Bogomyslie, 32:1, 2022
Annotation. The war in Ukraine demands not only an evaluation from the church, but also a radical self-awareness as well as active participation. Instead of speaking about the church and war, one should consider the church at war as its only possible kind of mission. As a local pastor, the author offers his own experience, observations and emotions about how the war in Ukraine influences the life and ministry of Slavic churches in USA and emphasizes ten different challenges of war time: confusion and helplessness in the face of unthinkable levels of evil; the devastating and dividing influence of propaganda; divisions between those who are ‘there’ and ‘not there’; acute deficit of words; prayer crisis; the heresy of the ‘gospel of moderate prosperity’; consumer attitude to the Church of Christ as ‘our church’; naïve interpretations of the Bible regarding ‘politics’. No matter how complex and sharp these challenges may be, they mobilize the church and open up new possibilities for its spiritual renewal.
Key words: church, war, politics, mission, unity, Ukraine, USA.
The war in Ukraine is a visible manifestation of a deep global conflict. It does not matter who we are or where we may be, this war touches all of us personally, informationally, politically, economically, morally and spiritually.
Moreover, this war not only affects, but also draws us into itself. In this war, it is impossible to remain an observer or an outsider, denying one’s responsibility and repeating: «This is not my war, I’m not there, I have nothing to do with it, I’m out of politics.» Everyone who learns about what is happening takes part in words, prayers, finances, tears (curses, fists) and thus finds himself on one side or another of the global and deep conflict. I call this conflict global because it was started by the world’s largest power in terms of land and nuclear potential. I call it deep, because, in addition to political and economic, it has cultural, ideological, spiritual dimensions, and during the war the spiritual nature of the conflict manifested itself in its entirety — a dark, evil, demonic element showed itself without cultural masks and diplomatic smiles. In the end, only an insane and/or obsessed person can threaten the whole world with a nuclear war. I see signs of both. Therefore, what is happening in Ukraine cannot be understood in terms of ordinary politics; here one must see religiously motivated aggression against one’s neighbor, and in the person of one’s neighbor — against the whole world, against the whole order of things, against God. What does this mean for us as Christians? This means that we must all accept the war in Ukraine as our war — our pain, our responsibility, our opportunity to rethink ourselves as a church and serve our neighbor.
I am not in Ukraine, and I am not a military man. I am a pastor of one of the Slavic evangelical churches in the USA, but from the very first minutes of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I felt like I was at war. That day, our ordinary life ended. What has changed in our personal and church life, in our priorities, themes, theological emphases? What is going on in our sector of the front? This is what my subsequent reflections are about as well as attempts to comprehend and summarize in ten points our church experience of the first two months of this war, a war terrible in cruelty and meanness, scale and consequences. I am sure that most of these things will be applicable not only to the churches of the Diaspora, as they express general, global trends in church life.
First, from the very first minutes of the war, we were confronted with a sense of helplessness in the face of the terrifying power and scale of evil. For believers, this feeling is quite familiar: we cannot save the world, people and cities; it remains for us to trust God and do what is in our power. We know that we live in the agonizing expectation of the Kingdoms of God, when it seems like “already”, but “not yet”. We understand the reality of the fallen world, and yet we expect the Lord, in answer to our prayers, to restrain this evil, protect us, and exercise His authority. We find ourselves helpless, but we trust in the omnipotence of God. Such helplessness can be considered useful. It reminds us that we do not control history, but God, and only God. Agreeing with this, we expect God to intervene, and if this does not happen, then we do not know what to do next. That is, our logic of faith is extremely simple: we are weak, but God is omnipotent; therefore, you need to ask Him — He will help and intercede.
This time, that logic didn’t work. This time we had to believe without understanding the logic of faith, contrary to all logic. This time, we are faced with a crisis of faith, habitual, typical, comfortable faith.
Moreover, we are faced with God’s silence. We were in need and prayed like never before. But the war continued and intensified. I had to hear from others and ask myself many painful questions about the silence and absence of God, about His strange behavior and seeming helplessness, about the expediency of prayers, about the uselessness of love for obsessed enemies. In the beginning, we prayed, «Lord, stop this war.» Then we began to pray: «let us endure, increase our faith, save us from despair.»
Secondly, we learned that the most terrible weapon of mass destruction is propaganda. We had a chance to experience deep disappointment in those relatives, friends, brothers and sisters in faith, who watched what was happening quite calmly, and even justified it with references to the Russian media.
