BBC Notes Evangelical Church Role in Anti-Gay Legislation in Ukraine

A few days ago, the BBC reported on pending legislation in Ukraine which would criminalise any “positive depiction” of gay people. The report notes the involvement of the Christian Hope evangelical church in Kiev, describing it as  “One of the legislation’s incubators”. The article includes an encounter with the church’s pastor, Valery Reshetinsky:

In his opinion, freedom of speech for sexual minorities is a violation of what he considers his inalienable right not to have to hear something he finds offensive.

“You can’t do everything that you want to do, because there are people who have the exact same rights as you do,” he insists.

The pastor goes on to accuse a worldwide conspiracy of Masons, New-Agers, postmodernists and financiers of various nationalities, of imposing ideas that are not “characteristic for Ukraine” on the nation’s children.

Reshetinsky previously featured on this blog in 2006, when I noted that his church was a “partner” of a child sponsorship charity named Eastern European Outreach. EEO was in turn an outreach of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta, California, and the charity was at the time being promoted through sales of a video game based on the Left Behind novels. Since then, references to Reshetinsky have gone from the EEO website, although at the time the site carried a profile by J. Lee Grady reposted from Charisma magazine . It included the following:

Reshetinski believes that God has given Ukraine a 15-year window of opportunity. If the church doesn’t seize the moment, he fears that Islam will fill the vacuum.

…Christian Hope Church currently operates 30 ministries that touch the needs of Ukrainians—including orphans, drug addicts and the blind. But because Reshetinski is a scientist at heart, he also wants to change the Soviet intellect. Schools in Russia and Ukraine are still atheistic. Christian Hope is working with Americans to establish an institute of scientific creationism in Kiev.

“Our No. 1 job must be to change the worldview of the people here and apply Christianity to economics, law and education…

“Please don’t allow the United States to become like Western Europe. Don’t allow it to become secular. I was so surprised to learn that until 1949 Christians had their hands in education in your country. But [John Dewey] took faith out of education. The church in your country has so many spiritual resources. Please keep America a Christian nation.”

Reshetinsky is integrated into international neo-Pentecostalism, and he has a number of American links. His church is described as a “Missionary Church” in a 2008 article by Bill C. Terry, who runs the men’s ministry of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC), while Jim King Ministries of Tulsa tells us that:

We helped establish the Missionary Training Center in Kiev with Pastor Valeriy Reshetinsky. The center focuses on equipping emerging church leaders with tools to plant new churches.

The BBC report also includes a photo captioned “A Kiev protest against homosexuality by the ‘Embassy of God church'”. This church, also known as the “God Embassy”, was founded by a Nigerian immigrant named Sunday Adelaja, whom I discussed here. Adelaja also has international connections, and in 2008 he organised an event in Atlanta featuring Ben Stein, Truett Cathy (founder of Chick-fil-A), and the virulently anti-gay Latvian pastor Alexey Ledyaev. Naturally, Adelaja worried about “the homosexual movement.”

(Ledyaev’s “New Generation” churches in turn have an outreach in the UK, and a link has been made with the lobby group Christian Concern)

(H/T to a reader)