The vast majority of Asian nations place tight restrictions on gospel witness. Across the continent, millions of believers facing severe opposition and often going underground to avoid detection. The situation in Thailand, however, is strikingly different.
While religious opposition is still a problem in some areas, Thailand offers a largely open door to the gospel. One of the most Westernised nations in Asia, in part due to Western allegiances throughout the twentieth century, Thailand is the gateway for tourists seeking to explore South–East Asia. As such, the culture echoes the liberalism of the West far more clearly than that of its neighbours.
Freedom of religion is enshrined in the constitution and is largely respected, with occasional flare ups between Buddhists and Muslims in the south not being representative of the national picture. However, despite the open door for evangelism and gospel witness, fewer than 1% of the population are evangelical Christians and over 88% remain unreached.
In the face of hearts closed to the gospel, we must rejoice in the open doors afforded to the gospel in this nation, recognising the amazing opportunities this presents and labouring on in the power of the Spirit. With the surrounding nations actively and resolutely opposed to Christ, gospel ministry in Thailand could be incredibly important and influential in years to come.
Laos and Vietnam, with their communist governments, are greatly influenced by China whilst Malaysia staunchly opposes gospel witness to its Muslim majority. Meanwhile, Myanmar is currently in the grip of a military coup, with democracy overthrown and the church preparing to go underground should the need arise. A Thailand where the good news is widely proclaimed could impact the whole region for the Kingdom in years to come.
We are privileged to be among those making the most of the opportunities available in Thailand. Whether through supplying Bibles in local languages, restoring victims of Bangkok’s notorious sex industry or bringing good news to unreached groups from the north to the south, we are seeing God at work. He is transforming lives in this incredibly important and strategic land.
We thank the Lord for every worker involved in tackling Thailand with the gospel.