The Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused outrage internationally. In former communist countries where the gospel has advanced in recent decades, there is the sudden threat of a return to some of the most difficult days of last century. The challenges faced by our Christian brothers and sisters extend far beyond the borders of the conflict, especially in neighbouring Slavic countries who wait to see the long term impacts of the recent upheavals.
The evangelical church in the region is still a “minority, persecuted church” (Dr Peter Penner, New Testament editor of the Slavic Bible Commentary), where eight in ten of their pastors are still without training or resources to shepherd believers with God’s Word. Pastors need biblical resources to bring hope, healing and light to help believers persevere in dark places and grow as followers of Christ.
“For more than eighty years, evangelical and Christian communities in former Soviet bloc countries had gone through a wilderness experience not only in terms of physical persecutions but also spiritual deprivation. … there have been no serious resources published to enable the work of the preachers, ministers, [and] Christian community leaders in that context.”
Dr Parush Parushev, Langham Scholar and theological leader
Adding to the historical context, the current conflict has seen some precious resources systematically destroyed, including the burning of the largest theological library in the region. Ukrainian theological colleges have been particularly targeted by invading Russian troops as they provided excellent facilities (accommodation, kitchen and dining facilities, meeting rooms) for the army.
One of the great joys celebrated in the region in recent years was the launch of the Slavic Bible Commentary (in Russian) in October 2016. Langham walked with 94 authors from the region to write the commentary and then worked with indigenous Slavic publishers to produce this ground-breaking work: the first-ever evangelical commentary written by contemporary Slavic scholars. Written with culturally relevant illustrations, proverbs and examples, it equips pastors and leaders to help believers learn and apply God’s Word in the Slavic context.
Project Manager Taras Dyatlik said at the time “This commentary, in the current socio-political challenges of Eastern Europe, is a witness of unity in Christ between Ukrainian and Russian Christians around the Lord and His Word.”
The entire first print run of the Slavic Bible Commentary has been sold, and an additional three thousand copies in Russian were printed in Ukraine before the invasion. These were thought to be lost in Kyiv, however they have recently been found and work is currently underway to try and retrieve them for distribution.
In just the last year or so, the Commentary has been translated from its original Russian into English. This will enable it to be used by more believers across Europe, especially younger people in other Slavic nations who have learned English at school.
We now need your help to complete the publishing process for the English translation of the Slavic Bible Commentary.
More than AUD$60,000 is needed to complete the editing process, proof read, type-set, print and publish the hard copy volumes and also do the necessary work to make it available in e-format.
Dr Peter Penner says,
“Literature is especially needed [in this context], and the Slavic Bible Commentary [provides] people across 11 time zones with God’s Word for their lives.”
We want as many people as possible to hear Ukrainian and Russian Christians together speaking the peace, love and purposes of God amid the difficult situations Europe is facing.
Will you help us publish this new translation of the Slavic Bible Commentary to help more people understand God’s word in their context?
Please send your gift for our mid-year Appeal today.