Category Archives: Persecuted Church

German Woman Rebukes Islam

This video is making the rounds and I wanted to share it with my readers. This woman shouted down an Islamic iman who was giving a call to worship at the historic Memorial Church of the Reformation, built in honor of Martin Luther. She proclaimed that Jesus Christ is Lord over the church and Germany. During an interview afterwards, she says what so few understand about Islam, that they worship another god all together. They do not worship the same God as true Christians do. Here is the video:

We need to strive to be a bold as she was. She is following in the footsteps of the apostles who went from town to town proclaiming the truth. We need more Christians like her, and more pastors with her courage to stand up and proclaim the truth of Christ. This really is an inspiration.

Hattip: Diana.

Persecution Pakistan

I woke up this morning realizing just how much danger our brothers and sisters who live in Pakistan face every day. This was brought on by my conversation with a man who has two daughters living as missionaries in Pakistan. I spoke with the man last night and he asked me and our church to pray for his daughters and the other believers who live there.

He shared with me some horrible news that you will not find in MSM or even VOM. On September 21, when the radicals rioted over the bogus film Innocence of Muslims, which is the supposed excuse given for the riots and death for one U.S. Ambassador, they did far more than was reported when they killed five Christians in one area of the country and cut off the hands of a Catholic priest in another area of the country.

I cannot imagine the horror that our brothers and sisters in the LORD faced on September 21. They have since seen the hand of God answering their prayers as the terror has abated. But living here in the comfort of our own country, it is hard to imagine what it must be like to wonder if your church is going to be torched every day. They live with the reality that they could be thrown in jail, attacked and even killed for their faith. When these realities hit me this morning, all I could do is pray.

I also remembered Paul’s words to the Colossians: For if you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. For some reason that gives me great comfort for those who face those tribulations every day. They are on the forefront of persecution from the world, but their lives are hidden with Christ in God. Satan can attack in many ways, but in the end, those attacks are fruitless because those who are hidden in Christ will be raised again in glory. Satan may attack, strike, and even kill us, but if our lives are hidden in Christ, then we are secure in Him. He truly is our shield, rock, protectors and stronghold. 

The body of Christ in Pakistan faces true and real persecution. Remember then in prayer and be thankful for the freedoms still have today. Those freedoms may be removed in the future, but while it is yet today, let us trust in Him and remember that those “in Christ” are hidden with Him in God.

Roundup That Matters

Pastor Youcef still needs our prayers plus an UPDATE — as of today, Pastor Youcef is still thought to be alive in Iran even though he has been sentenced to death for converting from Islam to Christianity.

We know that God ultimately holds Pastor Youcef’s future in His hands, so we trust that whatever happens, God will be glorified and the gospel will go forward. But we still must pray for his deliverance and ask the LORD to have him spared from the radicals of Islam.

Here is the latest video on the case:

Not Afraid to Tell Her Story — Here is a post about Athena Dean who was involved in a terrible cult of mind control for the past 12 years. While in it, she lost her husband, family, home, business and car all because she fell under the Satanic control of cult-leader Tim Williams. Her business was running Wine Press, which was a successful small business until Williams and company showed up on the scene. Like many cults, Williams has left a long trail of broken Christians in his path.

Remember, we are to follow Christ, not men, especially when they twist Scripture to support their arguments. Whenever someone says that you should do something because God said so, and they point to the Bible to support their case, realize that this isn’t how Christianity operates. Athena also has a piece of the tactics of the cults.

Seven States File Lawuit over Obama Mandate — Good news. We see that seven states which include Texas, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Carolina, are filing a lawsuit in district court to stop the Obama mandate that would require religious institutions to provide health care that would provide abortions and contraceptions that are against their religious beliefs. As we saw in my post yesterday, the so-called compromise, was not a compromise at all and the mandate as it was written is still the mandate that is being required by Health and Human Services, which is a violation of our rights guaranteed under the First Amendment. The mandate demands that those who believe it is fundamentally wrong to kill a child would still have to pay for services that kill children. With this issue and the issue of Arizona’s immigration law, it’s sad to see that Americans greatest opponent to freedom and liberty is our own president. Alas, but we tried to warn our friends and families who were so ga-ga over this man, yet they would not listen.