It would seem that now all adherents of the «Russian world» should see the light, protest, weep with shame and horror. It would seem that now everything should become clear to everyone — these are not «little green men» without insignia, these are one hundred thousand soldiers of the regular Russian army who crossed the border and invaded Ukraine. But persistence in lies proved unshakable. People who in 2014 shouted “They are not there” calmly answered in 2022: “It is necessary, we fully support it.” The war was no longer denied, but they called it a «special operation» — it was easier for their conscience, everything fit quite well into their picture of the world. Such is the logic of evil — first it is violently denied, and then it is calmly justified.
We are confronted with the terrifying power of lies. It struck the minds and hearts of people with unprecedented efficiency. One might think that believers should have been immune to propaganda, that they should have had special sensitivity to distinguish between good and evil, that they should have had a special moral and spiritual compass. Alas, it turned out that one can read the Bible and at the same time justify the most cruel and vile war. Why is that? Because hermeneutic lenses are not original, not biblical, but propagandistic.
Yes, propaganda changes our attitude towards war, but that’s not all. The worst thing is that propaganda changes even the way we read the Bible, our understanding of God and our expectations of the Church. The question is no longer that people who justify war don’t read the Bible or don’t read it well. The question is different: how exactly do they read, through what optics do they look, within the framework of what picture do the worlds live?
Thirdly, a new division arose among the believers, very deep, almost unscalable — into those who were there, who went through the direct experience of the war; and on those who were not there, who did not experience the war. This is a very strict and even cruel, albeit natural, criterion. If in the question «Are you for or against?» a person’s choice is assumed, then in the question “were you there or not?” most of the time there is no choice.
It is clear that people who were «there» see everything differently — both the world and the church. They read the Bible differently, pray, talk, sing, eat, dress, celebrate. They have a different list and order of priorities. I felt terrible pain from the fact that I was becoming a stranger to my brothers and sisters who remained there, on their Ukrainian Golgotha. And I know that all our efforts to be useful at a distance, do not negate this deep chasm between the ‘there’ and ‘here’, between those who endured the horrors of war and those who were able to avoid it.
Undoubtedly, the experience of war changes people very quickly and deeply. For believers, this experience can be valuable in terms of personal formation or transformation, preparation for ministry, and spiritual discipline. In this war, new images and trends, new leaders and theological ideas of Ukrainian Christianity are born. I really want us to avoid unnecessary disputes and conflicts on the issues of where someone was or was not, who did more or less, who is stronger and smarter than others, who is a hero and who does not quite measure up. It would be nice to discuss the good that someone has done or said rather than what someone has not done or said. It is not worth wasting time criticizing what has already become obsolete and does not work — it is better to rejoice at the growth of the new.
Everyone understands that although Ukraine is bearing the brunt of the war, it will not be able to win without the help of allies. The future of Christianity in Ukraine should be thought of in a similar way. It will be unique, hardened in the fire of war, but at the same time open to communication and cooperation. Let’s hope that Western Christianity will also use this chance for its renewal. Then, out of this temporal division, new forms of Christian unity and interaction will be born.
Fourthly, having met with previously unimaginable rampant evil, we did not find words to describe and explain the events, to console and encourage the victims, to denounce and convince opponents. Even in private conversations, there was a shortage of words. It was even more difficult to preach, and it was unbearably difficult to talk to apolitical or aggressive supporters of the “special operation”.
We constantly thought, worried, prayed about those who stayed there. But those who were «not there» had no right to teach or advise. I did not want to distract those who served under the bombings. And I didn’t want to say obvious, overused phrases. There were very few words. Talking — even with friends and like-minded people — became difficult. Our current reticence may testify to a spiritual search and humility before God, rejection of hasty conclusions and patient expectation of a word from God. But what if this reticence reveals our inability to speak honestly, frankly, in fact, compassionately, with love? One way or another, the war and the post-war period will require a new vocabulary, a new manner and tone, new topics and questions, new ways of communication. We will talk about something else, and we will talk differently.
Fifth, prayer has become our main mode of communication. From the first day of the war, our church began to meet in the evening to pray for Ukraine. The format of these short meetings was very simple — reading a short text from the Bible (we usually read from the Book of Psalms), prayers in different corners, and at the end «Our Father». After two weeks, we began to add short testimonies, thanksgivings and requests to the reading of Scripture and prayer.
