The Continuing Journey in Opposing Directions

On the present climate among Russia’s Protestants

S m o l e n s k – The worries are self-evident since the „Yarovaya-Laws“ or the „Yarovaya Package“ were passed on 7 July. A seminar held by the US-supported “Slavic Legal Centre” on 18 July in the Russian capital was attended by 3.500 mostly Protestant listeners. ”The believers are very worried about monetary fines”, reported Vitaly Vlasenko, Director of External Relations for the “Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists”, on 20 September. “Our congregations are frequently very poor...


Keep Cool and Carry On

A Commentary on Russia’s new anti-terror legislation

M o s c o w -- Despite massive lobbying by Russian Protestants, President Vladimir Putin signed off on a package of anti-terror legislation usually called the “Yarovaya Laws” on 7 July. Highly significant for evangelicals are stipulations forbidding evangelistic efforts in public areas and restricting the practice of religion to officially-designated, registered places of worship. Concerns were audible but hardly apocalyptic during Protestant...


Ukrainians pity Russians - Russians pity Ukrainians

On the sad feud between next-door neighbours

M o s c o w -- Wading through Internet responses to the new Russian legislation on religion - the “Yarovaya Laws” of 7 July - one is struck by the divide between the profoundly cross-fertilized and interconnected evangelicals of Russia and Ukraine. One reaction could be described as scorn. A photo of Vladimir Putin conversing with the Pentecostal bishop Sergey Ryakhovsky and the Evangelical-Christian businessman Alexander Semchenko (both from Moscow), sports the inscription:...


Not Finished Off Yet

Conversation with a Baptist pastor in Moscow

S m o l e n s k – „It’s gotten lonely among us.“ That was the conclusion of a conversation punctuated by air hammers and howling motorcycles at the Moscow subway station “Okhotny Ryad” near the entrance to Red Square on 2 June. My Russian partner was a Baptist pastor involved in the dealings of his church and country over the past 40 years.  According to him, developments on Kiev’s Maidan in February 2014 have ushered in a new era; contacts with the West have gone into...


Russia and Ukraine Confront the Same Problems

An interview with Roman Lunkin

S m o l e n s k – According to Moscow's Roman Lunkin, a research fellow for Britain's “Keston College”, legislation directed at Russia’s religious communities was significantly sharpened during the summer of 2015. This refers above all to the law on “undesirable organisations” of 23 May 2015. In an interview with the author on 18 May, Lunkin reported that this legislation is vague and offers space for a wide range of interpretations. Already, according to him, “foreign missionaries attempting...


Franklin Graham’s Moscow Summit Cancelled

Russian Orthodoxy busy planning for June synod in Crete

M o s c o w -- It was unofficially announced in Moscow on 19 May that the “World Summit in Defence of Persecuted Christians”, planned by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in conjunction with the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian government, has been cancelled or at least postponed. The summit intended to gather 1.000 Christian leaders from as many as 150 countries in Moscow from 28 to 30 October 2016. Vitaly Vlasenko, Director of...


The Changing Face of Church and Mission in Eurasia

A Debate between Mykhailo Cherenkov and William Yoder

This article by Cherenkov and my response appeared in the Vol. 24, No. 2 issue of the  “East-West Church and Ministry Report” edited by Prof. Mark Elliott in Kentucky. I have changed a big and small mistake in my response as published by Elliott. These two corrections are in bold. The article may be reprinted, but one must cite the...

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