Mission Trip June 2014
UKRAINE MISSIONS NEWS
John L. Kachelman, Jr.
IN THIS ISSUE
The Spring 2014
mission trip to
brethren in Ukraine
displaced by the
"The current situation in Ukraine is
unbelievable – brother fights against his
brother, families divide on political
issues…some become disappointed with God…
many refugees from eastern Ukraine…
Anarchy reigns in many places in the east."
The spring mission trip into Ukraine was successful from a number of
perspectives but the dominating focus is upon the tragic consequences of
Russia’s invasion and efforts to instigate the dissolution of Ukraine’s national
The chaos and turmoil that Russia is fomenting in Ukraine is largely
restricted to the two eastern oblasts of Lugansk and Donetsk. In other
locations there are feeble attempts to incite civil disturbance that results in
open warfare and so present Russia with the reason to send in military
support, but these attempts are quickly put down. You will not read of these
in the USA media but they illustrate the stubborn resolve of Ukraine to
maintain its sovereignty.
DIDUKH WITH HIS NEPHEW
ARTEM AT THE WORSHIP
John L. Kachelman, Jr.
College church of Christ
2934 East Moore Street
Searcy, Arkansas 72143
One such attempt to incite disturbance was made in Korosten, Zhitomir. A
convoy of six APCs with armed troops from Donetsk was reported in route to
the region and the security forces of Zhitomir put out an alarm. This resulted
in 600 men gathering in civil defense of their region. They surrounded the
convoy, burned the APCs, arrested eleven Russians who were in the group
and sent the rest back to Donetsk. This story has been multiplied many
times in many other locations throughout Ukraine.
The basic fact…Putin’s plans to take over all Ukraine has been stopped at
Donetsk and Lugansk (where it began) and whatever gains were initially
seized are slowly being lost as Ukraine is working to free the occupied areas
from the anarchists and pro-Russian troops.
A tragic fact is that this greedy arrogance has caused great pain. Lives
have been taken by the anarchist; property has been destroyed; lifelong
possessions have been left as a hurried evacuation was made. One of the
more sobering points was made to me by one woman being evacuated as
she said “It is sad to leave my home as I may not see it ever again.” Some
are now returning and discovering their homes were hit by munitions and
destroyed or occupied by the pro-Russians and left in total ruin.
Information is surfacing as to the conditions that existed under the proRussian Separatists who were there (according to Putin) to protect and free
the Russian speaking people of Ukraine. You will see more and more
reports detailing the horrors (unfortunately not much is coming from the USA
media and nothing from the USA government). I received this note: “Dear
PICTURES FROM THE
CHURCH OF CHRIST
John, please kindly watch this video, especially the last part of it. You will
know the BBC reporter. There are huge humanitarian needs in the city of
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMBvMuuTOWU#t=149.” This YouTube
report looks at the aftermath of Putin’s “freedom.” A congregation of God’s
People assembled in Slavyansk but most evacuated to Kyiv or Kharkov. We
have shipped humanitarian aid into Slavyansk. The devastation you see on
this short BBC report is seen throughout the regions of Lugansk and
The good news from the trip is that, as far as I know, none of our brethren
have died. Many have been displaced and left homes with only what they
could carry. Many have moved to western Ukraine where they are starting
life all over with only the bare minimal because all was left in the east as
they hurriedly fled. Many of the older widows were unable to leave but, as
far as I know, they are doing the best possible as the reports in this
At the end of this newsletter is an article that I have written on
“nationalism.” Upon my return I was invited to present a report at the West
Huntsville congregation on my trip and how it is impacting the Lord’s
Church. As I began to think of that report I was reminded that the entire
conflict in Ukraine has been caused because Russia seeks to destroy the
sovereign nationalism of Ukraine. There has been a historical pattern
whereby invading nations decimated the sovereign nationalism of the
conquered nation. The more I thought of this historical cycle the more it
dawned upon me that we are witnessing the same degrading of the Nation
of God (His Church/Kingdom). So the article at the end explores the pattern
of degrading sovereign nationalism by the invading enemy in secular nations
and makes application of this same principle to how the Holy Nation of God
(His Church/Kingdom) is under siege today by those seeking to degrade and
destroy the sovereignty of the Holy Nation.
I am appreciative of those who continue to support our efforts. Upon my
return I was saddened to learn of the passing of James Rickard by a note
from his daughter. Rick and his godly wife, Frances, have been great
encouragers of my work (teaching, writing, and missions). I was blessed by
meeting them many years ago at the Blue Ridge Family Encampment when
J.M. Powell directed that annual gathering. Rick and Frances epitomized the
character of God’s Chosen…a people of His possession, a royal priesthood,
and holy nation. I greatly loved and respected them. Their influence upon
my life and my family was invaluable!
I am in the process of visiting and reporting on my mission work. I am also
trying to meet with congregations and discuss the need for funding for
shipping our containers. The funding was paid by the US government. But
decisions have been made not to continue that funding. If you know of any
interested individual, congregation or corporation that would be interested in
helping ship tons of benevolence items into third-world nations please
contact me immediately at 901-626-4538.
—John L. Kachelman, Jr.