Initially, the understanding was that this prayer is needed not only for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine, but also for ourselves, so that we can remain a church. Therefore, prayers for our church were added to the prayer for Ukraine, especially for its unity and mission.
Quite often the question arose: how should one pray? It was important to encourage sincerity, honesty, directness and simplicity so that people could express their feelings without fear or embarrassment. At the same time, it was necessary to emphasize fidelity, goodness, and the omnipotence of God.
At the beginning, we prayed for the mercy of God, which would be manifested in the end of the war and the salvation of the most vulnerable categories of the civilian population. Then we prayed for the power of God for the defenders of Ukraine — soldiers, firefighters, doctors, volunteers. President Volodymyr Zelensky was often remembered, praying for strength and wisdom for him, but also for his personal spiritual revival. We prayed for the hottest spots and the most affected cities. Such prayers had many specific names, details and requests.
We also asked for God’s intervention in the course of hostilities, so that He would «close the sky» from rockets and bombs. And every day we prayed for the ministers of the evangelical churches of Ukraine, the awakening of the people and the spirit of repentance.
It is noteworthy that every day people became bolder in their prayers, they learned to express themselves, to call everything by their proper names and not be ashamed of emotions. Daily prayer for Ukraine has become a good spiritual school and practice, it mobilized new leaders, changed the mood of people and the atmosphere in families and churches.
At six, it was found that a fairly large number of church people profess not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, but «the gospel of moderate prosperity»; not the gospel of the cross, but «the gospel without the cross», «the gospel of convenience». Verbally, Baptist churches have long distanced themselves from the «prosperity gospel» in its extreme forms, but this does not mean that its very idea was understood and condemned. There was a lot of noise about this, but little theological reflection. As a result, we have become victims of new variants of the same virus. Thus the «temperate prosperity gospel» has become the most enduring and spreading heresy of our time.
The gospel of immoderate prosperity hit the overly greedy, the ambitious, the indefatigable. It seduces those who are content with what they have; those who do not seek to have more at any cost, but at the same time do not want to lose what they already have and are ready to defend it at any cost. The first wanted to have more. The second did not want to have less. All these are different forms of the same heresy.
There is one more feature. The «gospel of immoderate prosperity» emphasized material needs. The “temperate prosperity gospel” parasitizes everything, including the highest values and good intentions. Lovers of such a “gospel” are sure that they are doing a good deed, protecting their souls, nerves, families, churches from the challenges of war: “There is no need to talk about terrible things! The gospel should comfort! Talk about heaven and about eternity. Why should we be upset? Why do we need these terrible photos? How much can you talk about Ukraine?
This request for a convenient gospel presents the pastor of a church with a difficult choice: speak the truth or entertain, nurse, lull people; proclaim the gospel or please your audience, be faithful to God or follow the lead of the audience?
When we hear the words ‘Enough about the war, do not interfere with our lives, let’s continue as before, this is a wake-up call. It is a sad sign that the «moderate prosperity gospel» has become too comfortable and familiar for most parishioners to seek to rule the pulpit. That is why ‘martial law’ is a chance for church renewal, a chance to return to seriousness and depth, uncompromising faith and honest self-esteem.
Seventh, relationships between Russians and Ukrainians have escalated to the limit with deep divisions within communities from indifference to solidarity. Russian people are divided into those who are ashamed of this war and declare solidarity with the victim, and those who justify it and thereby support the aggressor. As it turned out, there were far more silent supporters of the war than aggressive ones. They were betrayed by demonstrative detachment, unwillingness to pray for Ukraine, irritation at the mention of the war.
All that “normal” Ukrainians wanted from “normal” Russians was to hear words of condemnation of the war and sympathy for the victims. But even this minimum of truth turned out to be an unbearable burden for many Russian people and too great an inconvenience. And those who dared to declare solidarity with Ukraine became outcasts and traitors to their own people.
Surprisingly, the terrible plans of the Russian president to «denazify» Ukraine found a response in the hearts of many Slavs. As one Moscovite told me, “You said in a sermon that during this war, all of us, no matter where we come from, should feel like Ukrainians. But this is wrong. We are believers, which means we are citizens of heaven. There are no Ukrainians among us.”
In fact, the difference between Ukrainians and their northern neighbors has never been so profound. As much as Ukrainians united as a people in defending their country and caring for each other, Russians united in attacking or justifying an attack on a neighboring fraternal people. It is sad, but these signs of such a demarcation are also manifested in the church environment.
