A Prophetic Voice

9 June 2014

Ukraine: Publishing ‘the things we desperately need …’

A Russian translation of Miroslav Volf’s Exclusion and Embrace

A Russian translation of Miroslav Volf’s Exclusion and Embrace

Earlier this year, Langham Literature helped fund the publication of a Russian translation of Exclusion and Embrace by Miroslav Volf.

It was published in Ukraine by Colloquium, an indigenous Christian publisher.

‘They [Colloquium] have a prophetic voice and a strong calling to shine biblical truth on their particular setting’, says Colin Macpherson, Director of Publisher Development at Langham Literature.

Over the last 5 years Langham Literature has partnered with Colloquium to help them establish a sustainable publishing ministry in Ukraine. They focus on biblical studies and sell to seminaries, churches, pastors and individuals. Their current list of more than 80 titles in Russian and Ukrainian include translations as well as locally authored books. And believers across the region have come to trust Colloquium publications as books that stimulate helpful discussion, debate and writing on important topics for today.

Colloquium Publishing and Langham Literature has ‘an excellent partnership’, says Colin Macpherson. ‘We benefit from their wisdom and their understanding of the local context, while they are strengthened through the support and advice Langham can provide.’

In selecting Exclusion and Embrace for translation, Colloquium has done what John Stott called ‘double listening’.

Believers in Ukraine today face painful challenges.

Many are confused.

Volf’s now classic Christian reflection on how Christians can put into practice Jesus’ command to love our enemies explores the dynamic power of the cross of Christ as the locus of forgiveness: ‘Forgiveness flounders because I exclude the enemy from the community of humans even as I exclude myself from the community of sinners. But no one can be in the presence of the God of the crucified Messiah for long without overcoming this double exclusion.’Volf is a Croatian theologian who taught in the former Yugoslavia during the wars of the 1990s.

Colloquium’s founder, Alexander Bukovietski, says

‘Ukraine is not precisely the former Yugoslavia. We don’t have the same number of ethnic groups fighting each other; we only have two: the Russians and the Ukrainians. Or the pro-West and the pro-Russia … We don’t have the same scale of bloody civil war on our hands, but these days we get dangerously close.

‘Miroslav Volf’s book is a powerful message on forgiveness and reconciliation, the things we desperately need, the things without which our country is doomed no matter how the current conflict ends. This book won’t save a country, for the way of forgiveness is always thorny. But without books like this we will have a lot more thorns to go through. This book is needed nowit will also be needed for a long time to come.

by Colin Macpherson, Langham Literature