Religious freedom dying in Russia, missionary says


By Diana Chandler - Posted at Baptist Press:

ORYOL, Russia (BP) -- Russia's nationwide outlaw of Jehovah's Witnesses will likely ricochet and strike other religions outside of Russian Orthodoxy there, said a Baptist missionary forced to shut down his church in central Russia.

"The repression that has already started, in my opinion, it is likely to continue to get worse," Donald Ossewaarde told Baptist Press April 27th by telephone from his home in Oryol. "I don't see any sign that the Russian government is having a change of heart."

Ossewaarde, an Independent Baptist, has exhausted his appeals in Russia on an August 2016 conviction of operating a church without a permit under the 2016 anti-religion Yarovaya Law and is making plans to return May 8 to his home in Elgin, Ill. The Baptist ministry he had legally operated since 2002 will cease in the nation where Ossewaarde said every religion outside Russian Orthodoxy is considered a cult, including Protestantism.

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