Sunday, December 16   Sign in or Register
Evangelical Focus

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud

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

Do the media in your country usually portray evangelical Christians accurately?




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.



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.



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.



“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 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




    If you want to comment, or


YOUR ARE AT: - - - The secret church in Central Asia
Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church 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.

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.

Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

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.

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).

Bulgarian evangelicals ask politicians to defend “basic freedoms” Bulgarian evangelicals ask politicians to defend “basic freedoms”

Protests and prayers continue in Bulgaria for the sixth week.

What are the benefits of the whole family being on mission? What are the benefits of the whole family being on mission?

“We’re not taking energy from my ministry when we care for our family in missional kind of ways”, says President of Josiah Venture Dave Patty.

“We need prayers for Bulgaria” “We need prayers for Bulgaria”

An interview with Pastor Vlady Raichinov, Vice President of the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance.

‘Mediterráneo’ ‘Mediterráneo’

“Something will change if you have hunger and thirst for justice”, sings Spanish artist Eva Betoret in a song about the refugee crisis.

Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube

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.