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Letter to the Editor: My Former Baptist Pastor Went From Spiritual Formation Into the Orthodox Church

An Orthodox PriestDear Lighthouse Trails:

Yesterday, I was reading 1 Corinthians 1 and 2, where Paul is writing about the wisdom of God versus the wisdom of the world. I was reminded of our former Baptist pastor in the early ’80s who was highly intellectual, which attracted a lot of people from academia in our college town. (Although that wasn’t the attraction for my husband and I; we are those who Paul would call “not wise after the flesh.”) He eventually took a pastorate in another state in the mid-’80s and moved away. Since he came to mind while reading 1 Corinthians, I wondered how he was doing these days and looked him up. I was shocked, dismayed, and heartbroken to learn that he is now an Orthodox priest!

How could one be a Baptist pastor for 38 years and then turn to Orthodoxy? . . . I remember he highly respected Bible scholars of “higher criticism.” It seems that he eventually got discouraged and disillusioned and (by 2000) left his Baptist church to do some soul searching. And this is where he absolutely took a wrong turn. Instead of turning to Scripture and studying God’s Word for answers, he began delving deep into “church” history. This took him further down the road to the Ancient Fathers and the more he read, the more he was convinced that the true church was in Orthodoxy. By February 2007, he was ordained a priest in the Orthodox church.

His “testimony” and church website include words like theosis, spiritual formation, God’s energy, mystery, the Jesus prayer, Mary the Mother of God, icons, incense, mystical experience, worshiping with all five senses, missional, etc. He fully embraces the Eucharist, praying to Mary and the saints, infant baptism, and liturgies.

He has rejected believers who know him and tried to admonish him.

Should I be surprised? No. Ray Yungen and Roger Oakland were right that following this pathway will eventually lead to faith undone and a time of departing. What is even more disturbing in this pastor’s apostasy is that he took a following of people with him right into the Orthodox church. He is truly a case of the blind leading the blind, and his judgment will be great (James 3:1).

My heart is broken, and I pray for him and his family. Thank you for being a warning ministry and shedding light on these works of darkness. I have learned so much from your ministry and publications.

Your sister in Christ,

Related Articles:

Multi-Sensory Worship: Prayer Stations, Icons, Incense, and Candles by Roger Oakland

‘Bible Answer Man’ Hank Hanegraaff Leaves Evangelicalism, Joins Eastern Orthodox Church

A Step Forward Towards Reconciliation Between Catholics and Orthodox Churches

The Desert Fathers and the Methods They Used by Ray Yungen

(Photo of an orthodox priest from; used with permission)



Lighthouse Trails Announces New Release: “Witness to This Generation” by Roger Oakland

Witness to this generation by roger oaklandLighthouse Trails Publishing is pleased to announce the release of Witness to This Generation—Creation Evangelism for the Last Days written by Roger Oakland.

Description: There has never been a more critical time to sow the truth of the Gospel into our world. Proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ to our present generation is becoming increasingly more difficult. While people everywhere have embraced Darwinian evolution as a means of explaining away the existence of God, there is a growing trend in our society to accept the New Age worldview that evolution is God. Witness to This Generation provides biblical and practical insights showing how “creation evangelism” can be used to witness the Gospel of Jesus Christ to our generation and why the time remaining to do so may be very short.

160 Pages | Softbound
ISBN: 978-1-942423-40-9 | Retail Price: $12.95
Table of Contents and Prologue

Qualifies for quantity discounts
Available through Lighthouse Trails and most major book outlets

If you pre-ordered this book from Lighthouse Trails, all backorders have now shipped.


Roger OaklandAuthor: Roger Oakland is an author, lecturer, and the founder of Understand the Times, International. He has written several books and is featured in numerous documentary DVD films. Over the past 35 years, he has lectured in over 70 countries. He is also the founder of the Bryce Homes Program International, a missions program that ministers physically and spiritually to widows and children in several countries. His autobiography Let There Be Light chronicles his years as an evolutionist to becoming a creationist and then a believer in Jesus Christ.





Comments From Our Readers

The following are some of the comments that came in this past two weeks from our readers regarding articles posted on our blog. Some of these comments were made on our blog; others were made on the LT Facebook page. If you would like to post a comment to one of our articles, you may do so at the blog. You only need to give your first name. We would be grateful to hear from you, and such feedback is helpful for others:

Is Pilates OK?: I have always found Yoga and other meditation practices to be very self-centered. Me and nobody else. What happens to the rest of the family while the mom or dad are immersed in these activities. They detach the person from the world around them and reality. Self-absorption takes over. And then demonic spirits can enter. Elizabeth

Pastor Goes From Baptist to Orthodox:Reminds me of a woman I spoke to who was a mormon. I told her that I didn’t blame her for the way she thought since she grew up in the church and she told me that she didn’t grow up in the church. She said she was a baptist and she answered the door to some mormon missionaries. She took their book and read it to try to counter it the next time someone should come to her door, but what ended up happening is that she read it and believed it and she raised her children in mormonism and they were raising their children in it. So very sad! That has always stayed with me and I just stay with what I know, which is the Good News and the Bible. Lisa

