The New York Times and various other news outlets have been reporting the case of an American Evangelist, Andrew Brunson, who has been imprisoned in Turkey for the past two years.
Recently an official indictment has been handed down against Brunson claiming he has used “Christianization” as a “mask” to engage in “unconventional warfare” against the government.
According to the American Center for Law and Justice Brunson” is being targeted became of his Christian faith.”
Brunson claims he is innocent and stated that he has been “in Turkey for over two decades to simply tell the people about Jesus.”
“Incredibly, the indictment now admits that Turkey considers ‘Christianization’ to be an act of terrorism,” according to Brunson’s attorney Cece Heil.
While there could be facts that the American press is not reporting, it appears this is another case of persecution against believers in Jesus. In the past several years, it has been well documented that certain countries are not accepting of Christianity and preaching the name of Jesus. Some have even been beheaded for their faith.
Persecution, of course, is nothing new. In the first century, the apostles were persecuted. In Acts 5, Peter and John were arrested, imprisoned and charged not to preach in the name of Jesus.
“But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Ax 5:29).
For many years Christians have enjoyed a favorable status in the United States. And compared to other countries that continues to be the case. However, in the past several years laws have been enacted that are contrary to our Biblical beliefs. We have experienced ridicule and in some cases, been ostracized for our faith. We are living in a time that is much different than many of us remember from our childhood.
Frankly, I don’t see a moral swing back to the right. In fact, our challenges will probably become greater. The liberal agenda is not regressing, it is progressing. I wonder if one day preaching that Jesus is “the way, the truth and life” will become a hate crime?
Certainly, there are already those who are trying to make preaching against homosexuality and same-sex marriage a hate crime. It has been suggested that churches who refuse homosexuals should lose their tax exempt status. Do you suppose the day will come when we are monitored by the government to see if we are in violation? I don’t know.
Sadly many preachers and denominational churches have already compromised on moral issues such as abortion, homosexuality and same-sex marriage. They have chosen to obey man rather than God.
However, it might be well for us to consider other ways in which we may compromise our faith by listening to what men say. What about on your job? Have you ever been asked to lie for your boss? To participate in a practice that violates your conscience? High School and college students may be pressured to agree with positions that are opposed to Bible teaching in order to get a good grade.
We all need to be careful not to have fellowship with groups, alliances, or activities that require following what men say instead of what God teaches.
May we face whatever future challenges come our way with commitment and conviction. And find the courage to obey God rather than men.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman