The last full week of August of this year marks the 20th anniversary of Predvestnik, the Russian Forerunner. This monumental event was postponed by the Soviet coup d’état attempt (August 19–21, 1991) because the newspaper was in line to be printed when that occurred. We heard that Predvestnik was printed in Moscow at press run of 100,000 copies the very next day after the coup failed.
In 1991, there was only one other evangelical Christian newspaper, Protestant, that had a national distribution in all 15 republics of the USSR. Although it had been legal to publish Christian materials for over a year, I soon found out why it was so difficult. All the presses were owned by the state-run communist publishing companies. Every time we went to a registered publisher, they gave us a list of red tape items that we needed to cut through. Business moved slowly. Sometimes there was a waiting line of over a month to get access to the presses. Publishers made accommodations to print two or more publications as one run by effectively tagging on to another organization’s registration.
In July of 1991, we began the registration process for Media House in Kiev, Ukraine, which in turn would enable us to register a publication. While we applied for our registrations in Kiev, our first press run was administrated by the Protestant publishing company, who had a registration with one of the main printing houses in Moscow. However, all subsequent editions were printed in Kiev, Ukraine by Media House.
In the meantime, Predvestnik’s managing editor, Alexei Salapatov, who was then 17-years-old, decided that we needed to go right to the top and talk to the head of the largest press in Kiev, which did much of the newspaper printing in Ukraine. I went to the meeting and we stood the whole time in a stark Soviet office. The head of the printing house seemed to be a crusty old man who frowned most of the time. Behind him was a larger-than-life, full-length portrait of Vladimir Illych Lenin. I found it ironic that while we talked about printing one of the first Christian newspapers in the Soviet Union, this famous atheist looked down on us from the wall with a scowl of disapproval. I kept thinking that it was a complete waste of time. At the end of the conversation, the director of the Soviet printing house smiled and shook our hands.
Later, I found out that he really liked Alexei and he was fascinated that someone so young would take an interest in publishing a newspaper of such a large circulation. Our first runs were 100,0000 and then 20,000 copies each. He would often put our newspaper at the front of the line so it would get printed that week and not a month later. That is an example of the supernatural favor of the Lord.
Today, Alexei still works in the publishing industry now over 20 years later. The other editor of Predvestnik, Roman Medvid, is now involved in media producing television commercials and photography.
What follows is Alexei’s account of what happened 20 years ago this week.
Predvestnik interrupted by communist coup in 1991
By Alexei Salapatov
I left Kiev for Moscow on August 18th to finalize the deal for printing of the first issue of Predvestnik. The infamous coup happened the same night and by the time I arrived to Moscow, the whole world knew the news except me. So I came to Bob Weiner’s (founder of Christian Youth International) headquarters which then located in old-style Sevastopol hotel, having no idea of what was going on.
I watched TV for some time during the day and noticed that it was odd that all channels were broadcasting the classical ballet “Swan Lake” by Tchaikovsky. One of the young women who was on CYI staff told me that all press and TV channels were closed due to the coup and that the army was occupying the streets of Moscow.
The next day I called to the woman who was working for Protestant publishing house who was in charge of printing Predvestnik in one of Moscow’s printing houses. Sadly, she only confirmed what other people had said – all printing houses were blocked by soldiers and printing was put on hold for an indefinite period of time.
It was an odd time. People didn’t obey curfew although Moscow was under marshall law. Soldiers were doing nothing on the streets. The only scene were one could observe tensions between the rebel government and the crowd was on the square before the Parliament building. Many believed the army was going to capture the Parliament where most of “democrats” found shelter and had turned that government building into center of resistance.
Anyway, the coup was over in four days and we continued to wait for our turn to the press. I returned to Kiev because there was no sense to wait in Moscow doing nothing. Finally, at the end of August, I got news from Protestant that the newspaper was ready and waiting for us.
August 18th, 1991 was Monday, so the week ended on 25th. My estimate is that the first Predvestnik issue was printed between August 24-27, 1991. It is based on the fact that right after the coup all printing presses were extremely busy servicing big newspapers that waited in the line for days. However, I recall a converation with the woman director from the Protestant (the newspaper that administrated the printing) who told us that printing took place very next day after the coup.
We distributed most part of the press run at Bob Weiner’s conference in Moscow in September. I still own few packs of the various Predvestnik editions, including historic one that was printed in the capital of the USSR.
By Jay Rogers
These two clips are from a fundraising video I produced ten years ago for two missionary projects I was involved with from 1991 to 2000. Although I am not funding these projects currently, the video is important from a historical standpoint.
Predvestnik was only the second nationally distributed evangelical Christian newspaper or publication in the history of the Soviet Union. The Perestroika reforms made this publication possible in early 1991. Prior to this there was little freedom of religion or press in the Soviet Union.
Likewise, LOZA-TV was the first Russian video ministry of any Protestant Church in the Russian Federation. Only CBN, based in Kiev, was producing evangelical Christian video in the Russian language at the time that LOZA-TV was founded. Our first production, Hollywood, won an award at a Christian Broadcasters event in Moscow in the fall of 2000.
I plan to write a “travel vlog” series later this year in which I’ll post all the video I recorded in Russia and Ukraine throughout several of my 12 trips.
All the video in the above clips is from 8mm and VHS tape, so the quality is not what I could have accomplished with digital recording. Part of missionary work is learning to be creative with the resources God gives you. Still this production is close to my heart because it represents the work I accomplished in my short-term missionary trips to Russia and Ukraine.
I hope to become involved in another project in Ukraine soon. I am not sure exactly what it will look like, but I hope to make another trip to Ukraine sometime before too long. Here also is a travel vlog series and a documentary short from my last trip to Ukraine in 2007.
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“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
Welcome to the Second American Revolution!
This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
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Just what is Calvinism?
Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?
This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.
Running Time: 257 minutes
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Exposing The Occult Roots of Abortion
This presentation looks at the spiritual roots of abortion and exposes the myths surrounding child killing. Little known historical facts about abortion and how they relate to modern feminism are presented logically and accurately. Has been effective in converting many to a pro-life position.
Massacre of Innocence goes where no pro-life presentation has gone before in “tearing the lid off abortion” to reveal the spiritual realities we must battle if we will bring an end to this crime. The presentation is absorbing, fast-paced, informative and incredibly devastating to any attempt to justify abortion.
“… an extraordinary statement … a powerfully articulate presentation about what abortion really means, and why a great and moral nation like the United States must not allow the slaughter to continue.”
— Congressman Robert K. Dornan
Running time: 85 minutes
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Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!
These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.
Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.
Watch these pro-life videos on-line.
“These videos helped change my mind from pro-choice to pro-life. Your videos are what did it for me. I will be walking in next year’s March For Life in San Francisco.” — A. Jackson, California
“I was going to have an abortion until I saw your video. Praise Jesus!”
— M. Drew, YouTube Commenter
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High Quality Paperback — 200 pages
A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism
Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner
The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.
Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.
Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.
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