RUSSIAN REVIVAL GIVES HOPE FOR AMERICA
By Rev. Ted Pike
17 Jul 13
Editor's Note: This is the edited version of a recorded Bible study under this title at Truthtellers.org.
Twenty-two years ago Russia and its satellite nations were in the grip of humanity's cruelest, bloodiest totalitarian oppression. Soviet Communism is today replaced by the pro-Christian government of Vladimir Putin. It’s a government that encourages Christian culture and spirituality from the Russian Orthodox perspective.
In his article at MinistryValues.com, Stephen K. Ryan says,
Russia’s turn to Christianity is a virtually unknown phenomenon in the United States…Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev go to Church frequently…and seek political and moral counsel from the Russian Orthodox clergy…Putin wears a Christian cross with him at all times.
Ryan notes that in 2010,
Barack Obama skipped church on Christmas day while the President of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev . . . attended mid-night mass services celebrating the Russian Orthodox Christmas in grand splendor…Vladimir Putin has frequently praised the Christian Russian Orthodox church for ‘educating citizens in a spirit of patriotism and love of country, passing on love for spiritual values and history.’…Russia is investing $100,000,000 to rebuild Christian churches throughout the country. Money to rebuild these churches is coming from Russian taxpayers . . . yet Russian citizens are supporting of the investment.
Russian Orthodox anti-Zionist Brother Nathaniel Kapner writes:
In his own words during an Easter Service at Christ The Saviour Cathedral on April 27 2008, Putin assured the Russian people saying:
--“This holiday shows just how important national traditions and spiritual values are for our people. The state will continue to provide all possible support to the Church aimed at the enlightenment and moral education of Russian citizens.”--
--“Orthodoxy has always played a special role in shaping our statehood, our culture, our morals. One should not completely draw a line between the culture and the Church. Of course, in our country the Church is separate from the State. But in the soul and the history of our people it’s all together. It always has been and always will be.”--
Just last month the Duma, Russia’s parliament, overwhelmingly voted to criminalize attempts to persuade youth in favor of homosexuality. Attempts by homosexuals to publicly demonstrate in favor of the gay lifestyle in Russia have been met by spontaneous protest, especially from outraged young people. Their chant of “Russia is not Sodom!” reveals strong support for a return to biblical morality. However, their physical attacks on pro-homosexual demonstrators are full of potential to discredit the Putin government.
The same is true of a record of bias against and even persecution of evangelical Christians by forces in government and police under Orthodox influence. Evangelicals are considered heretics by Russian Orthodoxy. If the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian government desire to completely unify church and state they will eventually create such a level of human rights violations that the way will again be paved for government overthrow. It’s up to Putin to make sure theocratic authoritarianism does not destroy the essentially Christian miracle that has displaced godless communism. (See “Church Demolished: Russia's Fading Religious Freedom,” CBN News; “Protestant Churches in Russia Call for Freedom of Belief amid Persecution,” Christianity Today)
The Duma’s naivety was revealed by its recent passage of a “speech crime” law banning language “offending religious feelings” of others, i.e. the Russian Orthodox religious majority. Ostensibly directed against the rock band Pussy Riot’s mockery of Putin, it takes little imagination, as with all hate crimes laws, to envision it being applied against evangelicals who criticize Russian Orthodoxy (See “Russia passes anti-'gay propaganda' bill,” Raw Story).
Evangelical Christians in Russia primarily fall into the camps of Calvinist, “once saved, always saved” Baptists, tongues-speaking Pentecostals, or legalistic Seventh Day Adventists. Russia has never seen a national movement of truly authentic Christianity, with its simple requirement of death to self-will and spiritual rest through trusting and obeying Jesus daily. (See "What is Spiritual Rest from War Within?") Emerging out of many centuries of violence and darkness, Russia remains a spiritually deprived nation – but not as much as America has become, transgressing against much greater light.
America Must Catch Up With Russia
Several years ago, a BARNA poll determined that even one spiritually mature Christian is increasingly difficult to find in most evangelical churches. Does the “easy" Christianity of televangelist positive-thinking “prosperity” preachers build moral depth and strength? I doubt it.
We must disciple Christians who are solidly grounded in theological and even political truth. Such Christians will be ready to fill the vacuum of possible chaos with a powerful and steady message of hope and transcendence through Christ.
In Russia, despite 74 years of Communist attempts to eradicate all memory of God, the Orthodox faith emerged with enough priests, teachers and leaders to recapture the nation. They did not allow Russia to slide into moral chaos, even with invasion of corrupting influences from the so-called “Christian” West.
Here are seven great changes I believe must occur in the hearts and minds of Christians before revival can occur or be sustained:
- Christians of all denominations must realize that death to self-will and seeking God’s will above all things are not simply a high-minded abstraction. As Jesus made abundantly clear, it is a necessity for salvation.
- We must fear a God who means what He says in Scripture and not feel we have the right to adjust Scripture for our comfort.
- We must acquire true moral values which come from fear of God and His Laws. We must fear His power to send us to hell if we disobey Him.
- We must become courageous. Man is a moral, freewill being and real courage begins in his conscience and conception of duty to God, not from political or social idealism.
- Christians must experience a renaissance of confidence in truth. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” He never defined love as excluding truth! Truth braces us, countering our human desire to create our own version of reality. Truth vindicates, even if only in eternity, those who jeopardize themselves by speaking it as God leads. Early Christianity flourished through constant affirmation of God’s truth.
Yet today, most evangelicals have accepted the notion that some truth, such as criticism of Judaism or Israel, is bad truth because of its imagined consequences. Such false lessons have made most Christians and their pastors extremely reluctant to tell the whole truth about a wide variety of critically important moral issues.
- Christians must learn to take action for truth. Since the church is largely without leaders who take risks for the sake of truth, few have personal experience of being upheld by truth. Instead, the bogey of disaster looms before pastor and people in response to any suggestion of controversy. If the American church is ever to become a fighting force for freedom again, examples of courage must arise. Fortunately, the inspiration and power to speak the whole truth originates in the power and promises of God and in His Holy Spirit who is faithful to give courage to those who submit fully to Him.
- Finally, Christianity must return to the New Testament posture of skepticism of Talmudic Judaism. Scripture warns that Judaism is inherently anti-Christ and “an enemy of the Gospel.” When we misguidedly bless it, as evangelicals have been taught to do for more than a century, we open our minds and souls to its deceptive, corrupting message. No revival will succeed if believers give obeisance to Christ-rejecting Jews and are taught of them. This does not imply that all Jews are evil or that Christians should abandon the Biblical teaching that a remnant of repentant Jews will be saved at Christ’s second coming. This is an all-powerful brake against development of actual anti-Semitism.
However, in 1980, the religious right and the "Reagan revolution" enthusiastically invited non-Christian Jews to participate in this “great movement of God.” As a result, this long-awaited conservative revival, under leadership of neoconservative Jews, has become a massive platform for Zionist lobbying and propaganda.
Do you want to be one of those God can count on to fill the gap today and tomorrow? Are you frustrated that your church is not providing the spiritual nutrition and challenges you need? Give your heart completely to God, and I promise He will send the Holy Spirit to you. He will open the meaning of Scripture as never before.
Come to Truthtellers.org Bible studies and start listening with your friends to the more than 300 Bible studies dedicated to filling in the gaps in essential Christian knowledge. God will make you not only a vibrant spiritual survivor today but a leader and rescuer of searching souls tomorrow.