IVAN SKOLEBA REPORTS FROM IVANO-FRANKIVSK
Greetings, dear brothers and sisters!
CHILDREN OF THE
CHURCH OF CHRIST—
THE FUTURE BEING
We are one more month closer to meeting our Almighty God. Time flies so
fast and the realization that soon we will have to stand before our loving and
long-suffering God makes us more and more zealous in doing good and
preaching the Gospel, which has the power to change our attitude and
understanding of life.
The current situation in Ukraine is unbelievable – brother fights against his
brother, families divide on political issues. Orthodox and Catholic churches
take part in political games as well. This hardens peoples’ hearts; some
become disappointed with God. There are many refugees from eastern
Ukraine who flee their homes, leave their flats and houses and take with
them the things that are really important – passports, documents and things
necessary just for a few days. Anarchy reigns in many places in the east.
Several families have asked church for help – all of them from Donetsk.
One of them is a young family – Andrew, 26 years old, his wife (she is
pregnant with twins) and two children. Andrew called us and asked for a
shelter as he and his family had been persecuted because he was
photographed holding Ukrainian flag at a demonstration. Another family,
Vladimir with his wife and 12-year old child, said they were so scared
because shells and bombs exploded very close to their home; there were
drunken men with guns and mercenaries from Muslim countries who looted,
killed and raped. They also had to leave everything behind and go. We try to
help people as much as we can.
We are very thankful to you for your prayers and support. Thank you for
giving brother John another opportunity to come for a visit to us (and
actually to all of Ukraine). He taught from the Book of Nahum and those
lessons greatly encouraged us.
During John’s visit we were also trying to solve our registration issue. Our
new Governor promised to find out personally why this congregation of the
church of Christ has been denied registration for so long. Twelve people
came to that meeting with the governor – state officials, district mayors, chief
doctors of hospitals, headmasters of schools and children’s orphanages
(This is a small number of those whose cities, towns and villages have been
helped by the benevolence items our brethren have shipped into western
Ukraine). The Governor was surprised to see so many people present
whose purpose was to solicit favor for us and our request. The Head of the
Religious Department was strongly opposed and tried to explain things away
but the facts we had and the court rulings of last year in our favor spoke
against her. Despite all the resistance on her part she did sign the
documents. Now we ask God to take care of the procedure quickly.
Brethren, we are very thankful to you for humanitarian aid. Because of this
great amount that has been shipped in and distributed freely in many of the
communities in the Ivano-Frankivsk region many leaders of different
Ukrainian organizations publically testifies to receiving help from the Lord’s
Church in America and this is a big advantage to our work here.
There is no way to describe in detail the different ways that the Lord works
so wisely guiding our congregation of His Church. We admit that there would
be no way to achieve it without your help because politics is so entangled
with the Catholic/Orthodox Church here that it is hard to do anything that will
not interfere with their interests. Because of these obstacles we need your
financial and prayer support all the time and especially now do we depend
We continue assembling in the new meeting place. Up to twenty-eight
people attend our Sunday assemblies plus four worship with us on Skype.
The Wednesday Bible class attendance is 10-12 people; many work and
cannot make the Wednesday night class on time.
DURING JUNE 2014
Volodya is a taxi driver. He started visiting our assemblies about a year
ago. Now he is thinking about being baptized. He says that he has learned
about God and Christianity in one year more than within his whole life.
Volodya comes from a Catholic family, where traditions are followed strictly,
and the Bible is read only during big holidays and only by a priest.
We have a prayer meeting on each Friday. Our students Pavel and
Volodya graduated from Bible Institute and help actively preaching and
visiting people. We also plan to have a Christian camp for children for three
days in the mountains.
Our family is doing fine. Anya is on summer break and went to Poland five
days ago to participate in a drawing contest. She reads the Bible and cannot
understand how her Daddy could live without God for thirty years. My wife
and I always thank God for the American missionaries who came to our
nation and through whom we came to know and obey God. We are very
thankful that our children did not have to go through what we went through
when living in a nation where God was banned.
We are looking forward to having brethren from Hillsboro and Dalraida visit
with us in August, Lord willing. Thank you, brethren, for your great work.
We send big thanks to sister Debbie for her prayers and support. You are
always in our prayers as you gave your shoulder to us when we were facing
hardships, and together we have done so much for God by now.
We send big thanks to sister Kathy – she works so much and gives her life
to serving others. Thanks for the elders from Hillsboro and Dalraida for
advice, example, support and prayers. Thanks to sister Tatiana for her work,
for translating and maintaining communication with American brethren.
Thanks to the two Johns (Kachelman) for their work and support of
churches of Christ in Ukraine. Thanks to all who know us and support our
In Christian love, Ivan and Svetlana
С люб, Иван и Светлана
GREETINGS FROM YOUR BRETHREN IN
Greetings dear brothers and sisters in Christ, our Lord!
Thank you for your prayers as we need them very much. It is good to
know that we are not the only ones to pray in such difficult times that our
county, churches and families are facing.
