Georgi Vins

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by mark, Jan 4, 2002.

  1. mark

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    "Baptists are particularly dangerous," noted a Russian newspaper in 1972. "Every Russian Baptist tries to win adherents to his faith." Indeed there was some truth to this, for Johann Gerhardt Oncken, one of the first German Baptists, taught that "every Baptist is a missionary" and it was through the testimony of German artisans sent by Oncken to Russia that the Baptist faith took hold in that nation. However, the real growth of Baptists in Russia came after World War I. Russian prisoners were taught by German missionaries and returned home to convert others. By 1950 there were an estimated 2,000,000 Russian Baptists. The largest proportion were in the Ukraine. The communists forced all evangelicals into a single union, the AUCECB.
    Under Kruschev a major crackdown, accompanied by heavy propaganda, was launched against all churches, especially the Baptists. This lasted from 1959-1964. The Communists urged that baptisms be discouraged, young people no longer be taught religion, and that ministers no longer try to win new converts but merely maintain the congregations they already had. When Metropolitan Nikolai of the Orthodox Church died, the leadership of the Evangelical-Baptist union knuckled under. Nikolai had resisted Soviet demands and his death looked like murder.
    Many Baptists were unwilling to capitulate. The held to their conviction that faith cannot be compromised and the gospel must be preached to others. In 1961 Baptists leaders formed a committee which challenged the union leadership. They called for sanctification of the church and urged local churches to discipline leaders who cooperated with the state. These Reform Baptists were largely descendants of the original Oncken Baptists. Their brave leader, A. F. Prokofiev, soon found himself in prison with 100 other evangelical leaders. Georgi Vins, who had worked beside him, stepped into the breach. A number of women formed a Council of Prisoner's Relatives to make the world aware of the plight of their godly men.
    On this date, September 18, 1965, the Baptists broke from their forced union with other evangelicals, forming their own organization, the CCECB--the Council of Churches of Evangelical Believers, Baptists. Georgi Vins was secretary.
    Vins had no illusions about what it would cost him to take this stand. His father had been imprisoned and beaten before him. Vins was forced underground in 1970. Captured in 1974, he faced the same treatment as his father. Eventually a letter campaign won his release to the United States.
    By their tough stand, Baptists forced concessions from the Soviet government. Much of the Kruschev legislation was rescinded. Restrictions were lifted from the AUCECB but left on the CCECB as the government tried to force the Baptist churches back into the all-faiths union.

    Georgi Vins died January 11, 1998 of a brain tumor, he was 69.
     
  2. Squire Robertsson

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    CCECB--the Council of Churches of Evangelical Believers, Baptists is currently called the Council of Evangelical Christian-Baptist Churches. The chairman is G.K. Kryuchkov. To call this group "Reform" is a misnomer. Theologically, they are a fair distence from what we in the US of A would call "Reform". The proper term is initsevniki, (the ones taking the) initiative. I trust our Russian speaking readers will correct my transliteration if I am incorrect.

    Hoping to shed more light than heat,
    Robertsson
     
  3. rsr

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    Thanks for the information; I've often wondered about the Baptists in the Soviet Union. My interest was piqued many years ago when reading Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's "The First Circle" in which a Latvian Baptist was imprisoned for his faith. Until then I'd not even considered the presence of Baptists in Russia or the Soviet Union.
    BTW, our minister of music a few years ago went on a mission trip to Russia and visited Baptist churches. He was truly moved by their services.
     
  4. Squire Robertsson

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    I commend to you the "Mini-History...."; I just bumped it forward from the second page of this forum.
     
  5. Dr. Bob

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    When taking Bibles into the Soviet Union in 1976 I was in contact with Vins. He eschewed the First Baptist Church in Moscow as a puppet ministry; I worked with both that group through Underground Evangelism and with the unregistered believers through Baptist Couriers for Christ.

    I have great admiration to a true hero of the faith, Georgi Vins.
     
  6. Squire Robertsson

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    When the staff of Central Baptist Church (AUCEB) of Moscow is mentioned, the word that comes to my mind is "snitch".

