In the midst of a violent storm at sea, an unbelieving ship captain challenged the prophet Jonah to pray:
So the captain came and said to him, “What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish.” Jonah 1:6
Likewise, Cyrus, pagan King of Persia, freed the Jews and made provision for the building of the temple. (see the book of Ezra).
Now we have Vladimir Putin, Russian President and former KGB agent, challenging the United States on its retreat from Christianity. Putin is reported as stating in a recent address to his nation,
“Many Euro-Atlantic countries have moved away from their roots, including
Christian values. Policies are being pursued that place on the same level a multi-child family and a same-sex partnership, a faith in God and a belief in Satan. This is the path to degradation.” Read more.
Putin is, of course correct in his assessment that the US is drifting from its Christian moorings. One would have to live under a rock not to notice the un-Christian and anti-Christian lean the nation has taken during the last several decades.
But don’t be fooled, dear friends. Putin’ puritanical streak is no indication of a burgeoning Christian faith. While his reign in modern Russia is noted for its conservative stances against homosexuality and favorability toward religion, particularly in the form of the traditional Russian Orthodox Church, the Russian leader is not necessarily of the household of faith.
Rather, I suspect, his “moral” strictness may be compared to that of intolerant Muslims, Communist China under Mao, or the rule of Idi Amin in Uganda. It’s not about faith. It’s not about God. It’s not about the Savior Jesus Christ. It’s about power. Control the urges and desires of the people; demand moral discipline; call it “for the good of the people.” These are, historically, pathways to power.
We who are Christians should not give up on Vladimir Putin, however. We should pray for him. He may yet come to faith in Jesus Christ. He may prove to be a great Christian leader someday. I do not believe he is there at this point.