Nearly annihilated in the Stalinist persecutions of the 1930s, Soviet evangelicals emerged after the war in successive revival waves. The extremities of survival brought four evangelical denominations into a single state-approved union. This book describes the subsequent unity struggles, devoting major attention to the Reform Baptist split in 1961 when Soviet authorities again tried to destroy the movement.
The book describes regional differences, techniques for evangelism, and the lifestyle of local and regional leaders, both the legally registered ones and those hiding from the authorities. It also includes a frank description and analysis of the major missions to Eastern Europe as well as the foreign relations of Soviet evangelicals.
Every chapter raises issues for reflection, often paradoxical, about how the church should live in an unfriendly environment. Illustrative material throughout personalizes a story that is overburdened with tragedy, pathos, and conflict.
The book is intended to fill a serious gap in the literature by providing a reliable, sensitive treatment of a subject suffering from exaggerations on the one hand and the inadequate candor of Soviet spokesmen on the other. It is based on a broad range of sources, some of which were uniquely available to the author. The more we understand each other, the easier it is to love each other and to combat the suspicions that lead to war.