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!
Download the Free Study Guide!
God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.
Speakers include: R.J. Rushdoony, George Grant, Howard Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr., Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Jay Grimstead, Steven Schlissel, Andrew Sandlin, Eric Holmberg, and more!
Sixteen Christian leaders and scholars answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to this volatile issue:
1. Are we under Law or under Grace?
2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
3. Can we legislate morality?
4. What are the biblical foundations of government?
5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
8. What about non-Christians and the Law of God?
9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?
Perfect for group instruction as well as personal Bible study.
Ten parts, over four hours of instruction!
Running Time: 240 minutes
Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
High Quality Paperback — 219 pages
Foundations in Biblical Orthodoxy
Driving down a country road sometime, you might see a church with a sign proudly proclaiming: “No book but the Bible — No creed but Christ.” The problem with this statement is that the word creed (from the Latin: credo) simply means “belief.” All Christians have beliefs, regardless of whether they are written.
Yet a single book containing the actual texts of the most important creeds of the early Church will not often be found. Out of the multitude of works on the evangelical Christian book market today, those dealing with the creeds of the Church are scarce.
Why Creeds and Confessions? provides a foundation of biblical orthodoxy as a defense against the false and truly heretical doctrines advanced by the spirit of this age.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Download the free Study Guide!
Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?
This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.
Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.
The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?
As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).
Speakers include: George Grant, Peter Hammond, RC Sproul Jr., Paul Jehle, Lou Engle, Rusty Thomas, Flip Benham, Janet Porter and many more.
Ten parts, over three hours of instruction!
Running Time: 195 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
High Quality Paperback — 40 pages of dynamite!
Revival, Resistance, Reformation, Revolution
An Introduction to the Doctrines of Interposition and Nullification
In 1776, a short time after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were assigned to design an official seal for the United States of America. Their proposed motto was Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God. America owes its existence to centuries of Christian political philosophy. Our nation provided a model for liberty copied by nations the world over.
By the 21st century, we need a “Puritan Storm” to sweep away the Hegelian notion that the state is “God walking on earth.” We need revival and reformation in full force to vanquish the problems that plague us as a nation — from government controlled healthcare — to abortion on demand — to same sex “marriage.” This booklet gives a primer on our founders’ Christian idea of government and examines how the doctrine of nullification was woven into the Constitution as a safeguard against federal tyranny. It concludes with the history and theology of civil resistance. A Second American Revolution is coming with the Word of God growing mightily and prevailing! (Acts 19:20).
$7.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)