Former spy starts lecture series on faith in troubled times

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 ~ Updated 9:42 PM

E. Ray Cox told members of Cape Church of Christ on Wednesday night that everyone goes through their own time of trouble, and turning to the Bible can get them through it.

"There's not a person on the planet who has not entered into and gone through a time of trouble," Cox said. "First man -- did he get in trouble? Uh-huh."

Cox, director of the Russian Centre in Lubbock, Texas, takes a historical approach to teaching Christ, he told his audience.

Wednesday was his introduction to a four-day series of seminars Cox will be giving at Cape Church of Christ called "The Time of Trouble: a series about Crisis and the Overcoming Christ."

"I don't preach church, I teach the Bible," Cox said.

Cox shared with his audience his religious roots, which he said can be traced back to a family he described as "dysfunctional," with relatives who suffered alcoholism and had no solid background of faith.

"I thought, there has to be a better way than this," he said.

When he turned 19, Cox said he left home and never looked back.

"I wouldn't be standing before you, had I stayed," Cox said.

While working at a radio station in Texas, Cox went to his first church camp, and that was where the turning point in his life occurred, he said.

When Cox participated in a language program in Moscow, he encountered Oleg Penkovsky, a former Soviet colonel who worked as a high-level intelligence officer for the CIA during the Cold War.

When Penkovsky asked Cox to transport an intelligence packet to the American Embassy, telling him it contained important information, Cox's classmate urged him to ignore the request.

"There were many reports of entrapment then," Cox said.

It was 1959, shortly after the Soviet Union had just been opened up for tourism, and encounters with the KGB were not infrequent for the American students, Cox said, but he had an instinctive feeling her could trust Penkovsky.

Penkovsky's story is told in the novel "The Spy Who Saved the World" by Jerrold L. Schecter and Peter S. Deriabin.

Cox will be speaking at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, then at 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday. All seminars are open to the public.


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