Monday, December 15, 2008

Russia plans 'liquidation' of Christian ministries

Russia plans 'liquidation' of Christian ministries

Dozens of Christian organizations that have been providing social services, ministry and other help inside Russia are being targeted for "liquidation" by the nation's Ministry of Justice, according to a new report.

The information comes in a newsletter from a leader with an American Christian organization, Youth With A Mission, who reported he found a declaration recently on the webpage of the Russian Ministry of Justice listing the pending "liquidation" of 56 religious organizations.

The American ministry leader was out of the country and unavailable today, but his wife, contacted by WND, explained the pressure on evangelical groups is coming from a combination of resurging Russian hatred for the West, and pressure from Orthodox churches to ban outside organizations.

However, the ministry leader's wife asked that her husband's name not be used, because he continues to work in Russia, and could be targeted for retaliation.

She told WND all of central Asia is seeing an increasing level of persecution of Christians, since there are Muslim majorities in many locations.

"Russian authorities definitely want Christians out. They are targeting them," she said. "They are allowing only three-month visas, and then you have to leave. Obviously you can't do long-term ministry there."

The American ministry leader's original newsletter said other groups also were targeted in Russia, including Buddhist, Jewish and Islamic organizations.

"Yet at least 35 of the 56 listed qualify as Protestant organizations," the newsletter said. "These include the humanitarian 'World Vision' and 'Youth with a Mission." At least six Baptist organizations are listed. These include one established by the Russian branch of the 'Billy Graham Evangelistic Association' and three regional districts of the 'Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists,'" he said.

"Apparently; several entire churches are up for liquidation, including the 'Union of Churches of Presbyterian Christians' and the 'Assemblies of God.' Even the 26-congregation-strong 'Union of Churches of Evangelical Christians' is scheduled for elimination," the newsletter said.

The leader continued, "The situation in Russia has continued to worsen this past year as the new visa law went into effect. This limits missionaries to three-month stays after which they need to leave for three months then reapply for a new expensive three-month visa. This has made it especially difficult on families and many have been forced to leave. This has affected every mission.

"We have been spared this in some of the rural areas where some of our workers have received residency permits, but in the cities this has been impossible and has reduced our numbers to the nationals themselves," he said.

“Our Russian YWAMers have continued the work in a number of places but further restrictions could be coming," he continued.

“Things seem to be heating up for the surrounding countries as well. Georgia remains in somewhat of a delicate state as well as Ukraine. Meanwhile the Central Asian countries where we have seen so many breakthroughs in the last decade are also beginning to follow Moscow’s example.”

No comments:

add this