By Editorial Staff
Published December 1, 1988
EDINA, MN (EP) – It was an unlikely scene – a leading Soviet network journalist sitting in the front row of an evangelical church in Minnesota, listening intently to the service. Her camera crew roamed the aisles taping the service – worshipping, singing, and even praying – for later viewing in the Soviet Union.
It was a sign of Perestroika’s heady winds of freedom, which are presenting unique opportunities for the Gospel.
Leading Soviet journalist Svetlana Staradomskya recently spent two weeks in the St. Paul/Minneapolis area filming scenes of American life to use in her Soviet news broadcasts, which have an estimated national audience of twenty million people.
Staradomskya and her film crew travelled to a public school, a shopping mall, a nursing home and even a professional football game, but it was the two hours spent among believers at Grace Church in Edina, that proved to be the emotional high point of her trip. “Svetlana said that she felt an outpouring of love from Americans all during her stay here, but none more graciously shown than the love of the people of Grace Church,” said Diana Pierce, an anchorwoman for the local NBC affiliate, KARE-TV.
It was Pierce who invited Staradomskya to attend a service at Pierce’s church. “I wanted to invite her to come to a church service in the United States, and I thought it would be really nice if she could join me at Grace.” After a second invitation, Staradomskya agreed to attend. According to Pierce, Staradomskya was intrigued by the modern facilities and by the congregation’s concentration of young, professional people – a sharp contrast with the old and largely empty church structures in the Soviet Union.
Following the service, Pierce introduced her to the church’s senior pastor, Dr. John Eagen. “God bless you,” said Eagen. “God bless you back,” was Staradomskya’s surprising reply. When asked by Eagen if she really meant that, Staradomskya said in her heavy accent, “Under Perestroika, we are much freer to talk about God.”
Eagen remembers her curiosity about the “differentness of this place.” When she expressed uncertainty about the reason for that difference, Eagen replied, “I know what you are experiencing, Svetlana. It is the Spirit of Jesus Christ.”
The worship service in the large, non-denominational evangelical church proved so captivating to Staradomskya that she sought permission to return with a film crew the following Sunday. The Church not only agreed to the filming but also called Pierce and Staradomskya up to the platform where Eagen presented the Russian journalist with an American Bible. Inscribed in the Bible was the wish that she would “come to know the wonderful freedom of Christ’s love and the tremendous peace that results from an intimate relationship with Him.”
In brief remarks to the congregation, Staradomskya said, “It is a privilege for me to just be here with you and tell you that now I think this is what lives in our hearts and our souls: that Soviet people really want to make as many bridges with you as possible, to get more close ties in every sphere of life – economic, political – and perhaps one day will come when we get together in such a solemn place as your church to pray together for our cooperation, our love, our understanding.”
Following the service, people of the church gathered around Staradomskya, welcoming her to the United States and to Grace Church. Tears welled in Staradomskya’s eyes as several people greeted her in her own language. One individual pressed a Russian Bible into her hand, while another presented her with a copy of Josh McDowell’s classic apologetic book, Evidence that Demands a Verdict.
Speaking with people and hugging their children, Staradomskya became almost overwhelmed with emotion. Perhaps finding old words inadequate for new feelings, she simply stated, “I feel so full of human love.”
“Svetlana was very touched and truly overwhelmed by the love shown to her,” said Pierce.
Eagen’s message on the morning of the Soviet filming – planned four months earlier with no knowledge of what was to occur- was entitled “Revolutionary Living for Revolutionary Times” from Acts 2. It contained a strong presentation of the gospel. October 23, was also “Friend Day” at the church. Soon after arriving, Staradomskya pointed to a large banner in the foyer that said “Welcome Visitors” and exclaimed to Pierce that it was nice to be welcomed in such a manner. It was an error that Pierce did not have the heart to correct.
In parting comments before returning to the Soviet Union, Staradomskya mentioned to Diana Pierce that of all her reports, it was her report of her visit to the church that she would treasure the most.
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » Russia, Ukraine and former USSR
Your comments are welcome!
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.)
“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.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
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.)
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.)
Download the Free Study Guide!
God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.
Speakers include: R.J. Rushdoony, George Grant, Howard Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr., Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Jay Grimstead, Steven Schlissel, Andrew Sandlin, Eric Holmberg, and more!
Sixteen Christian leaders and scholars answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to this volatile issue:
1. Are we under Law or under Grace?
2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
3. Can we legislate morality?
4. What are the biblical foundations of government?
5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
8. What about non-Christians and the Law of God?
9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?
Perfect for group instruction as well as personal Bible study.
Ten parts, over four hours of instruction!
Running Time: 240 minutes
Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)