Kentucky Today: "Religious freedom dying in Russia, missionary says"- Baptists also are the true religion because they are persecuted too

by AndersonsInfo 9 Replies latest jw friends

  • AndersonsInfo

    May 2, 2017

    ORYOL, Russia (BP) - Russia's nationwide outlaw of Jehovah's Witnesses will likely ricochet and strike other religions outside of Russian Orthodoxy there, said a Baptist missionary forced to shut down his church in central Russia.

    "The repression that has already started, in my opinion, it is likely to continue to get worse," Donald Ossewaarde told Baptist Press April 27th by telephone from his home in Oryol. "I don't see any sign that the Russian government is having a change of heart."

    Ossewaarde, an Independent Baptist, has exhausted his appeals in Russia on an August 2016 conviction of operating a church without a permit under the 2016 anti-religion Yarovaya Law and is making plans to return May 8 to his home in Elgin, Ill. The Baptist ministry he had legally operated since 2002 will cease in the nation where Ossewaarde said every religion outside Russian Orthodoxy is considered a cult, including Protestantism.

    "I think the Orthodox Church is on a roll," Ossewaarde told BP. "They're emboldened. They've had some success in using the government to close down competitors. I would expect that they will continue along the same lines."

    In one of Russia's latest acts of religious oppression, the nation's Supreme Court April 20th declared Jehovah's Witnesses an extremist group, allowing the government to seize the assets of the church's headquarters and 395 local chapters with 170,000 adherents, the TASS Russian news agency reported from Moscow. The ruling has not been implemented because of the appeal process, TASS said.

    The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom just classified Russia as one of the world's worst violators of religious liberty, recommending in its 2017 annual report that the U.S. government deem Russia a "country of particular concern" under the International Religious Freedom Act and negotiate for religious liberty.

    Russia's religious discrimination and criminalization of Jehovah's Witnesses in particular should concern all evangelical Christians, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. said April 24th in The Briefing, his daily news and opinion podcast.

    "A government that could identify the Jehovah's Witnesses as an extremist group and make the group illegal is the same government that can identify Presbyterians or Lutherans or Baptists as an extremist group," Mohler said, "simply because what is taught runs contrary to some aspect of what is affirmed by the Russian President and his increasingly autocratic state."

    Russia criminalized the group for its beliefs rather than its actions, Mohler noted, albeit the group's beliefs are counter to Southern Baptist theology.

    "The Jehovah's Witnesses were here identified as an extremist group," Mohler said. "Now the bottom line in the political reality is that Jehovah's Witnesses lacked the political patronage and protection of anyone inside or outside Russia to keep the Russian government through its Supreme Court from making this declaration and thus making it illegal -- and that means punishable by prison time -- for anyone to be organized and involved with the Jehovah's Witnesses."

    The Independent Baptist congregation Ossewaarde led will likely watch a live stream of a service from another city, Ossewaarde said.

    "In order for them to continue something after I'm gone, they have to file papers with the authorities and put their name on a list saying they are a religious group," Ossewaarde told BP. "We discussed it for a long time. When it came right down to making a decision, they said we are not ready to put our names on a government list. As far as a meeting place here in our city, there won't be anymore."

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  • darkspilver

    Thanks for the link

    Baptists also are the true religion because they are persecuted too

    Interesting editorialisation?

    I thought the JWs believe that ALL religion was gonna be persecuted and destroyed in the timeline that moves forward to the great tribulation? - or have they changed that?

    FYI some background:

    Donald Ossewaarde's website is:

    CBN (The Christian Perspective), 7 February 2017

    EXCLUSIVE: When One US Missionary Dared to Share the Gospel in Putin’s Russia…

    MOSCOW Twenty-five years after the collapse of communism, the fight to defend religious freedom in the Russian Federation still rages.

    Seven months ago, Donald Ossewaarde became the first American convicted of breaking a Russian law that bans preaching the Gospel outside a registered church.

    Now he's going before Russia's Supreme Court and the outcome could have huge ramifications for all Christians in the country.


  • OrphanCrow

    The Baptists in Russia have been bucking up against Russia's laws for a long time now.

    Baptists have fell afoul of Russian authorities for their persistence in missionary activity and also for refusing to register their churches. The Baptists claim "freedom of conscience/religion, etc" as the basis for their refusal to register with the Russian government - "We obey God as our ruler rather than men".

    Baptists are facing problems in all the countries that the JWs are - Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan...etc

  • AndersonsInfo

    I didn't mean to sound like I was editorializing. My comment was "tongue in cheek" because of what supposedly was said by GB member, Stephen Lett as pointed to on a thread started by "The freewheeling":

    The freewheeling wrote:

    "The governing body has put out a video on JW Broadcasting regarding there view on the events in Russia. "Russian Supreme Court Renders Unjust Decision!" It is a half-hour program led by Stephen Lett. It broadly contains a report on how another member of the governing body, Mark Sanderson, travels to Russia and attends the Supreme Court in Moscow. Mark Sanderson is the one in the governing body who can speak Russian.

    "I want to pick up some points from this program.

    "It strengthens the JWs all over the world because they now see how this fulfills Bible prophecies. "God's people would be persecuted." This is actually an attack from Satan, they say in the video."

  • darkspilver

    That's cool - yeah they say 'God's people would be persecuted', but I understood that they also believed ALL religion would ultimately be 'persecuted' - therefore they can't simply take 'persecution' in it's self as a 'stand-alone' identifying mark.

  • biblexaminer

    If action against JWs takes place, even legitimate action because they broke the law for example, then its persecution. And the beginning of persecution is a sign from God that JWdom is God's blessed people.

    If action against JWs comes to an end, then it's a sign from God that JWdom is God's blessed people, He having brought it to an end.

    And we try to "reason" with them.

  • darkspilver
    AndersonsInfo: ORYOL, Russia (BP) - Russia's nationwide outlaw of Jehovah's Witnesses

    USA Today, 27 May 2017

    Danish man arrested in Russian raid on Jehovah's Witness service

    A Danish national was arrested this week during a police raid in the central city of Oryol, Russia, during a worship service by members of the Jehovah's Witnesses, which Russia recently banned as an extremist organization.

    The Dane was identified as Dennis Christensen, according to a spokesman for the religious organization in New York.

    Christensen (pictured below) was picked up in the raid Thursday night by Oryol police and agents of the FSB, the successor to the KGB.

    The officers also confiscated a Bible, religious literature, laptops and hard drives, according to the SOVA Center for Information and Analysis.

  • Vidiot
    OrphanCrow - "...Baptists are facing problems in all the countries that the JWs are..."

    No surprise there.

    These days, prosyletization / evangelicalism (of any flavor) seems to annoy the shit out of people more than ever before.

    I think it's - at least partly - the believers' insistance that they alone have the "one true path" (especially in the face of increasing reams of evidence to the contrary) that puts people off.

    I could be wrong.

  • darkspilver
  • steve2

    "We believe that the closure of the Jehovah's Witnesses organization for extremism, the persecution of members of their communities, and the prohibition of their written texts all have no legitimate grounds and are an outright manifestation of religious discrimination," said the Sova Center, a nongovernmental organization that tracks extremism, xenophobia, racism and similar issues in Russia.

    It is good to acknowledge that the banning of JWs in Russia has led to other groups expressing their disquiet. A shame that does not appear to acknowledge that other groups - including religious groups - have criticized the judicial ruling banning JWs.

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