Guest / Limited Access /

Since one of Adoniram Judson's first converts, the Karen evangelist Ko Tha Byu, introduced the gospel to his people group in the mid-nineteenth century, several ethnic minorities in Burma, also known as Myanmar, have become largely Protestant.

Even in Ko Tha Byu's day, the government—a monarchy—was hostile to non-Buddhists. The situation for minorities is desperate, as they face both extreme poverty and a destructive regime.

According to the U.S. Department of State, the country is mostly ethnic Burman, with a third of the population belonging to other ethnic groups. Most estimate that the Burmese population is 4% Christian (mostly Baptists and Catholics).

Within specific ethnic groups, however, the proportion can be much higher. Chin Duh Kam, pastor of Chin Baptist Mission Church, executive minister of Chin Baptist Fellowship of America, says the majority of Burmese Chin are Christian.

Those smaller groups have been displaced, with many Burmese remaining in the country even after their villages are flattened by the military regime (officially, the State Peace and Development Council, or SPDC) and some crossing the borders into Malaysia, Thailand, China, and other countries.

Chin Duh Kam says that many people equate certain ethnicities with Christianity, but Burmese Christians still mark their homes and communities with the symbol of Christ's death. In Chin State, some communities erected large crosses on hillsides. The SPDC has torn many of them down and conscripted Chin laborers to build Buddhist pagodas in their place, said Kam.

For security reasons, none of the people who could be identified from these images is currently in Myanmar.

Click here to view the slideshow.



Related Elsewhere:

Previous Christianity Today articles ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueWho Awaits the Messiah Most? Muslims
Subscriber Access Only
Who Awaits the Messiah Most? Muslims
Islam and Christianity share Second Coming hopes. Can this be a bridge?
Recommended‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian
‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian
Islamic extremism now has a rival, according to 2017 World Watch List.
TrendingThe Story Behind Trump’s Controversial Prayer Partner
The Story Behind Trump’s Controversial Prayer Partner
What Paula White’s Washington moment implies for the prosperity gospel’s future.
Editor's PickThe Church’s Integrity in the Trump Years
The Church’s Integrity in the Trump Years
It begins by recognizing the name above every name.
Christianity Today
Burma's Christians
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

November 2007

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.