The Lord’s Church in Ivano-Frankivsk continues fighting against biased
attitudes of our corrupted government and we do not lose hope to be
officially registered. We would like to ask you to support this intention of ours
with prayers and fellowship. We hope that God will put everything into right
place and our persistence will be rewarded.
Brother John built us up spiritually with good lessons that he taught. Those
examples of faith, hope and love written in the Bible greatly encouraged.
Thank you for supporting such missionary work, for sending humanitarian
aid and for supporting this church of Christ.
My family needs your prayers as well as because our flat does not have
enough room for all of us.
We pray for your as well, thanking God for everything.
Andrew, Marina, Anna, Sasha, Sofia
Greetings, dear brothers and sisters in Christ!
My name is Volodya and not long ago I graduated from the Bear Valley
Bible Institute in Ukraine. First of all, I would like to thank the Church and all
of you Christians for your help and support of the work of such educational
institutions in this country. Systematic study of the Word of God is very
important for spiritual growth and gives us ability to study and understand
God’s plan for all of us.
Upon graduation I returned to Western Ukraine, where my home is, and,
as you know, there are battles fought in the east of Ukraine where I went to
School. We continually pray for this disturbing situation. And I would like to
ask you to pray for this country and especially for faithful people who are
caught up in dangerous places.
John Kachelman’s latest trip was a great encouragement to us and a call
to serve God in His vineyard. The Bible classes that John taught reflected
on our today’s situation, which became clearer to us and the lessons stayed
in our hearts. Thank you for supporting and encouraging this work of John’s
trips to Ukraine and to this congregation in particular.
Upon graduation I became more involved in preaching to my family and
dear ones. I hope that all of them will follow the Gospel. Lord willing, I would
like to continue working with this congregation because so many people
need salvation and I might be able to show Christ to them.
Thank you for your prayers and support. May God bless you richly!
ANDREW EVACUATED FROM GORLOVKA, UKRAINE!
Hello dear brothers,
Yesterday was the last day when the Ukrainian military refrained from
shooting. Our president Petro Poroshenko gave the terrorists ten days to put
down their guns, but they did not do it. On the contrary Donetsk National
Republic (DNR) army used this truce to strengthen their positions, regroup
and build up their military potential. The heated fights between DNR soldiers
and Ukrainian army have already started. There are major destruction of
living quarters and offices in those towns where that opposition takes place.
Also there is an obligatory mobilization of men in Gorlovka. Men are forced
to join DNR army. In case they do not comply, they are threatened to be
killed because of the wartime laws. It is extremely difficult for those
Christians who chose to stay in Gorlovka.
“DNR terrorists kidnap, torture and threaten Christians in Donetsk area.
Armed insurgents of the terrorist organization Donetsk National Republic
(DNR) are steadily following their statute that denies freedom of belief.”
BIBLE CLASSES IN
As I have written to you earlier, I managed to escape Gorlovka. We left our
home and belongings in the occupied town. Understanding the situation
properly, we know that there is a huge possibility that we may lose
everything. I am with my family at the moment in a small town near Kiev. We
live at the church building and the local preacher, Andrey Pomaz has done a
lot make us as comfortable as possible. We are grateful for the help of our
American brethren who gave money for us to buy furniture, necessary
things, and having Internet here.
We continue working actively for the Lord’s Cause. I teach Bible classes
here on Wednesdays on 1 Corinthians. I preach at the Church every
Sunday. On Tuesdays and Thursdays we evangelize to the citizens of the
town. I also teach Bible classes for young people on Wednesday nights. And
we visit church members regularly. I am grateful for preacher Andrey’s help;
we have studied together at BVBIU in Kramatorsk. He provided me with an
opportunity to work with the Church in this town. Being so involved with the
Church work distracts from sad thoughts. The fellowship with these
hospitable Christians who are always eager to meet with us fills us with joy
in the midst of these tribulations.
The town we are staying at is not very big at all. Its population consists of
17,000 people. They are very open-minded and friendly, and it allows us to
make good contacts easily. Every day my family and I go for walks outside
the town, where we enjoy beautiful scenery and nature, ponds and forests.
There are also many interesting places in this area, and we go sightseeing
with Andrey and his family.
I call Christians who stayed in Gorlovka daily. They hear sounds of
shootings and explosions every day. It has been hard on them mentally;
nevertheless they depend on the Lord, hoping that they will live through
these difficult times.
I am grateful that in this most difficult time in the history of Ukraine you
continue expressing care for the church, BVBIU and my family.
We thank God for your love and support.
In Christ, Andrew Zhuravlyov—Андрей Журавлев
Previously at the Gorlovka church of Christ but evacuated to Kyiv Region
DENIS SOPELNIK SENDS NEWS ABOUT THE BIBLICAL
INSTITUTE MOVED TO TERNOPOL, UKRAINE
From the church of Christ in Ternopol
Hello dear brothers, families and churches.
The Bible Institute moves to Ternopil.
So it is almost a month since that horrible event when armed insurgents
took the building where the Bible institute and the Church were. Even now
there are armed people in our building who keep it under their control. My
family and I were forced to leave Gorlovka and move to Ternopil. It is
situated at the center of western Ukraine. There are very few churches of
Christ in this part of the country. Maybe it was God’s plan to spread the
gospel and help churches in this part of the country.