Together 2018: Wow! 1. You can't move closer to Jesus and the world at the same time! 2. That unity siren is getting louder... and of course it is unity with apostasy. 3. You can't 'schedule' a revival! But you can schedule a Golden Calf festival, which is what these things amount to. 4. You can't have salvation without doctrine because you can't have the Gospel without doctrine. It's not unity at the expense of doctrine and truth, but doctrine and truth at the expense of unity... because... true unity is unity around truth. And truth divides us from error. Yes, it is indeed more of the same which I believe will culminate in the final 'revival' Golden Calf Festival of all religions under antichrist, not to mention denominations, all at such a staged event complete with concert and famous speakers, most likely the pope himself as the main idol. Anna Rosa

Contextualization of the Gospel: Contextualization started with the use of "dynamic equivalents" being touted as "translations, which they are not. These "versions" as they should be called are developed by a method called "thought for thought translation," thus the term dynamic equivalent. The NIV, Living Bible etc. have abandoned the tradition of accepting the "verbal plenary inspiration" of God's Word, a tradition that says each and every word is inspired, in the order they were given, not just the over-arching ideas found within. Once someone heads down the dynamic equivalent road they have abandoned God's Word. Accounts in God's Word are not "bible stories" open to paraphrasing, they are GOD'S OWN ACCOUNT of what transpired. I hate it when a preacher/teacher starts with "the story of..." they are not stories! Victor

Contextualization of the Gospel:Contextualization today leads to capitulation tomorrow. Those who were promoting contextualization 15-20 years ago were among those endorsing the "Christian" response to "A Common Word" and promoting Chrislam a few years later. Jack

Contextualization of the Gospel: In other words, we are either going to adjust ourselves to fit the Truth, or we will adjust the Truth to fit ourselves -- or our culture. The latter is one definition of heresy. David

Contextualization of the Gospel: Contextual Theology and the"emerging church" are false teaching not found in Gods Holy Word. It is man made. Again, The Lord Jesus did not come into the world to change society, governments, culture, or struggles for equality. He came into the world to seek and to save sinners that were lost. For ALL have sinned. ALL of us. Color of skin matters not. Rich or poor matters not. Free or slave matters not. Salvation is about your soul and where you spend eternity. Thank you Lighthouse for fighting the only battle that matters. Were will we spend eternity? The Lord Jesus Christ and the Word of God holds all truth. Trust Him today. Jeffry

Contextualization of the Gospel: An excellent article that made me physically uneasy. The new ways the enemy is using to infiltrate the church is the oldest of his ways. The crafty serpent attracting Eve to the forbidden fruit...’’did God really say...?’ It is the red herring fallacy to change the topic or to get one’s focus off of the truth of sin, repentance and redemption. Local pastor just wrote a book and preached in successive Sundays and traveled to many other churches highlighting race relationships. To simplify the message forge a relationship with someone who doesn’t look like you. Show grace and honor to everyone because we’re all made in His image. That is fine and dandy, of course we show grace to everyone but seeking to understand another’s culture doesn’t heal the land or people’s hearts. Just pay attention to the current political climate. No where is it highlighted in the Bible that Jesus sought someone out because of the color of their skin or race etc. Simple preaching of The Word becomes secondary with a few one line verses thrown into a sermon to make one’s point. If the congregation was trained as the Berean’s to search scripture in context then there would challenges to the message. Jen

Butterfly Illusions/Proclaim 19: Know too that their [Roma Downey/Mark Burnett] appropriately new age named Lightworkers Media, through which they have also partnered with Bethel Church in Redding and will often allow Bethel to use Lightworkers as a platform to further infiltrate mainstream Christianity. Roxanne

Butterfly Illusions/Proclaim 19: Proclaim 19 is the National Religious Broadcasters convention. Sound speakers such as John MacArthur are not necessarily partnering with or in any way endorsing the many unsound speakers appearing at this convention. Michael

Butterfly Illusions/Proclaim 19: Has anyone personally contacted John MacArthur Ministry about this? Jodie [LTRP Note: A copy of Greg Reid's booklet Butterfly Illusions was personally handed to John MacArthur on the week of the 15th of October.



Letter to the Editor: My Former Baptist Pastor Went From Spiritual Formation Into the Orthodox Church
Lighthouse Trails Announces New Release: Witness to This Generation by Roger Oakland
Comments From Our Readers

“Together 2018” – “A New Jesus Movement” for a Mystical All-Inclusive “Christianity”

Letter to the Editor: Concerns for Justin Bieber
Is Pilates OK?
“Your Job Is on the Line!” – A Look at the Past, A Glimpse Into the Future
New Studies Indicate "Legalized Marijuana Linked to a Sharp Rise in Car Crashes"
Roma Downey's Name Disappears From Proclaim 19 Speaker List - Reason Unclear From NRB Office
Two New Books from Lighthouse Trails: Ironside and Oakland
Leave a Review and Get a Discount Coupon and Check Out New Release
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Visit the Understand the Times website for the latest updates on the Bryce Homes International missions outreach.


