News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

World News

First victims of Russian ban on evangelism

by Antony Bushfield

In July the country passed legislation banning the public from discussing their faith outside of churches and other designated places.

The rules were contained in anti-terror laws and make it illegal to preach, teach or share faith outside state-controlled settings.

Donald Ossewaarde, a Baptist minister, was working in the city of Oryol, about 360 kilometres south-southwest of Moscow when he was visited by police.

They accused him of "unlawfully conducting missionary activity" by having Bible meetings at his home.

Mr Ossewaarde, pictured above with his wife Ruth, was fined £550 after being advised by a state lawyer to plead guilty and not appeal.

A statement from his personal legal team, SCLJ attorneys, said: "The problem is not the fine but the fact that the court decided that Donald's exercise of his right to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ according to his beliefs is an illegal action.

"Donald was arrested in his own home, where policemen came to establish the fact that a group was meeting with him for prayer and Bible reading, which they say is illegal.

"In court, Donald was also accused of posting notices in public places, inviting anyone interested in studying the Scriptures to turn him for help."

Mr Ossewaarde's family have fled the country and returned to the US in fear of their safety.

He has remained in Russia to appeal against the fine and conviction.

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email