I find myself in an odd position. I am in the reformational tradition (though I am not a 5 Point Calvinist) yet in the internet world I am known as a Russian supporter. So what do I make of Russia’s new law to forbid evangelizing outside of church? Sounds Draconian, right? Here are my thoughts:
- I don’t think it was entirely necessary. Russian Orthodox have little to fear from low-church evangelicals. Historically, Russia has been ham-handed and incompetent in its dealings with counter-religious movements.
- Something like this law has been on the books for years.
- Scientology is a big-time CIA front, and this law is primarily designed at shutting down Scientology (which is illegal in Germany, btw).
- No country, even in our enlightened West, grants full religious liberty to its people. In America a church has two options: register with the IRS and get tax exempt status, or pay taxes. If you choose the latter, you have a degree of freedom. You can criticize politicians during election season and you won’t have to marry gays in 2018 (yeah, it’s coming but keep attacking Russia for taking away freedom). If you choose the former you are tax exempt but fundamentally neutered on politics.