Sergei Kourdakov Article #1

by Marilyn and John Schreiber

printed in First Baptist Beacon, West Concord, Minnesota, 2002

While camping in the Black Hills last month, Marilyn shared with our family from a book she was reading, a moving biography (no longer in print) of Sergei Kourdakov. At 18 he was the leader of a secret KGB Police Force in Russia in the late 1960's. He was a Soviet "Saul," responsible for leading over 150 raids on homes where Believers were meeting in secret to worship and pray. Each time, the Believers were severely beaten, some killed, and all their religious material confiscated. But, God worked in amazing ways in this young man's life to turn him from a persecutor to becoming a Believer himself.

One rainy night in the tent, we discussed a portion of the book that had a very sobering impact on our family. It was the Communist's description of a "Believer." At one point, a top KGB agent was instructing Sergei and his men in the dangers that the Believers brought to the Communist agenda. Sergei asked the agent why the name "Believer" was used rather than "religious people" or "Christians." The answer to his question follows:

"That's a good question, Kourdakov. Didn't Comrade Lenin teach us long ago that it's not religion that we have to fear, but beliefs? That's our great enemy. Any churches here? Of course not! We don't allow them. There's not one place of religion in this town. The church represents no threats. Religion represents no threat. It's the Believers themselves who are the threat. Comrade Lenin once said that we can close the churches and put the leaders in jail, but it's very hard to drive faith and belief from the heart of a man once he is contaminated by them. This, Comrade Kourdakov, is why belief is our enemy, not religion. This is why we don't call them Christians or church-goers. We call them Believers. They believe inside, and to root this belief from their hearts is a very difficult task."

Kourdakov continued to rise in the Soviet ranks, but was compelled by the witness of the suffering Christians to doubt the Communist system. He eventually escaped by jumping ship, swimming through icy waters and barely reaching the shores of British Columbia alive. He soon after accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior. Knowingly risking his life, he became an outspoken defender of Soviet Believers who were undergoing persecution. The KGB assassinated him in Los Angeles just before his 22nd birthday.

The KGB's definition of a "Believer" clearly held many implications as our family continued to talk about this very challenging account. The word "believe" as translated from the Bible means " to cling to, adhere to, to rely on." To "believe in Christ" is a life-changing, on-going process.

Our prayer is that we would see ourselves as Believers, so fully "contaminated" by faith and belief in a living God and risen Savior that we would stand out in a world of comfortable church-goers. Sergei Kourdakov was a Believer for less than a year and a half but the light of Christ burned brightly through his life and many other lives were changed by it . . . even today.

Sergei Kourdakov article #2

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