Obama Confident He Has Another Five Years — not if we have anything to say about it. King Obama declared to Univision that he has another five years to set his plans in place. There he is quoted as saying the following:

“Well, first of all … my presidency is not over,” Obama, who just a few months ago described himself as an underdog in the presidential race, said in a telephone interview.  “I’ve got another five years coming up. We’re going to get this done,” he said.

“I would have only broken my promise if I hadn’t tried,” he said. “But ultimately, I’m one man. You know, we live in a democracy. We don’t live in a monarchy. I’m not the king. I’m the president. And so, I can only implement those laws that are passed through Congress.”

Given that we know he lies and actually believe and does the opposite of what he says in public, he really does see himself as king. Just given that he made that statement is quite telling. He has actually thought about it, desired it, wished it, so he could do away with that pesky Constitution that keeps him from implementing all his socialistic programs. Thank God we do have the Constitution and we have people who are still standing up for it.
Runaway Slave Still Working for Release — The movie Runaway Slave is still working to be released on a wide scale. The movie was shown in Washington for its premiere to about 200 blacks, all of which gave the movie a standing ovation at it’s conclusion. The movie focuses on how Democrat policies have actually enslaved black people to the Liberal agenda. As on commentator on the movie said… “the Democrats want the government to become our god.” I think the political cartoon at the top of the posts illustrates the point. The more people who are dependent upon government, the more government controls our lives, the more power they have. That is socialism. Every country that has tried it has failed. You can see the failures in Obama’s policies already.
I saw this comment over at Neil’s blog by Roxeanne De Luca, about the hypocrisy of the left. It captures what the movie is trying to say, and the cartoon above:

Amazing smackdown, Neil. Why does the Left never discuss how their own failed policies cause the poverty they are trying to prevent? They make housing obscenely expensive via “free” money and mandates, then cry about how the “free market” caused the housing bubble. They make it nearly impossible to commit mentally ill homeless people, then can’t figure out why we can’t get people off the streets. They undermine the dignity of an honest day’s work, then can’t figure out why people refuse to get off welfare. Then, when they’ve gotten the government and their twisted interpretation of the Constitution to really make a muck of things, the “solution” is more government intervention. As the Queen of Swords and I were saying today, it’s like people who ignore you when you tell them to not eat ten deep-fried Twinkies a day, then, when they turn into whales, say that the only solution to their problem is to eat more deep-fried Twinkies, because eating boosts the metabolism.

Pray for Asia Bibi

The Telegraph reports:

Asia Bibi, a 45-year-old mother-of-five, denies blasphemy and told investigators that she was being persecuted for her faith in a country where Christians face routine harassment and discrimination.

Here is a woman who is really being faced with persecution. As is the case in all Muslim countries, she is being charged with something falsely because the local Muslim women didn’t like her. The end result is that she has been charged for blasphemy and is facing death by hanging. It’s everything in me to keep from saying, “but wait, these are Muslims that doing this to her. We were told they were nothing but sincere loving peaceniks.”

Here is the reality of Asia’s situation.

The court heard she had been working as a farmhand in fields with other women, when she was asked to fetch drinking water.

Some of the other women – all Muslims – refused to drink the water as it had been brought by a Christian and was therefore “unclean”, according to Mrs Bibi’s evidence, sparking a row.

The incident was forgotten until a few days later when Mrs Bibi said she was set upon by a mob.

The police were called and took her to a police station for her own safety.

Shahzad Kamran, of the Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan, said: “The police were under pressure from this Muslim mob, including clerics, asking for Asia to be killed because she had spoken ill of the Prophet Mohammed.

“So after the police saved her life they then registered a blasphemy case against her.” He added that she had been held in isolation for more than a year before being sentenced to death on Monday.

“The trial was clear,” he said. “She was innocent and did not say those words.” Earlier this year, Pakistan’s internet service providers were ordered to block Facebook to prevent access to supposedly blasphemous images.

