THE SOVIET CHURCH UNDER GLASNOST
Volume 3 - 1989
A Russian pastor describes the problems still encountered under perestroika in the USSR:
“Change is in the air and there are rumours of increasing freedom, but there has been no change in the laws on religion. For churches the situation varies from area to area — some officials are just as hostile as before and short-term arrests and fines are the result. At work Christians continue to have their wages docked and they don’t get the same extra benefits or bonus payments as other workers. Sometimes they are forced to work overtime at weekends etc., when otherwise they would be involved in church activities.
“Glasnost is a distraction. There is a danger as we approach these new days — a danger that our eyes will be distracted from the Lord and we will look to the government for our security. The enemies of the church are very subtle in their ways.
“Continual pressure is on churches to register. At a secret meeting of pastors earlier in the year, we decided that individual churches should submit a petition to central and regional authorities, stating that they would remain unregistered.
“Today’s priorities. At present our work is concentrated towards strengthening, building up and equipping the church to fulfill her mission. The years of severe persecution have taken their toll. For years the brethren, pastors and active Christian workers, were incarcerated in prisons. They returned to the churches strong in faith, but weak in the body. . The church needs leadership and fundamental, thorough Bible teaching. Instruction in doctrine is vital. We need to re-emphasize all that we learnt in the early 1960s — the way of repentance and teaching about holy living.”
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