“Together 2018” – “A New Jesus Movement” for a Mystical All-Inclusive “Christianity”

Nick Hall’s Together event is back again (October 20-21), this year as Together 2018 at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas (which can hold around 1/2 million people). On the event’s Facebook page, it reads:

Love Matt Chandler? See him and many more for free on October 20-21 as we bring the nation together for an event that we believe will spark another Jesus movement!! Join us for this FREE EVENT at Texas Motor Speedway in Dallas-Fort Worth as we #MoveCloser to Jesus and the world around us! Visit to learn more!

On the promotional video (near the 26-second mark) on the Facebook page, it calls this effort “a new Jesus movement” (obviously referring to the Jesus movement of the 1970s). On the promotional video below, it lists the line up of speakers and musicians which includes a conglomeration of popular evangelical and charismatic celebrities including Bethel Music from Bill Johnson’s extreme charismatic, contemplative Bethel Church, Jesus Culture (an offshoot of Bethel Church), Hillsong, Francis Chan (who recently said God was going to kill those who criticize Christian leaders), Priscilla Shirer (a long-time strong advocate for contemplative prayer), her father Tony Evans, Ravi Zacharias (who will share a platform with “anyone” in order to share “his” message), and Loren Cunningham (founder of YWAM, which recently announced it wanted “all” YWAMers to practice contemplative prayer).

According to an article on RNS announcing Together 2018, the “aim [is] to promote unity and lift up the name of Jesus”:

“In an age defined by division that often labels us as those who are for and against politics, issues and each other—Jesus invites all of us to move closer,” said Nick Hall, PULSE founder and evangelist. “He alone offers the hope and leadership we desperately need and Together is about calling people from all backgrounds to move closer to Jesus and the world around us.”

The last Together event took place in 2016. Lighthouse Trails wrote about it in our article titled “DRESS REHEARSAL FOR A FALSE REVIVAL? – Evangelical, Charismatic, Emerging Leaders, & Pope Francis Unite for “Together 2016” in Washington, DC.”

The basic premise of this and other similar events happening throughout evangelical/charismatic Christianity today is: The only way the world is going to see Jesus is if all things and every person identifying as “Christian” unify regardless of doctrine or beliefs. In fact, doctrine stands in the way of unity and must be laid to the sidelines. This is how Nick Hall was able to include the Pope in Together 2016. That is the only way to have this all-inclusive mass unity take place. Catholic mystic Thomas Merton explained how this could happen. During a conversation with a Sufi (Islamic mystic) teacher, Merton acknowledged that unity and fellowship could never happen if doctrine (such as the Cross, he said) was given precedence. Merton said the only way interspiritual unity could take place is through mysticism.1 Tony Campolo, in his book Speaking My Mind,said the same thing. When you consider that a large number of the celebrities speaking or singing at Together 2018 are contemplative mysticism advocates, it is easy to see that the underlying current for this event will draw from the same fountain from which Merton drew.

While doctrine is not equivalent to “faith,” it is the framework of our faith, and without it, there is no Christian faith but rather a watered-down, greyed-out false religious movement led by “another Jesus.”



Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing, 2nd Ed. (Eureka, MT, Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2002, 2006) quoting Thomas Merton from Rob Baker and Gray Henry, Editors, Merton and Sufism (Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 1999), p. 109.

Related Information:

FALSE REVIVAL COMING?—Holy Laughter or Strong Delusion?by Warren B. Smith

“The Inclusive Gospel” by Roger Oakland



Letter to the Editor: Concerns for Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber Sums Up Jesus’ Calling in 1 Instagram Post—& It’s Been Liked 1.2 Million Times (photo: Justin Bieber’s Instagram page

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

Have to comment on the current Justin Bieber phenomenon that is sweeping the millennial community. It is not only this age of people that are star struck by this young man. Recently, on Faith Radio, I was astonished to hear a story of the announcer extolling the fact that he has been watching this singer from the start of his career and he is encouraged by the changes taking place in Justin’s life. These changes being his connection with Hillsong church, as well as his engagement to Stephen Baldwin’s daughter [now married]. The emcee told of Justin being seen leaving a building with tears in his eyes and carrying a Tim Keller book on marriage. He went on to extoll that Justin had been baptized in the bathtub of a sports figure by Carl Lentz of New York Hillsong fame.

I so hope and pray that this young man would truly be saved and turn his life around. So important to have discernment in these last days. We currently have many who are doing their “standup routines” in front of gullible audiences who are so being misled. We must all check out what is being preached to determine if it is “thus sayeth the Lord.”

Paul’s admonition to the Church in 2 Timothy 4:1-5 is to the believer of today. True Christianity is not for the faint of heart or for the lazy.

