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“Ukraine Needs to Review Its Relationship with God,” Says Taras Sen’, Director and Missionary of Christ Is the Answer Ministries

“Ukraine Needs to Review Its Relationship with God,” Says Taras Sen’, Director and Missionary of Christ Is the Answer Ministries

Taras Sen’, the director of the Christ is the Answer Ministries and missionary with 20 years of experience, mostly in the East of Ukraine, and pastor of a church in Rivne, shares his reflections in regard to the full-scale war in Ukraine and stance of Russian ministers, spiritual component of the present-day reality as well as activities of the ministries.

1) Could you tell us where the war caught you and what you were feeling at that moment?

Before the war started, our team had left for Ethiopia for an outreach crusade. We had been preparing for the trip for two months. In a week, on February 24, we woke up to a horrendous news about the martial law introduced in Ukraine. Initially, I thought it was something not really serious, but later, when I learned about an airport bombed near Kyiv and shooting, it became clear that a real war was breaking out. It was hard to believe that.

We were holding a family conference for 400 people in Ethiopia on the same day. Then we were praying together for Ukraine. It was very difficult to preach as all my thoughts were about Ukraine. Of course, it was painful, but in the course of time I accepted the situation as it was.

On its last day, the crusade was joined by more than 100 000 people! However, I felt like abandoning everything and going home, considering especially that my wife and children stayed at a basement at nights. The circumstances made me considerably worried.

2) Could you share, please, your reflections about why Russian ministers are mostly silent about the full-scale war in Ukraine

To my mind, some people keep silent because they think that these events have to do solely with politics. They were taught in their time not to interfere in it. In my opinion, however, politics is about voting for this or that party. But when one country attacks another, it is about lives and destinies of people rather than politics. We condemn a neighbor who has stolen a hen or abused someone in a street. When thousands of crimes take place simultaneously, is it politics which is not worth interfering with?

Some keep silent because his or her incorrect understanding. I think that people have chosen an advantageous stance, saying “If I keep silent, no one will want anything from me,” because they are afraid, though it is clear for a while.

A part of the Russian church ministers supports the war. Consider, for example, a statement of Mr. Ryukhovskyi. Is not it a shame? Especially taken the fact that he was introduced as a representative of the Pentecostals. To put it mildly, shameful… To say that “Russian is driven by love”?! We see here so much Russian “love” that we lack words to describe it!

To my mind, many Russian Christians have lost connection with God and exchanged the Bible and real prayers for a TV set. Therefore, a deceitful spirit works through the Russian propaganda, saturating people with lies. The Russians think that it is a special military operation which is underway in Ukraine. They have been imposed lies about the Bandera’s men and fascists in Ukraine for years. So, people, filled with such lies either keep silent or internally support the activities of the Russian authorities.

When people are filled with the Holy Spirit and have intimate relationships with God, they, even when hearing false information, are prompted by the Holy Spirit what is worth and what is not worth believing.

I remember the propaganda in the Donbas in 2014, when all spiritually unhealthy Christians were inclined to separatism. We had just few of such people at our church because I was preaching uncompromisely. Those who were not happy about what they heard either changed, or sought a new church, or gave up meeting together. But those who were sincerely seeking God with fear of Him, had understanding from the Holy Spirit that it was darkness which was behind all those developments and ideas.

It is a shame on many Russian churches that keep silent or sing along their authorities. Although not everyone can see clearly what is going on in Ukraine, in short time they will see, because, if a snake is in your mitts, it is sure to bite you. In the same way, when trespasses are ignored by churches, time will come when these trespasses will work against such churches.

3) Taken the level and depth of deception in Russian churches, is it possible, to your mind, for them to return to God?

All or almost all people can return to God, but they need to repent first. There is a saying in the Bible: “one who hears it may shame you and the charge against you will stand” (Proverbs 25:10). It means that there are things people said or did which tarnish them even after their repentance.

In the given context, it is not just a minor mistake, but rather dozens of thousands of the killed people and dozens of flattened cities, towns and villages. Someone supports it! To cleanse oneself from it is difficult, as the lost reputation will never be restored.

