Issue Date: July/August 2008
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, western missionaries have had almost an open door to evangelize in Russia. Protestant congregations have been established and much humanitarian relief has flowed into prisons and orphanages. Protestant leaders rejoiced at this window of opportunity but knew in the back of their minds that it probably would not last.
During the Soviet era, all religions were outlawed, although many leaders of the Russian Orthodox cooperated with the government for survival. KGB agents also infiltrated the Orthodox ranks. Now, during the tenure of President Vladimir Putin, he has pushed hard to restore pride in Russian nationalism. Therefore, since the Russian Orthodox church has been the national church for several hundred years prior to the Soviet era, restoring its status and influence is a significant part of rebuilding national pride.
And since Russian Orthodoxy is a part of the ritualistic, priestcraft-centered block of false Christianity similar to Roman Catholicism, it is not about to tolerate the presence of true Bible believers. Satan`s strategy of aligning a false religion with a totalitarian government is as old as Rome. True Christians have had to flee to the caves from this strategy for most of history. The few hundred years of religious freedom enjoyed in modern times is an exception in the overall scope of history.
Russian Christians are not alone in feeling pressure from governments to restrict soul winning. Laws against "proselytizing" are being enacted in most countries that have a government-favored religion.
Their greatest fear is soul winning because they see the superior spiritual power of the gospel over these satanic religions.
This is true of all the Islamic nations, the Hindu and Buddhist countries of the Orient and even Roman Catholic cultures. None of these can compete with the gospel in lifting people out of the bondage of sin.
It is estimated that more than 50,000 Christians die each year for their faith. American Christians enjoy a freedom and safety not available to most of the rest of the world.
Yet few have ever won a soul to Christ or even bothered to leave a gospel tract where someone might find it and get saved. Jesus said in John 9:4 that He had to work while it was day because the night was coming "when no man can work."
In fact, it was the Jewish religious leaders who persuaded the Roman government officials to crucify Jesus. Our times are similar. Attacks are mounting on our freedom to witness from sodomites, Islam and even Roman Catholicism.
Soul winners, we need to redouble our efforts and recruit others to join us!