Thank you for your faithfulness to the Truth in this time of the Laodicean church.

Dorothy M.

LTRP Note: We do not know whether Justin Bieber has had a true conversion to Jesus Christ or not. Of course, we pray he has. We do know that the “Christianity” he appears to be getting pulled into (with his connection to Hillsong, his proclamations of reading Jesus Calling, and signs that he is absorbing the teachings of other misguided Christian teachers) is one that has compromised truth for a popular and enticing, but dangerous, spirituality. Let us pray that young people coming to the faith will recognize spiritual deception, understand the times in which we live, and cling to the old rugged Cross and God’s Word rather than the traditions and fallacies of men.


Is Pilates OK?

By Caryl Matrisciana
Caryl Matrisciana grew up in India and later as a young adult in England and then the U.S. became deeply involved with the New Age movement. (Used with permission in May 2016)

I’ve had several e-mails asking about Pilates as a form of exercise and if it’s connected to a spirituality as Yoga is? Pilates gets its name from its originator and founder German born, Joseph Pilates. It’s a workout program incorporating many elements he drew from his studies into Eastern (Yoga and Zen) philosophies and Western (Roman and Greek) forms of physical fitness. He called his regime “controlology,” which he claims is the “science of control”, and borrowed some basics from Hinduism’s Yoga which is foundational to Hinduism’s religious philosophy.

Similar to Yogic practice, Pilates emphasizes the importance of focused breathing patterns and intense concentration and mind control as integral to the Pilates regime. Exercises are given names like “elephant” and “swan” much like yoga positions, or asanas have names like camel, cat and cobra.

I realize this can sound like hair splitting: what’s wrong with giving names to exercises and emphasizing mind concentration? Well, is mind concentration really physical exercise? Is self-hypnosis and visualization part of physical wellbeing? Physical and mental lines are getting blurred as body-mind-spirit ideology is accepted as legitimate!

Hinduism claims Yoga is a science which becomes confusing, as the true meaning of true science is being redefined. Its original function is the systematic study of the physical and natural through controlled observation and experiment. When a philosophy or mind-control technique claims to be scientific, it shifts the true meaning to now embrace the subjective study of a philosophy based on metaphysical and supernatural aspects which must, by definition, be open to another type of observation into the spirit world, and spirits and their behavior which can’t be controlled. (For further explanation about shifting science and its behavioral ramifications to society read my book The Evolution Conspiracy)

Yoga’s basic premise is that focused breathing patterns are essential for both physical and spiritual wellbeing and the benefits of breathing correctly can be used to “invoke” better wellness all round, physically and spiritually. Invoke, obviously is a type of prayer and appeal to the spirit world which brings with it powers and experiences which, from a biblical point of view, come with dangers because their source is corrupt. Within Eastern thinking such invocations to the spirit world are of good advantage and beneficial. Eastern philosophy teaches the mind must vacate the body (stop thinking, still the mind, go into neutral) for the spirit within to be awakened. The Bible teaches the mind must be harnessed to God’s Word for protection against spirits who want to take possession of the body and the heart must be guarded for the same reason.

While obviously breathing correctly when doing physical exercise is important, its importance is only for bodily (physical) results. Breathing correctly is not an essential for any type of spiritual gain within a Biblical worldview. Mentioned in the Bible, in Genesis, God breathed His breath into Adam to give Adam God’s everlasting Spirit, but everlasting life cannot be enhanced by correct physical breathing. The Bible separates the spirit from the soul and from the body. Paul explains bodily exercise avails for temporary value but isn’t of benefit for eternal life. Obviously implying breathing exercises are of no spiritual benefit whatsoever.

Eastern spirituality believes the opposite. It teaches that Brahman is an overall, impersonal god-consciousness which can be tapped into through certain breathing exercises and various bodily positions, asanas like camel, cat and cobra. Hinduism teaches everything is interconnected and the powers in say the cobra, can be transformed into the practitioner when engaged in that asana, so cobra and practitioner become one. The snake is revered in every pagan culture but spoken against in the Bible as a deceiver, a liar, and a destroyer.

These practices, breathing and positioning, are taught in the art of Yoga which believes body, soul, and spirit are one, in other words, body, soul, and spirit cannot be separated, as many in the west try to explain, that there is a Yoga purely for the physical body only and a Yoga for the spiritual. All Yoga is based in an eastern worldview and is for body, mind, and spirit. The mind is important to control and be used for spiritual indoctrination by the spirits being invoked through bodily positioning. It’s very subtle and very powerful!

In sanskrit, Yoga means to unite body, soul, and spirit to another larger spirit energy that Hinduism says is a divinity called Brahman. Yoga practice is the method to promote, in the practitioner, the idea to connect to, or tap into Brahman also understood to be “the higher self”. Yoga teaches that the higher self is “self-awareness,” and the promotion of “true-self” comes through awareness of one’s own divinity, through altered states, while involved in breathing techniques, which supposedly induce “self-actualization.” In other words, the idea of realizing one’s own “godhood” or connection to higher-self expands spiritual consciousness in general.