The current developments in Ukraine are like the events during World War II. Many German churches were supportive of Hitler. Today, many Russian Christians or, say, “Christians” are supportive of Putin. It is worth emphasizing that, comparing present-day Russian churches with the Hitler Germany, the percentage of Protestant Christians in Russian and Ukraine today is much lower than in Germany under Hitler, when around 45% of the population were Protestants and 45% were Catholics. To take the present-day Russian, the Protestants constitute utmost 1-2%. The situation in Ukraine does not differ much. The Protestants in our country do not exercise so much authority and the Orthodox Christians do.

To my mind, if Russian Protestants were against, it would not mean that there would be no war. However, Russian pastors should have condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine anyway.

Talking about innocently shed blood, today people refer to many war victims. However, one has to admit that during 30 years of Ukrainian independence around 40 million abortions have been made. This is also innocently shed blood. And this is by far more that the number of the killed at the war since 2014. To be honest, not so many Christians raise their voice to protect unborn Ukrainians predestined to die.

In Poland, for example, abortions are formally prohibited, as the Catholics there remain rather influential.

People who eyewitness mass killing of unborn children can be compared with those Russian pastors and churches who keep silent in regard to what is going on in Ukraine, as victims of abortions are Ukrainians deprived of life.

I believe that Ukrainian ministers need to be a right position before God and not be hypocrites, condemning someone, but raise their voice and stand for unborn children massively killed in Ukraine.

4) There is an opinion that Ukraine must be the most sinful to undergo such a tragedy… What do you think about it?

I don’t believe that there is God’s will in the war or many other negative things. When the devil is given space, he starts doing something. There is determined God’s will or, in other words, when God wants something to happen, and there is a required one. As the Bible says, “For He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.” (Lamentations 3:33) God does not want, but has to, when the iniquities overflow.

As far as the war in Ukraine is concerned, this reminds of a coin which has two sides. On the one hand, Putin, his circle, Russian authorities and a part of the Russian people (not all as there are also normal people who organize rallies against the war) should be blamed. People who are not afraid of raising their voice for truth against the blood shed must be honored. However, this is just one side of the medal. The other one constitutes the question: where is God? Christians and all other residents of Ukraine have to ask themselves: why has God allowed the war to come to our home? If we look deeper into the God’s Word, we will see that nothing happens without God knowing about it. Let me accentuate it again that there is not God’s will in a war, but He allows some things to happen due to certain reasons. If even a hair cannot drop from our head without God knowing about it, what can be said about events of such scope? Ukrainians need to review their relationships with God.

First, these are 40 million abortions made since Ukraine gained its independence, with blood of these children crying to God in the way the Abel’s blood did. The Lord says to Israel (Deutoromany 28:29) that, if they do not follow His commandments, they will be cursed. Any war is actually a curse.

Second, atheism is widely spread. Communicating with different people, I am shocked that there are so many godless people even in Western Ukraine, people who dare to say horrible things about God, Christian churches, etc. Young people publicly curse God on the Internet, write that biblical rhetoric is “disgusting”! They openly say that! People conscientiously abandon God!

It is also believed that the human being, his or her desires and will are the focal point. We live in the era of selfish people. Though, in fact, this is all about pride. People want God to serve them utmost or, in other words, protect them, help in difficult times. When people say they have the right to do this or that, I feel like asking “What about God who created everything? Does He have any right?” Many people ignore what God says. Those who ignore God’s words harm themselves, since people reap what they sow.

To take the sphere of depravity. So much idolatry, fornication, perversions, divorces around…

Corruption, thefts… Orphans are ripped off, criminal cases fabricated to have Christian rehabs in Ukraine shut down. We need to admit these things.

What about inclination to occult? How many people watch “Battle of Psychics” and read horoscopes more often than the Bible. I am not saying that it was God who started the war. But, as a matter of fact, when people choose wickedness, discard God’s word, sins keep people away from God’s protection and help. And when God is removed from one’s life, dark powers come and bring evil.

To take the last two years under current authorities, the course in Christian Ethics has been taken out of schools, the war against family values has been underway, manipulations in regard to COVID have taken place, etc. It all fills and overfills the cup of iniquities. I believe that demons or death spirits are behind the people who committed terrible crimes in Bucha or other places. However, these unclean spirits have been opened doors for, when they came in the persons of the so called “liberators.”

