Evangelicals differ on the way to bring peace to the former Yugoslavia.

The controversy surrounding Peter Kuzmic, ex-Yugoslavia’s most prominent Protestant theologian, symbolizes well the political tension between evangelical groups in Croatia and Serbia. At the beginning of the year, Kuzmic proposed military strikes by the West against Serbian positions. A month earlier Gunnar Staalsett, general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation, had proposed a similar course of action.

Though the Pentecostal theologian’s comments enjoyed virtually unanimous support in Croatia—he resides in Osijek, Croatia—he reaped a storm of protest in Serbia. He was attacked by the secular Serbian press, but one of the sharpest retorts came from Lazar Stojsic, a minister in Belgrade’s flourishing Pentecostal congregation Hram Svete Trojice (Temple of the Holy Trinity). Stojsic said, “Kuzmic reminds me of a person with bombs in one hand and prayers in the other.”

Baptist Prof. Alexander Birvis, a former colleague of Kuzmic’s at the Pentecostal seminary in Osijek and now a pastor in Belgrade, adds, “I wonder whether Kuzmic would be demanding the same if his daughter were living in Belgrade.”

During an interview, Kuzmic explained his position, saying, “I have never asked for military action against Serbia or Belgrade. These [military] groups only understand the language of power. I would love to be a pacifist. This demonic power can only be stopped by resolute action of the Western community.”

Who’s attacking whom?

Croatian believers support the tightening of international sanctions against Serbia as well as recommendations that the Serbian Orthodox Church be banished from the World Council of Churches. On both of these points, Serbian evangelicals take ...

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