Abstract

This paper focuses on the major specificity of Evangelicalism - biblical literalism. The language of the Russian Synodal Bible is the language of conversion, both in the Baptist community and rehabilitation ministry for the addicted people. The interpretation of the Bible is heavily influenced by specific history of the Church and Arminian soteriology, proclaiming free-will acceptance or rejection of salvation. Rehabilitation thus is a responsible decision.

Biblical literalism in the ministry constructs a peculiar narrative of self-transformation — Christian Rehabilitation. This narrative includes two elements: bodily transformation through long abstinence, and moral transformation - conversion to Christianity.

My analysis is based on the fieldwork in three rehabilitation centers and Baptist community in St Petersburg. I analyze the “lay hermeneutics” of the ministers and “elders”. Scripture is used for explanation and interpretation of “bygone” life in the “slavery of sin,” and the changes that conversion and “growing in faith” imply.

The rehabilitation ministry brightly represents the process of Baptist literalist conversion. Bible-study is the main activity and responsibility of the rehabilitants. Thus, those who do not merely learn the biblical text, but adapt the language of the Bible as the language of speaking, motivation for actions, and thought, successfully pass the whole program and remain in remission.

Keywords: Biblical literalism, conversion, rehabilitation, Russian Baptist Church