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Christian Novel Popular in USSR

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.


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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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Foundations in Biblical Eschatology

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All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?

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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?

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Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!

These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.

Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.

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The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

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Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.

Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.

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Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!

Running Time: 130 minutes

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