An Unexpected Repository for Truth

Philip Yancey, in What’s So Amazing about Grace?

When I visited Russia in 1991 … I saw in Russia a people starved for grace. …

I heard form ordinary citizens who now relished their freedom to worship. Most had learned about the faith from a babushka, an old grandmother. When the state cracked down on the church, it ignored this group: let the old women sweep the floors and sell the candles and cling to the tradition until they all die off, they reasoned. The aged hands of the babushka, though, rocked the cradles. Young churchgoers today often say they first learned about God in childhood through the hymns and stories Grandma would whispers as they drifted off to sleep.

I will never forget a meeting in which Moscow journalists wept — I had never before seen journalists weep — as Ron Nikkel of Prison Fellowship International told of the underground churches that were now thriving in Russia’s penal colonies. For seventy years prisons had been the repository of truth, the one place where you could safely speak the name of God. It was in prison, not church, that people such as Solzhenitsyn found God …


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