In this episode, Nik Ripken shares insights into the methods of persecution of Christians in the Soviet Union. He discusses how the Soviet government used propaganda to convince the people that Christians were enemies of the state. They used violence and intimidation to force Christians to renounce their faith. Nik also explains how the Soviet government tried to control the churches by appointing their own officials and how they restricted religious freedom.
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Defending the Pulpit
In the Soviet Union, resistance against unbiblical teachings began with members of the congregation taking a stand.
When the communist-placed pastor got up to preach his approved sermon by the governments of the Soviet Union, those older women […] would line the pulpit area and lock arms and not let him in the pulpit to preach his nonsense. They would keep him, and they were wise, and they were so honored, and so respected, that no one would beat them – no one would push aside – and so that pastor would not know what to do. He would turn around and leave.
Nik shares that violence increased as time passed. The persecution of Christians in the Soviet Union continued. Later on, the communist regime abused those older ladies and knocked them down so their designated pastor could preach.
And you know what those old ladies would do? They would stand up, when he started preaching, with their backs toward the pulpit. They would show him what they thought about him, and how they knew what he was up to, and who he had been sent from.
The men fared worse.
Persecution of Christians Leads to Death
Meanwhile, 400 pastors were placed into a Siberian labor camp. On average, all of these pastors died in 3 to 6 months. The conditions in the camp were brutal. The prisoners were constantly worked to exhaustion. Eventually, many of the pastors died from exposure to the cold.
“They got typhoid, cholera, pneumonia and the flu, and 400 pastors were dead […] and thrown out into the frozen tundra for the beasts to devour them.”
Although the Soviet Union has fallen, the persecution of Christians continues to lead to violence and death in dangerous places around the world. In many cases, innocent men and women are forced out of their homes or killed for their beliefs. Religious freedom is a fundamental human right that is contested everywhere.