By Editorial Staff
Published May 1, 1988
In the midst of the pomp and fanfare of the 1000th birthday of Christianity in Russia, the younger generation in the Soviet Union is apparently showing a growing interest in spiritual matters. “There has been a religious revival among young people,” said Deputy Chief Father Vladimir of the Russian Orthodoxy’s main monastic center.
Young Russians are increasingly interested in joining the clergy, according to Time magazine, and they are attending church in unprecedented numbers. For example, at a monastery that re-opened as a church after a period of government control, two-fifths of the congregation is in their 20’s and 30’s.
This growing interest in Christianity among the youth during the state-sanctioned celebration may stem from boredom, disillusionment, and cynicism – which the Soviet government is acknowleging as a problem.
Jon Utley, associate editor of The Times of Americas magazine and commentator on Voice of America, said that Soviet youth are a major government concern. Utley recently went on a tour sponsored by the World Media Association with 50 journalists, academic leaders, and activists.
“From talking to young people, we could well understand why Soviet youth are a major preoccupation of the government. There were almost no diversions. Our members (when alone) were often approached by youths for black market transactions.”
Utley attended a press conference by the Foreign Ministry. During the briefing, Communist state officials distributed a release which stated: “Young people are uncompromising in their search for truth. One can’t overlook the fact that many young people during the years of stagnation reconciled themselves to the hopelessness of attempts to attain truth and change …”
“(T)hey saw in society elements that were totally incompatible with what they knew about the nature of socialism. The example of some officials … was morally destructive.” Specifics on these officials were not revealed.
Utley also attended a meeting in Leningrad with students of the Soviet American Friendship Society. “In one discussion about human rights, a student said that Russia should withdraw from Afghanistan and was promptly answered and dressed down for 10 minutes by an older member,” he said in a report on his visit in Human Events.
Besides growing interest among youth, the official Russian Orthodox Church is becoming more vocal in the Soviet press and television on matters involving the country’s moral and cultural climate. “Glasnost and religious freedom are intimately correlated,” Vsevold Marinov told The Forerunner. Marinov is the director of the Soviet Bureau of Opinion based in Moscow. “Religious people have much more of a voice in the mass media which wasn’t the case before.”
Marinov is also a member of the Peace Committee, a delegation of Soviet citizens that recently visited the U.S. Pravda Cultural Editor Nikolai Potopov agreed, saying, “Religious people are more and more active in sharing their opinions with non-religious people on peace-related problems. Confiscated church buildings are being returned to churches.”
To commemorate the birth of Christianity, the Soviet government gave permission to the United Bible Society in Stuttgart, West Germany, for the importation of 100,000 Ukranian language Bibles. But many church leaders both inside and outside the country say that Gorbachev’s reconstructionist policies are cosmetic, and are calling for more radical changes to be made in Soviet dealings with the Church. Father Gleb Yakunin, an ex-prisoner who initiated the Russian Orthodox human rights movement in 1965, said, “The general atmosphere has changed a lot, but when it comes to actual church life, it’s like it was 30 years ago.”
Communist officials have said there may be signs of a new policy toward state control of churches. In the communist Central Committee Publication, an article stated, “The time has finally come to put an end to a suspicious and unfavorable attitude toward believers and their ideals of care for people, love and moral self-improvement. We should take into account the unprecedented historical fact that the church has managed to find its place in socialist society without detriment to its faith.”
Yuri Smirnov, spokesman for the Council for Religious Affairs, told Time, “The church could be a help in changing people’s attitudes toward work. There are too many divorces. There are many other social problems, like drug abuse. There are three to eight suicides among young people in Moscow every week. Why not use the power of the Church, since millions of people are under its influence?”
This is most definitely a far cry from the rhetoric of past Soviet regimes, which predicted total eradication of faith and Christianity by this date. As millions of nationals celebrate the arrival of the Christian gospel in the Soviet Union, and as young people return to the churches in record numbers, it will most likely open the doors for even more lively discussion in the Kremlin about the future of the USSR.
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » Russia, Ukraine and former USSR
Your comments are welcome!
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.)
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.)
High Quality Paperback — 200 pages
A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism
Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner
The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.
Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.
Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.
$14.95 — 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.)
“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.)