Recently, concerned callers have been contacting our 3ABN headquarters asking whether the report they’ve heard about a petition to ban the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Russia is true.
Happily, it is not true. In fact, we believe this report is a typical example of fake news that now plagues the Internet. It is probable that the story gained credibility with some because of the Russian government’s recent ban on Jehovah’s Witnesses in their country, but Julia Outkina, 3ABN Russia’s executive director, is quick to set matters straight.
“There is no such crisis with the Seventh-day Adventist Church,” she says. “In fact, this is the best time for Protestants in Russia, including Seventh-day Adventists. Recently, under the auspices of the Russian president’s administration, our official government information center declared a yearlong celebration of Protestantism throughout the country beginning on March 22, and we were present to cover this event in Moscow.” She added that the Seventh-day Adventist Church has also recently received a grant to hold health expos in public places across the nation, including one in Nizhny Novgorod, where we have our 3ABN Russian Evangelism Center.
She adds that 3ABN Russia’s activities continue to expand as more and more cable systems stations begin carrying our Russian language Christian programming 24 hours a day. “We are on 79 cable systems now, which makes 3ABN Russia available in 220 cities across the country, along with nationwide satellite coverage!” she exclaims.
Jesus Christ urged His followers to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16. Please pray for wisdom when it comes to these types of stories, since the devil takes great pleasure in causing fear and confusion among God’s people.
Thank you for your concern, and please keep praying for God’s work to go forward with power in Russia and around the world.
Here is the Euro-Asia Division Official Statement Regarding Misinformation on the Status of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Russian Federation:
“In light of the information that has been published on the Internet on the plans for placing a ban on the activity of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Russia, we officially communicate that any such information from unofficial sources is not consistent with reality.
“The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Russian Federation is a community-focused denomination, with more than 130 years of service in this territory; a fellowship of law-abiding believers, who are striving, in their life and ministry, to make a positive impact on the surrounding society.
“In recent years, the Church has built, in the spirit of mutual respect, constructive dialogue with state authorities that allows for opening new possibilities to use the resources of the Seventh-day Adventist Church for meeting the needs of society. Indeed, the program “Family Health, Nation’s Health,” aimed at preventing lifestyle-related diseases, is being implemented thanks to a public grant under an ordinance of the President of the Russian Federation. It is something that attests to the fact that state authorities have in high regard the Adventist Church’s participation in public life.
“In view of this, we again solemnly declare that there is no reason to believe that any justified or sensible reason exists for restricting or banning the activity of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Russian Federation.”
M. F. Kaminsky, President of the Euro-Asia Division of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
O. Y. Goncharov, Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Director, Euro-Asia Division of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and Member of the Advisory Council for Cooperation with Religious Associations Under the President of the Russian Federation