Mark Elliott is the founder and editor of the East-West Church and Ministry Report. He is a retired professor of European history with a focus on Soviet and post-Soviet politics and church history. Elliott served for 13 years as director of the Institute for East-West Christian Studies, and served for six years as director of the Global Center at Beeson Divinity School at Samford University. He earned a B.A. cum laude from Asbury University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in modern European and Russian history from the University of Kentucky.
Nearly every news outlet is covering the geopolitical and humanitarian impact in Ukraine. As winter approaches, Ukrainians are scrambling to repair infrastructure while restoring power to stable places of refuge. Our hearts are rent by the devastation. As we respond to the needs for support, we also wonder about the impact on religion from the Russian invasion.
NAE President Walter Kim sits down with Mark Elliott, founder of the East-West Church and Ministry Report, for Today’s Conversation to discuss what is happening with churches and ministries in the region. You’ll learn about:
- The current landscape for evangelicals in Ukraine and Russia;
- How religion played a role in the 2022 invasion of Ukraine;
- What the biggest needs are for churches in Ukraine; and
- How churches in Poland and other neighboring countries are responding.
Read a Portion of the Transcript
Walter: What is your hope prayer and prayer, not only the Ukrainians, but for Russian believers in this next decade?
Mark: My hope and prayer for Russian believers is that they will speak out against this Russian invasion. I know that’s easier for somebody in the comfort of America to say because speaking out can be dangerous in Russia. That’s a need. Now there have been some evangelicals and some Orthodox that have spoken out against the war, but they are in a decided minority. And shamefully some evangelical leaders in Russia have even publicly defended the war, which is I think tragic. So my hope and prayer is that Russians who are believers — well, for the whole country for that matter — will rethink what they’re doing and believing in Russian propaganda.
For Ukrainians, my hope for these believers is that they won’t lose heart. That they will continue to feel the presence of the Lord. That he will continue to be their strength and shield. Because again, it’s easy for us to pontificate in this way from the comfort of the West, but my prayer is that they will have courage far beyond their human capacity and that they will feel the comfort of the Lord. I’m reminded of one of my favorite verses, 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and of love and of sound mind.”
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*Editorial Correction: The Ecumenical Patriarch recognizing the Ukrainian Orthodox separate from the Russian Moscow Patriarchate was in 2019, not 2021.