By Editorial Staff
Published June 1, 1989
MOSCOW, Soviet Union (NIRR) – “Changes in the religious situation in the Soviet Union are occurring so fast it is difficult to keep abreast,” say reporters for the National and International Religion Report (April 24, 1989). The Council of Religious Affairs (CRA) repealed a series of repressive decrees introduced during an anti-religion campaign of the early 1960s, as reported in a recent edition of Moscow News. The measures, many unpublished to this day, prohibited such things as bell ringing, charitable social work by believers, and all other activity other than that specifically “aimed at satisfying the religious needs of believers.”
Under Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, reformists have been appointed to head the CRA, and churches have been granted much greater freedom in anticipation of a broad new law of conscience that will “legalize” the new freedoms. No longer restricted to their own premises, Soviet leaders report that churches are conducting rallies in stadiums and public halls. A growing number of believers are carrying out ministry in hospitals and among the elderly. Many churches are establishing the equivalent of Sunday Schools for children.
The Illinois-based Slavic Gospel Association is sending tons of paper for the printing of lesson materials. And in a recent communication seminar for Baptist leaders in Kiev, SGA representatives from the U.S. helped them launch a newspaper. SGA leader Peter Deynaka, Jr., says he found revival-like conditions in some parts of the Soviet Union, with spiritually hungry non-believers crowding into churches. Other visiting church leaders from the West have issued similar reports.
Moscow News also reported that 1610 new congregations were registered last year, compared with 104 in 1987. These include 1244 Russian Orthodox, 72 Georgian Orthodox, 71 Roman Catholic, and 36 Baptist churches, along with 48 Islamic mosques.
An astonishingly candid commentary published by the paper said that in the past the guarantee of religious freedom in the Soviet constitution had been designed mostly for “foreign consumption,” and the CRA decrees had sharply limited the practice of religion. “We are openly recognizing our mistakes, but we have to go further,” the commentary said. The editorial went on to push for the adoption of the proposed new law of conscience.
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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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As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).
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Ten parts, over three hours of instruction!
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Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
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