By Editorial Staff
Published May 1, 1988
In the midst of the pomp and fanfare of the 1000th birthday of Christianity in Russia, the younger generation in the Soviet Union is apparently showing a growing interest in spiritual matters. “There has been a religious revival among young people,” said Deputy Chief Father Vladimir of the Russian Orthodoxy’s main monastic center.
Young Russians are increasingly interested in joining the clergy, according to Time magazine, and they are attending church in unprecedented numbers. For example, at a monastery that re-opened as a church after a period of government control, two-fifths of the congregation is in their 20’s and 30’s.
This growing interest in Christianity among the youth during the state-sanctioned celebration may stem from boredom, disillusionment, and cynicism – which the Soviet government is acknowleging as a problem.
Jon Utley, associate editor of The Times of Americas magazine and commentator on Voice of America, said that Soviet youth are a major government concern. Utley recently went on a tour sponsored by the World Media Association with 50 journalists, academic leaders, and activists.
“From talking to young people, we could well understand why Soviet youth are a major preoccupation of the government. There were almost no diversions. Our members (when alone) were often approached by youths for black market transactions.”
Utley attended a press conference by the Foreign Ministry. During the briefing, Communist state officials distributed a release which stated: “Young people are uncompromising in their search for truth. One can’t overlook the fact that many young people during the years of stagnation reconciled themselves to the hopelessness of attempts to attain truth and change …”
“(T)hey saw in society elements that were totally incompatible with what they knew about the nature of socialism. The example of some officials … was morally destructive.” Specifics on these officials were not revealed.
Utley also attended a meeting in Leningrad with students of the Soviet American Friendship Society. “In one discussion about human rights, a student said that Russia should withdraw from Afghanistan and was promptly answered and dressed down for 10 minutes by an older member,” he said in a report on his visit in Human Events.
Besides growing interest among youth, the official Russian Orthodox Church is becoming more vocal in the Soviet press and television on matters involving the country’s moral and cultural climate. “Glasnost and religious freedom are intimately correlated,” Vsevold Marinov told The Forerunner. Marinov is the director of the Soviet Bureau of Opinion based in Moscow. “Religious people have much more of a voice in the mass media which wasn’t the case before.”
Marinov is also a member of the Peace Committee, a delegation of Soviet citizens that recently visited the U.S. Pravda Cultural Editor Nikolai Potopov agreed, saying, “Religious people are more and more active in sharing their opinions with non-religious people on peace-related problems. Confiscated church buildings are being returned to churches.”
To commemorate the birth of Christianity, the Soviet government gave permission to the United Bible Society in Stuttgart, West Germany, for the importation of 100,000 Ukranian language Bibles. But many church leaders both inside and outside the country say that Gorbachev’s reconstructionist policies are cosmetic, and are calling for more radical changes to be made in Soviet dealings with the Church. Father Gleb Yakunin, an ex-prisoner who initiated the Russian Orthodox human rights movement in 1965, said, “The general atmosphere has changed a lot, but when it comes to actual church life, it’s like it was 30 years ago.”
Communist officials have said there may be signs of a new policy toward state control of churches. In the communist Central Committee Publication, an article stated, “The time has finally come to put an end to a suspicious and unfavorable attitude toward believers and their ideals of care for people, love and moral self-improvement. We should take into account the unprecedented historical fact that the church has managed to find its place in socialist society without detriment to its faith.”
Yuri Smirnov, spokesman for the Council for Religious Affairs, told Time, “The church could be a help in changing people’s attitudes toward work. There are too many divorces. There are many other social problems, like drug abuse. There are three to eight suicides among young people in Moscow every week. Why not use the power of the Church, since millions of people are under its influence?”
This is most definitely a far cry from the rhetoric of past Soviet regimes, which predicted total eradication of faith and Christianity by this date. As millions of nationals celebrate the arrival of the Christian gospel in the Soviet Union, and as young people return to the churches in record numbers, it will most likely open the doors for even more lively discussion in the Kremlin about the future of the USSR.
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » Russia, Ukraine and former USSR
Your comments are welcome!
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
$4.95 — 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.)
Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.
$12.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
High Quality Paperback — 219 pages
Foundations in Biblical Orthodoxy
Driving down a country road sometime, you might see a church with a sign proudly proclaiming: “No book but the Bible — No creed but Christ.” The problem with this statement is that the word creed (from the Latin: credo) simply means “belief.” All Christians have beliefs, regardless of whether they are written.
Yet a single book containing the actual texts of the most important creeds of the early Church will not often be found. Out of the multitude of works on the evangelical Christian book market today, those dealing with the creeds of the Church are scarce.
Why Creeds and Confessions? provides a foundation of biblical orthodoxy as a defense against the false and truly heretical doctrines advanced by the spirit of this age.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
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.
$49.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)