Russian Baptists and the Military Question, 1920-1929

„The distinct period when pacifist views dominated the administration of the Russian Baptist Union coincided with a time of extraordinary numerical growth in participation in the Baptist movement. From fewer than 100,000 adherents in 1917, that quantity increased to about 250,000 in 1922, and approximately a half million by 1926. It is impossible to establish a causal relationship between Baptist pacifism and the movement’s expansion. But it is understandable that the Baptists’ success in attracting into their communities a remarkable number of the ordinary people of Soviet Russia would impel the government, concerned about its military requirements, to ensure that the network of Baptist congregations would not serve as a haven for a growing number of young men avoiding service in the Red army. As a result, the young Baptist leaders who advocated both pacifism and socialism and to whom events gave temporary control of the Baptist union surrendered their positions in the union and quickly lost their personal freedom.”

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