The Heng Samrin regime shuts down the last of the house churches.
A correspondent who regularly visits Kampuchea filed this report after his latest visit.
Two years after liberation from Pol Pot’s genocidal brand of Communism, the church in Kampuchea (Cambodia) once again finds itself being driven underground. After months of harrassment, the Vietnamese-controlled government of Heng Samrin has forbidden Christian groups to hold house meetings. No churches have been open since the Khmer Rouge takeover in 1975, and buildings are either closed or have been turned into workshops or houses.
The last-known public house meeting in the country, a Sunday morning service held in the Phnom Penh suburb of Takhmau, was interrupted by authorities from the Ministry of Cults on January 25. They read an official document to the 80 people in attendance, forbidding all worship services.
The Takhmau meetings were held in the home of Sieng Ang, one of the two Khmer pastors outside the country when it fell in 1975. He was in South Vietnam, where he had been sent by the Khmer Evangelical Church in 1973 as a missionary to the Cambodian minority in the Mekong delta.
(The other pastor outside Cambodia was San Hay Seng, in the Philippines recording radio programs in the Khmer language for the Far East Broadcasting Company. Today he continues that ministry at FEBC headquarters in Whittier, California.
(At the time of the Khmer Rouge takeover, there were only 15 Khmer pastors and evangelists in the country. One of them, Kuch Kong, became a refugee shortly after the country capitulated. Of the remaining 14, all but 3 were killed in the bloodletting period between 1975 and 1979. Many lay leaders were also killed, including World Vision’s deputy and child-care ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more