Guest / Limited Access /

In a broadcast to be aired Sunday, October 22, former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev talks with veteran religious broadcaster Robert Schuller for nearly 30 minutes about religious freedom, human dignity, and the presence of Christian belief in his childhood home. He also reminisces about the end of the Cold War and the beginnings of perestroika for the Hour of Power broadcast taped last Sunday before 4,500 people at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California.

Speaking through a translator, a smiling, healthy-looking Gorbachev begins by saying that "the revival of the Russian Orthodox Church is one of the most important gains of perestroika." He also explains his reasons for backing Russia's 1990 religious-freedom law and for deciding in 1989 to permit Schuller to broadcast a sermon on Russia's lone television channel. "We have to respect our people, and many of them are believers. ... There can be no freedom without spiritual freedom, without human beings being able to choose," the former Soviet president says.

Prompted by Schuller to reminisce about his mother's prayers, Gorbachev says that "practically all" his family "consisted of believers. And that was important," he says. His grandmother, he recalls, prayed and displayed Orthodox icons on an iconostasis in her home, while his grandfather, one of the first Communists in their village, displayed the portraits of Lenin and Stalin on an adjacent table. "That's how it was in real life," he says. "People did not desert faith, and faith did not desert people."

In a recent telephone call, Schuller told Christianity Today he believes that Gorbachev is only a "cultural atheist," that the former Soviet leader really believes in God. On the broadcast, Schuller repeatedly ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Tags:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueStop Calling Everything a Bible Study
Subscriber Access Only
Stop Calling Everything a Bible Study
Why it matters what churches call their classes.
RecommendedRussia's Newest Law: No Evangelizing Outside of Church
Russia's Newest Law: No Evangelizing Outside of Church
(UPDATE) Putin signs new restrictions that limit where and how Christians share the gospel.
TrendingAll 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
All 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
More than 3,000 employees in 36 states will be laid off in the liquidation of one of the world’s largest Christian retailers.
Editor's PickMy Missionary Great-Grandfather Led Me to Christ
My Missionary Great-Grandfather Led Me to Christ
But only after I went to Japan in search of his life story.
Christianity Today
Gorbachev and God
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

October 2000

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.