By Editorial Staff
Published May 1, 1989
A novel with strong Christian overtones is causing quite a stir in the Soviet Union, partly because Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev is the controversial author’s biggest fan.
Chingiz Aitmatov, a native of the Soviet Asian republic of Kirghizia, is one of the USSR’s best-known writers, and Gorbachev says he has read nearly every word the author has penned. His most recent novel, The Place of the Skull (published in English in the U.S. in April of this year), is a searing attack on drugs, the destruction of wildlife, and the stupidity of Communist Party officials in the countryside. The numerous criticisms of communist dogma throughout the book would have surely been censored prior to Gorbachev’s glasnost policies.
In the novel, the main character Avdiy Kalistratov infiltrates a gang of marijuana smugglers and attempts to convert them to God. But he is later enlisted to work for local authorities on the steppes of Kazakhstan and is brutalized by the savagely cruel Ober Kandalov – who bears striking resemblance to Joseph Stalin. When Avdiy attempts to speak to his comrades about God, he is crucified on a saxaul tree.
Prior to his torture, Avdiy has a dream about the confrontation between Pilate and Jesus Christ on the terrace of Herod’s Palace. In a fanciful retelling of the encounter, Jesus explains to Pilate that all men – including Caesar – are accountable to God. The narrative makes powerful assertions about the limits of political power which are quite revolutionary for Soviet audiences. In the following brief excerpt, Jesus questions Rome’s authority and Pilate becomes indignant:
“There is nothing higher than the power of Rome. I hope that is what you meant to say?”
“That is what you think, Governor.”
“That is what clever men have always thought,” Pilate corrected him condescendingly. “That is why they say that Caesar is not a god, but God is like Caesar. Convince me that is not so, if you are so sure of yourself. Are you sure that Caesar is less than God?”
“He is mortal”
“Obviously. But while he is alive and well, is there God above Caesar for men?”
“There is, Roman Governor, if you choose another dimension of being.”
“Enough!” cried the Procurator. “We’re wasting time.”
When the literary monthly Novny Mir published The Place of the Skull in two installments in 1986, the magazine’s print run of 427,000 sold out immediately, and millions of copies of the book have been sold in the Soviet Union. It is safe to suggest that the Soviet people are drawing their own conclusions from the novel about the limitations of their own government’s controls over their lives and freedoms.
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » Russia, Ukraine and former USSR
Your comments are welcome!
Visit The Forerunner's Discussion Forum!
“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.)
“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.
The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.
“… a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine
Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese
Running Time: 28 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
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.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Exposing The Occult Roots of Abortion
This presentation looks at the spiritual roots of abortion and exposes the myths surrounding child killing. Little known historical facts about abortion and how they relate to modern feminism are presented logically and accurately. Has been effective in converting many to a pro-life position.
Massacre of Innocence goes where no pro-life presentation has gone before in “tearing the lid off abortion” to reveal the spiritual realities we must battle if we will bring an end to this crime. The presentation is absorbing, fast-paced, informative and incredibly devastating to any attempt to justify abortion.
“… an extraordinary statement … a powerfully articulate presentation about what abortion really means, and why a great and moral nation like the United States must not allow the slaughter to continue.”
— Congressman Robert K. Dornan
Running time: 85 minutes
$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.)