A new constitution in September 1993 guaranteed freedom of religion for Cambodian citizens. Consequently the Gospel and name of Jesus Christ has spread to every province within Cambodia.
The translation started in 1923; New Testament translated in 1933 and the full Khmer Bible were published in 1953.
The Church went through periods of growth and persecution. There is much tollerance for Christianity but even today Cambodians who turns to Christ from Buddhism and animism are accused of betraying their Cambodian roots their country and culture.
In 1923 the first evangelical Christian missionaries arrived in Cambodia, although Roman Catholicism had been introduced in the 1500s. Prince Sihanouk expelled al missionaries and evangelical Churh leaders were ordered to close their churches in 1965 when diplomatic relations with the West were terminated.
In 1970 - 1975 missionaries were allowed to return to Cambodia and the church grew to about 10 000members. Then came the Pol Pot era and his proclamation of year zero for the country in which most Christians died trough starvation, diseases or being murdered. A remnant of about 200 Christians survived the genocide.
(ww.cambcomm.org.uk, www.cambodiaaction.org )
Potrait of the Church Body in Cambodia
- Average age of Church Leaders: Is 34years old and is a Christian for about 8 years.
- Educational level: Average educational level from a Cambodian church leader is grade 8.
- Occupation of Church leaders: 60% rice farmers, 12% full-time / professional church leaders, 10% students
- Monthly income:
- Leaders in Rural areas US$43.12per month
- Phnom Penh leaders US$238.75 per month
- 12% of church leaders report not having enough food, 34% survival level, 53% reportedly have an average Cambodian live
- Bibles: 45% literetate believers do not have a Bible (Cost of a Bible is about US$7) / Nationwide average is 15 Bibles per church.
- Church leadership and Theological Training: Largest amount of training leaders receive is in a non-formal, rural-based leadership training programs. Very few are trained in a full-time residential theological training institution