Graham’s trip to Moscow raised some hard questions we, too, need to answer.
Billy graham’s recent trip to Russia brought a number of issues into sharp focus for evangelicals. Not the least of these is the question of the Christian’s relationship to his government—especially if his government is autocratic and anti-Christian. For example: What do we think of the woman who illegally unfurled a banner in the Moscow Baptist Church to protest the imprisonment of pastors? Do Russian Christians have the right to refuse to register for worship services because they fear government control of their pastors and of their message? Ought Christians to instruct their children in biblical faith when flatly forbidden to do so by the law of the land?
Most Americans have not done much serious thinking about these matters. From one point of view, we can be thankful for this. Although we live in a country that cannot truthfully be called Christian, yet our nation has been greatly influenced by the biblical and Christian tradition. As a result, many of the excruciating decisions facing Christians in other lands have never arisen for us.
But this comfortable way of living the Christian life may not continue forever. The Bible promises religious persecution of horrible intensity. If we take the Bible seriously, we must be prepared to make some of the hard decisions Christians in less-favored lands have always had to make. Even now we dare not relax too much in our relatively free society. Christians looking at us from other nations see us in a different light. “How,” inquires the Japanese Christian, “do you American Christians ever find it possible to drop an atomic bomb on the center of a great city filled with innocent people? Does your Christian ...1
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