This is rather solid food, but it is truth. Based on my experience of casting out demons, I remember a woman seriously tortured by demons and prompted by them to commit suicide. While praying for her to be set free, I discovered that an unclean spirit came into her during an abortion.

When there are so many sins and they are progressing, people open doors for dark powers that come and ruin everything. Why have believing volunteers died? We don’t have an answer to this question. God knows. But the sooner the Ukrainian people pay attention to their position before God, the sooner they repent of their sins, the sooner God will interfere with the current situation. It is Putin and his circle who are guilty of the war. But is not the question why God has allowed these thing to happen and continue when the whole world is praying worth considering?

5) Obviously, the war is a result of the machine of lies launched by the Russian authorities almost a hundred years ago. How should the body of Christ counter this long-standing ideology which has made people blind?

Christians need to set their lives and relationships with God right. I can’t say that Ukrainians have relationships with God at a high level. I have a number of questions to Ukrainian pastors and bishops. I know prophets who prophesied that the war was to break out in Ukraine two, three or even five years ago. At the same time, they were accused of false prophecies and forbidden to do that by people who were rather influential in spiritual circles. The latter believed in prosperity, thought that God would not allow a war and expected a better life.

I hear prophecies about a war before. For example, I have an acquaintance who told me her prophecy which helped me a lot. My family avoided reprisal in the Donbas in 2015 when I became a captive. Four and a half years ago, when my wife and I paid a visit to our sister, she shared again that God had revealed to her that a war would be underway all over the country simultaneously. She and other prophets were forbidden to say prophecies.

I know that pastors in churches used to say that there would be no war because “we believe and proclaim.” I have a question to them: “Where is your faith?” Maybe, you should have researched the Bible to learn why God allowed wars, what proceeded them, rather than impose you empty faith on others? Why did not you have revelation about the war? Maybe, because you stopped hearing God’s voice?

It has become a trend to hold prayer breakfasts with public officials. To my mind, it is a good evangelism tool. But, probably, we should have repented for corruption, killing of the unborn, deception, debauchery and other sins rather than sing along the authorities that everything would be all right and the Lord was with us?

Several months prior to the war, I had programs on a war recorded at our regional TV channels. I was praying, and God gave me necessary topics such as “What is needed to prevent wars?”, “How to overcome the spirit of war?”

When I see a call to prayer on many billboards all over Ukraine, Christians should not deceive people by hiding a part of truth since unconfessed sins are an obstacle to prayer: “When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening.” (Isaiah 1:15)

As to me, many Ukrainian Christians enjoyed their lives without preaching the Gospel. They did not think about fasting and deeply praying, fulfilling God’s will, undertaking commitments and being filled with the Holy Spirit. Many were interested in houses, clothes, rest, money, reputation, cars… Just few were really concerned with God’s work.

I knew a prophet who in 2015, when he was in the Donbas, said that the time would come when many flee their homes and go abroad in an attempt to save their sons. According to him, this will be from God as many of those people will get involved actively in ministry.

Jesus called us to go and preach the Gospel all over the world. This is what Christians should be guided with. Unfortunately, this is not what many of us are driven by.

Talking about ways in which Christians can influence the existing propaganda machine, they, first and foremost, have to set their relationships with God right, stand in the gap… It is about fasting, praying as a way of life. Then, the Lord will use our prayers to destroy a number of bad things.

Christians have to impact the society, use mass media… In such a case, deceitful propaganda will be left less space to use. When we don’t us mass media, do not pray, mass media will remain in hands of ungodly men.

We are called to serve not only widows, orphans and drug addicts. To help them, of course, is a good deed, but it is people’s worldview, which is shaped by mass media and educational institutions that needs to be influenced. A battle for worldview is underway in the country. The bulk of people in our country are not drug or alcohol addicts, they are not orphans. Why are so many people preoccupied with ministering only to these people? The point is that people usually seek God when they are in trouble. Unless they are facing serious difficulties, they are not in hurry to run to God. The Ukrainians are not passionately seeking God, they lack God’s fear, have superficial knowledge of “we believe in our way, pray and, please, don’t bother us…”

6) Are prayers enough to lead a full-fledged battle at this time?

The Bible has a notion such as prayer obstacle. We read about it in Isiah 58 and 59. People fast but God does not hear them because their lives are not set right before Him.

