Christianity on the rise in Russia? Meet Philip Renner, son of Rick and Denise Renner, founders of the Moscow Good News Church, which runs 4,000 in attendance in the heart of Russia’s mega-city of 13,000,000. One Russian leader states, “Nowadays it is hip to be religious in Russia.” There are 30,000 churches in Russia and they are gaining in prominence. Cristie, myself, and friends, Rick and Denise, were equally inspired early in our careers by Dr. William Bennett, pastor of First Baptist Church, Ft. Smith, AR. Who could forget Dr. Bennett’s 5:00a.m. breakfast meetings when he would want to conjugate a Greek verb and talk about biblical texts?
The Christian Thinkers Society with Jeremiah Johnston now sets it site on a ministry tour in the 15 union republics of the former USSR. Philip Renner, young and dynamic, is impressive and has a distinct worship ministry imbued by parents “who do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen” (2 Cor. 4:18). He has visited ministered in many of those republics. The day he came to Houston, he was with us he was fasting. We were so impressed with his faith and look forward to working with him in the future.
Has America’s Christianity become impotent? Why are the nones on the rise? Did you know the “nones” are now actually forming quasi-churches? Faith in the USA is in serious trouble whether we recognize it or not.
Conversely, Philip Renner grew up in Moscow. The entire interview with Philip Renner, which is absolutely fascinating, can be found on the Christian Thinkers Society Facebook page and www.jerryjohnston.com.
JERRY: Tell us about that facility (church) in Moscow, it’s gorgeous- the pictures I’ve seen.
PHILIP: Well, God said, “Build the church in Moscow.” And to build the church in Moscow is very very difficult, extremely expensive. A lot of people would say it’s just impossible. Laws about building in Russia and Moscow they’re changing all the time. But that building’s there because we live by faith and not by sight and we speak things that are not as those they were, as though they are – Romans 4:17. God took what was invisible and made it visible.
JERRY: I recently listened to the pastor at Resurrection Life in Grand Rapids talk about the multiplied thousands of people that Good News Church and Rick Renner Ministries, and Philip Renner, your brothers have done.
PHILIP: Well the church is about 4,000 people which is one of the biggest churches in Moscow.
Researchers, Drs. Jerry and Cristie Jo Johnston, are Executive Producing a quick-paced film via trans continental, staccato interviews documenting the shocking rise of the non-religious.