Amazingly, a type of Christianized breathing technique is being introduced to Christians and into churches through a practice called “breath prayer” which some Christian leaders are promoting claiming it makes the practitioner “get closer to” or “more intimate with God.” This is not based on biblical teaching but rather draws from the heretical teachings of Christian mystics and The Desert Fathers.

This philosophy that man can “connect to” divinity or become God is rooted in paganism that teaches man and energy, the material environment and all in the universe, et al, is part of one life giving substance which is divinity and god-consciousness and can be tapped into for gain. So, all is divine, god is all, god is in all and all is in god. This “god” is an impersonal force and not a Personal Divinity as the Bible explains the Creator God to be. The Judeo-Christian God is a Personal Being who was from eternal to everlasting. He is separate to energy, separate to anything material, and separate to man whom He created out of nothing, from invisible to visible, by the power of His Word, through His Spirit. Man cannot become god or be divine.

ln addition, the Bible teaches man should die to self, diminish in selfish ambition, self motivation, self esteem, self actualization, etc contrary to Eastern philosophy that promotes the idea of elevating self to connect to its so called higher god-center. The Bible says in Jeremiah, there is no good thing within man whose heart is deceptively wicked, yet Hinduism says within man is the potential of discovering his own godhood. This was the lie Satan perpetuated when he deceived Eve with the notion she could be like God.

Bettering one’s health through any practice based in a worldview or philosophy that borrows from Eastern Mysticism endangers itself because it blends physical and spiritual. Physical exercise should be rooted in a biblical view or it strays into Hindu philosophy and paganism. The latter have the potential of being contaminated with what the Bible defines as supernatural spirits, defined as demons and wicked powers and principalities of darkness.

Breath Prayer is a good example of spiritual wickedness and contamination able to beguile undiscerning Christians.

Joseph Pilates worldview, borrowed from Eastern spirituality, makes his technique of particular concern to those calling themselves Christians, as it has the potential of introducing practitioners to ideas of holism, holistic thought, (wholeness, oneness, all is one, etc) and lead them into unwittingly becoming sympathetic towards Eastern philosophy, Yoga and other eclectic ideologies that may trip up naive Christians who are not well grounded in sound doctrine.

While many Pilates teachers may argue they don’t teach Eastern spirituality, just as many Yoga teachers argue, the basic premise of both body wellness programs are part of Eastern philosophy. Any program entwining the human mind/spirit and body, or mental/spiritual and physical health claiming they are interrelated, should raise a warning flag. The concept of body, mind, and spirit is integral to “holistic” ideology and not based in authentic science. The likes carry dangers of confusion and blurs biblical Truth.

(Photo from; used with permission)

“Your Job Is on the Line!” – A Look at the Past, A Glimpse Into the Future

LTRP Note: Georgi Vins was a young Baptist pastor in the U.S.S.R. when he was arrested for preaching the Gospel. He spent a total of eight years in the prison camps before being exiled to the United States in 1979. Under contract with his daughter, Natasha Vins, Lighthouse Trails has published two of his books, The Gospel in Bonds and Moscow Express. The following is one of Georgi’s stories from Moscow Express. We post these stories by Georgi because his life was an exemplary example of what it means to live all for Christ. We also believe what happened to Georgi and to many other believers during the Soviet reign could some day in the not-too-distant future happen to believers who stand for Christ in North America.

By Georgi Vins
In the autumn of 1962, the Evening Kiev newspaper featured an article hostile toward Christians. It attacked Baptists for their faith in God and the active life of the church in what was supposed to be an atheistic society. The author was particularly annoyed that church ministers happened to be highly educated professionals. The paper included my wife and me in the list, even citing the place where I was employed as an engineer and the high school where my wife taught English.

The article agitated, “How is it that the Soviet government has given these people higher education, and yet they believe in some sort of god? In addition, they are engaged in religious propaganda, infecting children and youth. How can we let them work in Soviet schools and responsible positions in the city of Kiev? What does the management do about this? How can they put up with these people in the workplace?”

The Communist Party expected this publication to bolster their ideological stand against religion, but the opposite happened: the article created in Kiev’s two million inhabitants a great interest in the Baptists and their faith.

The day after the article appeared, it became the subject of discussion in every department of the engineering firm where I worked. I overheard some of my co-workers’ comments, “Just think about it: we thought that believers were old-fashioned people with little education—backward old men and grannies in the villages! But it turns out they’re educated people, young professionals who believe in God and preach the Bible. And so many Baptists! What a surprise! So maybe faith in God isn’t just gloom and doom! That’s interesting . . .”

Some were negative, “All these Baptists should be sent to Siberia, to the farthest reaches of the North! The fiftieth anniversary of Soviet power is coming up, and Baptists have no place in our society!”

News at work tended to spread quickly, “That guy will be fired.”

“This guy’s in line for a promotion.”

“So-and-so left his wife and kids to live with such-and-such woman.”

