Illustration: Two Russian Soldiers


As a secret house-church begins it service in a village in Communist Russia (or China, or Vietnam…), two soldiers burst in brandishing machine guns.

“This is an illegal meeting,” they scream “and we’re going to shoot anybody who won’t deny Christ and leave right now!”

A few folks tremble with fear and deny Christ and run out into the night. The rest sit resolute without moving.

The soldiers then lower their weapons and say “We want to be saved but first we wanted to get rid of any spies and informers who might be in the audience.”

There are countless variations on this tale such as this one. As always it has all the hallmarks of a dubious illustration. It involves a place far away, it involves no actual names of people, the church, or anyone who knows someone involved. Last but not least it involves Communists. If you can’t work Africa into your story, throwing in a few Communists is the next best thing.

18 thoughts on “Illustration: Two Russian Soldiers”

  1. Yep, definitely heard that one! You know, you could probably stick to just writing about snopes-worthy fundy sermon illustrations and never run out of things to write about. I’m totally with RJW on this one. Definitely tells you something about what drives much of fundy preaching! Of course then there are the fundy leaders who take these emotional/guilt-tripping/manipulative illustrations a step further and actually ACT THEM OUT.

  2. Snopes-worthy fundy sermon illustrations – brilliant idea. That should be a recurring feature. Lots to choose from.

  3. A buddy of mine was listening on the radio to a local fundy preacher give a horrific illustration about how a young girl was giving up the Bible and Sunday School b/c the Harry Potter books had shown her that magic was real and that she wanted to now follow the occult. He also quoted and article saying that Satanist churches all over America were filling up every week with children seeking to learn more about the dark arts!!! My friend thought this was a little far-fetched, so he googled it only to find that the article the preacher was referring to came from “The Onion”, the satirical, fake-news website. Hahaha!! The fake article was so convincing, that it took form as an email and quickly spread throughout the Christian community. Snopes ended up putting it on their website as a false email, pointing people to The Onion’s article.

    – Onion article:
    – Snopes:

    I think it just proves that many times we all hear what we WANT to hear.

  4. Wow that’s great. How could anyone take anything from The Onion and use it as real legit intel. Haha!
    But yeah. The link embedded in here. I’m positive that I’ve seen that on some video somewhere. Most likely.
    Sad guilt-tripping…

  5. So … What’s the point of the Russian Soldiers story? That persecutors are always just faking it?
    That doesn’t strike me as a very sound theory.

    1. Obviously, it predates the breakup of the Soviet Union (1991), which also was the end of Communist power in Russia. But hey, good anecdotes never die, regardless of how anachronistic they may be.

      In any case, it rings false. The Soviet government did try to suppress religion, but the tactic described here was not one of the ones the Soviets were known for using.

  6. Not only have I heard this illustration, I actually saw a pastor act it out with his congregation. The audience was in tears as some of them complied by surrendering their Bibles, and others tried to quickly hide them away. Funny how it never occurred to them that it was awfully strange that this would happen to them just out of the blue one day, without any warning or precedent.

    1. That pastor was irresponsible in the highest degree. Tactics like that are considered pyschological torture if you do them to captives. Also, what if some people in the congregation had resisted violently? People could have been injured or killed.

      1. Pastors who act this out on their congregation should be held liable if someone is killed. Our church has quite a few cops who are required to always be armed. I can only imagine what would happen if our pastor was to try a foolish stunt like this. Thankfully he knows that all of the cops carry, and has actually commented that he always feels safe on Sunday’s.

  7. I remember when the communists took over youth conference in Hammond and shot Dave Hyles with an AR-15.

    1. … Wow.
      I – wow.
      Also, I love the idea that if the communists every came and attacked anything, OF COURSE it is the youth conferences which must be targeted!

  8. If a pastor in the US South tried this, his “actors” more likely than not would be shot by any of the dozen gun-toting congregants. Maybe not right away, but *someone* (maybe one of the deacons who missed the regular Thursday night Deacons Meeting) would go all John McClane eventually. Stories like this are tragedies in the making.

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