Ternopil is a regional center with the population of more than 250,000
people. The city grows annually. There are many new buildings, parks and a
wonderful climate. The people who live here speak Ukrainian and love their
country and culture.
During June I was looking for an appropriate place for the institute. I
visited local churches of Christ. Some of them were willing to help us, but
they did not have enough space. They were offering help to those who had
to flee for their lives. I have had many meetings with the owners of offices
and buildings. Some of them were cautious with me because I am from
eastern Ukraine; others were afraid that Christians would be meeting on
their property. The main religions on this territory are Catholicism and
Eastern Orthodox. However the Lord has blessed me with an opportunity to
find a small good place in the residential district area for quite reasonable
price. Now the Bible Institute will stay in Ternopil for a year, and we will see
what happens next. The military action might be over by the end of the
summer, but there will be still a lot of arms circulating among the population.
There will be acts of terrorism and racketeering. Police will have to do a lot
of work to disarm the population. Thank you for your prayers and assurance
in the future of the institute. During the next two months I will be actively
looking for new students. It is very difficult to predict the results since our
country is still in the state of stress and shock. Yet the work of God should
A few words about the graduates of 2014.
Alexey Mitskutis, his wife Alina and their daughter Ulyana moved to
Russia. Alexey was offered a preacher’s position at the church of Christ in
Ukhta. We pray for his ministry and work in this Church to bring fruits, and
his actions would recruit new students for the institute.
Vladimir Didukh moved back to his hometown Ivano-Frankivsk (Western
Ukraine). He preaches at the church there, helps brethren in their ministry
and participates in spreading humanitarian aid.
Pavel Glinskiy ministers at the church in Krasnoarmeysk and plans on
starting a Church in his hometown where he has many relatives.
Pavel Tuznichenko ministers in Ivano-Frankivsk, preaches the gospel
there and assists in spreading the humanitarian aid.
Vlad Borisenko helps the church in Krasnoarmeysk.
Katya Kadenko moved to Ternopil because of the military actions in her
hometown, and she helps the Bible institute and the Church here.
Katya Gayvoronskaya helps her husband in his ministry.
Thank you for your help and support of the Bible institute’s work. We are
grateful for your prayers and ask you to continue praying for peace in
Your brother and coworker for the Lord’s cause, Dennis Sopelnik
“I became more involved in preaching to my family and dear ones. I hope that all of them
will follow the Gospel. Lord willing, I would like to continue working with this congregation
because so many people need salvation and I might be able to show Christ to them.”
OUR DEAR BROTHER IMMADI SENDS A REPORT!
In a recent email to David Lawyer we received this communication from
Immadi regarding the Lord’s work in India.
Greetings in the merciful name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Sir, I and the preachers here once again thank you for your love. Your love
is according to the word of God. In I John 3:18 we find that love with deeds
not in words. Your love is not in vain words but it is always with great
actions. Thank you very much.
Sir, I have registered an NGO. It needs FRCA number. If we get that we
can easily take containers here in India. It authorizes us to receive donations
from abroad also. You can come and stay six months in a year. I am trying
to get that number. Any way please wait two months and then kindly send
Volodya and Paval
graduated from Bear Valley
Biblical Institute and are
eager to begin fulltime
work for the Lord.
My name is Volodya and
not long ago I graduated
from the Bear Valley Bible
Institute in Ukraine. First of
all, I would like to thank the
Church and all of you
Christians for your help and
support of the work of such
educational institutions in
graduation I returned to
Western Ukraine, where my
home is…Upon graduation I
became more involved in
preaching to my family and
dear ones. I hope that all of
them will follow the Gospel.
Lord willing, I would like to
continue working with this
congregation because so
many people need salvation
and I might be able to show
Christ to them. Thank you
for your prayers and
support. May God bless
My life ambition is to have a Bible college in Jadcherla. You sent me in the
past valuable books. The important one is your dad's Bible. Brother Robert
Lawyer’s Master Bible, I have it with me. It is helping me to teach on every
subject. When I get funds, I can run a Bible college. I want to run an orphan
home also because it is needed in our district.
Sir, our Mahabubnagar district is a poor district. No projects, no dams, no
rivers. We have no Industries also. Agriculture is depended on monsoon.
Since many years we have no rains. This year monsoon failed bitterly. Most
of the people are laborers. They go and work in other states specially
Maharashtra. Its capital is Mumbai. So many go and work in Mumbai.
Mumbai is famous for prostitution. Many men from this district go and work
in Mumbai. They leave their families here and go and work there. They are
away from their families for a long time. So most of them are going to
prostitutes and getting aids.
One of our church member Saidulu went to Mumbai some years back. He
stayed three years there. He was affected by aids. After coming back here
his wife was affected by that disease because of him. Two years back he
died. One month back his wife died. They have two sons. One is Sreenivas
and another is Samuel. One is 9 years old and another is 7 years old. They
were living in a small rented hut. After the death of these two persons, the
owner of the hut vacated these boys from house. Their relatives also poor.
