Russia (MNN) — It's no secret that the purity of family life is in jeopardy. The nation houses a large number of orphans (over 700,000 in fact) and contains thousands of parents plagued by alcoholism.
But according to one Russian professor's recent studies, the family may be in even more trouble than previously thought.
Abortion rates and divorce rates are both rising quickly in Russia, according to Professor Vasily Zhukov of the Russian Social University in Moscow.
Joel Griffith with
Slavic Gospel Association says the information matches what they've seen. Griffith notes that in a recent article by Zhukov, "He was basically making the case that the number of abortions in Russia is really vastly understated. He says that you have 1.3 million abortions officially reported in Russia, but you can actually up that to 3 to 4 million abortions that are annually carried out in Russia."
Some families are not being built up, but Zhukov says families that do exist aren't sticking together.
"You've got 60 divorces for every 100 marriages," explains Griffith. "That's more than half of married couples."
The statistics are truly frightening for Russia's future. The nation already has dwindling demographics, says Griffith, but it is also experiencing a re-hardening toward Christ. This dangerous combination does not bode well for the future of Russia's families unless the Lord intervenes.
The church, says Griffith, is trying to do just that. "They try through various ways to minister to pregnant women, to urge them to carry their pregnancies to term, and trying to help them see what the tragedy abortion really is," says Griffith.
"Of course, they're also concerned on the family unit, in general–the impact that alcoholism has on families, and children, and marriages. They certainly are doing their best to try to address the issue of divorce and the overall harm that it's doing on society."
Some churches have specific outreaches, and others just have individuals reaching out to friends who are struggling with these things. Either way, the church is doing its best to lead by example.
"When you look at committed, evangelical churches in Russia, you don't see anywhere near the rate of divorce that you would see here in Western nations," notes Griffith. "Typically, when a couple gets into some sort of marital issue, the church gets involved. They lovingly work with that couple to biblically resolve the issues between them."
It's a stark contrast to the majority of the nation's married couples, and one that may offer some hope. As those families reach out with Christ's love, opportunities abound. "A church reaching out to a troubled family in love certainly has an open door that they wouldn't normally have."
Pray for hearts to be open as the church does its best to help others through these difficult family issues. Pray also for the church not to get trapped in these same, hopeless options, but to rely on the Lord for His strength.