Truly, this happens all the time all over the world to fellow Christians. They truly are faced with persecution by Muslims who are sworn to wipe out all those who refuse to submit and become Muslim. We need to keep our brothers and sisters in prayer who face this every day. The most persecution we get here in the states is some driveling liberal saying something derogatory about us (did I just use “driveling liberal” in a derogatory way?).

The point is that Islam is not peaceful. It is a religion driven by hatred of fellow man. On top of that, it is a false religion. Fortunately for Asia, even though she faces death, she is far better off than those who persecute her. The King of kings has His hand upon her. She is His precious child. They may kill the body, but He owns her soul.

Religion of Evil Wins Support for Ground Zero Mosque

I know Constitutionally that the Muslims who want to build a mosque next to Ground Zero in New York have every right to do so. I still can’t help but feel that there is a terrible injustice to all of this. Read about here. Islam is a religion of evil. They seek to wipe out all those who don’t adhere to their brand of religion and even wipe out some who do hold to it. It is sad that we don’t have the moral fiber to tell them to take their mosque and evil religion elsewhere.

But alas, that is one of the weaknesses of our Constitution. It allows those who hate God and His people to flourish in the same society that was set up by God and His people. Satan is always using God’s word in order to bring about his own pursuits. The only comfort we can take in all this is that God will have none of that on Judgment Day. Those who hate this country, and the predominant religion of this country for 230 years, will be judged by Christ Himself. There will be no miscarriages of justice on that day. That is the only comfort I can find in this. Trust in the Lord. He will bring about justice on the evil of the earth. He is sovereign.  We are not.

Angel has more on it here.

“For My Sake”

Jesus said:

11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

I believe this verse will become more and more precious to us who are in Christ as the world continues to ramp up it’s hatred of Christians and the truth we hold to. We see this especially when it comes to the homosexual community and those politically-correct pawns in power. They hear that homosexuality is a sin and immediately call it hate speech. As one blogger put it, it only becomes hate-speech when what we say is something that they hate.

The real example of this has taken place in the United Kingdom, where two street preachers were arrested when they said that homosexuality is a sin. They were not preaching that, but someone in the crowd asked them if they believed that, and then went to get police to arrest them for: “unreasonable use of abusive language likely to cause distress.” That is the law according to the UK, which, reasonably could outlaw the gospel completely since the gospel does cause distress, either leading to repentance and salvation, or the hardening of the heart and damnation.

Read Marcia Segelstein’s blog here. Also, Alisa Harris reports on another pastor that was arrested a month earlier in Scotland for the same thing. You can say that Dale McAlpine and Shawn Holes are both blessed because they have lived out what Jesus spoke of above. One of the realities of the gospel is that when we suffer for Christ, we are blessed in Him as well. Jesus suffered His entire life on our behalf to bring about salvation for us. In that, we suffer for and with Him when the world persecutes us and we are blessed by being able to identify with our Savior. He has sovereignly allowed us to be partakers of Christ.

I know there are those who might wonder about justice in this case. Yes, it was unjust for them to be persecuted, but we need not worry about that. Jesus will take care of that as well. See Matthew 25:41 ff. Those who mistreat His sheep, thereby mistreating Him, will be dealt with accordingly on judgment day.

The key here is for us to realize the blessing that we have been given to suffer for His sake. Of course the world hates Christians. The same world hated Christ and put Him to death on a cross. Why should we expect any treatment other than what He had? We should not, but rest in the reality that Christ has designed our persecution for our blessing and for His glory.

Zero Days & Turkish Christians…

Tomorrow is IT!

KC, Skip and others, thanks for the prayers. We are down to the final day before the arrival of Joey Nate! Less than 24 hours… in fact, about 21 hours from now… Hard to believe with the way Beth’s pregnancy has gone that we are finally here.