Few days they fed them. After that these two were starving. So because of
the situation I was compelled to take them into my house. Now they are with
I joined them also in a school. Sir, you know my situation. But I decided to
take care of them by cutting my expenses. I am writing all these things
because we need an orphan home. Many other orphans also there in this
area. I know your situation. Hence, so far i did not inform this to you. I am
not writing this to ask you money. So sir, kindly pray for orphan home and
Bible college please.
We once again thank you for your kind alms. You are in our daily prayers.
Kindly pray for us and for the work here.
Closing with love, yours in His service,
“Your love is according to the word of God. In I John 3:18 we find
that love with deeds not in words. Your love is not in vain words
but it is always with great actions. Thank you very much.”
Summary of Expenses: Mission Trip June 2014
“Hearty Greetings and
salutes to you all in the
Holy name of Jesus
Christ, we hope and pray
that this letter finds you
all in good health and
Ibrahimpatnam Church of
Christ has been praying
for you all and for
development. Our aim is
one that the perishing
souls should be saved in
the name of Jesus
Christ. We cannot forget
your love, cooperation,
encouragement for the
development of God’s
work in India…By God’s
grace our ministry work
was going very well, in
different places we had
conducted the gospel
keeping one special
request in front of you. In
different places of India
so many poor people are
asking the Telugu
language BIBLES. On
8th July 14 preachers’
went on and 74
preachers attended and
also asked some Bibles.
In that preachers’
preachers had prayed
Church Supplies $668.97
Interpreter/expenses $700.00 (28 days at $25.00 per day)
Office Expenses/Miscellaneous $542.93
Transportation in Ukraine $1,008.79
Airfare to/from Ukraine $2,095.00
Total Expenses: $7,808.89
Special donations received for mission trip June 2014: $4,800.00
The following are those who contribute monthly, one-time,
quarterly, for the orphans, and some for trip expenses.
Thank you for your support of this work!
COLLEGE CHURCH OF CHRIST (SEARCY, ARKANSAS)
Bartlett Woods church of Christ
Clarkson church of Christ
Dalraida church of Christ
East Brainerd church of Christ
Friendship church of Christ
Jerusalem church of Christ
Knob Creek church of Christ
Meridianville church of Christ
North Lexington church of Christ
Pleasant View church of Christ
Rivergate church of Christ
Wayne Furnace church of Christ
West Huntsville church of Christ
Winchester Road church of Christ
Harold & Jean Bridges
Melvin & Carolyn Brown
Brian & Rebekah Coggins
Ford & Charlene Colclasure
Rick & Susan Crawford
Joel & Anna Davenport
Eldon & Lanell England
Bobby & Mary Belle Holland
Jerry & Marilyn Jones
Jack & Sandra Kachelman
Tim & Debbie Meek
David & Peggy Moore
Dave & Cindy Walden
James & Weda Walden
“Wherever I am conducting the prayer meeting I am conducting
a special prayer about you. Please pray for the families of
the preachers, the orphans, widows, church members
and elders. We are conveying our thanks and salutes
to you and praying for you. Please pray for us.” (India)
To Supporters of Ukraine Missions:
Financial Data—June 2014
Dear brethren, below is the summary of the financial expenses/income
for the month of June. Some give monthly, others on some other regular
basis, some give one-time only and some give for the mission trips. If you
know of others interested in supporting our efforts please have them
contact me! Thank you for what you are able to do!
It is your support
that allows me to
expense in these
latest trip was a great
encouragement to us
and a call to serve God
in His vineyard. The
Bible classes that John
taught reflected on our
today’s situation, which
became clearer to us
and the lessons stayed in
our hearts. Thank you
for supporting and
encouraging this work of
John’s trips to Ukraine
and to this congregation
I hope my frequent updates communicate how valuable your mission
dollars are and how they are used to help the Lord. Thank you for your
financial help because it is critical. Your funding is helping us to go into
ALL the world with the gospel and bringing glory to God!
SUPPORT RECEIVED…JUNE 2014 $8,082.00
Pleasant View church of Christ
Clarkson church of Christ
Dalraida Church of Christ
Jerusalem church of Christ
Meridianville church of Christ
North Lexington church of Christ
Rivergate church of Christ
Wayne Furnace church of Christ
West Huntsville church of Christ
Melvin & Carolyn Brown
Brian & Rebekah Coggins
Ford & Charlene Colclasure
Joel & Anna Davenport
Eldon & Lanell England
Bobby & Mary Belle Holland
Jerry & Marilyn Jones
Jack & Sandra Kachelman
Tim & Debbie Meek
David & Peggy Moore
EXPENSES OF MISSION ACTIONS…June 2014 $7,983.67
During June I had total expenses of $7,983.67 charged to the Ukraine
Mission account. Some usual expenses were paid from the funds spent on
this mission trip. June expenses included: helping with churches support
and expenses in Ukraine ($650.00); salaries in Ukraine ($200.00); expenses
associated with mission trip ($275.00) office expenses supplies ($64.14);
taxes in Ukraine ($85.00); unreimbursed travel expenses in USA ($75.00);
help to orphans ($600.00); personal reimbursements (expenses; salary;
insurances; etc) ($5,934.53).
