Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
In a recent article, “Eastern Europe’s Christian Reawakening” Filip Mazurczak illustrates that there is a shift in thought and morals among those in Eastern Europe. He writes,
In Hungary, Croatia, and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, a pro-family, pro-life revolution and a rediscovery of Christian roots is occurring. While few in the American media have noticed, this trend should challenge those who simply lament Europe’s moral malaise. Unnoticed in the shadow of a secularized west, religion’s public role has been growing in the east since the collapse of communism.
The interesting thing is that this is happening while the West becomes more secular. While the West slides further away from their Christian roots (I am reminded of the poignant statement by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in his Templeton Prize Lecture, May 10, 1983: "Men have forgotten God."), the East is experiencing a “reawakening” to their Christian past.
While many academics speak of Europe as a uniform secularized continent, two decades after the collapse of Communism it is more accurate, if still too simple, to speak of two Europes: a West that has largely abandoned its religious roots, and an East that is rediscovering its heritage.
Mazurczak does not desire to paint with a brush that is too broad in that he acknowledges Eastern Europe still shares many of the similar problems of Western Europe. But he recognizes something that few are acknowledging. The key question: can they rediscover their heritage and use that to build today for the future?
Too often when there is a rediscovery of a heritage there is an attempt to return to the “good old days.” It is important to remember that often for those who lived then the days were not so “good” and it is simply impossible to return because it is “old” and cannot be reconstituted. It is important to learn what we can and must from the past so that we can live faithfully and fruitfully today, and thus, by God’s grace, make a difference for the tomorrows.