Why the Russian Baptists Are Neither Arminians nor Calvinists

Constantine PROKHOROV

Abstract


This paper shows the fundamental reasons why the RussianUkrainian Baptists are neither Arminians nor Calvinists. In contrast to the European and American Baptists, the Russian brotherhood of Evangelical ChristiansBaptists is historically on different theological ground. Even the Communists indirectly assisted in this
process: they hung the «iron curtain» that divided not only the socialist East and capitalist West, but once again drew the line of demarcation between Eastern and Western Christianity as a whole. At the sametime, Orthodox Christians and Baptists within the USSR objectively entered into similar circumstances when they were persecuted alike and were mutually attracted to each other. The Russian Baptist authors, who wrote on predestination before perestroika, criticizing Calvinism, did not mention Arminianism as a theological alternative. The point here is not the exotic terminology, but what lies behind it, namely the principal differences between Reformed theology and the OrthodoxMolokan environment that nurtured the Russian Baptists. Opposing the Reformed doctrine of election, Russian evangelical authors contrasted it with the traditional (for all of Eastern Christianity) doctrine of salvation based on God’s foreknowledge of the spiritual decision of man. Calvinism and Arminianism became known among the Russian Baptists practically simultaneously during perestroika and not before.


Keywords


Russian Baptists; Arminians; Calvinists

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