By Jay Rogers
Published December 1, 1992
I HAVE WATCHED THE EARTH-SHAKING changes in the Soviet Union unfold with great interest in the past three years. This vast country has become completely open to the gospel; freedom of the press and freedom to openly evangelize has grown tremendously.
In the summer of 1991, I helped to establish Predvestnik: the Russian language version of The Forerunner. Thousands of copies of Predvestnik are now being ordered by Christian youth leaders in the former Soviet Union. Alexey Salapatov, Predvestnik’s managing editor has received a stack of letters in response to the first five issues; all of them positive. People have never seen a newspaper like this before. Some have written to tell of dramatic conversions after having read the articles in Predvestnik.
In November, I made my fourth trip to the former Soviet Union. My purpose was to establish a publishing center which will be made available to Christian missionaries desiring to translate and print materials in the former Soviet Union. The Forerunner has established a base for this organization. This venture will provide an important source of spiritual nourishment for Russian Christians who still do not have enough literature.
Think about it: What would you do without your library of Christian books? Yet this is exactly the situation that the Russian Christians are in today; besides only a handful of books, there is virtually nothing to teach the Russian people about biblical Christianity.
Whole libraries of books were destroyed by the communists when they took power. New books teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ were banned and only a few dissident writers were brave enough to publish their own works. Many of these writers were sent to prison or institutionalized as madmen; some were even killed by the KGB. The opportunity to establish this publishing house was literally won by the blood of martyrs.
The Russian people are avid readers and admire their philosophers, poets, writers and novelists much in the same way we glamorize our Hollywood movie stars in America. Yet there has been little in the way of Christian literature printed in this country since communism has fallen. This is partly because the former USSR spans eleven time zones and is plagued by the lack of adequate transportation, distribution systems, supplies, etc.
While I was in Moscow and Kiev in November, I wanted to get a sense of what the needs are for Christian materials. In speaking with Russians and Ukrainians during a period of one week, I asked:
- What are some of the publishing needs of the former USSR?
- What kinds of Christian publications are already available?
- What topics for books most need to be translated into Russian?
Everyone agreed that the needs for publishing Christian materials in the former USSR are very great. There are less than one dozen evangelical Christian publications to reach 300 million people. Most of these are published infrequently, however, as often as the editors can afford to print a new issue.
I found that Predvestnik is of great help to new Christians and unconverted people who have many questions about the Christian faith. It is the only Christian youth publication in the former USSR. There is only one other evangelical publication that is published periodically. If Predvestnik were to be published bimonthly, it would be the only 16-page Christian newspaper in the former Soviet Union that is published on a frequent basis.
When asked: “Are there many evangelical Christian books available in Russian?” most said: “Yes.” But some estimated that there are not many titles available throughout the whole country. This number does not include short booklets, tracts and workbooks. Interviewees most often mentioned Josh McDowell, Watchman Nee, Reinhardt Bonnke, Billy Graham, David Wilkerson, as authors that they recognized.
The topics for needed translation were almost universally agreed upon. They ranged from: Bible study materials, inspirational books, the family and relationships, history of the church, Christian biographies, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, Creation Science, Bible exegesis, commentaries, a concordance, a Bible encyclopedia, and a good modern translation of the Bible with study notes.
Two of the most popular books were The Cross and the Switchblade (Wilkerson) and Evidence That Demands a Verdict (McDowell). The Slavic Gospel Association has translated at least a dozen books, such as Mere Christianity (Lewis) and How Should We Then Live? (Schaeffer). Although each one of these books has made a tremendous impact, it is only a drop in the bucket compared to what is needed.
For more information write: The Forerunner, P.O. Box 1799, Gainesville, FL 32602
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Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
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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Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?
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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.
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“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.
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Watch a clip from Martin Luther.
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After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
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