The historic exchange
1974 – We should ever remember that this was the day that Rev. Georgi P. Vins was arrested then on Jan. 27, 1975, at a five day show trial, he was sentenced to five years in concentration camps, followed by five years of exile in Siberia and the confiscation of all his property. Vins had refused to have the local churches and their pastors controlled by the government. His strong position had led to his arrest and trial in 1966 in which he was sentenced to three years in concentration camps. Following his release, Vins continued his ministry and was sentenced to a year of forced labor in 1970. After that, being under constant surveillance, he hid from public view and carried on his ministry traveling covertly, without authorization. During the time that he was underground, his mother was arrested, tried, and imprisoned for three years. Thankfully, President Jimmy Carter exchanged two convicted Russian spies for five Russian dissidents, which Carter insisted would include Vins. On April 27, 1980 the exchange was made in NY, City. Vins wife and children joined him later. This was a major event at the time and news articles said, “Vin’s group is a secessionist “Reform Baptist” assembly that is more militant about religious rights than is the mainline Baptist group in Russia.” Vins, like many of his counterparts in the USSR, was desirous of maintaining the age-old principle of religious liberty. There are three types of church-state arrangements practiced in the world. First is that which places the church above the state, the ecclesiastical is also the political leader. Another puts the state above the church. This makes the Political leader over the church. Then there is liberty guaranteed by the First Amendment where the church has the right to be under Christ alone.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 128.
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