Dr. John Bernbaum’s book, Opening the Red Door, has now been released by InterVarsity Academic Press. To get your copy of Opening the Red Door, click the button below.

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Two generous donors from Atlanta agreed to purchase 2,000 copies of Opening the Red Door at the author’s price, so that BEAM can make them available to you at a special discount. The net income from these donations will be used to support BEAM’s ministry partners in Russia, Ukraine and other post-Soviet states.

About the Book

After the Berlin Wall fell, a group of Christian colleges in the U.S. seized the opportunity to begin strategic faculty and student exchanges with universities inside the Soviet Union. They could not have foreseen the doors that would open next. During a 1990 visit to Russia, John Bernbaum and his colleagues received a surprising invitation from a Russian government official: come help build a faith-based university in Moscow. Thus, after seventy years of fierce religious persecution under communism, the Russian-American Christian University (RACU) was born.

In Opening the Red Door, Bernbaum presents an insider’s account of the rise and fall of a Russian-American partnership. As a founder and later president of RACU, Bernbaum offers a ground-level perspective on Russia’s post-communist transition and the construction of a cultural-educational bridge between the two superpowers. He describes how American RACU staff worked to understand Russian history and culture—including the nation’s rich spiritual heritage—so they could support their new Russian friends in rebuilding an educational system and a society. He documents the story of the first private Christian liberal arts university to be accredited in Russia’s history, from its first steps, through its major successes, to its facing increasing opposition during the Putin era.

Opening the Red Door offers unique insight not only into Russian culture and post–Cold War history but also traces the dynamics within international educational institutions and partnerships. When he first traveled to Russia, Bernbaum writes, he thought of it as a nation of mystery. But after more than twenty-five years of work there, he believes Russia can be understood. His journey of understanding will prove instructive to educators, administrators, students, missionaries, and anyone interested in international relations.

Endorsements for OPENING THE RED DOOR

“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

“It seemed unimaginable, during seventy years of officially atheistic communism, that a Russian-American Christian University (RACU) would ever exist in Russia. With the vision and courage of its founder/president, John Bernbaum, and the RACU faculty, board, and other supporters, in 1995 a Christian liberal arts university became a reality. RACU was cherished by its Russian students and increasingly challenged by the Russian government. Now its legacy lives on in the lives of hundreds of RACU graduates, who were prepared for their future work and Christian service. Opening the Red Door is not only a captivating story but also a well-documented historical narrative and inspiring tribute to the ways of God in the world.”
-Anita Deyneka, Mission Eurasia board member emeritus