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Predvestnik: The Russian Language Forerunner

Tatarstan: Making a Decision Between Islam and Christianity

By Editorial Staff
Published April 1, 1994

A Special Report from the Russian language Forerunner

By Oleg Aleksandrov
Translation by Roman Medvid

KAZAN, Tatarstan – The spread of the gospel in the former USSR has become an irreversible process. You can hear a lot about new churches and Bible schools being started, Christian literature being distributed and the lives of millions of people being healed.

The louder the gospel proclamation, however, the more indignant are those who see it as a threat to their well-being. It is no wonder that many inter-religious and inter-denominational problems emerged recently. These conflicts are dramatized in major cities where religion is tightly knit with nationalistic endeavors.

One of these “hot spots” is Kazan. The capital city of Tatarstan, the city is a large industrial, academic and cultural center in the Volga river valley region. The population of Kazan surpassed one million many years ago. Russians and Tatars make up 90 percent of the city, having equal shares of the population. However, local government offices and economic leadership are dominated by people of Tatar nationality. In attempt to maintain and enlarge their influence, the Tatars are evoking national conflicts. One of the most influential means, Islam, is the most traditional and common religion for the majority of the population.

During the rule of the Soviet Union, the roots of Islam were not entirely done away with in Tatarstan. Even though many priests were persecuted, many mosques were closed and Islamic religious literature was banned, the Muslim presence remained. Having penetrated the historical and national traditions of the Tatar nation, Islam recently became the “national religion,” as opposed to Christianity, which had been brought here by Russian migrants.

Antagonism between the two religions reached its climax recently. The conflict led some nationalistic groups under Islamic banners to call for the jihad, or “the Holy War.” The ideological position of Islam sees a struggle with another religion’s adherents as something that pleases Allah and every person killed in the struggle is seen as a martyr.

However, this extreme position has not been in favor with the common people of Tatarstan. In fact, the Orthodox Church, characterized by a great tolerance of other religions, has never promoted the conflict. Relations between Russians and Tatars have never been in enmity. Before it became a means of political struggle, Islam never had this strong support from the government.

Now the shift has taken place: old mosques in the Old City are being rebuilt at a rapid speed, new ones are built in modern districts and Islamic literature is being distributed through regular news stands. The idea is being promulgated among the common people that a real Tatar is to go to a mosque. Mass media promotes traditionalism, a return to old religious values and a refutation of anything new that has come during the past few decades.

This situation causes many problems to numerous young Christian churches, missions and centers. Evangelical Protestants have to counter much opposition not only from the government and followers of Islam, but also from the Russian Orthodox Church. Members of different Protestant denominations are far from agreement. This fact inevitably leads to the weakening of their influence. We hope that Christians from all denominations and confessions would unite in order to carry the Word of Truth to the people.


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A Revival Account: Asbury 1970 (DVD)

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.

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Foundations in Biblical Eschatology

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer - A Christian Manifesto (DVD)

That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!

Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.

Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.

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Martin Luther: Digitally Remastered 1953 Classic (DVD)

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Frank Schaeffer Will You Please Shut Up! (Book)

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.

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