Nashville, Tennessee — On the eve of the release of The Kremlin Conspiracy, I was invited to deliver a keynote address to the National Religious Broadcasters convention.
Here is a link to the full text of my speech. We will post the video when it’s available.
The following are selected excerpts from the speech:
Preaching the gospel in the open air is now illegal in Russia. So is sharing the gospel with friends and coworkers—even in your own home. So is inviting friends to come to church to hear the Word of God. Christianity Today described the new Russian law signed in July 2016 as the “most restrictive measures [against religious freedom] in post-Soviet history”….
143 million people spread across eleven time zones are slaves of an evil they either cannot see or cannot stop. We must stand with our brothers and sisters who love Christ but hear the prison doors closing and locking around them. We dare not put our lamp under a bushel. The Billy Graham era may be over, but we must never stop communicating the Good News, especially to nations enslaved by cruel and wicked tyrants….
Darkness is falling in Russia. A new czar has risen, and his name is Vladimir Putin. Putin calls himself a Christian, but he has declared war on the gospel.
Opponents wind up in jail. Journalists disappear or die. The economy is suffocating. Poverty is rampant. Deaths by alcoholism and drug overdoses are exploding. Since Putin came to power in 2000, the population has shrunk by more than three million people. They’re not emigrating. They’re dying. One in four Russian men die before age fifty-five. And Russians aren’t having enough children to replace themselves. Why would they? They have no hope.
Yet on March 18—barring something unforeseen—Russians will go to the polls and re-elect Vladimir Putin once again, giving him power to rule until 2024. Why? If life is so dismal in post-Soviet Russia, why is Putin so popular? Why should it matter to our leaders in Washington that by the end of his next term, Putin will have ruled for nearly a quarter of century? And why should any of this matter to you and the American Evangelical movement? Allow me to take those questions one at a time….
Why should any of this matter to leaders in Washington and the West?
Because Vladimir Putin poses a grave and growing threat to the national security of the United States and our allies of any power in the world—greater than Radical Islam, greater than Iran or North Korea or China….
Putin made global headlines around the world by announcing that Russia has developed new first-strike nuclear missiles and state-of-the-art hypersonic underwater torpedoes that make NATO defenses “completely useless.” In an angry, menacing State of the Union address, the Russian president vowed that “Russia cannot be contained.” He explained when and how Russia will use nuclear weapons against her enemies. He complained no one has been listening to his threats and promises of nuclear superiority over the West. “Listen now,” he warned. “I’m not bluffing.”
Putin is hungry for wealth, hungrier for power, hungrier still for territory. He must be stopped, yet no one is stopping him….
Putin is that he sees himself as a modern-day czar. He’s not a Communist. He’s not a Marxist or Leninist. He is, rather, an imperialist. He feels humiliated by the collapse of the Soviet Empire. He sees his mission as rebuilding the glory of Mother Russia, and to that end, he is hell-bent on expanding Russia’s borders.
“My historical mission,” he once said, is to stop “the collapse of the USSR. . . . If I can help save Russia from collapse, then I’ll have something to be proud of. “The monarch [that is, the czar] doesn’t have to worry about whether or not he will be elected, or about petty political interests, or about how to influence the electorate. He can think about the destiny of the people and not become distracted with trivialities.” Thus, one part mafia kingpin, one part imperialist czar, Putin is . . .
- rebuilding the Russian offensive war machine, o rebuilding Russia’s strategic and tactical nuclear forces
- selling advanced weapons and even nuclear technology to Iran
- selling weapons to North Korea
- invading her neighbors, o silencing his critics
- threatening the West.
The big question is: What’s next?