I've commented before on the potential for the hegemonic established churches in Eastern Europe to use their cozy position with the government to suppress or oppose the upstart evangelical churches, which they refer to as cults.
The Armenian Apostolic Church is the historical church of the Armenian people, and views itself as the proper home for all Armenians. We visited the "mother church" of the Apostolic Church in a village near Yerevan, with buildings 15 centuries old at the heart of the village, and we saw in the gift shop this book, with a cover warning people that evangelical churches are not to be trusted, with the evocative photoshopped depiction of a wolf in sheep's clothing.
Of course, the Armenia Apostolic Church could well benefit from the energy and creativity of some of the evangelical churches in reaching a largely nominal Armenian population, as in other places (like Latin America) where the established church has experienced some renewal as evangelicals and pentecostals are also seeing their churches grow. But here in Armenia, there is little evidence that the Apostolic Church is open to learning from their brothers and sisters in Christ in this way.
This creates a problem for the evangelical student ministry in Armenia, as they are trying to bring students into Bible studies and events where the Gospel is taught and people are called to grow in their faith. Most Armenians would identify as members of the Apostolic church, and while that doesn't mean they will attend services, it does often prevent them from being open to outreach efforts by the student ministry here. This is such a sad and unnecessary constraint on the advance of the gospel in Armenia. Please join us in praying for Armenia, for the student work here, and for a deep work of God's Spirit to pour out over the Apostolic Church.
Rich and Lisa Lamb