Here we are dealing with a real spiritual crime: the justification of Russia’s criminal plans in relation to Ukraine and the false biblical justification for genocide. Those Slavs who, watching the war, keep and justify their silence, or else argue in the spirit of “it means there was a reason,” are complicit in the crime. Silence is a form of passive complicity. And shifting responsibility for the war to Ukrainians or angry denunciation of far-fetched sins is an active form of complicity, it is a spiritual attack on one’s neighbor.
The pain of suffering Ukrainians should echo in the heart of every Russian with burning shame. For those Russian people who want to be in the same church with the Ukrainians, there is only one way left — a decisive and desirable public renunciation of the atrocities of their people.
We had to re-evaluate the fragile unity of our church. Keeping the church united during the war is a difficult task. Not only because there are people of different views, nations, languages, cultures in the church, but also because the very basis of unity is understood differently or not understood at all. The easiest way is superficial unity, which is achieved by silence on difficult topics.
Unity that is placed above the truth, ignoring the pain of others, forbidding difficult questions, smells of indifference and breathes cold, killing the church. This is the unity of spiritually dead people.
It is worth asking yourself these questions: around what and on what basis do we want to be united? What are we willing to sacrifice for the sake of unity? What kind of compromises are we ready for and what will the path of such compromises lead to?
If we are united in Christ and around Christ, the violator of unity will not be the one who raises the difficult question of the reaction of the church to the challenge of war, but the one who, with his indifference, turns his back on his suffering neighbor, and therefore on the whole Body of Christ, and therefore on Christ himself.
Eighth, we had to relive the value and at the same time the fragility of our church unity. Keeping the church united during the war is a difficult task. Not only because there are people of different views, peoples, languages, cultures in the church. But also because the very basis of unity is understood differently or not understood at all. The easiest way is visible unity, which is achieved by silence on difficult topics.
Unity that is placed above the truth, that ignores the pain of others, that forbids difficult questions, that smells of indifference and breathes cold, kills the church. This is the unity of spiritually dead people.
It is worth asking yourself questions: around what and on what basis do we want to be united? What are we willing to sacrifice for the sake of unity? What kind of compromises are we ready for and what will the path of such compromises lead to?
If we are united in Christ and around Christ, then the violator of unity will not be the one who raises the difficult question of the reaction of the church to the challenge of war, but the one who, with his indifference, turns his back on his suffering neighbor, and therefore on the whole Body of Christ, and therefore on to Christ himself.
Ninth, with the outbreak of the war, we began to think more about the church, that is, about what it means to be a church and how to remain a church. What can and should we do as a church under these circumstances? How often are you ready to pray? What are you willing to share? How to conduct services during the war? What to sing and preach about? What and how to celebrate? What should our church be like after all this?
These questions are related to a more fundamental one: should the church be guided by the needs of the people or, first of all, by its mission entrusted to it by God? This question in itself can take away our sense of «stability», confidence and comfort. We are accustomed to think of the church as «our» church. Therefore, the natural reaction of people is the desire to leave everything as it is, that is, to leave it adapted to their needs, habits, expectations. But in a war this is no longer possible.
We begin to understand that the church is an endless crisis, that we were not a church at all, that we must learn to be a church by going through an endless series of crises and renewals.
I am more and more convinced that in every church there is a faithful remnant, a church within a church. This church within the church is the foundation of everything. Unfortunately, there are also consumers who come, demand, compare, leave, and move on, but they do not have the right to dictate their expectations and try to restructure church life to suit themselves.
In the past, when I was asked how many members we had, I answered without thinking, according to the statistics. Now I’m not so sure. How many members do we have? I know the numbers. And how many of them come to daily prayer meetings? How many of them can say that since the beginning of the war their lives have changed, that they live every day like in a war, praying, working, fighting together with the Ukrainians? How many will there be? And where are the rest, what’s going on with them?
The war raises the question that the church must rethink itself and its mission as the Church of Christ, as the suffering and compassionate Body of Christ.
Tenth, we have seen the unfortunate consequences of naive interpretations of Scripture regarding war and peace, politics and power. When the authorities answer any question about evil and lies, injustice and crimes, with “all authority is from God” (a very free paraphrase and even more free interpretation of the words from Romans 13: 1-7), elementary illiteracy reigns in relation to Bible, along with a culture of opportunism and people-pleasing, slavery and fear. It is worth remembering that “all power” belongs only to Jesus Christ (Matt. 28:18), these are His words about Himself, and about no one else.
