Pending Russian law could threaten Christian outreach
Allie Martin OneNewsNow.comFebruary 1, 2007 hands in jail
The Slavic Gospel Association says a new law that will soon take effect in Russia could have a chilling impact on Christian churches and ministries in the former communist country.
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A spokesman with the Slavic Gospel Association (SGA) says Christians in Russia face uncertain times because of a new religion law due to take effect this spring that would impose registration and reporting restrictions on churches. The "law on non-governmental organizations" set to take effect in Russia in April reportedly would require non-governmental groups (NGOs), including churches, to register with state agencies. The groups would also be required to list their funding sources and provide records of all meetings.
In an interview with Mission Network News, David Genn of the Slavic Gospel Association says many evangelicals are concerned about the pending legislation and its anticipated detrimental effect on outreach efforts -- and are praying for God's intervention.
"[Those of us] here in the West who are aware of this [are] praying that God would stay the implementation of this because there's a number of laws on the books over there, if they were enforced, that would be significantly limiting to the church," Genn shares.
The SGA official explains that in various regions of the country, laws that may have been implemented are not necessarily enforced because of the relationship that already exists between local church pastors and local government officials.
"And so we would pray first of all that God might stay this [new law] -- and if it is implemented, that God would give favor with these brothers with the local government authorities," he says.
Genn recently returned from Russia as part of a Christmas outreach to children.