tobefree

July 12, 2016

Putin’s Newest Law: No Evangelizing Outside of Church — Can’t share faith in HOMES, ONLINE or ANYWHERE but recognized church buildings • Foreign missionaries already banned • “Everything that undermines the Orthodox Church is a real threat” 

Filed under: 4th Amendment,Police State • ToBeFree,Russia • ToBeFree — Jeff Fenske @ 2:05 am

From: Christianity Today

Russia’s Newest Law: No Evangelizing Outside of Church
UPDATE: Putin signs new restrictions that limit where and how Christians share the gospel.

Update (July 8): This week, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a package of anti-terrorism laws that usher in tighter restrictions on missionary activity and evangelism.

Despite prayers and protests from religious leaders and human rights advocates, the Kremlin announced Putin’s approval yesterday. The amendments, including laws against sharing faith in homes, online, or anywhere but recognized church buildings, go into effect July 20. …

Protestants and religious minorities small enough to gather in homes fear they will be most affected. Last month, “the local police officer came to a home where a group of Pentecostals meet each Sunday,” Konstantin Bendas, deputy bishop of the Pentecostal Union, told Forum 18. “With a contented expression he told them: ‘Now they’re adopting the law I’ll drive you all out of here.’ I reckon we should now fear such zealous enforcement.” …

——

Earlier reporting (June 29):

To share their faith, citizens must secure a government permit through a registered religious organization, and they cannot evangelize anywhere besides churches and other religious sites. The restrictions even apply to activity in private residences and online.

This week, Russia’s Protestant minority—estimated around 1 percent….

Proposed by United Russia party lawmaker Irina Yarovaya, the law appears to target religious groups outside the Russian Orthodox church. Because it defines missionary activities as religious practices to spread a faith beyond its members, “if that is interpreted as the Moscow Patriarchate is likely to, it will mean the Orthodox Church can go after ethnic Russians but that no other church will be allowed to,”according to Frank Goble, an expert on religious and ethnic issues in the region.

Russian nationalist identity remains tied up with the Russian Orthodox church.

“The Russian Orthodox church is part of a bulwark of Russian nationalism stirred up by Vladimir Putin,” David Aikman, history professor and foreign affairs expert, told CT. “Everything that undermines that action is a real threat, whether that’s evangelical Protestant missionaries or anything else.” …

Stalin-era religious restrictions—including outlawing religious activity outside of Sunday services in registered churches and banning parents from teaching faith to their kids….

If passed, the anti-evangelism law carries fines up to US $780 for an individual and $15,500 for an organization. Foreign visitors who violate the law face deportation.

Russia has already moved to contain foreign missionaries. The “foreign agent” law…. Not a single foreign expatriate mission is there now,”….

Russia’s evangelicals… “They say, ‘If it will come to it, it’s not going to stop us from worshiping and sharing our faith,’” he wrote. “The Great Commission isn’t just for a time of freedom.”

Entire Article

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