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Vietnam’s Church of God followers ordered to recant faith

The members of the Christian group have been under state monitoring since 2018
Members of the Church of God are seen during a prayer meeting in this undated photo

Members of the Church of God are seen during a prayer meeting in this undated photo. (Photo: Church of God website)

Published: March 08, 2023 12:07 PM GMT
Updated: March 09, 2023 03:57 AM GMT

The police in a central province of Vietnam has ordered followers of the Church of God, a Christian movement that originated in South Korea, to stop practicing the “illegal religion.”

In a statement on March 6, the police at Cam Ha Commune in Quang Nam said they inspected a local village house and found six women and four men illegally carrying out a ceremony as followers of the banned faith, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported on March 7.

During the raid, police seized a laptop, three computer speakers, 10 bibles, five notebooks, 14 white sheets, and a podium.

The movement has been under government surveillance since April 2018, when the state-run religious affairs committee asked central and local authorities to monitor the Church of God, officially known as the World Mission Society Church of God.

The movement started in South Korea in 1964 by Ahn Sahng-hong. His followers believe him to be Christ. It has more than 3.3 million members in 7,500 churches in 175 countries, according to its website.

Communist-ruled Vietnam's law requires religious groups to register their organizations and places of worship.

Only organizations that have operated for at least five years can apply for registration. Once registered, the organizations are granted status as legal entities. Many groups refused to register out of fear of persecution or concern for their independence, RFA reported.

International Christian rights group, Open Doors, ranks Vietnam 25th among 50 countries where Christians face various forms of persecution.

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