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Impending Persecution by Ray Willis

19 July 2016 No Comment

dumaIn 1991, Russia passed a constitutional amendment to provide for the freedom of religious expression as well as the freedom of conscience. In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, these freedoms were heartily embraced by the Russian people who were experiencing a crisis of worldview brought on by political, economic, and cultural upheaval. In 1997, another amendment was passed to revoke much of the freedoms granted by the 1991 amendment. The change in law was instigated by the fast-growing anti-cult movement in Russia who perceived emerging, non-traditional churches (Evangelical and Pentecostal) to be threats to national identity and national security. As well, the traditional Church in Russia successfully lobbied government officials to curtail the activity of non-traditional churches through the force of law in an effort to weaken emerging churches and to strengthen the position of the traditional Church.

Today, Evangelical and Pentecostal churches are labeled as cults and are subject to restrictions and persecution that hearken back to the soviet era. As such, our Russian church partners are experiencing an escalation in harassment by government officials, and new legislation laden with greater restrictions was recently passed by the Duma and heading to the Kremlin for Putin’s signature. Knowing that God is sovereign, please pray that our Russian brothers and sisters stand strong in the face of impending persecution and that the Church in Russia reaches those in darkness with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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