These actions are starting to garner attention from Evangelical leaders and ministries. Of course this also dovetails nicely with the US Establishment's propaganda campaign directed at Moscow and the march to war.
Why are US Evangelicals surprised? Why do they act offended that the Russian state works in concert with the Russian Orthodox hierarchy and is resistant to Evangelical growth within Russia?
The Russians are merely promoting the same kind of nationalist Sacralism promoted and championed by Western Evangelicals. If Evangelicals were suddenly granted the political power they aspired to, do you think it would be any different? Before the modern Ecumenical framework built on mutual commitments to Dominion Theology and Culture War did Evangelicals and Catholics get along?
Going back to an earlier chapter in the 20th century how did Protestants behave toward Catholics? Everyone has forgotten this chapter. They've forgotten the hostility toward parochial schools and the revival of the KKK in the 1920s. There was suspicion about outside money, political loyalty and the ability to socially integrate. While the 1920's KKK was certainly anti-black, in the north it was dominated by anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic sentiment.
In our own time what could we say about how Evangelicals have responded to the Muslim community, their money, the building of mosques etc.?
Well, that's different many would say. And they are proven enemies of the state, right?
Are these same people aware of how often Evangelicals have worked in concert with the US state? Are they aware of how many Evangelical leaders have worked in Central America and Africa to cultivate relationships with political dissidents and paramilitary groups... and how many times they have helped to channel funds to them?
Russia knows the United States has marked them for dissolution and destruction. On a worldly level can you blame them for taking precautions?
This of course doesn't excuse their actions. Moscow's actions are wicked and should be condemned. They have no Divine sanction for the torment of Christ's people and they will be held to account. Any state that would war against the Church has embraced madness, is on a path of darkness and will find it ends with its own destruction.
That said, it is American Evangelicals of all people that are morally and even theologically bankrupt in this regard. Their own redefinition of Christianity is social, cultural and apparently arbitrary. They sing the praises of Roman Catholics when it suits them... but the Orthodox don't seem to be regarded in the same light... unless maybe in Ukraine.
Perhaps if the Orthodox held to a different politic? Is that the Evangelical method for determining orthodoxy? I think a strong case could be made that politics more than doctrine determines one's orthodoxy in the Evangelical world.
The shame here is that American Christians have wed themselves to the US state, its agenda and all too often the Evangelical Churches in places like Russia are dependent on and in many ways intimately tied to US-based denominations and para-church organisations. The Christians in Russia are necessarily (if lamentably) politicised.
It leaves them in an unfortunate position. They shouldn't bow to the state's demands but at the same time they would be wise to cut formal ties with Western money.
The following provides a reasonable and sober assessment. This can be contrasted with some of the reports flowing out of mainstream Evangelical ministry and lobby groups:
The Christians in Russia also need to tell the truth. Putin is a gangster and a thug but more than that he's a strongman and more or less fits the Russian equation and its expectations. Western designs regarding democracy in Russia were little more than dreams and fantasies. It's not going to happen. You can't erase their history or context. While it baffles the West that Putin remains popular, if you look at Russian history it's not surprising at all.
Biblical Christianity puts little stock in man-made and thus flawed constructs like democracy. In fact if that's what you think we have in the West then I'm afraid you too are living in a dream world.
Christians in Russia need to tell the truth about Putin but they also need to be honest with Western Christians about the West and what it has done to Russia. It isn't too difficult to guess what the ultimate plans are.
Russia is a clearly a US target. The end of the Cold War and the talk of peaceful reconciliation and even partnership were all lies. The US never intended to forge a partnership or a peaceful relationship with Russia. The nation has the second biggest nuclear stockpile in the world and sits atop some of the world's prime geopolitical real estate. Its resource base is enormous though difficult to exploit because of geography.
Read Mein Kampf. Hitler understood this all too well. Russia was his ultimate goal and his lust for it became the foundation of his defeat.
But looking beyond Hitler, Russia is the gateway to Central Asia and the prize... mastery of Eurasia, global hegemony and domination.
The US worked to effectively loot Russia during the 1990s. They infiltrated the country on many levels, gained knowledge of its entire structure and quite literally stole billions of dollars out of their banking system.
Many of the Russian oligarchs were connected to the West and in some cases there are indications they coordinated with Western power-centres and financial interests. It's no accident many have ended up operating out of London.
In the 1990s Russia was in the process of being marginalised, and would ultimately be dismantled, or at least that was the plan. The US was actively working the perimeter when Putin came to power. EU and NATO expansion was on the verge of capturing the Caucasus and the US had penetrated Central Asia. By 1998 Russia was on its knees. Yeltsin, a failed leader and obviously corrupt sent a parting shot in 1999 by handpicking Vladimir Putin as his successor, itself an interesting story.
Putin worked to get the domestic situation under control and has actively tried to check the US advance. His success has been limited but represents a break with Yeltsin's capitulation.
