As the Soviet Union continues its dramatic transition, many people, including the Soviets themselves, would like to know what is in store. What new issues and problems will emerge with the changing situation? What new role should the church play in the emerging society?

Part of the answer can come from looking at the situation in Eastern Europe, where two years ago many of the same changes took place. The following is an excerpt from a new book by Bud Bultman and Harold Fickett, Revolution by Candlelight (Multnomah), which explores both what happened and what could happen to the people and churches of the newly free countries west of Moscow.

The city of Leipzig, East Germany, blazed with the brightness of tens of thousands of candles. The flickering flames danced with the darkness against the backdrop of the Nikolai Church. The sign outside the historic Lutheran church read, “offen für alle” (open for all). The sanctuary had just been packed with demonstrators praying for peace. Now they were outside, calling for action. And not since Jericho have the shouts of marchers been so effective.

It has been two years since those prayer meetings and marches, two years since those astounding pictures of revelers chipping away at the Berlin Wall. It has been two years since the world watched in astonishment as communist regimes from Poland to Romania came crashing down.

As the bills for past abuses have come due, life has become more difficult. Yet something fundamental has indeed changed. The politics of deceit has given way to the power of truth. Now Eastern Europeans have settled into the hard and sacrificial business of rebuilding their nations.

The usual rancorous debate of the democratic process wasted no time in replacing the unanimous ...

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