    [ February 20, 2002: Message edited by: The Squire ]
     
  7. Squire Robertsson

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  8. Circuitrider

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    Though I never had the privilege of meeting Georgi Vins, I was able to spend three weeks in Moscow in 1997. Twenty men from all over western Russia and the Ukraine attended the school and we had the opportunity of teaching them bible doctrine and gaving them bibles and other Christian literature. I met Vladimir Zinchenko, who at that time was the pastor of the unregistered Baptist church in Moscow (he since has come to the US). We saw the building where 400-600 believers met in the country in secret and sat on 2x6 benches for 2-3 hour services during the time of persecution.

    What a privilege to meet the fruit of Georgi Vins ministry who were still standing for the truth.

    Russian Baptists have some doctrinal problems due to ingrowth and lack of access to biblical materials, books and theological training, but they were dear believers in Christ.

    We gave out nice leather bibles on the last day of our school. It was like seeing my children at Christmas as they admired the beautiful bibles we had given. One said, "With this bible I can be a great preacher." There were tears in our eyes as we saw their love for Christ and the Word of God.

    Three men from the city of Tula, about one hour south of Moscow said they have four churches in the Tula and no pastors. Deacons are preaching and leading the churches.

    We heard the testimony of the song leader in the unregistered Baptist church who had his hearing destroyed as a child by the KGB because his parents would not renounce their faith.

    I think of these brethren often and pray regularly for them. I have had mail and e-mail communication with one of them several times since 1997.

    "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
     
  9. Squire Robertsson

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  10. Baptistas

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    About G. Vins here was written very correctly. He was present christian. Unfortunately, Kryuchkov's the church has discharged him of service and He has created other church ECB.
    Excuse, and you have still something from written Vins on Š•nglish?
     
  11. Baptistas

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    The son of an American missionary executed by the Soviet authorities in 1937, Georgi Vins accepted Christ as Savior while a teenager and began preaching the Bible. Soviet law required him to hold a secular job, so he earned a degree in electrical engineering, but in 1962 he was ordained as an evangelist.

    In the early 1960's many members of "registered" Baptist churches (churches which the Soviet authorities allowed to function legally, but only under supervision and within harsh guidelines that contradicted Scripture) determined to worship freely without the yoke of government interference in the life of the church. They began meeting independently in private. Georgi Vins became one of the leaders of this movement, making him a special object of concern for the KGB. In 1966 he was arrested in Moscow and sentenced to three years' imprisonment. He spent his term performing hard labor in prison camps in the Ural Mountains.

    After his release in 1969, Brother Vins resumed his ministry. However, when he learned that the authorities were preparing a new case against him, he went underground, living clandestinely while traveling and ministering. In 1974 he was arrested again, and this time sentenced to ten years. Unexpectedly, halfway through that term, on April 27, 1979, he was stripped of Soviet citizenship and exiled to the U.S., along with four other prisoners. The Carter administration had negotiated to exchange two captured Soviet spies for these prisoners of conscience. Later, Georgi's family was allowed to join him in the United States.

    In the West, Georgi began sharing what he knew about the persecution of Christians in the USSR. He founded International Representation to represent, defend, and aid the persecuted church in the Soviet Union. To this end he spoke and preached across North America, South America, Europe, and Australia. When the last Baptist prisoner was released in 1988, the mission was renamed Russian Gospel Ministries (RGM) and began printing and delivering Scriptures, translating commentaries and other edifying books, collecting funds for church building projects, financially supporting pastors, contributing toward Christian children's camps, and coordinating seminars for pastors.

    In 1990, Mikhail Gorbachev retracted the decree exiling Georgi Vins from Russia. Thus, the final seven years of his life included numerous trips to his homeland, where he preached at churches, schools, colleges, prisons, and open-air street meetings. Even after being diagnosed with a brain tumor, Georgi Vins worked from his deathbed, writing a final book. He died on January 11, 1998.

    As he foresaw the time of his death approaching, his final days were filled with plans for the future of Russian Gospel Ministries and many prayers for God's continued blessing on it.

    Look - http://www.russiangospel.org/index.html
     

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