Christians make a terrible mistake when they call people “to pray” but keep silent about sincere repentance before God, which we mentioned above. This is not different from giving a soldier a rifle with blanks, when there is much noise but no results. It depends on a heart and life of a person to what extent God will listen to him or her and answer his or her prayers.

7) What about prayer interceders? Is their influence enough?

Interceders are righteous people, who are usually simple. God hears a person to the extent of his or her righteousness and humility. Such interceders constrain evil with their prayers.

Dark powers are obviously behind Russian troops. One of the reasons why God allows such inconceivable things to happen is to change people. This is like a trial when, after an earthquake, one gets rid of everything he or she does not need.

Eventually, people increasingly come to God through different problems. People might pray about a revival, but, at the same time, ignore God’s voice. That is why the Lord allows difficulties to happen.

“For God speaks in one way and in another, yet no one notices. In a dream, in a vision in the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, as they clumber on their beds.” (Job 33:14-15)

“… for when Your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness.” (Isaiah 26:9)

8) As the Ministries director you are actively involved into volunteering. Could you share any details?

When the war broke out in Ukraine, we were forced to review the work of the Ministries and tune to the new reality as some of our missionaries fled the warzone where intense fighting was taking place.

We were seeking ways to receive support for Ukraine, were working on a new ministry format… Today, we host internally displaced people, distribute humanitarian aid. I went to the Donbas myself to deliver food products and medicines there, and evacuate people on my way back. Praise the Lord, I stayed alive, though I heard explosions and saw missiles flying overhead.

9) Taken the international scope of the Ministries, could you tell us how partners from other countries support Ukraine?

We receive financial support, buy food products. Large amounts of money are spent to buy fuel which has become much more expensive.

10) The Ministries are called to preach the Gospel via different tools. This idea remains unchanged. How exactly is your organization serving at the wartime?

A part of missionaries serves locally, at churches… They help the internally displaced and refugees, evacuate people from the Donbas to the West of Ukraine, closer to the Polish border.

The most of the people are actively involved into helping the needy who have found themselves in difficult life circumstances.

We, of course, have not abandoned our ministry in Ethiopia, Cambodia, trying to do our best so that this vector of our ministry did not suffer.

11) Being also a pastor, what would recommend people in the present-day ordeals that Ukraine has been undergoing?

If they want to know to flee or not to flee, my recommendation is, first and foremost, to seek God and listen to His voice.

I usually call them to ask God what is needed to be done in this or that situation – whom to preach to, who to support, whom to pray for. I stress that it is important to be sensible to God’s voice, be His lips and hands on earth.

12) How, to your mind, is the Church in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus going to change?

As far as Russian is concerned, the Bible says: “For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind. There is no standing grain; what sprouts fails to yield flour. Even if it should produce, the foreigners would swallow it up.” (Hosea 8:7) And “whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too shall cry out and receive no answer.” (Proverbs 21:13) Today, many Russians refuse to hear cries of the Ukrainians who get killed by the Russian soldiers. In the same way, the Ukrainians often refuse to hear cries of the unborn children or other doomed people by choosing a peaceful and comfortable life.

I believe that God will reveal who was serving him and who was building a career. Many people aspire to power, but when a price needs to be paid, it becomes clear who served Him and who did not.

With the war in the background, God ruins someone’s ministry, exposes lie and untrue expectations. God raises Hid truth, including at the time of war. Many people rely on earthly values (for example, business) and lost them. When people stick earthly things and lose them, conclusions will follow.

Such a trouble as war will make many people sober. Not everything is good, but everything serves for good: “And we know that God world all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to Hid purpose” (Romans 8:28)

13) In your opinion, what is waiting for Ukraine after the war is over?

It is hard to say, as I am not a prophet, but my personal opinion is that many people will seek God since the foundation on which they have been building their lives, will not exist anymore.

When people are anxious, they go to God. It seems to me that a revival is coming, and I believe that God will bless Ukraine, including materially, after this spiritual revival. I have heard many revelations from our ministers that missionaries would go to from Ukraine to other countries. People will seek God. Ukraine will become a blessing for other nations.

Interview is done by the press-center of the Christ is the Answer Ministries.