Religious Nationalism a Barrier to the Gospel in the Former Soviet Union

Image shows a Russian Orthodox church. (Image by Eliane Meyer from Pixabay)

“I’m already a Christian.”

This is the response Christians in partnership with Slavic Gospel Association often hear when they share the Gospel with families in the former Soviet Union.

Eric Mock says many Russians consider themselves to be Christians, especially as part of the Russian Orthodox Church, the largest denomination in the country. “They call themselves Christian because they call themselves Russian. It is very similar to what we’ve seen in America, where close to 70% of Americans call themselves Christian.”

As in Russia, many people in the United States would identify themselves with large Christian denominations, such as Evangelicalism or Roman Catholicism. But fewer would have any significant understanding of the beliefs within either denomination or of the basic Christian faith. Many see Christianity as an ethnic or nationalistic identity.

Mock says, “I’ve heard before the term  ‘CE Christians’ or Christmas/Easter Christians. As it is in American society, it is true in Russian society; most of them either attend church or hold to Christian traditions during Easter and Christmas. Outside of that, they have absolutely nothing to do with the Church, but they would still call themselves Christian.”

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Kevin Zeller

CALL TO ACTION

  • Pray that people in the former Soviet Union would trade the identity of religious nationalism for identity in Christ.
  • Ask God to continue building up His Church in Russia and the surrounding countries.