By Jay Rogers
Published December 22, 2007
In the Soviet republics of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, a nationalistic fervor has been growing so quickly that the Kremlin, vacillating between Gorbachev’s perestroika policy and resistance to the perceived threat of the Baltic states’ secession, has been unable to keep pace with the demand for reform.
“For years we have gotten used to speaking of the party’s monopoly on power,” explains Communist Party leader Vaino Valjas, “We have forgotten the principle that the party has power only as long as the people trust it.”
The three westernmost Soviet states, which border Poland and the Baltic sea, have been pushing toward reform more strenuously this past year and they appear to be intent on securing national sovereignty. Those within the Communist Party’s leadership have seen this trend begin with Gorbachev’s reform policies and then accelerate quickly.
There are many, including Valjas, who see this trend moving toward an inevitable conclusion. Valjas states, “Our ideal is an independent, sovereign Estonia within the Soviet Union or within a federation of sovereign republics.”
In the two other Baltic republics, there is a similar analysis from political leaders. Ivars Kezbers, the Latvian Ideology Secretary, foresees “a free republic in a free Soviet Union.” Vladimir Berezov, the Lithuanian Second Secretary says, “Our common goal is independence, even if the ways of getting there are different.”
Political change has been quickly sweeping through Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Gorbachev’s campaign for revitalizing the Soviet economy has been greeted with enthusiasm in the Baltic states, but the people have taken this notion one step beyond reform. In order to insure autonomy, each Baltic republic has already established political parties which have progressively adopted Gorbachev’s policy of perestroika and have then moved beyond, breaking free of communist ideology.
The Christian community has been influential in the establishment of a force which promises to erase communist ideology from party politics and to lead the way in the creation of sovereign states. The Estonian Christian Union, the Latvian National Independence Movement, and the Lithuanian Party of Democrats have espoused the deeply nationalistic feelings of the Baltic people and have promised to work toward complete independence from the Kremlin’s influence.
Many Latvians and Estonians are Lutherans; and Roman Catholics make up over half of the Lithuanian population. It is among these and other Christian groups that spiritual revival has been occurring with greater fervency than in any other place in Europe. According to one American missionary, the Soviet Union is on the verge of an awakening of unprecedented proportion akin to the Great Welsh Revival at the turn of this century.
At the end of the summer, 18,000 people attended a three day “Gospel Youth Festival ’89” in Tallinn, Estonia. The three day campaign was led by a team of 75 from the United States, England, Scotland, Finland, and Poland. A gospel music concert featuring Scott Wesley Brown and Sheila Walsh was organized by Youth for Christ International and Outreach for Christ International at the request of Estonian Christian leaders.
“We had complete freedom to sing Christian songs and give invitations for persons to confess their faith,” said YFC President Jim Groen. According to the outreach leaders, about 1,800 came forward to make public confessions of faith. The outreach team also organized street meetings, distributed posters and pamphlets, and was covered by the local newspapers and television news. Prior to their arrival in Tallinn, the team held rallies in Warsaw, Helsinki, Leningrad, and Latvia. A similar event is planned for next summer with a special Christmas presentation in December.
The Baltic States have been in the forefront of a move of the Holy Spirit which will transform the make up of the Soviet Union. One of the strongest cries for freedom has come from the churches of the three dispossessed Baltic nations.
In Lithuania, the main support for reform has clearly come from the Christian community. One year ago, Algirdas Brazauskas received a standing ovation as he proclaimed, on the eve of the Lithuanian National Front’s founding congress, that the Vilnius Cathedral would be returned to the Roman Catholic Church.
The insistence of the communist government on promoting Marxist atheism has only spawned a greater mistrust among the people of the Kremlin’s authority. The restrictions against the Church are viewed by the Baltic people as an attack on freedom. This has made them more sympathetic than ever to the message of liberty found in the gospel and has created a nationalistic uprising which is destined to overthrow the yoke of totalitarianism.
- Last May, the Latvian Popular Front met with leaders of Latvian exile organizations in France to create slogans and programs for December’s local elections.
- In early June, members of the Lithuanian delegation walked out of the Kremlin’s Palace of Congresses in protest of Gorbachev’s plan to create a new Committee for Constitutional Supervision.
- At the end of August, the Kremlin issued a statement which proposed a policy which would grant greater freedom to all 15 Soviet republics and suggested that the 1922 treaty creating the Soviet Union and its government should be severely revised. The written statement openly declared “a need for radical transformation in the Soviet federation.”
These political events have been fueled by emotion coming with the 50th anniversary of the Soviet takeover of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania during World War Two. The existing domination of the Baltic states by the Soviet government is a leftover condition of post-WWII Europe. “We must solve the Baltic question,” urges Estonian Popular Front leader Rein Veidemann, “and recognize the fact that we were first occupied and then annexed.”
During the anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, a treaty between Josef Stalin and Nazi Germany which gave the Soviet Union control of the Baltic states after Hitler’s take-over of Poland, Lithuanians appeared with posters exposing the still-existing Nazi-Soviet agreement.
In a show of national patriotism, the Latvians, Estonians and Lithuanians once again have been displaying their historic flags in demonstrations for independence. Other banners read: “How Long Will the Red Army Be Master of Our Land?” and “Moscow! Hands Off From Estonia.”
At the end of August, two million people linked hands across the Baltic states from Tallinn to Vilnius, demanding freedom from Soviet rule. In protest of the Soviet-Nazi pact, a document from the Baltic people was issued to the Kremlin which read in part:
“The USSR has infringed on the historical right of the Baltic nations to self-determination, presented ruthless ultimatums to the Baltic republics, occupied them with overwhelming military force, and under conditions of military occupation and heavy political terror carried out their violent annexations.”
The social upheaval which has occurred in the Baltic states, Soviet Georgia, and Armenia, has made Soviet officials seriously grapple with the increasing cry for freedom.
In their push for liberty, the thinking of the people has been moving ahead so fast that newly established political parties have had difficulty keeping abreast. And in the midst of the political activity there are new ideas emerging which are even more radical than Gorbachev’s policy of perestroika or the emergence of the Baltic states’ splinter parties.
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » World Events
Your comments are welcome!
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.)
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.)
Download the free Study Guide!
Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?
This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.
Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.
The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?
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).
Speakers include: George Grant, Peter Hammond, RC Sproul Jr., Paul Jehle, Lou Engle, Rusty Thomas, Flip Benham, Janet Porter and many more.
Ten parts, over three hours of instruction!
Running Time: 195 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“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.)
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.)