Religion law amendment concerns Christians in Russia

By September 6, 2006

Russia (MNN) — Many Christians are concerned about draft amendments to Russia’s religion law. The draft was submitted for examination by Russia’s religious organizations last month, by the vice-minister of Justice. Among the provisions include federal licensing of preachers, registration of missionary activity and restricting places where people can preach.

Vice President of Russian Ministries Sergey Rakhuba is concerned. Rakhuba says the government is doing this for one reason alone. “To apply a more strict control to all religious groups and all Christian ministries.”

If Russians are required to be licensed to preach, Rakhuba says that could be trouble. “None of those lay preachers, that make up about 80-percent of the Russian churches, would get a license for preaching the Gospel and that’s very disturbing news.”

It also appears the government is endorsing one religion in Russia. Rakhuba says, “14 different districts in Russia, in their public school, started teaching the Orthodox culture (as) part of the main curriculum without asking public opinion on that.”

According to Rakhuba, prayer is needed now. “There’s a pretty big chance, with a few changes, (it) will be approved by the Russian State Duma.”

In the meantime, Rakhuba says this could force foreign missionaries to change the way they do their work. “They probably should go as tentmakers and apply for some professional jobs, at the same time using their ministry experience, education and talents (to) help nationals to spread the Gospel.”

Russian Ministries is asking people to, “Pray that it will not go through the Russian Duma, or will not be accepted by the public. And, pray for foreign missionaries and national workers that God would give wisdom and protect their ministry.”

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