As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to unfold, seminaries from the former Soviet Union issued a joint statement condemning the conflict.
As the invasion rolled on, photos and videos of the invasion’s human toll are making international news. Many residents are taking shelter and foreigners remain stranded in the country. Meanwhile, eleven eastern European seminaries with evangelical and Reformed convictions — two of which are located in Russia and therefore are unnamed — expressed solidarity with the people of Ukraine and urged the world to pray for the nation.
“The Christian Church has been instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Created by the Word of God and directed by the Holy Spirit, the Church confesses one Lord and Savior Jesus, His gospel and law,” the statement began. “Therefore, as part of the Church and under the Lordship of Christ, we are called to speak the truth and expose deceit (Eph 4:15; 4:25).”
“In the light of Russia’s full-scale attack on Ukraine, we consider it necessary to strongly condemn the open and unjustified aggression aimed at destroying the statehood and independence of Ukraine and based on blatant lies from the lips of the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, and the country’s top leadership,” it continued. “We reject Putin’s mythical narrative, which has nothing to do with historical reality, about the alleged artificial creation of the Ukrainian state.”
“We confess the real and unlimited power of God over all countries and continents (Ps 24:1), as well as over all kings and rulers (Prov 21:1), therefore, nothing in all creation can interfere with the fulfillment of the good and perfect will of God. We, together with the first Christians, affirm ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and not Caesar.”
“We express solidarity with the people of Ukraine. We share the pain of those who have already lost their loved ones,” the seminaries added. “We pray that all of the aggressor’s plans would be thwarted and put to shame. We call on all people of good will around the world to resist the lies and hatred of the aggressor. We call on everyone to petition for a cessation of hostilities and to exert every possible influence on the Russian Federation in order to stop the unmotivated aggression toward Ukraine. We ask you to pray for peace for the people of Ukraine and for courage and wisdom for Christian churches so that they continue to serve those in need.”
“We pray for our authorities and put our hope in the King of kings and the Lord of lords, who is, and remains, our refuge and our fortress, even in time of war (Ps 46).”
Seminaries endorsing the statement, which was posted on Facebook by the various schools, included Evangelical Reformed Seminary of Ukraine, Baltic Reformed Theological Seminary in Latvia, Evening Reformed Seminary in Kazakhstan, Kyiv Theological Seminary, Odessa Theological Seminary, Poltava Theological Seminary, Reformed Theological Seminary of Donetsk, Reformed Theological Seminary Heidelberg, and Taurian Christian Institute. The two unnamed seminaries are located in western Russia and western Siberia, Russia.
The content of the seminaries’ statement aligns with those made by American ministers who faced pressure to shutter their churches amid COVID-19 lockdowns.
“The question of whether we should keep our churches open is without controversy. There is no other option if we are going to be faithful to our Lord,” wrote Grace Community Church pastor John MacArthur in an opinion piece for The Daily Wire. “We cannot yield to Caesar that which belongs to God. May the Lord give us all wisdom, courage, and love to honor Him as so many of our spiritual ancestors have done in much harder times than these.”