All such “advance reports” were eventually backed up either by a pink slip, a promotion, or by the fact of divorce, whichever the case may be. The disseminator of this “news” was usually a certain Zaporozhets, an engineer in the electrical division. He was tall, with brown hair, about thirty, energetic, sociable, and extremely helpful. “Excuse me, could you please allow me to take just a moment of your time? I’ve just heard the most dreadful thing, and I wanted you to be the first to know. By the way, I haven’t seen you around for a couple of days. How are things? How’s your health? Say, have you heard yet about?” Such was the verbal stream that Zaporozhets was constantly pouring out for the nearest listener.

The engineering firm where I worked was located in a four-story building in Pechersk, a lovely neighborhood of Kiev. About 400 staff, consisting of engineers and technicians with various areas of expertise, worked there. Zaporozhets was the most unique and well-known personality at the firm. Everyone knew him, some loved him, the rest at least tolerated him. Zaporozhets never harbored ill intentions; he was congenial and kind-hearted, but a non-stop talker. He spent most of his workday not at his drafting table, but in action. For example, if some item needed to be procured for the management, bureau director Nikolai Nikolaevich would call Zaporozhets into his office and give him the responsibility of tracking it down.

Zaporozhets was part of the electricians’ department, which I supervised. He would often say, “Georgi, I won’t be in today or tomorrow. Nikolai Nikolaevich is sending me on an errand! But don’t worry, my blueprints will be finished by the deadline, and they’ll be great!”

So, he would disappear for two or three days. When he showed up again, his time, as usual, would be spent running from floor to floor, department to department. He always had some news to share. True to his word, his drafts were always done well and on time—he worked quickly and with concentration, and stayed overtime if necessary. We had a good, friendly relationship, and this became strikingly clear when things started to get tough for me at work.

The morning after the Evening Kiev article appeared, I got to work and found that stony silence reigned in the electricians’ room as each person worked at his desk. No one even looked up when I walked in. I decided to beat them to the punch, “It sure is quiet in here today! Did you all read the article?”

Everyone burst to life at once. “We read it!” their voices resounded.

“I don’t believe our newspapers. Everything’s always blown out of proportion in them! Whenever a newspaper starts campaigning, they always write in sweeping generalities, just to push people’s buttons. Now they’re pushing an anti-religious cause, and that’s just how they write.” The first person voicing an opinion was a senior engineer of about 35, who was quiet and good-natured at work, constantly concerned about her children. Her husband had died a few years before, so she was rearing two school-age children on her own.

One of the technicians, Misha Pugachev, strode up to me and took me by the arm. “Georgi, don’t worry! Everybody here respects you, including Nikolai Nikolaevich.”

“What’s so bad about religion?” someone else noted. ‘Don’t steal.’ ‘Don’t kill.’ Nothing wrong with that! Besides, according to the Constitution, we have freedom of religion.”

At this moment, Zaporozhets flew into the room and declared, “Georgi, the whole institute’s buzzing like a beehive! Almost everybody’s behind you. Let’s step into the hall for a few minutes.”

Zaporozhets pulled me to the window at the end of the corridor, where we were in absolute privacy. “Listen, we’re all outraged at this spiteful article!” he said excitedly. “Only Kostov from the construction division is against you. When I ran by there this morning, he was yelling to everybody in the room, ‘This Baptist needs to be kicked out of here and put on trial! He should have his parental rights stripped and his children taken away!’ But I took the wind out of his sails.”

Right then, into the corridor stepped Yefim Shtulberg, lead engineer of the construction division as well as deputy Communist Party secretary. Shtulberg headed in our direction. “Excuse me for interrupting. Georgi, come with me. We need to discuss an electrical wiring job for the factory.”

I accompanied him to the construction division. As Shtulberg opened the door to a large room containing over thirty desks, we heard many voices mingling in animated discussion. All conversations abruptly stopped when they saw us. Everybody got back to work, and only Kostov, standing at his desk, looked at me with a mocking smile. For about twenty minutes, we studied blueprints and the wiring design. As I was walking out the door, I nearly stumbled over Zaporozhets going in. As the door closed behind me, I heard voices shouting on the other side.

Later, I found out what had happened. No sooner had I left than Kostov turned to the head of the department and said, “Why do you allow that Baptist to come into our department?”

To which the other answered, “I invited him in myself on business concerning electrical wiring.”

“But didn’t you read the paper?” Kostov retorted. “This Baptist has no place at our facility! We need to call an institute-wide meeting, fire that guy, bring him to trial, and take his kids away!”

An eruption of murmurings broke out in the room. Getting in Kostov’s face, Zaporozhets yelled, “You’re the one who needs to be put on trial! You abandoned your family, your own kids; yet you go around sporting the rank of a Soviet engineer! You’re the one who needs to be kicked out of our facility for moral aberration!”