Where the answer to any question about war is that «the church is out of politics,» there is a complete misunderstanding of the power of Christ over the world, along with indifference towards the injured neighbor. If the answer to a request for help is that “we do not know what is happening there, but we will pray for the parties of the conflict and the coming of peace”, there is complete chaos in theological and ethical issues (the words “we do not know” should be understood as an admission: “we don’t know how to understand and apply the Gospel in this situation”) and a demonstrative unwillingness to figure out who is the perpetrator and who is the victim (it is worth noting that with such promiscuity, the victim is left without help, and the perpetrator continues his dirty work without denunciation and punishment).
As a rule, a «church outside of politics» is blind and helpless when it comes to external influences; without critical thinking, accepts everything the authorities dictate to it (more precisely, anyone who is able to seize power); becomes a convenient object for manipulation. Therefore, the churches, which preferred to keep silent about the war or pray “for peace in Ukraine”, actually found themselves in captivity of Soviet/Russian propaganda.
Unfortunately, the position of our evangelical churches regarding the war is based not so much on Scripture and a healthy theological tradition, but on the stereotypes of the Soviet era. This can be seen even in official statements, we see in them the ideological clichés of the past, but also the first attempts to get rid of them and call things out in their own words.
In the «Appeal of the Committee of the North-West of the US ECB Association» (see Appendix 1) we find words about «indifference», «sorrow», «test of faith» in connection with the war, but not a word about who attacked whom. Moreover, by calling to prayer, the leaders of the association do not express any position and exhort others to refrain even from news and talk about a possible church position. This exhortation is the main and most powerful point in the address: “Along with this, let us guard ourselves and refrain from participating in disputes about politics; we will not enter into polemics and leave comments on social media networks and on any other Internet platforms on ongoing events; we will not judge each other on a national basis, remembering that we are brothers and sisters in the Lord; we minimize the time we spend watching the news, remembering that it does not benefit us.”
The “Open Appeal of US Baptist Associations and Unions” (see Appendix 2) has a different goal – not to calm the unrest and stop the discussions, but to point them in the right direction: “It is our duty to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, to intercede for peace, condemnation of sin and to counter evil. We, as Christians, on the basis of the teachings of the Bible, must openly express our assessment of events and actions.
Based on this goal, the leaders of church associations give their moral and spiritual assessment of the events: “We condemn the open aggression of Russia against Ukraine… This is condemned by the Word of God as a sin and qualifies as a crime against humanity.”
There is also a frankly political point in this statement: “We urge you to show your civic position and turn to the US authorities with a request to assist Ukraine in resisting aggression.”
The appeal ends with a call to avoid «disputes and conflicts» and to unite in «compassion and help for the victims.»
These two documents show the difference between the one-sided Soviet and more balanced modern (and at the same time more biblical) approaches to the topic of politics, power and war. It is obvious that attempts to avoid the topic of war in order to save brotherly relations between Russians and Ukrainians in the Slavic churches will not yield the desired result. Relationships can be saved or corrected only on the basis of honesty, openness, truthfulness, and finally, the usual courage to speak, and speak with true, understandable, not empty words, talk about everything that hurts, including “politics”.
So, if we understand the church in a missionary way, then it should be where it is needed — obedient to Christ, faithful to its calling, the church should find itself in commissioning, on the move, and in service. Today the Ukrainian church finds itself in a war. And all the other local or national churches that are willing to suffer with the Body and serve with Christ also find themselves together with it in the war. This also applies to the churches of the Diaspora.
What does this mean in practice? It means to go through what they (we) have to go through: at least ten feelings of wartime: confusion and helplessness in front of an unprecedented scale of evil; the destructive and divisive influence of propaganda; division between those who are «here» and «there»; acute shortage of words; prayer crisis; the heresy of the «temperate prosperity gospel»; catastrophe in relations between neighbors; false forms of church unity; a misunderstanding of what it means to be the church of Christ; naive interpretations of the Bible in relation to «politics». These experiences deprive us of peace, but at the same time remind us of the essence and mission of the church. Avoiding these challenges, ignoring the call of Ukrainian brothers and sisters for help, we cease to be a church. Going through difficulties with them, we learn to be a church — truly united, suffering and compassionate. To be a church today means to be a church at war.
