We appeal to evangelical churches in Ukraine and the international community for active help and spiritual solidarity, unceasing prayers for peace, and the protection of Ukraine from Russian aggression, for solidarity of Ukrainian churches and for the understanding of our Russian brothers.
It seems like only yesterday that Ukraine was a center of Christian influence, a donor country for churches and missions in Eurasia. Today it has become a victim of armed aggression. Only recently hundreds of Ukrainian missionaries carried the light of the Gospel to remote regions of Russia and Central Asia. Today the Ukrainian Church must minister to its own people, to its bleeding country.
War tests the theology, position and mission of evangelical churches, it forces repentance and reevaluation. Until recently, local Protestants exceled in pacifism and in remaining politically neutral. In fact, under the Soviet Union, an atheist state, non-participation in «politics» was a passive form of protest. Since then little has changed. During the twenty-three years of Ukrainian independence, this topic was not discussed even once, which is why the events of Maidan, and the subsequent annexation of Crimea and the war in Donbass became an unprecedented challenge for the Church and its social position. References to the past are outdated and the «wisdom» of silence do not help. For the Church, it is time to reformulate its attitude to war and peace, state, society and civil liability.
We gratefully acknowledge that many communities are actively helping the affected civilian population and the Ukrainian army, that the Church could mobilize thousands of volunteers and dozens of chaplains. While supporting their active ministry and encouraging others to support it, we consider it important to declare three key theses of Christian attitude to the current situation.
First, evangelical theology does not justify a detached attitude to war, the greatest tragedy of people. We cannot oppose a spiritual calling to the civil liability of Christians. On the contrary, Christian calling is embodied in the forms of civil participation. The opposition of Church to society, religion and politics has no biblical foundation. Anyone who professes lordship of Jesus Christ cannot today say: «It is not our concern.» In these difficult times, it is important to remember words of the Scripture: «… For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together…»(Colossians 1: 16-17).
Second, in terms of military mobilization, the position of the Church is to be compassionate and active. The Church cannot remain a passive observer or merely «express concerns» and wishes of «peace.» Church leaders should be wherever people are suffering and dying, including on the front. We cannot condemn those Christians who defend our homeland with weapons in their hands, on the contrary we find this position quite reasonable in Scripture: «…who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice… who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies» (Hebrews 11: 33-34). If any Christian has a calling to protect the earth motherland with a weapon in his hands, he must follow it.
Third, the field of war must become a mission field of reconciliation, reconstruction and forgiveness. Against a background of false propaganda, the Church must speak the truth. Against a background of bitterness, it must remind all of mercy and forgiveness. Against a background of betrayal and despair, it must call for loyalty and hope. Against a background of comfortable indifference, it must show sympathy and genuine compassion.
We believe thus: our time of need, pain, and helplessness should be a time of repentance and spiritual renewal. At such a critical time in Ukrainian history the Church must be ever closer to the people, to serve them, and to serve our country together with them.