Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

From atheism to faith

Sorry for the quiet spell. I am still in Russia at present and have been struggling with internet access over the past few days. I will probably only be able to write again after 1 May.

On Monday and Tuesday I was in a small town, about 80 km (50 miles) from Moscow. On a previous trip to Russia I had met a man from this town who describes himself as an “unbeliever”. He had grown up in Communist times when faith was illegal. Since meeting with him about a year ago, we had kept regular e-mail contact. Although he is extremely intelligent (he is an engineer and has the ability to communicate well in English, something which very few Russians can do), and he is truly interested in faith issues, he reckons that he is too old to come to faith now. He is 60. When he heard that I’m coming back to Russia this year, he invited me to visit him at his home. On Monday evening he told me that he regularly reads his Bible. For this he mostly uses an English translation. He is busy with the gospels at present, which he describes as an interesting collection of “short stories”. But there is absolutely no relationship in his mind between the stories written in the gospels and God. He asked me what the meaning of these “short stories” are, and I tried to explain, being very careful not to offend him, that he should realise that these stories are in fact helping the reader to understand who God is and how we can come to faith in Him. But he immediately responded that he is an unbeliever and that he is too old to come to faith.

Well, I just encouraged him to keep on reading the “short stories” in the Bible, realising that God is so much more powerful than I am and that anything I say at this point could most probably strengthen his conviction that it is impossible for him to come to faith, while we all know that God can speak through the Bible in a way that I never can.

What would you have done if you had been in my situation?


Friday, April 27, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. […] gives a new face to the meaning of dialogue with other religions. Those of you who read my blog on From atheism to faith may realise that in a certain sense this is what I was attempting to do when I started discussing […]

    Pingback by Mission as dialogue « Mission Issues | Thursday, May 10, 2007 | Reply

  2. […] this in a very real way in Russia. When I went to visit my atheist friend, (you can read the story here), I found that he is regularly reading a Bible. At this stage it is nothing more to him than a […]

    Pingback by Second rule for dialogue: Divine omnipresence « Mission Issues | Monday, May 14, 2007 | Reply

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