Attachment 1. Appeal of the North-West Association of Slavic Baptist Churches to all its churches https://nwasbc.today
‘None of us is left indifferent by what is happening in Ukraine. It is with great sorrow that we are watching how brother rebelled against brother and the blood of our loved ones is being shed. We find the following words in Scripture: “When you hear about wars and rumors of war, do not be horrified: for this must be, but this is not the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be earthquakes in places, and there will be famines and turmoil. This is the beginning of sickness. But you watch yourselves…» Mark 13:7-9
The Lord has warned us that wars are one of the main signs that the Day of His Second Coming is drawing near. It may have been much easier for us if some other nations fought, but this terrible grief befell us — the Slavs, those who are connected not only by centuries of common history, but also by blood ties. These events were a test of our faith. Knowing that all this would happen, Christ warned us in advance: «But you look after yourself…».
Under the circumstances, it is very easy to succumb to thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that do not bring glory to God. Therefore, we urge you to keeping hope in the Lord, cry out to Him in prayers knowing that «…the hand of the Lord is not shortened to save, and His ear is not heavy to hear» Isaiah 59:1.
We will ask:
— to end the war as soon as possible;
— for the Lord to support and give repentance to all who are in fear and do not have a living faith in God;
— about the healing of the wounded;
— about the consolation of those who have lost their relatives and friends;
— on special protection for local churches and families of Christians.
If you have not yet made a day of fasting and prayer in your local churches, be sure to designate such a day and hold a church-wide prayer. Along with this, let us guard ourselves and refrain from participating in political disputes; we will not enter into polemics and leave comments on social networks and on any other Internet platforms on ongoing events; we will not judge each other on a national basis, remembering that we are brothers and sisters in the Lord; we minimize the time of watching the news, remembering that it does not benefit us.
Summing up all of the above, we implore you with the words of the Apostle Peter:
«Therefore, brethren, strive more and more to make sure your calling and election; in doing so, you will never stumble, for thus will a free entrance be opened to you into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.» 2 Peter 1:10,11
With brotherly love: A. P. Chumakin, K. L. Likhovodov, V. S. Boyko, I. V. Trebushnoy, V. A. Getman, E. V. Korchagin, S. V. Nikishin, V. P. Kostyukevich
Attachment 2 https://www.pcsba.org/index.php/ru/news-ru/current-news-ru/1989-open-appeal-of-baptist-associations-and-unions-ru.html
Since February 24, 2022, events in Ukraine have been an indication of the imminent coming of Jesus Christ, confirming the words of the Holy Bible: “You will hear about wars, and about rumors of wars, look, do not be afraid, because this should happen. But it’s not over yet.» (Matt. 24:6)
Both in times of peace and in times of war, it is our duty to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, to intercede for peace, condemnation of sin and opposition to evil. We, as Christians, on the basis of the teachings of the Bible, must openly express our assessment of events and actions. Given the current situation, we condemn the open aggression of Russia against Ukraine, the shelling of Ukrainian cities by the Russian armed forces, the killing by the Russian military of civilians in Ukraine: children, women and the elderly. Now there are enough freely available visions of shelling of residential areas. This is condemned by the Word of God as a sin and qualified as a crime against humanity.
We condemn the war in which thousands of Russian soldiers have already died, Ukrainian soldiers, civilians, and especially children, are dying, Kyiv, Kharkov, Mariupol and other cities and villages of Ukraine are being bombed, people are sitting in bomb shelters, hospitals and schools are being destroyed.
First of all, we call on the churches of our Associations and Unions, as well as all fellow Christians, to pray to the Lord for an end to aggression and the establishment of peace in Ukraine. We urge you to show your civic position and turn to the US authorities with a request to provide assistance to Ukraine in resisting aggression, as well as to increase pressure on the Russian government to cease hostilities and withdraw troops from Ukraine.
We call on Christians to show compassion and provide help to the victims in Ukraine. Also, we, as Christians, must keep the peace in our families and churches, avoiding disputes and conflicts based on positions towards war.
We call on you to raise your voice in prayer for the protection of Ukraine, preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ without fear, show compassion, forgiveness, kindness, love for each other and maintain unity in the body of Christ, the Church!
Yours in Christ
Roman Kapran, Association of Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Churches in the USA
Pavlo Demyanik, Western Association of Ukrainian Baptist Churches in the USA
Ivan Mileyev, Pacific Association of Baptist Churches ECB
Georgy Kharlov, Russian-Ukrainian Union of ECB in the USA