Missions Insider Report :: Missions Insider
Death of Religion in Albania Made Way for Life in Christ
October 13, 2008
Shortly after World War II, Albania was officially declared to be the world’s first atheistic state. Marxist dictator, Enver Hoxha, claimed to have murdered God and called this his greatest achievement. In the end, however, all he really accomplished was murdering religious practices.
By mid-1967, all religious institutions had relinquished their churches, mosques, cloisters, and shrines to the government. In 1976, Article 37 of the Albanian Constitution required: "The State recognizes no religion, and supports and carries out atheistic propaganda in order to implant a scientific materialistic world outlook in people." But after Hoxha died in 1985, it did not take long for new believers to emerge. By 1992 new churches were planted and new ministries were started.
Over the years, Christian Aid has been involved with several native ministries involved in this growth. Most indigenous ministries are engaged in some kind of mercy outreach, such as feeding the poor, which in turn, provides opportunities to share the gospel.
For those wishing to learn about Christ, true Christian literature is scarce. There is a lot of propaganda claiming to be of Christian origin, but does not recognize Christ as the living God and Savior of sinners. While there are some books considered to be sound Christianity, they are very small in number and geared toward younger believers.
Albanian Translation Ministries (ATM), a native ministry helped through Christian Aid, has been striving to meet this need. "In view of the fact that the Albanian church is now 18 years old and acknowledging that we have some 'milk' books, but no 'meat' ones, our aim is to translate great books from our long heritage of Christian literature. This will give a stronger foundation to mature Christians – especially in church leadership," reported the ministry leader. When asked about the doctrinal statement of this translation ministry, he replied: "Gospel-related books only!"
ATM has a highly qualified Albanian English teacher/translator who joined the ministry in 2002. His prior experiences include translations of Christian books, articles, brochures and other materials for organizations or churches. Albania is 70% Muslim and ATM hopes to reach this large segment of the society, as well. As a former Muslim himself, this teacher will be able to translate the best Christian apologetics geared toward Islamic believers. While ATM has the capability of translating any of the great Christian writers, it does not have the resources to get them published at the present time. Prayers are constantly being offered to make this much-needed form of outreach a reality.
In a country where there was decades of enforced atheism, there is now religious freedom. Today only 0.7% of the population is born-again Christian. There are only small pockets of true Christian witnessing taking place in this mission field. Our brothers and sisters in Christ need our support and our prayers.