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Russian EP conference

January 2012 | by John Norris

Russian EP conference

The 12th annual Evangelical Press Russian-language conference was held in Belarus on 3-4 November 2011.
    It was a joy to return to Belarus for the first time since 2001. About 50 delegates attended, drawn mainly from Belarus, but also some from Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan.
    Nearly all the addresses related to Russian-language books that EP is selling in the Russian world and beyond. In Russian, ‘EP’ is short for ‘Gospel’ and ‘Reformation’. Pastors Georgi and Slava Viazovski picked up on these themes in their addresses.
    Georgi spoke on the true nature of the gospel of grace and the gift of imputed righteousness through faith. Slava pointed out the need to walk in the footsteps of the Reformers.
    He encouraged us to continually return to the true gospel in the Scriptures, as well as drawing on the wisdom and insights of godly saints from the Church Fathers onwards.
    Slava, with the help of other pastors, led a workshop on the need for those in the ministry to be both called of God and appropriately equipped through theological training.
    
Lively discussion

This sparked a lively and constructive debate, particularly as few in the former Soviet territories receive much financial support from their congregations, and opportunities to receive good theological training are extremely limited.
    It is little wonder Slava has a vision that God, in his goodness, may help the church create a Reformed seminary for pastors in Belarus. Thankfully, there is an increasing body of Reformed evangelical literature available in the Russian-speaking world.
    While cross-border issues are complicated, we are hopeful there will soon be a good flow of books reaching Kazakhstan also, as a result of this and previous conferences.
    The main conference speaker was EP author and pastor Gary Brady. Mr Brady brought three papers on biblical wisdom literature. In discussing the Song of Songs he brought a challenge to us all concerning the reality and depth of our love, on both human and divine levels.
    For Proverbs, he provided an analysis of the book’s structure and practical suggestions on how to preach its contents. His final address, on Ecclesiastes, demonstrated how this is a book particularly suited to our modern age.
    
Encouraging exposition

As well as providing a framework for Ecclesiastes, he gave an encouraging exposition of practical principles for life from chapters 9-10.
    The final paper was given by Roger Fay, on the life of David Brainerd, a pioneer missionary to the North American indigenous population at great personal cost.
    Mr Fay warmed our hearts as he demonstrated how this spiritual man was used of the Lord in a time of revival, becoming an inspiration to many later missionaries despite the brevity of his life.
    As the conference closed, there was a real awareness of the goodness of the Lord and the blessedness of this time of fellowship and teaching. We trust the Lord will go before us as we plan further conferences in Belarus and Kazakhstan.
John Norris

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