In 966, under Prince Mieszko I, the Polish people were baptised into the Roman Catholic Church. In the sixteenth century, the Reformation made rapid progress in Poland (hence the Lutheran and Reformed Churches of today). But Poland’s ethos is strongly Roman Catholic.
There is tremendous confusion in people’s minds about what true Christianity is. This is why gospel proclamation in Poland meets with many difficulties.
The number of people in Poland today who are genuinely converted is very small – perhaps 10,000 or so in all. Generally, Polish Evangelicals are Arminian in theology.
There are several reasons: the influence of Brethren teaching; misunderstandings about the doctrine of predestination; and the effect of previous (godly) Christians emphasising Christian living but neglecting doctrine.
But, thankfully, Poland is now seeing a significant change for the better in its theological teaching. For example, in April 1997 a publishing house called Legatio was established in Wloclawek.
Legatio publishes Reformed literature. It is connected with the Evangelical Christian Church in Poland (the author’s own church) and is supported by the European Missionary Fellowship.
Up to now, Legatio has published 17 titles and sold more than 6,000 books.
The Evangelical Christian Church also runs a radio station called ‘Voice of the gospel’, which provides a forum for preaching the gospel to millions of people.
Not a cult
A remaining fundamental issue is the need to counteract widespread confusion in the minds of Polish people over what a ‘church’ is.
Poles think of Evangelicals as belonging to a sect or cult, particularly those in the smaller Protestant churches. This is the result of Roman Catholic opposition to everything that does not conform to its traditions.
On the other hand, there is freedom, especially in the cities, for Christians to evangelise, although official permission is usually needed to hold open-air meetings.
While Christians in Poland are no longer openly persecuted, Roman Catholicism remains strong and influential. We do not know what this increasing strength will mean for Evangelicals in the future.
Please pray for Evangelical Christians in our country. Pray for a continued open door for evangelism and for the dissemination of the doctrines of grace.
We need God’s help to make known the truths of his Word.