Rev. olexa Harbuziuk Legacy
Пастор олекса Романович Гарбузюк
Dr. Carl McIntire (left), president of the International Council of Christian Churches, enjoys a laugh with Rev. Dr. Lev Zabko-Potapovich and Rev. O.R. Harbuziuk in Geneva, Switzerland in 1965.
NEWSPAPER ARTICLE AT RIGHT: This article appeared in 1975 in the Ukrainian daily newspaper "Svoboda" about Rev. Harbuziuk carrying a Ukrainian flag at the congress of the International Council of Christian Churches in Kenya, Africa.
O lexa Harbuziuk was involved with the International Council of Christian Churches for many years.
* In 1965, Rev. Harbuziuk attended the International Baptist Fellowship in Mulhouse, France, Aug. 3-4, and the 6th plenary congress of the International Council of Christian Churches in Geneva, Switzerland, Aug. 5-11. At the time, he was secretary of the Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Convention. At the ICCC congress, he was elected a member-at-large to the executive committee. Other Ukrainian Baptists who were registered delegates at the congress were Mr. P. Basyk (France), Mr. P. Lubenec (France), Mr. S. Sosnowski (France), Mr. J. Parcej (Germany), Rev. I. Tarasiuk (Canada), Rev. Stephen Nischik (USA) and Rev. Dr. L. Zabko-Potapovich (USA).
* In 1968, he was elected to a second term as a member of the executive committee of the International Council of Christian Churches during the 7th world congress held in Cape May, New Jersey. He delivered a message about religious persecution in Ukraine and the Soviet Union.
* In 1975, Rev. Harbuziuk attended the 9th world congress of the International Council of Christian Churches, which was held July 16-27, 1975, in Nairobi, Kenya. He was elected as a member of the executive committee.
* Rev. Harbuziuk and Rev. Volodymyr Domashovetz were elected as members of the executive committee of the International Council of Christian Churches at the 11th world congress on June 24, 1983 at Cape May, New Jersey.
* Rev. Harbuziuk was elected a vice president of the International Council of Christian Churches at a convention in Cape Canaveral, Florida, in June 1988.
(Message delivered at the Seventh World Congress of the International Council of Christian Churches in Cape May, New Jersey, Aug. 22, 1968, by the Rev. O.R. Harbuziuk, president of the Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Convention in the USA)
Dr. McIntire, esteemed members of the Executive Committee of the ICCC and all beloved delegates and guests of the Seventh World Congress of the ICCC: greetings in the precious name of our wonderful Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; greetings from the Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Convention.
I was requested to speak about Communist Ukraine. I would like to begin with a question so many people seem to ask:
WHAT IS UKRAINE?
If some of those high-ranking liberal American politicians were here, they would immediately imply the comparison of Ukraine with Texas. How strange it is, but this is a repetition of what Russian Communist imperialists say, men such as Khrushchev, Brezhnev and other godless leaders in the anti-Christ world – the Soviet Union, a prison house of nations.
Ukraine, my friends, is the largest non-Russian nation not only in the Soviet Union, but also behind the European Iron Curtain. Its population of approximately 45 million people ranks with those of England, France and Italy. Geographically, it extends from the Carpathian Mountains in central Europe to the foothills of the Caucasus bordering on the Middle East. The territory exceeds, in square miles, that of France and embraces such historic Ukrainian cities such as Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv and Odessa. Economically, this rich territory has placed Ukraine second in the world in the mining of iron ore and near the top in many agricultural lines such as livestock, grain and beet-sugar.
Historically, the centuries-old struggle for freedom and independence on the part of the Ukrainian nation constitutes an impressive chapter in the annals of human history. This indomitable will for national freedom clearly crystallized itself in the old Ukrainian Kievan state from the 9th to the 14th centuries, in the Ukrainian Kozak state from 1648 to 1783, and more recently in the Ukrainian National Republic from 1917 to 1920.
One of the first victims of Russian Communist aggression, Ukraine has proved to be the Achilles Heel of the Soviet Union. The destruction of its churches, the horrible man-made famine of 1932-33, the mass murder at Vinnitsa in 1937-39, and the vast purges and deportations decreed by Moscow have failed to exterminate the spiritual and moral resources for national freedom in Ukraine. The historical capital of Kyiv, with centuries of rich tradition and culture conserved in its vaults, still symbolizes today the indestructible hope and passion of a nation destined to be sovereign, free and independent.
“Plainly, Ukraine stands as one of our most important and natural allies in the eventual defeat of Russian Communist imperialism. Its historic claim to national freedom and independence can hardly be ignored. Its place as a sovereign and equal partner in the mutual construction of the free Europe of tomorrow must be assured if the foundation of permanent peace and justice among freedom-loving nations is to be impregnable,” stated Professor Dr. Lev Dobriansky, president of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America.
