Thailand - (Asia)

Information about Thailand

513115 square kilometres
Buddhism 95%, Muslim 3.8%, Christianity 0.5%, Hinduism 0.1%, other 0.6% (1991)
Christian (%)
Protestant (%)
Reformed (%)

Christianity entered Thailand (or Siam, as it was called until 1949) in 1555 through RCath missionaries. Prot missions began in 1828: the London Missionary Society, the American Bapt Missionary Union, the ABCFM, the American Missionary Association, and the Board of Foreign Mission of the Presbyterian Church in the USA all established mission stations in Bangkok, but, for various reasons (with the exception of the Presb stations), they did not last. By 1850 the American Presb had emerged as the primary mission force in Siam. Their work expanded from Bangkok into the central, northern, and southern regions. In all stations they opened schools, hospitals, and churches; the number of converts increased steadily, especially in the North. Among the Presb missionaries Daniel McGilvray deserves special mention; he translated the Bible into Thai and sought ways to secure theological training.
In the 20th century other missions began working in Siam. In 1903 the British churches of Christ (Disciples) opened a station west of Bangkok. Others arrived later, e.g., missionaries now linked together as the Thailand Bapt Missionary Fellowship, the Marburger Mission from Germany, others from Australia, from the United Kingdom, and more recently from Korea. In the early 1930s, the Presb Mission invited other Prot groups to join together and to form a truly national church. At first only the Bapt congr in Bangkok took up the offer. Later, other communities from Bapt missions, from the Marburger Mission, and from the Disciples followed. In 1934 the Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT) was constituted. After World War II, seeking to fulfill the wish of indigenous leaders who wanted to have an autonomous church which was ruled, administered, and evangelized by Thai people, the Presb (in 1957) and Disciples (in 1962) took their commitment toward a fully autonomous church one step further; they placed their mission work under the jurisdiction of the CCT. During recent decades the CCT has experienced considerable growth both through mission and through new groups joining its fold. The two most recently formed presbyteries are made up of the Lahu and Karen ethnic minorities in the northern part of the country. At the present time eight Korean missionary couples are working with the CCT.




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