On the Russian evangelism law

I find myself in an odd position.  I am in the reformational tradition (though I am not a 5 Point Calvinist) yet in the internet world I am known as a Russian supporter.  So what do I make of Russia’s new law to forbid evangelizing outside of church?  Sounds Draconian, right?  Here are my thoughts:

  1. I don’t think it was entirely necessary.  Russian Orthodox have little to fear from low-church evangelicals.  Historically, Russia has been ham-handed and incompetent in its dealings with counter-religious movements.
  2. Something like this law has been on the books for years.
  3. Scientology is a big-time CIA front, and this law is primarily designed at shutting down Scientology (which is illegal in Germany, btw).
  4. No country, even in our enlightened West, grants full religious liberty to its people.  In America a church has two options:  register with the IRS and get tax exempt status, or pay taxes.  If you choose the latter, you have a degree of freedom.  You can criticize politicians during election season and you won’t have to marry gays in 2018 (yeah, it’s coming but keep attacking Russia for taking away freedom).  If you choose the former you are tax exempt but fundamentally neutered on politics.
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7 comments on “On the Russian evangelism law

  1. It’s easy to be pro-Russian when you don’t have to live there.

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    • And? My pro-Russian sentiments are purely along the following lines:

      1) They have blocked numerous Atlanticist attempts to start WWIII.
      2) Which means my brother doesn’t have to go die so that Wahabbis can do what they want.
      3) Which means I won’t burn in nuclear fire.

      Good enough for me.

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      • Does Vatican City have an open-doors policy to Southern Baptists starting church plants there?

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      • I don’t know about the Vatican City state as such, but Catholic majority countries have done little compared with Orthodox countries to prevent the growth of Evangelical churches.

        The Catholic Church has embraced religious liberty since Vatican II.

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      • Doesn’t religious liberty run counter to V1 style bulls against modernity?

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      • That’s the most difficult issue with Vatican II. It’s a very new and radical development of the Catholic tradition, but I think it can be grounded in the pre-Vatican II understading of the voluntary nature of the faith commitment and the importance of conscience.

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  2. cal says:

    Your last point reveals the problem with Erastian and Caesaropapist policies. Yes, I’d prefer the BRICS alignment to the Anglo-American global capital market-state, but I’d also not want the Church in any of their hands either. Russia Orthodoxy possesses a tragic beauty, for it is many times Russian at the expense of orthodoxy. Of course, that kind of dichotomy doesn’t make sense to many within the fold, which is my point exactly.

    I completely understand Russia’ anti-evangelism law, as there are quite a few missions groups are fronts for CIA money. And I don’t know about Scientology, but that wouldn’t surprise me. The Church in many of its national instances has lost its spiritual life, and now functions as a department of the nation, rather than an alien and sojourning prophet.

    Russia’s right to enforce such a policy, and that’s the tragedy of it all. The Church in America ought to learn from the current social shifts, and reject their IRS tax-free status, but again, the US has done something amazing: we have a civic religion of the non-denominational, the greatest Erastian settlement ever controlling through anarchy and chaos. Church life is subjective, National life is real. It’s pathetic, and Russia can see that, since it’s living in reality and not under the delusion of American “religious freedom”.

    2 cents,
    cal

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