The grumbling got louder. Just then the director’s secretary poked her head through the door and announced, “Nikolai Nikolaevich says for everyone to get to work and stop wasting time on the clock!” She walked through the whole building, quieting everyone down. Zaporozhets came back into our room and silently set to work.

The next day, Zaporozhets said to me, “The director and the party secretary were called to Party headquarters this morning because of that article!”
I barely knew the director of the institute, having met him only two or three times. But I knew Party Secretary Vladimir Kryukov very well. He was also an electrical engineer by trade, ten years my senior, and had fought on the front lines in World War II. He had been a Communist Party member since the beginning of the war. He had lost a leg on the front and now walked with a prosthetic and a cane. We had worked together on several projects, and he visited me at home two or three times when my wife and I lived downtown. Ours was a cordial relationship.

Three days after the article came out, I was summoned to Party Secretary Kryukov’s office. He, deputy director Shtulberg, and Kurakin, another official, were waiting for me. Kryukov spread the newspaper out on the table, its pages open to the article. Several lines had been underlined in red. Shtulberg asked me, “What do you have to say about this?”

“What should I say?” I shrugged. “I believe in God, and I won’t deny it. You all knew I was a Christian before this was printed.”

“We knew something or other about you being a Christian,” Kurakin replied, “but that on off hours you were a religious propagandist—that’s something we just found out. Now that this article has appeared in the press, this whole Baptist business is making us all look bad!”

“This is serious, Georgi,” Kryukov added. “Yesterday, the director and I were summoned to Party headquarters downtown. They wanted you fired immediately. They told us that a criminal case has been started against you and that they intend to strip you of your parental rights. Your children will go to an orphanage—I pity them. Think about your children! As the Party secretary and a war veteran, I used my influence to spare you from strict measures. I promised that we’d straighten you out. They laughed at this idea at Party headquarters, but then agreed to it, ‘Give it a try! If you’re successful, then we’ll award you the Golden Star of the Hero.’”

Kurakin chimed in, “Georgi, come on and do it so he can get the Golden Star!”

Shtulberg interrupted. “Enough joking around! Georgi, tell us about your faith and how you came to believe. What plans do you have for the future? You can be open with us. We’re not enemies. We want to understand you and get a handle on this unpleasant situation.”

So, I told them how I believe that God, the Creator, made the earth, the sun, the moon, the plant and animal kingdoms, and us, human beings. I told them how, at age sixteen, I realized I was a sinner, and that only Jesus Christ, who had died for my sins on the Cross, could give me salvation and eternal life. I was baptized in the summer of 1945 when, in the presence of many believers, I gave my promise to God that I would live for Him. My wife has also been a believer since she was fifteen. We have three children, I told them—Natasha, 9, Peter, 6, and Lisa, our baby. As a Christian family, we don’t hide our faith from the children. We read the Bible with them, pray, and attend worship services together. This is the most important thing in our lives.

“How are things going for your wife where she works?” Kurakin asked. “The article says she teaches English in the upper grades.”

“Yesterday, there was a faculty meeting at the school. They demanded that my wife deny her faith in God or else lose her position.”

“How did she answer them?”

“She said that believing in God gave meaning to her life. She was fired.”

“Georgi, has it ever occurred to you that you and your wife are some sort of backward fanatics?” asked Shtulberg. “Think about it: you graduated from Kiev Polytechnic Institute, and your wife graduated from Kiev University. Even after that, you’re still both believers? And you even teach your children to believe in God? On weekdays, you’re a lead engineer, and on the weekends, you’re a Baptist preacher—how can you do both? Please explain!”

1968, Georgi’s wife and children during one of their trips to visit Georgi in prison in the Ural mountains

The interview continued in this vein for about two hours. I never found out their official decision on this matter. When I was asked to leave the office, I ran into Zaporozhets, who had been pressed up against the door listening. He abruptly turned and took off, telling everyone his version of what had occurred: “Four men went into the Party secretary’s office: one Baptist and three communists. Two hours later, out came three Baptists and one still deciding!” Of course, he was exaggerating, but I knew that God had given me the opportunity to tell the bosses about my saving faith in Him.

The next Sunday, about 150 Christians gathered for worship in the forest outside of Kiev. Suddenly, KGB workers and police fell upon us as we were on our knees praying at the end of the service. They tried to arrest the preachers, but a large group of young people encircled us. After an hour of physical struggle, the police left for reinforcements. We all headed home.

When we got off the commuter train back in town, we were met by more KGB and police. They fell upon us again, intending to arrest the preachers. We huddled, then broke into singing a Christian hymn and all set off together down the street. The KGB began to beat the believers and ended up arresting nineteen of us. We were locked up in Lukyanov prison. A day later, fourteen people were released, but five of us were given fifteen-day terms. My personal acquaintance with Soviet prisons had started. I was 32.

When I returned to work fifteen days later, I discovered that, by order of the director, I had been demoted from supervisor to the engineering pool. Two months later, the director finally called me into his office.

