What is the significance of all the changes in Eastern Bloc countries? In just a few months the iron curtain has fallen; free democratic elections are occurring in every communist country; the Soviet Union is on the brink of collapse; the entire communist system is about to self-destruct.
The Bible tells us that every government that exalts itself against the kingdom of God will collapse. As communist governments have vanished, a great spiritual vacuum has been created in Eastern Europe. Communism has been pushed out in the East and, for the time being, the decadence of the West (pornography, materialism, etc.) is being held in check.
Suspicions about the “true intentions” of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev are appearing less worrisome every day as reports of political changes in Europe indicate that socialism is losing ground. Elections in East Germany, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia scored great victories for more democratic governments. Gorbachev appears to be a man propelled by a force more powerful than himself. As political power is divested to the people, they have chosen to make socialistic communism a thing of the past.
In the midst of the new freedom, many Eastern Europeans are turning to a new faith in Jesus Christ. Ministers who have been prepared by suffering and persecution are being raised up to labor in the newly opened mission fields of their native lands. Every country behind the now fallen iron curtain is wide open to relief from the West, but more importantly a “Christian Renaissance” is occurring in nations long repressed by totalitarianism.
The Rev. Laszlo Tokes, the Hungarian pastor who sparked the Romanian revolution, was in preparation for a show trial and expected to be executed the day that Nicolae Ceausescu was overthrown. The turn of events is viewed by Tokes as “divine intervention.”
“Eastern Europe is not just a political revolution but a religious renaissance,” said Tokes. Yet while Tokes put God at the head of the freedom revolution, the American media is missing the message. Few members of the American press have chosen to report the spiritual dimensions of the changes in Europe.
Another example of Christian leadership in Eastern Europe is in the nation of Czechoslovakia. One year ago, Vaclav Havel was a leading Czech dissident; today he is their president. In a New Year’s day address, Havel referred to “Jesus,” the “Christian spirit,” and Czechoslovakia as being the “spiritual crossroads of Europe.”
In Poland, a revival movement among the churches was associated with the overturn of the communist government. Lech Walesa, leader of Poland’s Solidarity Party, in a recent interview by the Christian Broadcasting Network said, “It would be impossible for Poland to go back to communism.”
In East Germany, the push for freedom began in a series of prayer meetings in Gethsemane Church. The anti-communist sentiment grew to such a fervor last fall that the people were able to force the government to relinquish their power. On March 10 – a cold, rainy day – 15,000 West Germans met at the recently opened Brandenburg gate to hear church leaders remind the people that at the core of recent reform developments was the hand of God.
Although Eastern European activists view God as being behind the freedom revolution, the American public has been deemed as unfit by the press to know this.
Central America and Cuba
The demise of Daniel Ortega’s regime, which was voted out of power last month, signals the end of communism’s foothold in Central America. Nicaragua, which divided Central America and caused controversy in the United States for many years, has been returned to a democratic government supported by the people.
Here again, the press widely misrepresented the sentiments of the Nicaraguan people. The day before the Nicaraguan election virtually every national news service predicted that Ortega would win the election by a wide margin. Yet the overwhelming mandate of the people was to overturn the communist government.
In Guatemala, presidential elections are scheduled to take place at the end of the year. Once again, the American press has missed the role of Christians in politics. In the last 35 years, the number of evangelical Christians in Guatemala has grown from 72,000 to almost 3 million.
The political leadership of Guatemala has also been influenced by the revival. Two of the candidates, Rios Montt and Jorge Serrano Elias are evangelical Christians. General Rios Montt, the first Latin American president to openly declare himself a born-again believer, is running for office again. Despite a 1982 coup which forced him to leave office, Montt is extremely popular among the people.
Montt is generally credited with saving the country from anarchy during his short term in office and is supported by those who are weary of current government corruption. “I am a Christian and the people trust in me as I trust in them,” explained Montt. “They know I’m not the one that rules, but He who lives in me – Christ.”
Although controversy in the United States over El Salvador is no less heated than it was in the early 1980s, significant changes have occurred which have rarely appeared in the reports of the American press. The new government of President Alfredo Cristiani includes a number of evangelical leaders in key cabinet positions who are often called upon by their president for prayer and counseling.
One of Cristiani’s adviser’s, Jorge Martinez, Vice-Minister of Agriculture, explains the growing influence of the church in El Salvador, “The evangelical church has kept El Salvador from collapsing. The Church is the yeast which has given form to this country by helping the needy, by respecting authorities and as such making itself very much present in national life. The church has made an impact on every level of this country’s social structure. “
Political analysts are now looking to Cuba’s staunch defender of communism, Fidel Castro, for signs of political change. Castro, who is in his seventies, has been the target of attempted assassinations over the years, which he has blamed on the United States. However, if the pattern of events hold true in Cuba, it will be the people of Cuba and not an outside force which will depose Castro.
The Church has been growing in Cuba over the years and there has been a strong evangelical revival which is poised to break onto the political scene. The effect that Cuban Christians will have on government may play a great role in the downfall of communism and help the United States to regain a valuable ally.
What is the force of change that is behind the downfall of tyranny? Without intervention from the United States, many tyrannical world governments are being reformed or are being dramatically crushed by an unseen force.
What does God’s word have to say about it? The prophet Daniel foretold of this very hour when he saw the final collapse of tyrannical governments which are opposed to the rule of Christ (see Daniel 2). God Himself is crushing these governments into powder. God is opening the doors, pulling down all the walls and removing the curtain to allow for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the whole world.