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Christian Leadership to Change the World

Spiritual Reformation in Eastern Europe A new reformation movement is gathering momentum in Eastern Europe—one that is producing results as evangelical leaders from all segments of society are working to make positive differences in their nations.

Bruce Anderson transitioned from his work as a full-time pastor to a missionary and doctoral student doing research at Oxford University last year after working part-time for several years to connect with pastors and leaders in the evangelical movement in several Eastern European nations.

In 2008, Anderson founded the Institute for Reformation, which focuses on Eastern Europe, whose culture has been stripped of Biblical principles after decades of socialist and communist rule.

“The term ‘reformation’ is being used by many Christian leaders throughout much of Eastern Europe. By it, they mean the influence of Christianity in society. They usually have a vision for the reformation of every sphere of life in their nation—family, education, business, government, the arts and so on,” Anderson explained.

“My colleagues and I who have partnered with them use this term as well, and to some degree have introduced it to them. By it, we specifically refer to that influence of Christianity that not only transforms people spiritually and socially—which is essential and the beginning point—but also reforms the institutions of society, their structures and foundations.”

Anderson served as a pastor in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) for 15 years. He was teaching a Nations Life class at Kempsville Presbyterian Church in 2001 when a Lithuanian graduate student from Regent University asked if Anderson could help his friends in Lithuania who were interested in Christian principles. This led to Anderson taking a team to teach at a conference at the Lithuanian Parliament Building and attend their first Presidential Prayer Breakfast. Numerous visits and seminars followed, and Anderson was asked to bring similar teaching to Latvia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania and other countries.

Actively engaged in mission work since 2001, Anderson and his wife, Ellie, were appointed as U.S.-based EPC World Outreach missionaries to Eastern Europe in January 2010. Anderson continues to educate and consult national leaders who are applying the gospel to their nations. He leads bi-annual trips to the region, bringing professionals alongside to help provide training.

These short-term mission teams have included several Regent professors: Dr. Jim Davids and Dr. Phillip Bom from the Robertson School of Government, Dr. William “Wally” Cox from the School of Education, and Lynne Marie Kohm from the School of Law. Team members present Biblical principles to government leaders, military officers, educators, lawyers and other key civic leaders.

“And the results of these efforts are tangible and compelling,” Anderson said.

“The churches in some nations have been uplifted across the board by Biblical worldview understanding. Pastors have united in resistance to hostile government policy. They have trained thousands of their people. Books have been authored, translated, published and distributed to train Christians. Christians have produced music, theatre and film with reformation themes that are being shown and performed in leading venues. University students and young professionals have been saved, discipled in a Biblical worldview and placed in service in society.”

Now, to strengthen his capacity to serve Eastern Europe, Anderson is researching 16th century Reformation theology as a Ph.D. candidate at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies in Oxford, England, where he resides part of the year.

He credits his Regent education for helping prepare him for what has become his life work. “I wanted an equipping for ministry that would give me competence to apply the Bible to life outside the church, not just in it—to cultural, social and political life. Regent’s joint master’s degree program of divinity and public policy was perfect. I was able to find a seminary curriculum closer to that of the colonial Puritans, which was holistic in nature. I don’t think there was anything like it available in the country at the time.”

Over the next several years, Anderson hopes to help with development of an accredited Christian university in an Eastern European nation. He will also continue to advocate and assist in human rights and religious freedom efforts.

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