“I defended you earlier before the Communist Party officials, but now the matter has gotten out of hand. It’s either you or me. If I don’t fire you, they’re going to remove me from my position as director. It would be better if you simply resign.”

“All right, I’ll give notice,” I agreed.

All this happened in 1962. Over thirty years later in 1995, I visited a congregation of Messianic Jews in Kiev, where I had been invited to preach. Over one hundred Jews who had received Christ as their Messiah and personal Savior attended. I was touched to hear them sing the Psalms of David in Hebrew.

At the end of the service, during a question-and-answer time, an older man about my age then stepped up to the microphone. He looked up and said, “My dear Georgi Petrovich, you’ve probably already forgotten your co-worker Isaiah [and he gave his last name] from the engineering bureau. No wonder, it was over thirty years ago! Yet I remember you well because I followed your story for many years. I read everything they wrote about you in the newspapers, but I didn’t believe the press. I just want you to know that I’m a Christian now! God lives in my heart. I believe that Christ is the Messiah of Israel and my personal Savior. So now, I’m your brother in Christ!”

After the service, Isaiah came up to me, and we embraced. I don’t know what became of my other coworkers, nor of those three bosses who summoned me in 1962, but I’ve prayed many times for their salvation as I reflected on the past. May the Lord grant that some day before God’s throne we may say, “Four men went into the Party Secretary’s office in June 1962—three Communists and one Baptist. But after a few decades, four Christians met in eternity at the feet of Jesus!”

Related Information:

The Gospel in Bonds

Moscow Express


New Studies Indicate "Legalized Marijuana Linked to a Sharp Rise in Car Crashes"
From the cover of The Cross and the Marijuana Leaf by Linda Nathan


LTRP Note: The following news story is for informational and research purposes. In relation to this story, and as more than half of the states in the U.S. have some form of legalized marijuana, please also read Linda Nathan’s article/booklet titled The Cross and the Marijuana Leaf.

By Paul A. Eisenstein
NBC News

There has been an increase by up to 6 percent in the number of highway crashes in four of the states where the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized, according to a pair of new studies.

The new reports do not prove there’s a direct risk caused by the use of marijuana among motorists, but they raise caution flags, especially since there is no easy way to test drivers to be sure if they are, in fact, under the influence of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, said David Harkey, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute.

“It’s certainly early in the game,” Harkey told NBC News. But, he warned, “We’re seeing a trend in the wrong direction.”
There are now 30 states that have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes, with Oklahoma the most recent to join the list. Click here to continue reading.


Roma Downey's Name Disappears From Proclaim 19 Speaker List - Reason Unclear From NRB Office

On October 8th, Lighthouse Trails posted the following comment when introducing Greg Reid’s new booklet Butterfly Illusions:

Roma Downey, who has never renounced her extensive New Age involvement, is now firmly entrenched and aligned with contemporary Christian leadership. Because Christian leaders and day-to-day believers have given Roma Downey a get-out-of-the-new-age free pass, Lighthouse Trails is releasing a second Roma Downey booklet today. This booklet emphasizes the danger of Downey’s most recent book, Box of Butterflies, which has been incrementally and dangerously endorsed by a wide variety of Christian leaders (listed in the booklet). In addition, a number of Christian leaders such as Rick Warren, Greg Laurie, and John MacArthur will be speaking at an event in 2019 called Proclaim 19, and Roma Downey is also one of the speakers. While some say this is no problem for this mixture of speakers at a Christian event and is only a faulty premise of guilt by association, we believe such actions by Christian leaders only give the New Age/New Spirituality further admittance into the church. Of course, many disagree with our calling out and challenging Christian leaders on such matters.

On October 19th, our editors noticed that Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett’s names were no longer listed on the Proclaim 19 website as speakers for Proclaim 19. On October 22, Lighthouse Trails editors made a call to the Washington, DC office of NRB (the organizers of Proclaim 19) and asked whether Roma Downey’s name had just been removed from the speakers list or was she actually no longer going to be speaking at the event. A man named Chuck told us that “it has not yet been decided” but then said we needed to speak with James Smith, Vice President of Communications for NRB. Mr. Smith was not available, however; thus we left a phone message. As of the writing of this post, we have not heard back.

Speakers still listed for the Proclaim 19 convention include: Greg Laurie, John MacArthur, Charles Stanley, and Rick and Kay Warren.

Two New Books: Oakland and Ironside

Witness to This Generation by Roger Oakland

                                                             (NOW AVAILABLE) RELEASED 10/5/2018


Holiness: The False & the True by Harry Ironside


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Shepherd's Bible Verse Tea - Sampler BoxIn 2010, Lighthouse Trails began a small organic tea division as a way to help support the ministry of Lighthouse Trails. Thus the creation of Shepherd's Bible Verse Tea. Each tea bag has a string with a tag, and on each tag is a KJV Bible verse (95 verses used). Since the tea division began, we have had many people tell us how much they love our tea. We hope you will consider getting a box and trying it out. It is a wonderful gift too and helps to remind people about God's wonderful Word.

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