By Jay Rogers
Published September 1, 1991
Standing in the city square of Kiev last July, I saw something that prefigured the downfall of the communist government one month before it happened.
I was visiting a small church in the Ukraine made up mostly of young people – teenagers and young adults – five of whom are establishing a newspaper in the Soviet Union similar to The Forerunner. That day we had been to the River Dnieper. Three young converts had been baptized in the river by their pastor, completing a Christian tradition that has been taking place for two thousand years. But for the Kievan beach-goers it was a strange novelty. Many stopped and watched the event and stayed and listened to the pastor’s sermon on the meaning of baptism.
Remarkably, this group of young Christians then decided to preach the gospel in the city square. One of the young men who had just been baptized wanted to publicly declare his faith to the thousands of people passing through the square after working hours. As I stood and watched, I noticed above us a large hammer and sickle insignia on a building. In the background was the Ukrainian government building ornate with communist symbols engraved in stone. Directly across the street was a three story high statue of Lenin. I then realized that only a few years before preaching the message of Christianity in public was forbidden.
Scores of people gathered to hear, some immediately rejected the message and walked on, and others stopped to listen intently and asked questions. Many were given the address to the church and were invited to a service. It was still a novelty – like the baptism an hour before – most Kievans had never seen such a spectacle.
And yet I realized that the “spectacle of the message of the cross” has always been the life-blood of the Christian movement. This is exactly how the gospel originally spread throughout the World during the Early Church era (33-325 AD). The New Testament has a lot to say about the “spectacle” or the “foolishness of preaching.” According to one description the Christian message has always been divisive (2 Cor. 2:15-17). People hearing the gospel message either embrace it for its life-changing simplicity, or they mockingly scoff at its foolishness and reject it.
On American campuses the story is the same. From Harvard Square to the UC Berkeley campus, preaching evangelists often show up. Most will walk on by undistracted by a common event. A few students will grasp at the heart of what is being said. Others greet the preacher as a buffoon, a clown, a sideshow of entertainment.
But on this warm, sunny day in the Ukraine, the preaching was incredible. Gazing up at the Soviet flag, the statue of Lenin, and the communist symbols in the square, I felt that the power of a kingdom was being shaken … and it was. This wasn’t simply a public square; it was an arena for displaying the power of God through the Church. These young people were an army and the legions of hell – the communist legacy in the Ukraine – were about to be vanquished through the power of their words.
In the Bible God says: “Is not My word like a hammer that breaks a rock into pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29).
Upon returning to the United States, I watched the hourly news reports of the failed coup attempt against Mikhail Gorbachev and the resulting ouster of the communist governments of all 15 republics. The most incredible scene was that of the city square in Kiev. On my television screen, I saw the demolition of the communist insignia in the very same square which I had just visited. Hammers were smashing the name of Vladimir Illych Lenin on the base of his statue to pieces.
All over the Soviet Union statues of communist heroes were being toppled. One Latvian man – obviously a Christian – said: “We just tore down a monument to Lenin, perhaps there should be something to be put in its place. It should be replaced by a monument to Jesus Christ.”
The Christian movement in the USSR, so often ignored by the western media, was now being recognized. There was certainly something miraculous about the failure of the coup. Communism wasn’t defeated from the earth, it was vanquished by the powers of heaven. The New Testament speaks of “the principalities and the powers of the heavenly realm.” This is a description of spiritual beings – angels and demons – which war over cities and towns, battling for the hearts and minds of men. The Church is described as the showcase for God’s spiritual power.
“His intent was that now, through the Church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the principalities and powers in the Heavenly realms” (Ephesians 3:10).
In our Western culture of materialism – often devoid of lofty spiritual ideas – many would scoff at the idea of demonic forces holding power over a city. But was there ever a force so rightfully described as demonic as the scourge of Stalinist Russia? From the viewpoint of the physical sciences, there are theorums in the field of quantum mechanics which allow for the necessity of parallel universes. Would it be strange to discover that there are other created beings besides ourselves which inhabit our world?
A good analogy of the natural realm and the spiritual realm would be to consider what we can see with the human eye of the total light spectrum. If we could see past the natural colors that we discern with the unaided eye, we would discover a vaster spectrum. Likewise, there is a vaster spectrum of experience than what we can see in the material world.
It is as if there is a one-way mirror that divides the universe. We see only the reflection; but on the other side we are being watched by spiritual rulers – the principalities and powers of the spiritual realm. And it is the Church that is being watched most intently.
As I watched young Christians preaching to their Ukrainian countrymen, I also was aware of some other groups – Hare Krishnas passing out literature near the subway entrances, anti-nuclear protesters stimulating the political consciences of the people, etc. – but I knew that there was only one message that was being heard by the powers that controlled that city.
How strange it must have been for those powers to look down on the earth and see young Christians with a message going forth like a hammer to smash their power, like a fire to consume them. And how strange for them to know that their allotted time of rulership was almost up. The last sands in the hour glass had almost sifted away. And their kingdom was about to be supplanted by another Kingdom which would last forever.
- Jay Rogers
Managing Editor, The Forerunner
Editorial Consultant, Predvestnik
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » Russia, Ukraine and former USSR
Your comments are welcome!
Who is the Real Jesus?
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.
The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.
Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.
Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!
Running Time: 130 minutes
$19.95 — 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.)
“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.)
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.
Watch these pro-life videos on-line.
“These videos helped change my mind from pro-choice to pro-life. Your videos are what did it for me. I will be walking in next year’s March For Life in San Francisco.” — A. Jackson, California
“I was going to have an abortion until I saw your video. Praise Jesus!”
— M. Drew, YouTube Commenter
$4.95 — 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.)