“Thanks to American brethren for bringing the
church of Christ in western Ukraine and to IvanoFrankivsk. Thanks to American brethren for the
opportunity I and my mom had to hear and obey
the gospel. May God bless you for your kindness
and compassion to the lost.”
Nationalism and the Nation of God “are not all Israel who are from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendents” BY JOHN L. KACHELMAN JR. A
recent mission trip to Ukraine reminded me of a basic principle of God’s civil governing on earth, and the sobering challenge it presents to God’s spiritual governing in His Church. The current struggles in Ukraine are focused upon that country as a nation and its nationalistic spirit. Russia seeks to destroy the nationalism of Ukraine and fold it back into the “new USSR.” God created earth with the intention that man work and find satisfaction in earthly pursuits. In order for man to enjoy earthly living God established a clear structure for civil behavior. The basic fact is that man cannot find joy and satisfaction in an unregulated environment; mankind needs rules and structure in order to live with satisfaction. In the Garden this structure was presented and man was expected to comply without any modifications. After the Fall and consequent expulsion from the Garden, this basic governing was still required but was to be found in the civics of the community in which men lived. This community, in a broad sense, was termed a “nation.” In Genesis 10:32, following the Flood, we have Inspiration’s description detailing the “nations” of the world. satisfaction as they followed righteousness. Each nation would choose either to follow God or to reject God. That choice would result in a national satisfaction or turmoil (Psalm 33:12; 43:1; Proverbs 14:34). The fact that God designed mankind to find satisfaction on earth by living under a national order is most instructive. Such a point frames the role of the Lord’s Church. Prophetically, Psalm 106:5 states “That I may see the prosperity of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance.” The structure and behavior of the earthly nations illustrates the spiritual Nation of God, which is also identified as the Kingdom of God or the church of Christ. Nationalism and the Nation of God unique to the particular nation and its citizens A common citizenship that is held in high regard and guarded with vigilance A common defense for the maintenance
Discovering this basic fact about the governing of earth’s civil communities (worldly nations) and how that was a type for the governing of God’s spiritual community (the Church), some interesting observations follow.
The term “nation” refers to a “massing of bodies” into a common community. Thus, God’s intention was for the world to be populated by various communities and regulated in ways that would permit them to find satisfaction. Consequently, if God’s plan was followed mankind would have satisfaction in earthly living. People would mass themselves together into one “nation” and thus be distinguished by that group’s unique traits and find A common belief that is exclusive and The first observation is that earthly nationalism is maintained by a number of variables, including the following: and protection of the nation The second observation comes from history. The nations of the earth have been in a constant flux and many have simply ceased to exist. The destruction of a particular nation is accomplished as its security is compromised and the changes to the principles that contributed to its greatness begin to occur. This can be illustrated by looking at the capture and assimilation of God’s Nation into the Babylonian Exile or by looking at the secular capture and assimilation of secular nations by the former USSR. In the current time, this is illustrated as Russia seeks to redraw the geo‐political lines and form a “New Russia.” In order to succeed in this effort Russia will have to destroy all nations that are absorbed into its “new” national borders. Here are some of the more obvious changes that lead to a nation’s destruction: A common language that communicates Confusing the language and replacing the distinctive speech. Usually there will and coalesces the many into “one” be a change of the national language for A common pledge to maintain the a simple reason—language is what security and distinctiveness of the nation distinguishes the uniqueness of a people A common symbol—flag; a governing (remember Ephraim’s “sibboleth” in Judges 12:6?). One cannot change the (Constitution); unique behaviors; etc accent but one can change the A common unity—there is a national distinctiveness of the national language). “unity” whereby all are assimilated into In the case of the conquering Soviet one body; one governing; one language—
Empire, all national languages were all facets combine to present “one replaced with Russian. In the case of nation” to the onlookers and from this Alexander the Great, all began to use common unity is a common strength Greek. The reason is simple: if you 1 July 8, 2014 replace the national language, you erase one of the most distinctive features of a nation! So, to destroy a nation you have to remove its distinctive language. In fact, one point that Russia uses to justify its criminal actions is that it is “defending all Russian speaking people.” In Ukraine there were no threats against the Russian language. But there was a desire for Ukraine to do business in the Ukrainian language. Redefining the pledge so allegiance is not given to the individual nation but to the invading entity. The story of Daniel and the three Hebrew boys illustrate this point; they were taken to Babylon and attempts at retraining in all of the Babylonian ways were made (Daniel 1). In secular history, the USSR invaded and removed all national distinctions so all nations under the Soviet flag would be similar. The entire point is to remove the distinctiveness that marks a nation as unique. Replacing symbols of distinctiveness. The national flag is banned. The symbols that keep the nations as distinct entities are removed. In my recent trip through Ukraine I was asked several times “Have you ever seen so many Ukrainian flags flying?” And the ring tones of mobile phones were the national