By Alexei Salapatov
Published October 1, 1996
What are our priorities?
Some people say that priority number one for the former USSR is still the spread of the Word of God. And I agree 100%. However, we should ask ourselves how we should keep bringing the Gospel to people’s hearts?
Asked this question seven years ago, I would have answered: Print as many Bibles as possible. Make this greatest book available for everybody. I remember my first Bible. I bought it on the black market for 100 rubles when I was 16-years-old. (At that time this was the average monthly salary.) Then God provided a great need for our country, and Bibles soon became available and affordable.
Five years ago, my answer would have been: Go everywhere and preach to young people. Praise God, this has happened too. Almost all the big university campuses, and some high schools were reached by missionaries. Thousands of students were saved and are church members now.
Three years ago, I would have said: the main task is to strengthen churches in large cities and establish new ones in outlying areas.
The logical continuance of this question would be …
What is most important step for the Evangelical Church now?
I believe the church now should became more active to affect the society. We must show the world that we care about people. We should fight atheism, which isn’t gone yet, but has been transformed into modern paganism.
Some people say that it’s not Church’s duty to intrude into the social and political life of the society – “The Church should just preach the Gospel and not mess with secular issues.” Well, such an opinion cannot be applied to the Church in the former Soviet empire. The traditional Evangelical Church here became strong because of continuous persecution.
But with persecution gone, what obstacles does the Church face?
First, atheism in schools, agencies, and government.
As I said earlier atheism or the total denying of God was and is an integral part of Soviet and post-Soviet culture. Of course, not many people now declare their sympathy to communism. However this doesn’t mean they became closer to God.
Even after 11 years of reforms, nobody has tried to change our educational system. Children spend most time at their schools being taught that a man is just a logical step of evolution right after the ape. No moral base is given to kids except to enjoy life for as long as you live. What is the result of such education? It’s not hard to see. There is resulting teen crime and prostitution. Five years ago, kids knew about drugs only from newspapers or TV, now you may buy drugs in most schools for a few dollars.
Ungodly medicine gives us five million officially recorded abortions per year. [The actual number may be even higher than that.] The real number of baby killings is not known because of number of private doctors who don’t report both their incomes and number of eliminated new-born lives. Also, think about thousands of abandoned children, a very small percentage of whom will be ever adopted. Human life has little value now like never before. A person is not treated as God’s creation, but as a colony of cells which try to survive. The result is easily seen.
No doubt that most important problem on the post-Soviet space is lack of wise government that based on any moral statements. After almost a dozen years of “reform,” none of our leaders was a believer or at least a person who admits biblical principles such as: “Thou shalt not kill” or “Thou shalt not steal.”
The Results? Ethnic conflicts and local wars which take thousands of lives. Having received control of the bank system, former democrats who used to suffer from the older communist system, printed more paper money than in all the previous 50 years. This is a direct violence on God’s commandment and a dishonest policy which affects all citizens. The result is an absence of faith in our leaders.
Second, Nationalism and national traditions
One more serious threat is a growing natinalism which also affects freedom of religion. From the very beginning of openness, the Russian Orthodox Church has attempted to prevent western evangelicals to act here. Legislation that would close the country for foreign missionaries is a dream of many ultra-nationalist priests of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The question is: How should the Evangelical Church react on this? To stay “meek” means to approve of actions directed against new and older churches. The popular perception is that freedom of religion costed too much and too many suffered from it. In my opinion, evengelicals, and especially foreign missionaries, should consider the cultural features of Russia. This will help to avoid conflict in the future.
A big fight is coming. Russian Evangelicals ought to be ready. A Russian proverb says: “Silence is a sign of agreement.” I can’t add anything to this. The silence of the church cannot be justified; to remain quiet means to approve these sins.
The church has passed times of persecutions, but times of trials are ahead. Weak and silent churches will turn to religious clubs and only true chlidren of God will pass through this test. Each of us must take the gift given by God and apply it to the society. Thus people will see the Light in us and will come to Christ. This way Church will become stronger and more mature.
P.S. For each minute that passed since you began to read this article, the following happened in the former USSR:
- at least 10 babies were killed by abortion.
- at least one person was murdered or seriously injured by violent crime.
The list can be continued … unfortunately.
Will the Church remain quiet? Who will push it forward to action?
Forerunner - Home » Predvestnik - The Voice of a New Generation
Your comments are welcome!
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.)
What is true Revival and Spiritual Awakening?
Discover the answer in this eyewitness account by Dennis Kinlaw, President of Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, who recounts the story of a visitation of the Holy Spirit in 1970. This is the presentation that has continued to spark the flames of Revival in the hearts of people around the world. Contains eyewitness footage from the Revival at Asbury College in 1970 in Wilmore, Kentucky.
Certain to challenge you to greater holiness and a deeper commitment to full-scale revival. Original news and private footage has been included. If you are a student who longs to see a spiritual awakening at your school, you must see this video!
“This simple video does a wonderful job of conveying something of God’s heart and power, Everyone we have ever shown this to has received an immediate impartation of faith for revival and the power of prayer.”
— Bob and Rose Weiner, Weiner Ministries Int’l
Running Time: 40 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?
Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?
Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?
These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.
$19.95 — 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.)
High Quality Paperback — 40 pages of dynamite!
Revival, Resistance, Reformation, Revolution
An Introduction to the Doctrines of Interposition and Nullification
In 1776, a short time after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were assigned to design an official seal for the United States of America. Their proposed motto was Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God. America owes its existence to centuries of Christian political philosophy. Our nation provided a model for liberty copied by nations the world over.
By the 21st century, we need a “Puritan Storm” to sweep away the Hegelian notion that the state is “God walking on earth.” We need revival and reformation in full force to vanquish the problems that plague us as a nation — from government controlled healthcare — to abortion on demand — to same sex “marriage.” This booklet gives a primer on our founders’ Christian idea of government and examines how the doctrine of nullification was woven into the Constitution as a safeguard against federal tyranny. It concludes with the history and theology of civil resistance. A Second American Revolution is coming with the Word of God growing mightily and prevailing! (Acts 19:20).
$7.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)