Opening the Red Door
The Inside Story of Russia's First Christian Liberal Arts University
by John A. Bernbaum
Pub Date 17 Sep 2019
Talking about this book? Be sure to tag it using #OpeningTheRedDoor #NetGalley
"This book recounts an amazing opportunity: an invitation from Russian reformers at the end of the Cold War to found a Christian liberal arts university in Moscow. John Bernbaum was at the center of that adventure, and in Opening the Red Door he shows, in frank and colorful prose, what made this enterprise possible and what brought it down in the end. Christian higher education today is a global endeavor, but it is not just about growth and success. It is a risky business, and we can learn much from our struggles and failures. I commend this highly instructive account to all who engage in Christian higher education."
-Joel Carpenter, Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity, Calvin College
"The history of establishing a university could be dry and boring. However, in light of the upheavals taking place in Russia during that time, a word such as boring does not apply to this book. Opening the Red Door reads more like a spy thriller."
-From the foreword by Philip Yancey
"Although the Russian-American Christian University has now closed, its history as told by its president John Bernbaum is both important and fascinating—and a riveting read. The university's twenty-five-year existence is a story of Russia's fraught transition out of communism and of extraordinary feats of international cooperation, a nearly unbelievable record of perseverance through official roadblocks and of unanticipated achievement by Russian students, and a moving account of deep person-to-person friendships. It is hard to imagine a more illuminating narrative of recent Russian history and Christian-inspired cooperation."
-Mark Noll, author of A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada
"What a book for such a time as this! John Bernbaum, a friend and longtime Christian educator, has given us something special in this volume. Academically trained in international relations and experienced in diplomacy, he shows himself to be a gifted writer with keen insight into recent Soviet and Russian history as well as one who understands the hard work of Christian education. Moreover, John writes about the country and its people from the inside. He shares with us his experience of both high hopes and heartbreaking dismay for Russia and his beloved colleagues and friends there. The dark door may have closed, but it will not extinguish the light from Christ's transcendent lordship."
-James W. Skillen, president (retired), Center for Public Justice, Washington, DC
"Christian higher education is expanding around the world, often in the face of political and religious opposition. Opening the Red Door is a fascinating story of one determined attempt to establish an academically rigorous, spiritually vibrant Christian university in postcommunist Russia. Though it was established during a thaw in United States and Russian relations in the 1990s, the Russian-American Christian University ultimately could not survive the deterioration of that relationship following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. But it was not for naught. Seeds were planted. John Bernbaum's firsthand account of the rise, decline, and enduring legacy of the Russian-American Christian University serves as a vivid window into the momentous years between the end of the Cold War and the formation of new global alignments following 9/11. It is also a testament to the incredible dedication of Christians who believe that the growth of the global church needs to be supported and guided by Christian academic institutions. As such, it will inspire as well as instruct readers interested in international politics and the complex relationship between Christian universities and their social context."
-Shirley V. Hoogstra, president, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities
"This is the story of a remarkable man with a remarkable dream. In establishing Russia's first Christian-based liberal arts university, John Bernbaum came to know key players in the Russian government and the Russian Orthodox Church. His gripping account provides a unique perspective on the new Russia—and on the challenges to Christian witness as Russia seeks its way into the future."
-John P. Burgess, author of Holy Rus': The Rebirth of Orthodoxy in the New Russia