Ministries of Compassion Among Russian Evangelicals, 1905-1929
The present study fills a gap in the study of the evangelical movement in Russia by presenting a comprehensive picture of their compassionate ministry during their longest stretch of relative freedom before the 1980s. Better known for their energetic preaching...
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The present study fills a gap in the study of the evangelical movement in Russia by presenting a comprehensive picture of their compassionate ministry during their longest stretch of relative freedom before the 1980s. Better known for their energetic preaching and literature work, Russian evangelicals also gave attention to compassionate ministry, although it was never extensive because of their marginal status. They established assistance funds, organized charitable institutions, practiced urban rescue ministry, participated in the Russian temperance movement, and established economic communities. Each area is distinct, yet all were supported by the same set of theological convictions. The Russian evangelicals were convinced that their witness should consist of good works as well as words, and that the gospel had the power to undo human suffering. While intentionally cultivating an attitude of concern for the needs of others, they taught that compassion was the concern of all members of the community, regardless of economic status or age. In their publications evangelicals devoted a good deal of teaching to the proper Christian attitude toward money and giving. They drew on Western models, but also their indigenous sectarian roots. ""Mary Raber has made a significant contribution to our understanding of the practical ways in which the Russian-speaking evangelicals expressed their faith between 1905 and 1929. Her fresh research and outstanding translations of underutilized sources present the attempts and accomplishments of sincere evangelicals who at times faced overwhelming challenges. It is superb research that uncovers inspirational acts of kindness."" --Gregory L. Nichols, Adjunct Supervisor, PhD ResearchProgramme, International Baptist Theological Study Centre, Amsterdam ""Mary Raber has explored ministries of compassion among Russian evangelicals during the most formative period of the movement. It is an important contribution for understanding global evangelicalism and its various local manifestations. The study establishes the necessary historical and theological background for pastors and theologians associated with the movement in order to revise practices of compassion ministries, as well as develop relevant aspects of social engagement in the post-Soviet contexts."" --Andrey Puzynin, Assistant Dean, Associate Professor of Practical Theology ""Mary Raber has opened up new perspectives in research into the history of Eastern European religious minorities. She has thoroughly explored the compassionate ministry of Russian evangelicals in the period 1905-29. She argues convincingly that the practice of mercy had deep roots and was an inherent feature of identity for these believers. This significant book, grippingly written, is an inspiring, informative, and enjoyable read for scholars and students interested in deepening their understanding of the social involvement of Slavic evangelicals."" --Toivo Pilli, Director of Baptist and Anabaptist Studies, International Baptist Theological Study Centre, Amsterdam ""When a famous Russian writerfell heavily on ice, where for hours all who saw him 'walked by on the other side, ' he called for the return of miloserdie ('compassion').Within a year more than a thousand charity societies had sprung up. What has come more slowly has been the theological and practical foundation for doing charity and social service well. Mary Raber's book provides that historical, practical, and theological foundation for Russian evangelicals, setting it in the comparative context of similar Orthodox ministries. Raber's book is therefore the long-awaited guide for a post-communist society where compassion ministry remains a major challenge. Sensitive Western readers will be helped to imagine what partnership roles to play, and Russians reading English will use the book in teaching seminars. Raber offers a thoroughly researched study--including archival and oral sources--and as teacher and fr"