anthem of Ukraine. The citizens of Ukraine were making a very visible point—they are proud of their nation and show that pride. Any nation whose citizens or elected leaders fail to show pride in the national symbols surrender the national pride. Why would any elected leader refuse to honor that nation’s flag? Ukraine’s current actions illustrate this point very well. Destroying national unity. As long as a nation remains united it will not capitulate to outside forces. But once the unity is compromised the strength becomes a weakness. Condemning the common belief system. Each nation is held together by common beliefs and behaviors. In order for the invading nation to conquer its target, it must remove the national beliefs that are the pillars of support. Remove those pillars and you remove the national sovereignty. Scoffing at the citizenship’s value. In order to conquer a nation, its citizens must feel that their citizenship in that nation is a detriment to their worth and that casting aside the citizenship is a matter of little significance. So many in the targeted nations are willing to give up their national Nationalism and the Nation of God passport and become absorbed in the nation there must be a commonly shared language that communicates that nation’s population of the conquering nation. principles, behaviors, and laws. If there is Degrading, ignoring, surrendering the not this common language then there will defensive strategies that have given be a confusion and division. Inspiration security. If one feels that citizenship is of urges that “that ye all speak the same thing no value, that the governing rules are not and that there be no divisions among you; essential, that the common belief system is but that ye be perfected together in the inferior and detrimental, then there will be same mind and in the same judgment” (1 little effort to defend the symbols or fight Corinthians 1:10). If God’s nation to safeguard national unity. Once this compromises the language of Inspiration’s objective is accomplished, the removal of revelation, that nation will be the sovereign nation is complete! It may compromised. maintain its name and offer a façade of its former statehood, but it is no longer a A tragic illustration of how the national language of God’s People can be sovereign community. compromised and thus defile that nation is Observe how the two previous points found in Nehemiah 13:24. There the applies to the Lord’s Church. The Kingdom Scripture sadly notes, “and their children of God is recognized throughout Scripture spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and as a spiritual entity identified as a “nation.” could not speak in the Jews' language.” This nation’s presence was promised in prophecy, prepared by countless prophets, This tragedy is replayed in many and provided in the first century; it remains congregations where biblical words, present, as a visible, physical entity today phrases and commands are revised to support a compromise in the distinctive (Jeremiah 31:36; Micah 4:7; 1 Peter 2:9). language expected from members of God’s The fact that God’s spiritual nation has Church. been established cannot be denied. But neither can it be denied that the spiritual We MUST NOT PERMIT a redefining of the nation of God can become compromised pledge to be God’s “holy” people. In by corruption so that it ceases to be God’s becoming a Christian one confesses Jesus is Church/Kingdom. (See Revelation 2‐3—the the Christ the Son of God. That confession congregating assembly remained but it was expresses to God a commitment that the good confession will not be compromised no longer a part of God’s Holy Nation.) or redefined to include doctrines, beliefs, This highlights a sad fact: just as worldly practices or partnership with any that nations are conquered and lose their refuse to follow wholly the New Testament sovereignty, such can happen to the Lord’s directives. The Nation of God must adhere spiritual nation! Bible truth verifies this, to a pledge that she will seek only the Lord and historical truth exemplifies this—the Christ and turns away from other enticing compromise and cessation of beliefs and practices not directed by the congregations that once were strong in New Testament (Galatians 6:14). Those faith and dedication to truth, sadly have who hold to the pledge to seek Christ’s fallen into apostasy. authority for all beliefs, practices, and The questions ask, “How did the Holy involvement hold tenaciously to the Nation of God (the various congregations) demands of biblical authority. When asked become conquered and apostate? How did about a practice, belief, or involvement in they lose their national distinction?” The activities they join the Apostle Paul asking answers are found in the two previous “What saith the Scriptures?” (Romans 4:3). observations—the Holy Nation of God Congregations that allow emotionalism capitulates in the same way that worldly and “church growth dreams” dictate what nations surrender to those seeking to the congregation does have redefined the invade and dominate them. In order to National pledge to follow God’s Word. preserve the sovereignty, integrity and We MUST NOT PERMIT a replacing of the distinctiveness that the Almighty expects critical symbols of distinctiveness. God’s from His Holy Nation, these steps must be Nation is easily identified by its understood. distinctiveness. Some of the areas of We MUST NOT PERMIT a confusing the distinctiveness characterizing God’s Nation language and replacing the distinctive include: congregational singing without speech. In order for unity to exist in any mechanical instruments of music; 2 July 8, 2014 preaching and teaching from the Bible; the observance of the Lord’s Supper every Sunday; the autonomy of each congregation as it follows the Rule of Law for the Nation (the New Testament); the proper gender roles for leadership; the desire to uncompromisingly follow the directives of the New Testament Law. Members of the Lord’s Church have a great duty to make sure the local congregation is following the New Testament pattern and is known for its distinctiveness. Whenever any of these critical aspects are ignored or replaced by the progressiveness of devilish doctrines the Nation of