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Doing God’s Work in God’s Way?
The Slavic Gospel Association and Polish Ecumenism


Peter Nicholson

The report in the July issue of Bible League Quarterly concerning a British missionary to Poland has drawn reactions from a number of Church and mission leaders. Among these was a remark made by the General Director of the Slavic Gospel Association, in correspondence to Charles Soper. The Director wrote of a contact of his, a pastor in Poland, who reported that the missionary in question is indeed open to Roman Catholicism, and so of course would not send any of his young people to the seminary concerned.

This remark prompted the author of the present article to send a message to SGA’s Director, via Charles Soper, the text of which follows here:

Dear Brother [ ],
Having spent the last 15 years amongst evangelicals in Poland, I am in a good position to comment on the state of the churches here. Over these years, genuinely evangelical witness has dwindled to very low levels. Tragic devastation of the Lord’s work has taken place, brought about in large measure by the influence of external missionary agencies, and in particular those from the UK.

You are, I believe, aware of Charles Soper’s web page concerning a missionary sent by Carey Baptist Church:

This matter is only one example of the problem to which I refer. I notice from the website of the Slavic Gospel Association that one of your co-workers in Poland is Jacek Duda:
Given Mr Duda’s very public support for the ecumenical movement, I must say frankly that I do not understand what place he could possibly have in the ministry of a mission like the Slavic Gospel Association. I refer, for example, to his participation in an annual ecumenical event, when he preached at a Roman Catholic mass:
You will also have no difficulty in recognising him in this film, shot at the ecumenical and liberal EST theological seminary in Wrocław during its inauguration day as a degree-granting institution:
A further matter I would like to raise with you is your support for Tomasz Chyłka:

I am sure you are aware that Mr Chyłka serves on the Council of the Church of Evangelical Christians, along with Mr Duda. A significant proportion of Mr Chyłka’s congregation attended the ecumenical ProChrist rallies held in Katowice, where I live, in April 2008 (I understand that Mr Chyłka himself did not attend, because of other commitments, but that Mrs Chyłka was present at some of the rallies). The rallies were strongly supported by prominent Roman Catholic clergy, with the opening meeting being addressed by the Metropolitan of Katowice, and a clear majority of the ‘spiritual counsellors’ who served at these rallies were Roman Catholics. All of this was well known in advance. ProChrist ‘evangelist’ Ulrich Parzany preceded his altar-call each evening with very similar words: You have to make Christ the centre of your life, and there are many ways to do this. One of them is to go to your priest, to confession, confess your sins, and you will receive Divine forgiveness.

On 13 July 2008 you were the guest preacher at Friston Baptist Chapel:

In your morning sermon you made a number of interesting remarks with which I wholeheartedly agree. For example, you spoke of the need to ensure ‘the solemnity of worship’. You observed that there is a ‘trend to be like the world’, while ‘the Church should be uniquely different from the world’, and you drew a lesson from David’s use of the Philistine’s cart to carry the Ark. You spoke of the great need for ‘dedicated men’, and that ‘God’s work must be done in God’s way’.

The members of Friston Baptist Chapel may have been given the impression that it is just such ‘dedicated men’ whom the SGA supports. I have never been to Friston Baptist Chapel, but I am absolutely certain that their services of worship may rightly be described as ‘solemn’. What would the members say to Mr Chyłka’s very enthusiastic use of worldly music forms in his ministry?
[NB – In December 2009 it was found that this page had been removed]

The sight of him sauntering about with his guitar during Sunday services, in a manner more suited to an Elvis concert, would without doubt cause further consternation at Friston. Mr Chyłka’s continued enthusiasm for ProChrist may be seen in the latest issue of his church magazine, where he features a new album released by pop singer Beata Bednarz, which contains music inspired by the ProChrist rallies:

I notice also your contacts with Krzysztof Osiecki:

In 2007 I published a series of articles in the Internet about evangelicals and the ecumenical movement. These articles contain trenchant criticism of the ecumenically compromised Polish Baptist Union and its attacks on evangelicals who, for solid Biblical reasons, wish to remain outside the ecumenical movement. One of those who contacted me following publication of the articles was Mr Osiecki. You are aware, of course, that the church which Mr Osiecki pastors is part of the Polish Baptist Union, and so part of the World Council of Churches. Far from engaging in constructive criticism of my articles, Mr Osiecki could apparently see nothing wrong in the awful ecumenical compromise which is the linchpin of present-day Polish Baptist policy, and all he had to say, in a terse e‑mail, was that it is not possible that a foreigner could write such good Polish or that I could be so well informed about the internal affairs of the Polish Baptist Union, and so my articles were clearly written by someone else and are therefore an ‘evident fraud and sin’.

Could you please clarify the position of the Slavic Gospel Association on these matters?

Yours sincerely in Christ,

Peter Nicholson

This message was sent on 9 July 2009. When no reply was received, Charles Soper sent a gentle reminder on 31 August 2009. The same day, a very brief reply was received, in which the Director wrote that ‘some of the facts which your friend stated in his e-mail are incorrect’, that the men concerned are ‘definitely opposed to ecumenism’, and that ‘I don’t think there is any point in carrying on the correspondence.’ On 1 September 2009 Peter Nicholson sent the following e-mail to the Director:

Dear Brother [ ],
Thank you for your reply to my letter of 10 July 2009, which has been passed to me by Charles Soper.
I would greatly regret sending you any information which was incorrect, and so I would like to ask for your help. Could you please tell me exactly which facts from my letter are incorrect? This would help me a great deal in understanding the situation in Poland.
I would also appreciate help in understanding your claim that the men I wrote about are ‘definitely opposed to ecumenism’. Could you please send me details from their public teaching ministry of magazine articles, sermons etc which demonstrate this? Mr Duda and Mr Chyłka have unrestricted access to the magazine Głos Ewangelii, and the sermons of all three men are available on the Internet.
Mr Duda sent me an e-mail in response to my articles on 7 September 2007. I replied the same day, but to date Mr Duda has not sent any further response. Mr Osiecki sent an e-mail to me on 16 September 2007 in which he called my articles an ‘evident fraud and sin’. I replied the same day, and to date have not heard any more from him. It is to you, as General Director of the mission, that I have now turned. Please do not cut off our correspondence at such a crucial moment in its development.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Peter Nicholson

A response from the Slavic Gospel Association is still awaited.

Past senior Orthodox involvement with SGA in its Russian broadcasts (third para).
(A copy of google's cache)


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