So, my friends, Ukraine is not a province of the Russian Communist imperial state, but a freedom-loving nation which stands against the evil forces of tyranny, which resists any domination, and which fights for human rights, freedoms and liberties. Ukrainian people do not seek security; instead, they seek the opportunity to fight for their rights, their identity and their Ukrainian heritage. They prefer the challenge of life to guaranteed existence. They will neither trade freedom for beneficence, nor dignity for a handout. They will never cower before any master or bend to any threat. They desire to think for themselves. This unbending will produced the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), which struggled against Communist forces during World War II. It produced intellectuals and religious fighters such as Chornovil, Bondarenko, Khmara, Kovalchuk and many others. And this is what Russian Communists do not appreciate – the unbending spirit of freedom-loving Ukrainian people.
Russian Communists do everything possible to persuade the Free World in general and the United States in particular that Ukraine is only the Texas of the Soviet Union. How grateful I am for Illinois Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen, who challenged Khrushchev during his visit here in 1959, putting forth the following question:
“In your article in Foreign Affairs, you mistakenly compare Texas, Arizona and California with certain non-Russian nations in the USSR. Would you be willing to stage, under U.N. auspices and control, free voting conditions to determine whether the natives of Lithuania, Ukraine and Caucasus states want to remain in the USSR or be independent states, and whether the residents of comparable Arizona, Texas and California want to remain in the USA or be completely independent states? Let’s compare in ideas and action.”
It is not hard to guess the outcome. Senator Dirksen informed the press that on this and numerous other questions “Khrushchev took a Fifth Amendment stand.” Khrushchev knows that all Captive Nations would reject Communism, Russian imperialism, and choose independence for their states. Ukraine, my friends, is a Captive Nation, fighting for political and religious freedom, standing with other Captive Nations against Communist oppression and tyranny. Ukraine is one of your allies and always stands with those who are doing their utmost to exterminate the Number One enemy of all mankind – godless Communism.
IS THERE REALLY ANY CHANGE?
Not long ago, an American missionary returned from the Soviet Union and is “preaching” all over the United States that big changes took place in the Soviet Union. There is freedom, he claims, because he preached in Moscow, Kiev and a few other places. My friends, those liberal preachers are deceiving fine, but naïve American Christians. Do not believe that Communist-line propaganda. The Apostle Paul, in his epistle to the Galatians, first chapter, verse nine writes, “As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” Talking about freedom in the Soviet Union is the biggest lie I ever heard.
I am broadcasting twice a week to the Soviet Union and I have received hundreds of letters from listeners of the Ukrainian Voice of the Gospel (this is the name of the program), and all of them are indicating, and some clearly stating, that there is no freedom in the Soviet Union. Here are some quotations from these letters:
“I would like to inform you that your work for the Lord is not in vain. In one village alone, thirteen souls accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour by listening to your programs. When village officials discovered this, they cut off the electricity and took away radio receivers.” Would you call this religious freedom? And they continue, “They (Soviet officials) do everything possible to jam your programs so that we can’t hear them; and they desire to destroy the Word of God, but praise the Lord, we know that no power in this world can destroy the Word of God.”
How wonderfully it supports the theme of the Seventh World Congress of the International Council of Christian Churches: “Forever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven.”
Here is some more information. Bratskiy Listok (Brotherly Leaflet), an underground publication of the Baptist movement which opposes the official, government-controlled All-Union Council of Evangelical Baptists, in its May 1968 issue, informs us that in the city of ______ (for obvious reasons I prefer to withhold the name), sixty Baptist believers were fined up to 2,275 roubles for attending Sunday services. A well-trained engineer in the Soviet Union earns only 125 roubles a month and pays 175 roubles for a suit. So for the well-trained engineer, 2,275 roubles equals one-and-a-half years salary. In this same publication, it is mentioned that in many other cities new persecutions have arisen. Numerous believers have been convicted for their stand for the Truth of the Word of God and for the faith once delivered unto the saints, and they have been sentenced to five years in hard-labor prisons. An eighteen-year-old girl was sentenced to two years in a hard-labor camp for her faithfulness and belief in God. In Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, eight preachers were arrested on April 27, 1968 for participating in a service. From the same city, an active member of the Baptist church is writing me: “Brother, Satan himself is ruling over our country.” All preachers of the registered churches which belong to the government-controlled Moscow Baptist Union are approved not by the churches, but by the KGB. Every month, sometimes more often, they are called to report on their activities and those of the church members also. Would you call this religious freedom?
Here is a recent newspaper from Ukraine, printed in the vicinity of Lviv with a vicious attack on believers. Their guilt is that they attend services, believe in God, and take their children to church. Usually, after such an attack in the newspaper, arrests follow. And I have already received information that in the same vicinity Baptist services were disrupted by the Soviet police, and several persons were arrested. Would you call this religious freedom, which is supposedly guaranteed by the Soviet constitution?
I can go on and on with examples of the horrible persecution which continues in the prison house of nations, the USSR. Communism has not changed and it will not change. Communism is not only the religion of the Devil, but also the incarnation of the Devil’s creed and thus is unchangeable. Communism must be exterminated!
HOW ABOUT MOSCOW BAPTIST LEADERS?
