Christian Political Reform in the former USSR
MOSCOW – Russia and the republics of the former Soviet Union must be rebuilt by the people of God. The only hope for lasting freedom for theformer USSR is to teach biblical principles for the reformation of society to the younger generation. To do this, we must begin with the new generation of leadership in the Church and teach these principles from the Word of God.
In April 1991, I first visited Moscow with the hopes of starting a youth-oriented Christian newspaper which would sow the seed of biblical reformation into the hearts and minds of the younger generation. At that time, signs of communism still abounded. I hoped to complete our first press run of 100,000 copies that year. The very day we were scheduled to print our first issue of Predvestnik (The Forerunner), a communist coup attempted to put Mikhail Gorbachev out of power. All newspaper presses were seized by the Soviet army. The coup failed and our newspaper was printed in late August of 1991 in Moscow.
Four years later, Russia is much better off today than it was during the time of communism. There is no doubt that reform is taking hold. Politically, Russia is still at a crossroads, but don’t believe the hype of the western press! The liberal press is distorting the truth and actually mourning the death of communism! It’s difficult to even imagine a reversion to hard-line communism here. The Church in Russia has a great opportunity to be on the vanguard of the social and political changes. Many of the young pastors realize that the Church has this opportunity to be a body of reformers which can rebuild Russian culture. This was the theme of my six week trip which took me to four cities in Russia in August.
- Christian Youth International Conference – During the last week in August, I participated as a workshop speaker in a Christian Youth International (CYI) conference in Yaroslavl. This conference marked an increased emphasis on outreach to the university campuses. Most of the institutes and universities in the former Soviet Union are completely unreached. Yet here is the very place where the future leaders of this society are being trained! If we want to change Russia, then we must change the university campuses first. One night, we went to Moscow State University and held a cell group meeting for campus leaders. Moscow State is to Russia what Harvard University is to America. Some of the top students in the world attend this university, including young people from Vietnam, China, North Korea, Mongolia, many nations in Africa, the Middle East and even Cuba. This is a strategic spot for evangelism and teaching of Christ’s liberating power for whole societies. We spent our time encouraging the Christian students to action and praying with them. At this meeting, out of the 24 present, two young people invited to the meeting by their friends gave their hearts to the Lord.
- Russia’s National Pro-life Movement – Present at the CYI conference was Elena Uteshinskaya, the leader of a growing network of pro-life ministry throughout Russia. The last day of the CYI conference was an eight hour pro-life seminar. This was extremely significant because in Russia abortions outnumber live births by more than two to one. Elena is very advanced in the compilation of statistics on abortion and has a keen understanding of how the abortion holocaust relates to Russian culture. In the initial stages Elena is educating churches in how to minister to women who are victims of post-abortion syndrome, to begin counseling women in crisis pregnancies, and organize a nation-wide prayer rally on November 23, 1995 to mark the 40th anniversary of the legalization of abortion in Russia. We want to help Elena get better organized in Moscow by providing some much needed computer equipment, and to train her to begin publishing pro-life literature relevant to Russia’s situation.
- Christian Political Party – Also present at the CYI conference were three candidates for the Duma (Russian Parliament) who are delegates of a newly formed Christian Political Party. The upcoming December parliamentary elections are crucial to the future of this nation. Russia has monumental problems, but Christian candidates will be taking biblical principles for reformation into the political sphere. These Christian political leaders see the Church in Russia (and especially the young student leaders) as potentially the most powerful and organized political force in Russia in days to come.
Even with limited resources, the Church can change Russia and all the republics of the former Soviet Union. God can give us the resources to preach the Word to the whole world from this nation. Will you be a part of what is happening in the great nation of Russia and the republics of the former USSR? Pray with us and believe God for a miracle that together we might rejoice in the Lord!