God will be “devoured” by Satan (1 Peter 5:8). The local congregation that permits any of the distinctive elements of the New Testament to be replaced will quickly fall into apostasy! We MUST NOT PERMIT a destroying of national unity. There is an unconquerable strength in unity—any nation that remains united will be strong. When divisions occur strength is lessened. It is because of this truth that God is so insistent that His Church—strenuously guard its unity. Those who seek to divide are to be marked and closely watched because they hold to “contrary” doctrines that weaken the Nation of God (Romans 16:17). Because Satan’s partners are trying to teach a “different” doctrine and urge a “different” practice, it is essential that the factious be isolated and disassociated (1 Corinthians 11:19). Hence those desiring to maintain the national unity must not associate with or give audience to any who seek to cause divisions. Commanding this vigilance are the words of Hebrews 13:9, “Be not carried away by divers and strange teachings.” We MUST NOT PERMIT a condemning of the common belief system. Inspiration addresses those who share the common belief system in God’s Nation with these words, “to them that have obtained a like precious faith with us in the righteousness of our God and the Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1). The word translated as “precious” refers to a value attached to an object, making it unique and valuable Inspiration is proclaiming that the Holy Nation of God is united by a faith that is different from all others. Indeed, there is but “ONE faith” (Ephesians 4:5). This “ONE faith” is not a tolerant compilation of various spiritual wishes and hopes. This “ONE faith” is that system of belief and practices that distinguished the Holy Nationalism and the Nation of God Kingdom of God in the first century and Sadly, many congregations have accepted the invitation to go to the plains of Ono must be maintained today! and surrender the distinctiveness of God’s We MUST NOT PERMIT a scoffing at the Church. Christian soldiers should be heroic citizenship’s value. The Christian’s greatest and refuse invitations to accept worldly blessing is stated simply “Our citizenship is compromises! (Nehemiah 6:2‐4; 1 in heaven” (Philippians 3:20). Why would Corinthians 15:58). anyone seek to cast aside that blessing and return to “Egypt?” Citizenship demands SOME CONCLUDING THOUGHTS… allegiance to the governing of the nation in Civilization’s narrative is filled with the rise which that citizenship is found. This is and fall of world empires. These rose to another demand for distinctiveness as pinnacles of supremacy only to fall with God’s Holy Nation. The admonition to sudden catastrophe. Such is the forever ancient physical Israel is applicable to fate of worldly nations. But we have God’s spiritual Israel today, “You shall not received a Kingdom that will never be follow the masses in doing evil” (Exodus destroyed! (Daniel 2:44). As eternal as this 23). God’s Holy Nation—His Church—must Kingdom is, there is the citizenship NOT show a callous disrespect or disregard requirement that all must follow God’s to her citizenship of heaven and call to be commands to honor, uphold, and defend it distinctive. from dark forces of evil men seeking to We MUST NOT PERMIT a degrading, compromise its “holy” character (Hebrews ignoring, or a surrendering of the 12:28, 29). Consequently… defensive strategies that have given We must maintain the critical symbols of security to God’s Holy Nation. There must our distinctiveness as God’s “Holy” People be an aggressive defense of God’s Holy dedicated to God’s distinctive doctrine. Nation. Soldiers of Christ must arise and There are definite “traditions” that God staunchly defend the Holy Nation! This expects His Holy Nation—His Church/
action is portrayed very well in the book of Kingdom—to keep with all diligence. Listen Nehemiah (4:14‐20). In that narrative to Inspiration, “So then, brethren, stand God’s nation was doing a great work but fast, and hold the traditions which ye were was being invited to compromise and join taught, whether by word, or by epistle of the ungodly. God’s Nation refused and ours” (2 Thessalonians 2:15). These developed a defensive plan—all were to be “traditions” are the marks of doctrinal armed and when danger arose at one point distinctiveness that have separated God’s all would rush to that defense. And the Holy Nation from the rest of the religiously plan worked because God’s Nation refused minded world. to be indifferent to the dangers. We must hold high the banner of Christ In much the same way as God’s Nation in (Galatians 6:14). Never be ashamed of the Nehemiah’s day functioned, God’s Church church of Christ—it is God’s Holy Nation! should similarly act when it is threatened. “This charge I commit unto thee, my child Some claim there is an over‐emphasis on Timothy, according to the prophecies which worship music or immersion and they led the way to thee, that by them thou chide the Lord’s Church for focusing on mayest war the good warfare; holding faith such. But these enemies of the cross fail to and a good conscience; which some having understand we are doing exactly what thrust from them made shipwreck Nehemiah did. concerning the faith” (1 Timothy 1:18, 19; God’s Church must be defended (Ephesians See also 2 Timothy 1:7, 8). We must hold 6:10‐18). That defense is with God’s high the banner of Christ when Satan’s evil inspired Word by which a definite partners seek to infiltrate and compromise “distinction” is made between the holy and the distinctiveness of the local the profane (See Leviticus 10:10‐11 which congregation (Jude 3, 4, 8, 10, 11). offers a clear command to the priests that In this world of ever‐changing national remains applicable to the holy priesthood borders, let us NEVER minimize, disrespect, of God’s Church). The defense of God’s moderate, modify, compromise, or silence Holy Nation must be bold; members must the Holy Nation—the Church—of God! courageously stand for God’s Truth when cultural compromises seek to lure the Holy Nation into apostasy (2 Timothy 3:1‐5, 13‐
(John L. Kachelman, Jr., Searcy, AR 17). [email protected] ) 3 July 8, 2014 For more information on the work in Ukraine visit