October 16, 2020by Reverend Dan on October 16, 2020
"Why do the nations rage and the people plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord."
I read this blurb on a Christian blog recently:
The Russian parliament is considering a law that would ban foreigners from participating in religious activity. It would also prevent Russians from studying theology abroad. Proponents of the bill say it is necessary to curtail the influence of foreign extremists, including Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Baptists.
I am not sure whether to be hurt or relieved.
- If I am hurt, it is because they singled out Baptists and no other Protestant denomination. Is that because the Baptist are exceedingly more missionary active than most and therefore are getting a Christian foothold in Russia?
- If I’m relieved, it is because Russia believes Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Baptists are extremist and even cults. Does that mean the rest of the Protestant world isn’t seen as extreme?
Communism has been an opponent of religion from its very beginning. (I know, the Berlin Wall fell years ago, and Communism has been on the decline. But it is on the rise again in Russia.) Every communist regime has sought to purge faith. At its very core, communism is an atheistic ideology.
Everyone knows Karl Marx’s statement that the only positive religion served was as an “opiate for the masses”. What isn’t so well known is how he followed up on that statement. He said the only real way for the people to be happy is “the abolition of religion”. Religion may show man’s longing for a better existence, Marx argued, but it is religion that prevents the dream of happiness from becoming a reality.
In the four-year span between 1917 and 1921, the Soviet Union destroyed nearly 600 Russian Orthodox monasteries and convents and killed of at least 300 Orthodox clergy. In 1920 the Soviet parliament decreed that “the Party aims at the complete destruction of religious propaganda to liberate the masses from religion”. Between 1921 and 1950 15 million Christians were sent to their deaths in prison camps. Five million more were killed in the next thirty years. And it wasn’t just Christianity. 46% of all Muslims in the country were deported or killed, and thousands of Buddhist monks were “eliminated”.
I guess to our Baptist brothers and sisters we need to say, “well done good and faithful servants”. If you are so involved as to be singled out by their government, you are indeed going into all the world to make disciples. God be with you as you go. And God give the rest of us the courage to follow.
"Father, Thank you for those who carry Your Gospel into all the world, even at a danger to their very lives. In Jesus' name, AMEN."