THE BIBLE IN RUSSIA
It is a reason for much thanksgiving to God that prayers have been most wonderfully answered in regard to the situation in Russia. There does seem to be a real easing of the pressure against believers in the unregistered churches. It is now legal to send parcels containing religious matter and also Bibles into the U.S.S.R. Many Christians in this country have been mailing Bibles to Russian believers and some of these are already reaching their destinations. The Trinitarian Bible Society is engaged in printing a very large number of New Testaments with Psalms and also complete Bibles and these are being mailed in large numbers by many individual believers and churches. It costs about Â£5 to send one Bible, including the cost of postage and packing. All enquiries for Bibles should be addressed to the Trinitarian Bible Society, 217, Kingston Road, London, SW19 3NN. Suitable addresses can be obtained from Friedensstimme (UK) PO Box 11, Beeston, Nottingham, NG9 1EG, England.
However, all is not as it may seem on the surface and the following information has been sent from Friedensstimme showing that many are still finding that their freedom of action is very much limited. We praise God for hearing many prayers and causing most amazing changes in Russia but prayer is still needed for those whose Christian life is much more difficult than for those of us in the West.
Just what is the position of the Bible in the USSR?
Christians in the Karaganda (Kazakhstan) who distributed literature and tracts openly in the summer of 1988 saw uniformed and officials in civvies approaching people and removing it from them saying it was ‘harmful literature, damaging to state interests’…
Tourists taking Christian literature to the Soviet Union seem to have one of two experiences …
…they are allowed to take a few items in
…or if they have a large number of Bibles, particularly if these include Children’s Bibles, some are politely taken away …
On 14 November Ivan Badulin who comes from a village near Kharkhov was stopped whilst transporting 80,000 John’s Gospels recently printed by Khristianin.
Ivan was arrested and taken to the police station. Although he was later released, all 80,000 Gospels were held by the police.
Â—ONLY FOR SOME?
Two gift consignments of Bibles sent in June 1988 from West German churches to two independent unregistered evangelical churches were being held up by the local customs.
The pastors to whom they were addressed, from Leningrad and Makinsk (Kazakhstan), were informed by local representatives of the Council for Religious Affairs that the Bibles would not be handed over unless they were prepared to register their churches.
The contents of one parcel addressed to the pastor of Makinsk have since been passed on to leaders of registered churches. Further information about the gift to Leningrad has not been forthcoming.
Are Bibles available only to state approved churches?