalization is the most significant development in Vietnamese evangelicalism in contemporary Vietnam. For the underprivileged evangelicals, pentecostal beliefs and practices promote thinking, practices, and behaviors that are conducive to both the subversion of the status quo and the imagination of a new condition of life. Utilizing the pentecostal fourfold Full Gospel pattern, the meaning of the pentecostal movement in contemporary Vietnamese evangelicalism can be summed up as follows:

The proclamation Jesus is Lord subverts inappropriate claims to rule, while the practice of worship promotes subversion of the status quo and is conducive to imagining a new life. Jesus as Coming King is construed as the bringing forth of justice, while concrete prayer for deliverance is a grassroots response to the existing powers’ rhetoric, which equivocates justice. Jesus as Spirit Baptizer enables the practice of tongues-speaking, exemplifying a plurivocality that challenges the use of univocality to establish cultural hegemony in communist Vietnam. Jesus as Healer initiates belief in divine blessings—divine compensation for the have-nots amid inequality, while the practice of human fasting expresses goodwill for the healing and prosperity of all.

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Vietnamese Evangelicals and Pentecostalism

The Politics of Divine Intervention

Series:

Vince Le

This book offers an analysis of the historical, theological, and social conditions that give rise to the growth of pentecostalism among contemporary Vietnamese evangelicals. Emerging from the analysis is an understanding of how underprivileged evangelicals have utilized the pentecostal emphasis on divine intervention in their pursuit of the betterment of life amid religious and ethnic marginalization. Within the context of the global growth of pentecostalism, Vietnamese Evangelicals and Pentecostalism shows how people at the grassroots marry the deeply local-based meaning dictated by the particularity of living context and the profoundly universal truth claims made by a religion aspiring to reach all four corners of the earth to enhance life.