By Editorial Staff
Published May 1, 1989
A novel with strong Christian overtones is causing quite a stir in the Soviet Union, partly because Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev is the controversial author’s biggest fan.
Chingiz Aitmatov, a native of the Soviet Asian republic of Kirghizia, is one of the USSR’s best-known writers, and Gorbachev says he has read nearly every word the author has penned. His most recent novel, The Place of the Skull (published in English in the U.S. in April of this year), is a searing attack on drugs, the destruction of wildlife, and the stupidity of Communist Party officials in the countryside. The numerous criticisms of communist dogma throughout the book would have surely been censored prior to Gorbachev’s glasnost policies.
In the novel, the main character Avdiy Kalistratov infiltrates a gang of marijuana smugglers and attempts to convert them to God. But he is later enlisted to work for local authorities on the steppes of Kazakhstan and is brutalized by the savagely cruel Ober Kandalov – who bears striking resemblance to Joseph Stalin. When Avdiy attempts to speak to his comrades about God, he is crucified on a saxaul tree.
Prior to his torture, Avdiy has a dream about the confrontation between Pilate and Jesus Christ on the terrace of Herod’s Palace. In a fanciful retelling of the encounter, Jesus explains to Pilate that all men – including Caesar – are accountable to God. The narrative makes powerful assertions about the limits of political power which are quite revolutionary for Soviet audiences. In the following brief excerpt, Jesus questions Rome’s authority and Pilate becomes indignant:
“There is nothing higher than the power of Rome. I hope that is what you meant to say?”
“That is what you think, Governor.”
“That is what clever men have always thought,” Pilate corrected him condescendingly. “That is why they say that Caesar is not a god, but God is like Caesar. Convince me that is not so, if you are so sure of yourself. Are you sure that Caesar is less than God?”
“He is mortal”
“Obviously. But while he is alive and well, is there God above Caesar for men?”
“There is, Roman Governor, if you choose another dimension of being.”
“Enough!” cried the Procurator. “We’re wasting time.”
When the literary monthly Novny Mir published The Place of the Skull in two installments in 1986, the magazine’s print run of 427,000 sold out immediately, and millions of copies of the book have been sold in the Soviet Union. It is safe to suggest that the Soviet people are drawing their own conclusions from the novel about the limitations of their own government’s controls over their lives and freedoms.
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » Russia, Ukraine and former USSR
Your comments are welcome!
Visit The Forerunner's Discussion Forum!
“Here I stand … I can do no other!”
With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.
The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.
Running time: 105 minutes
Special offer: Order 5 or more for $5 each.
Watch a clip from Martin Luther.
$9.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
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
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.
Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.
Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!
Running Time: 130 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
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.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)