Pentecostals win in trial of their literature


SPGU experts engaged by prosecutor's office considered books of William Branham to be hostile to the traditional Russian church. Expert analysis ordered by court did not confirm their conclusions.

IANews, 27 December 2018


A Pushkin district court did not grant the lawsuit of the district prosecutor's office against the St. Petersburg philanthropic public organization "Vechernii Svet" [Evening Light]. This was reported by the Joint Press Service of the courts of St. Petersbug.


As an attorney for Team 29, Ivan Pavlov, explained, the prosecutor's office demanded that [works of?] a Christian missionary from the U.S.A., William Branham, be found to be extremist and banned for distribution on the territory of the RF. The philanthropic organization "Vechernii Svet" intended to distribute them. Its workers submitted the literature to the Russian Ministry of Justice for inspection in 2012.


The investigation of the books, on the results of which the prosecutor's office relied, was conducted by employees of the St. Petersburg State University (SPGU). They found unacceptable contents in the books An Exposition of the Seven Church Ages, The Doctrine of the Nicolaitans, The Serpent's Seed, Jezebel Religion, Calling Jesus on the Scene, and others. The SPGU personnel drew the conclusion that in his books Branham creates an "image of the enemy" in the person of the "Catholic (in which the author includes Orthodox) and protestant churches" and he promotes "ideas of the inferiority of a person on the basis of his religious affiliation."


In its lawsuit, the supervisory agency asked that these books be ruled to be extremist (with the exception of quotations from the Bible), their distribution on the territory of Russia be forbidden, and the editions of these publications be confiscated.


The court ordered an expert analysis and, after studying the materials of the case and having heard the opinion of participants in the trial, it refused to grant the demands of the prosecutor's office.


In Russia in 2016, a number of legislative amendments were adopted, which limited religious evangelistic activity. Critics of these measures think that the Russian Orthodox Church lobbies for the persecution of evangelists and that it strives to dominate indiscriminately the Russian space and to squeeze out representatives of other Christian teachings. (tr. by PDS, posted 29 December 2018)

Related article:
Scholar of Pentecostalism loses university position
December 3, 2018

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