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All articles in category Belarus

September 2016
Belarus

Progress in theological education in Minsk

Next year I will be 40. The middle-age crisis will not necessarily hit me too hard, but I have begun asking questions like, ‘What have I been doing for the last 20 years?’ Basically, I have been striving in one direction in everything I have done. I have wanted to try to help recover theological thinking to its rightful place in Belarus church life, and also to help remove the word ‘theology’ from the list of religious ‘swear words’ here. Have I succeeded? Not yet! But at least I now have a couple of friends who share my vision for theological education in my country....

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September 2015
Belarus

Summer School of Theology, Belarus

So it has happened again! The Summer School of Reformed Theology took place in Minsk for a third year in a row! An event of micro-significance for many Western countries is a big achievement for us in Belarus. The audience grew to the upper limit which we set for this project three years ago — from 15 people in 2013, to 30 people in 2015. It suggests that the format of the School which we chose is right and the type of teaching we offer is in demand. We have turned away from practice- and inspiration-oriented conferences, to teaching so-called ‘dry theology’; and, all of...

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September 2014
Belarus

Summer School of Reformed Theology, Minsk, 2014

Here, in Belarus, we continue to promote academic theology among evangelical churches. This year we had the privilege of Dr Paul Helm teaching us Calvin’s theology. Professor Helm is, of course, well known as a Christian philosopher and Calvin scholar. Our expectations had been high and they were fully met. Calvin Dr Helm effortlessly drew in our minds a complete picture of Calvin’s theology. He followed the structure of the Institutes and spoke about Calvin’s epistemology, doctrine of the Trinity, Christology and soteriology. Perhaps, the biggest stir was caused by the discovery that Calvin allowed in his sermons the possibility that God might have forgiven...

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October 2013
Belarus

Belarus’s first Summer School of Reformed Theology

On 25-27 June, the first Summer School of Reformed Theology took place in Minsk. It was a small but new event for my country.     Our goal is to change the ethos of Christian conferences in Belarus. We are not obsessed with numbers, but focussing on a different kind of fellowship. The aim is not motivational, entertaining or pietistic, but purely theological.    Discussion We invited a dozen ministers of Reformed congregations (both paedo-Baptist and Baptist) for three days of theological training and discussion. Some of them already had formal seminary degrees, some had not. All had an appreciation of Reformed theology; not just the five...

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Progress in Belarus
June 2013
Belarus

Progress in Belarus

The Resurrection Evangelical Church in Ruba, Belarus, was established in 1995. Looking back, we recognise with gratitude that we have experienced God’s mercy and guidance since then. When my wife, Albina, and I first came to Ruba, after completing our course at the EMF Bible School in Welwyn, there was not a single evangelical Christian here. We started missionary work by giving lectures on biblical subjects in the local civic centre. Then God started to save people. They repented, received his forgiveness and were baptised. And so we were able to start an evangelical church. Until Christmas 2009, we held our meetings in different facilities....

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John Calvin’s 500th anniversary in Belarus
January 2010
Belarus

John Calvin’s 500th anniversary in Belarus

John Calvin’s 500th anniversary in Belarus   It happens only once in very few lifetimes — the 500th anniversary of John Calvin! For the Reformed churches in Belarus also, 2009 was the birthday of the great Reformer.   On 10July we gathered in the small church building of a Reformed church in Minsk, sang hymns to Genevan tunes, read from Calvin’s Institutes, and listened to preaching around core Calvinist doctrines.      A number of important guests were present, including a 2006 candidate for the Belarus presidency.      The celebration of Calvin’s anniversary in, say, France or Switzerland is natural. But what has Belarus — a former eastern...

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Missionary Spotlight – Long-term strategies in Belarus
April 2009
Belarus

Missionary Spotlight – Long-term strategies in Belarus

Long-term strategies in Belarus   Despite many laments from Western missionaries about the decline of Christian faith in their home countries, neither we nor they should underestimate what the Western church has done and is still doing for the republics of the former Soviet Union.   The colossal efforts of our brothers and sisters from the USA, UK, Holland, Germany and other countries helped greatly in overcoming the spiritual deadness which gripped eastern Europe during 80 years of Communism.      I believe that today there are still three valid ‘investment paradigms’ for western missionary enterprise – short-term, medium-term and long-term.      Different approaches   When...

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Missionary Spotlight – Belarus’ most urgent need
March 2009
Belarus

Missionary Spotlight – Belarus’ most urgent need

Belarus’ most urgent need   I live in Belarus and believe it urgently needs a Reformed Bible Seminary. Currently there is only an Arminian Baptist seminary; the nearest Reformed one is in Samara, Russia – 1500 miles from where I live!   There is a seminary in Kiev, in Ukraine, but that is another country and 400 miles away. Consequently, Belarussian young men often go to Western seminaries – where they get a good education but also often develop a taste for Western life and do not return to Belarus with its poor economic conditions.      Teaching   Belarus is a former republic of the...

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