ADVERTISING
 
Wednesday, March 27   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 

POLL
Bible literacy
How often do you read the Bible?







SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Persecution
 

The secret church in Central Asia

In the region, almost 40% of the Protestant churches have become secret churches. “We do not want to be associated with anything illegal and our desire is to be law-abiding citizens”.

SECRET BELIEVERS AUTHOR Open Doors Spain 23 NOVEMBER 2016 14:44 h GMT+1
For security reasons, Pastor Alim’s* church meets on Saturday around a meal table and share their songs and verses through Whatsapp texts. / Open Doors Spain

It is not right to state that "everything was bad in the USSR", but unfortunately the main postulate of this nation was atheism and denial of God, which subsequently led to the "shipwreck", or the destruction of the "empire".



When the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 90s, almost all of the former Soviet Union countries, including Central Asian states, seemed to be open to religious freedom, in contrast with the previous Communist regime. However, the rise of Muslim radicalism, combined with government desires to control those freedoms, has led to a persecution of the followers of Jesus Christ in Central Asia, by both the Muslims and the government.



 



TAJIKISTAN, DAGESTAN, KAZAKHSTAN



Thus, in some regions of Central Asia where radical Islam is flourishing, Christians are under constant threat. Additionally, state authorities are tightening the religious laws which regulate the relation between the state and religious organizations.



For instance, in 2003, Sergey Bessarab—the pastor of a Baptist church in Tajikistan—was killed in his home by members of radical Muslim movement “Al-Bayat”.



In 2010, the pastor of a big charismatic church in Makhachkala, Dagestan, Arthur Suleimanov, was killed by a shot in his head near his church building.



In 2012, Kazakhstan adopted a new religious law which forced already registered Protestant churches to go through re-registration, but this process of re-registration was extremely complicated. As a result, almost 40% of the Protestant churches went underground.



 



SECRET CHURCH



Today, due to the threat from radical Islamists and the pressure from the authorities, the face of the Protestant Church in Central Asia is the Secret Church. Secret Church is that one where Christ’s followers gather secretly in private places, usually in private houses or in apartments, and conduct worship services together in small groups.



 



Open Doors distributes Bibles and Christian literature in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. / Open Doors Spain



Secret believers keep their Christian faith in secret because of the threat of persecution. Like believers of the early church, members of the secret church are underground believers.



 



IMPOSSIBLE CONDITIONS FOR CHRISTIANS



“We were forced to lead the church secretly”, shared Mahmud*, a pastor of a secret church in one of the Central Asian states. “We do not want to be associated with anything illegal and our desire is to be law-abiding citizens. But the government has created impossible conditions and has forbidden our activity, unless we fulfil those conditions. This all reminds me of a return to the Soviet Union.”



A few days ago, the police of one of the Central Asian villages raided the house where the secret services were being carried out by the church. The police questioned staff members and demanded to see the registration of the church, afterwards, they collected and took away the passports of church members and called them to visit the police station the next day.



One of the officers threatened these people and reminded them that it was forbidden to carry out Christian activities or worship services without registration.



 



PRAY FOR PROTECTION 



Pray for the authorities of our countries, so they don’t see us as a threat to the political regime of Central Asian states but would rather see us as an example of good and law-abiding citizens. Pray that Central Asian states will give us permission to share our faith and worship our God openly, not fearing that tomorrow we might be called out to the police station”.



“Pray for God’s protection of believers in Central Asia from Islamic extremists. Pray that the secret Church in Central Asia won’t be secret anymore”, Pastor Mahmud requests.



Open Doors as an organization that supports the Secret Church and secret believers in Central Asia to survive in the midst of persecution, through a number of projects such as literature distribution, socio-economic development, Biblical trainings, advocacy, etc. Through these and other projects, Open Doors helps secret believers in Central Asia and around the world to build the kingdom of God and to strengthen the body of Christ.



You can support the Secret Church in Central Asia with your prayer and financial support to Open Doors projects. You may find the “Project for religious freedom: Secret believers” project in the GivingTuesday website (Spanish) and be part of the Christian response to persecution.



*Names changed for security reasons


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - The secret church in Central Asia
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels

An interview with the socio-political representative of the European Evangelical Alliance about how evangelical Christians work at the heart of the European Union.

 
Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
Testimony: Wildfires near Athens Testimony: Wildfires near Athens

Nico Spies, a Christian worker in Athens, gives details about the wildfires in Greece.

 
Arie de Pater: Refugees deserve a fair and efficient process Arie de Pater: Refugees deserve a fair and efficient process

The Brussels representative of the European Evangelical Alliance offers a Christian perspective on the crisis: “We can’t reduce people to just a number that needs to be controlled”.

 
Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies

RZIM International Director Michael Ramsden responds to questions about the secularisation of Europe, the role of Christians in public leadership and the new ‘culture of victimism’.

 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
‘Small churches, big potential for transformation’ ‘Small churches, big potential for transformation’

Photos of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance’s annual gathering “Idea 2019”, in Murcia. Politicians and church leaders discussed about the role of minorities in society.

 
Bulgaria: Evangelicals ask government to protect religious minorities Bulgaria: Evangelicals ask government to protect religious minorities

Christians rallied in Sofia on November 18 to defend their rights. It is the second Sunday of peaceful demonstrations against a new religion draft law that could severely restrict religious freedom and rights of minority faith confessions.

 
Rallies in Bulgaria: “New bill on religion brings us back to Communism!” Rallies in Bulgaria: “New bill on religion brings us back to Communism!”

Bulgarian evangelicals protested peacefully on November 11 against a draft law which could severely restrict religious freedom of faith minorities. Churches rallied in Sofia and other cities after the Sunday worship services.

 
Photos: #WalkForFreedom Photos: #WalkForFreedom

Abolitionists marched through 400 cities in 51 countries. Pictures from Valencia (Spain), October 20.

 
Photos: Reaching people with disabilities Photos: Reaching people with disabilities

Seminars, an arts exhibition, discussion and testimonies. The European Disability Network met in Tallinn.

 
Photos: Hope for Europe Photos: Hope for Europe

Unity in Diversity is the theme of the conference. Representatives of Evangelical Alliances and many other church leaders gathered in Tallinn (Estonia).

 
VIDEO Video
 
Romania: God’s Word among Roma people Romania: God’s Word among Roma people

Gypsies are one of the largest ethnic minority groups in Romania. According to 2013 estimates, the Roma groups make up 10% of the country's population, accounting for about 1.5 million people.

 
Latin American leaders unite to fight against imposition of gender ideology Latin American leaders unite to fight against imposition of gender ideology

Christian leaders from all over Latin America are concerned about the progress of gender ideology agendas in the region. Many are joining together in public demonstrations and training events.

 
How do fake news spread? How do fake news spread?

Tony Watkins, Coordinator of the Lausanne Media Engagement Network.

 
Lindsay Brown: The encouraging advance of the gospel in Spain Lindsay Brown: The encouraging advance of the gospel in Spain

Church planting, the amount of books authored by Spanish evangelicals and the growth of the Christian student movement in the last decades, are some of the marks underlined by Lindsay Brown.

 
What do Christian communication and science communication have in common? What do Christian communication and science communication have in common?

“As Christians, we also try to communicate a detailed and often slightly technical message”, says Kay Carter, Director of Communications of Tyndale House (UK).

 
Church planting in Strasbourg Church planting in Strasbourg

A video on how evangelicals are planting churches in Strasbourg (France).

 
Christians, resilience and a post-Christian culture Christians, resilience and a post-Christian culture

Lindsay Brown: “The biblical pattern is not one of speed, but of steady sowing and gradual reaping in due course”.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.