Many of you have probably read in the Western press that a “country-wide congress of the Evangelical Christian Baptist Union, one of the largest religious organizations in the Soviet Union, was held in Moscow in October 1966. It was attended by over 700 delegates elected at 63 regional and republic conferences of local congregations.” (Soviet Life, February 1967). My friends, I know the organizational structure of religious life in the Soviet Union. I spent several years over there and I have contacts with true believers in almost every major city, and I would like to clearly point out that there are no “regional” or “republic conferences” in the Soviet Union. There are “supreme” presbyters, appointed by Moscow for every region and republic, and the majority of them fully cooperate with the Soviet government. They serve the Communist state more than they serve God.
This same “congress” accepted a resolution deploring the United States for the war in Viet Nam, but it did not mention anything about the Soviet Union’s action as provocateur and inspirator of this war. I asked one of the “delegates” to this “congress”: Why is it that as a religious body you interfere in political affairs and accept a one-sided resolution? If you are against war, why didn’t you deplore both countries – the Soviet Union and the United States – for fighting in Viet Nam? I received the following reply: “You know, they (Soviet government) gave us permission to hold the meetings, they gave us permission to get food for delegates and they provided us with housing, so we had to pay them back.” And they paid the price of compromise, betraying the fundamental New Testament principles.
I have all the necessary evidence to prove that Moscow Baptist leaders are agents of the KGB. At the same time, having contact with Baptist believers all over the Soviet Union, I would like to stress that the overwhelming majority of these believers is composed of fundamental, Bible-believing Christians who wholeheartedly disagree with their “leaders.” In the Soviet totalitarian system, however, they are not able to do much about it. They are praying and waiting that God will provide them with strength in their suffering for the cause of Christ and for the Gospel of Salvation. Those with more courage and deeper convictions are laying their lives for the truth and openly oppose godless Communism. The greatest opposition is in Ukraine. There are two kinds of Baptists in the
Soviet Union – one kind, which compromises, is led by Moscow, and the other kind, which consists of true believers and fighters for the New Testament evangelical principles, is an underground Baptist movement.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
First of all, we ought to pray for them. Because “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).
Secondly, we ought to look for effective methods of encouraging believers behind the Iron Curtain in their stand for the Truth of the Word of God. The Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Convention does this by two means.
One is by preaching the Word of God over the radio. We find this to be an extremely effective way to reach our masses in the Soviet Union, and we know that people all over the Soviet Union are listening to “The Ukrainian Voice of the Gospel.” I have received letters from as far away as Kazakhstan. A retired university professor is writing me that in the area of Ukraine where he lives people in nearly all of the villages are listening to our broadcasts, and in some villages there are spiritual revivals. They cannot hear evangelistic messages from their preachers because it is forbidden to preach such messages; however, they can hear them over the radio, and I’m not afraid that the KGB will arrest me in Illinois! Hundreds of letters are coming in as people write about the blessings they receive through our radio ministry. How wonderful it is that the Word of God cannot be banned.
Another method of encouraging and helping Bible-believing Christians in the Soviet Union is by sending them Bibles, songbooks and other Christian literature. The Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Convention has sent thousands of Bibles and other Christian literature to Ukraine and other countries. Obviously, I cannot disclose how we do that, but our Almighty God and Heavenly Father is giving us this opportunity. The broadcasts and the literature are very costly and we are short of funds, but we do our best to spread the glorious Gospel of our wonderful Lord and Saviour to the people behind the Iron Curtain. Please pray for us and for this ministry, which we consider as a ministry of the International Council of Christian Churches because we are a part of this organization.
Finally, we can accomplish much by informing the entire free world about the danger of Communism and thus prevent other nations from becoming victims of this diabolic system. My friends, we all have an enemy in the Devil, whose purpose is to destroy our bodies and souls. He attempted to demolish us in the old country through physical persecution and bodily harm, depriving us, and our brethren who are still there, of freedom. Here he attempts to destroy the Church of Christ through false teaching, spiritual apathy, worldliness and, most of all, Communist-line propaganda. It is terrifying to think that there is no freedom of New Testament Christianity in Ukraine. But it reminds me of Taras Shevchenko’s words, that there is something even worse. He once wrote:
“Terrible thing to fall in chains,
Die in captivity.
But worse, far worse, to sleep, to sleep,
To sleep in liberty.”
O, how grateful I am to God for the International Council of Christian Churches, how grateful I am to God for such a great man of God as Dr. Carl McIntire and all others who do not compromise. Liberals are attempting to build their Babylonian tower – the World Council of Churches – on compromise, which always leads to apostasy and paves the road for Communist infiltration. But praise the Lord that we, the fundamental, Bible-believing Christians of all denominations, have a durable foundation for our fellowship – we build our unity on Biblical principles and the deep convictions of our historical faith on God’s Holy Word. Building our fellowship -- International Council of Christian Churches – on this everlasting foundation, the Rock of Ages, we will succeed and overcome the world, and we will exterminate Communism and expose the apostasy of the World Council of Churches. Victory is on our side because Almighty God is on our side. “If God be for us, who can be against us?!”.
CONVENTION IN AFRICA: Rev. Harbuziuk (in front row with briefcase at right) was among the approximately 5,000 participants at the International Council of Christian Churches convention in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1975.