Another group flooded Russia in the 1990s... American Evangelicals. The whole episode is vaguely reminiscent of what happened in China during the 19th century which culminated in the Boxer Rebellion. Christians were brutalised but at the same time they were perceived (and with some reason) as agents of Western Imperialism.
And there are more recent precedents of church groups and missionaries subverting societies through money and culture. Like it or not Western Christianity is equated with Western culture. While this is upheld as the ideal by Right-wing Sacralists, the effects are disastrous to the testimony of the Christian Church.
While American Evangelicals will decry Lady Gaga, secularism, atheism and sodomy as cultural deviations, they are nevertheless the fruits of the consumerism and materialism that result from the policies and ideas Evangelicals do indeed support. The fact that American Evangelicals are unable to make the ideological connections does not mean that others cannot.
Both Russia and China fear these cultural influences and they fear outside money which can fund movements, everything from religious groups to political activists crowing about everything from free speech to identity politics. They fear the money funding violence and terror. The US continues to fund these evils but it's not always clear how the funds move.
Is the US working through church groups?
At this point we have to admit that we don't know for sure but recently some disturbing signals are being sent. One in particular that caught my eye was with regard to a denomination that I used to be part of.
While it may seem innocuous to some, for me it was a thunderclap. I was surprised to see the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) inviting a figure from the Heritage Foundation to participate in a conference on Marriage and Sexuality. This took place in conjunction with their annual General Assembly which for Presbyterians is their annual 'big event' and the venue for their various committees which wield influence and power over the denomination, and of course control the money.
The OPC is a very small denomination, a conservative and confessional remnant of the apostate Northern Presbyterian Church (PCUSA). They broke off in the 1930s and though small and somewhat exclusive they have what could be described as an outsized influence within the larger Reformed world.
Why would the OPC invite a 'Christian' feminist from the Heritage Foundation to their General Assembly? Why would they want this woman (who patently rejects Biblical womanhood) who represents sectors of the US political and economic establishment to contribute to the venue that leads the denomination? It struck me as quite a move indeed.
Regardless of the OPC's motive, I have no doubts about the motivations undergirding Heritage and how it will be perceived by those outside. And rightly so.
While it may seem harmless enough to invite someone to discuss social and family issues, it most certainly is not. Heritage is tied to the Deep State, funded by Establishment money in order to promote the American Empire and the economic, political and geopolitical policies of imperialism and militarism. If you don't think marriage and sexuality haven't been politicised then you need look no further than Latin America and Africa.
Apparently it's not the first time this Christian feminist and Right-wing shill has been employed by the OPC. She's making the rounds.
Heritage and other groups affiliated with it have a long track record of funding political subversion and paramilitary groups. This is in addition to their financial backing of figures like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. It is an organisation with a great deal of blood on its hands and a bastion of lies and deception. They manipulate their donors and their audience. I say this without flinching, without a modicum of hesitation. Ostensibly a think-tank it is in reality a political propaganda mill funded by what Jane Mayer rightly calls Dark Money.
The OPC invite is doctrinally and ethically revolting and a signal to the wider world about the OPC, American Evangelicalism, and the goals and aspirations of the Heritage Foundation.
This is but the next chapter in a story that began in the 1970s and 80s and reached a really troubling stage when Evangelical leaders including those within the Reformed and Calvinistic community began to show up on FOX 'news' and programmes like Glenn Beck.
These actions invite persecution, mark out believers in US enemy lands as potential fifth columns and vehicles for money and influence to enter their country. What a message to send!
I realise the next time an OPC pastor visits Russia he's probably there to push Reformed theology and education and channel funds for orphanages and pastor salaries. Nevertheless his affiliations will call into question not only him, but the money he brings and the agenda of the local people and congregations he supports.
Once again, the machinations of the American Harlot Church lead to the suffering of brethren abroad. For the American Harlot Church these fellow believers are expendable tools that it is happy to utilise and sacrifice.
This chapter isn't finished. There's still more to tell about what has happened in Ukraine but it's too early. The information is still coming together. And sadly before that chapter can be written the next will have already begun.
I pray that American Christians will not utilise the US state to fight the wars of the Church, that they won't push the State Department to put pressure on Russia or any other nation for the plight of Christians. It only destroys the testimony of the gospel and confuses the status of Christians in the world.
I pray for the Christians in Russia that they will be granted wisdom and perseverance and that they will see the prudence in severing formal ties with Western denominations and para-church organisations... particularly those wed to the American Right.
I also pray for Christians in Pakistan, India and in other nations where the US has turned a blind eye to their suffering because strategic needs and interests always trump other concerns. And yet it is US policy that has either destabilised the society (like in Pakistan) or has effectively empowered nationalist and thus anti-Christian sentiment as is the case in Narendra Modi's India.