Beth’s parents should be here in the next couple of hours. They are coming in to help and I’m glad of that. They are also bringing a mini-van for us to use for a while. AS the INTERN pointed out to me the other day, you know that your bachelor days are gone for good when you look forward to getting a mini-van! Yes, I do. We’ve needed it for a while, and once again, the LORD has been faithful in meeting our needs, through our loving in-laws. The in-laws want to be able to see their grandsons more than once a year. We will now be able to fit the entire family in the van, head back to Texas in the fall, making that 16-hour drive, for normal couples…. three days for us!

New Sermons posted
I posted the latest sermon at the church’s web site: www.grace-of-aiken.com on the sermon page… Download it and listen to it on your I-pod!

Turkish Brethren!
I got the following from Darrell Bock, a professor at DTS… It is a letter from believers in Turkey who have undergone persecution. The Turkish government puts Christians in the same category with Osama Bin Laden. In other words, they treat them like terrorists and feel that those who persecute Christians have done a just service for their false god, allah.

May our brothers in Christ persevere against the darkness of Islam… As our LORD said on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

A letter to the Global Church from The Protestant Church of Smyrna

Dear friends,

This past week has been filled with much sorrow. Many of you have heard by now of our devastating loss here in an event that took place in Malatya, a Turkish province 300 miles northeast of Antioch, the city where believers were first called Christians (Acts 11:26).

On Wednesday morning, April 18, 2007, 46 year old German missionary and father of three Tilman Geske prepared to go to his office, kissing his wife goodbye taking a moment to hug his son and give him the priceless memory, “Goodbye, son. I love you.”

Tilman rented an office space from Zirve Publishing where he was preparing notes for the new Turkish Study Bible. Zirve was also the location of the Malatya Evangelist Church office. A ministry of the church, Zirve prints and distributes Christian literature to Malatya and nearby cities in Eastern Turkey. In another area of town, 35 year old Pastor Necati Aydin, father of two, said goodbye to his wife, leaving for the office as well. They had a morning Bible Study and prayer meeting that some other believers in town would also be attending. Ugur Yuksel likewise made his way to the Bible study.

None of these three men knew that what awaited them at the Bible study was the ultimate testing and application of their faith, which would conclude with their entrance into glory to receive their crown of righteousness from Christ and honor from all the saints awaiting them in the Lord’s presence.

On the other side of town, ten young men all under 20 years old put into place final arrangements for their ultimate act of faith, living out their love for Allah and hatred of infidels who they felt undermined Islam.

On Resurrection Sunday, five of these men had been to a by-invitation-only evangelistic service that Pastor Necati and his men had arranged at a hotel conference room in the city. The men were known to the believers as “seekers.” No one knows what happened in the hearts of those men as they listened to the gospel. Were they touched by the Holy Spirit? Were they convicted of sin? Did they hear the gospel in their heart of hearts? Today we only have the beginning of their story.

These young men, one of whom is the son of a mayor in the Province of Malatya, are part of a tarikat, or a group of “faithful believers” in Islam. Tarikat membership is highly respected here; it’s like a fraternity membership. In fact, it is said that no one can get into public office without membership in a tarikat. These young men all lived in the same dorm, all preparing for university entrance exams.

The young men got guns, breadknives, ropes and towels ready for their final act of service to Allah. They knew there would be a lot of blood. They arrived in time for the Bible Study, around 10 o’clock.

They arrived, and apparently the Bible Study began. Reportedly, after Necati read a chapter from the Bible the assault began. The boys tied Ugur, Necati, and Tilman’s hands and feet to chairs and as they videoed their work on their cellphones, they tortured our brothers for almost three hours.

Neighbors in workplaces near the printhouse said later they had heard yelling, but assumed the owners were having a domestic argument so they did not respond.

Meanwhile, another believer Gokhan and his wife had a leisurely morning. He slept in till 10, ate a long breakfast and finally around 12:30 he and his wife arrived at the office. The door was locked from the inside, and his key would not work. He phoned and though it had connection on his end he did not hear the phone ringing inside. He called cell phones of his brothers and finally Ugur answered his phone. “We are not at the office. Go to the hotel meeting. We are there. We will come there,” he said cryptically. As Ugur spoke Gokhan heard in the telephone’s background weeping and a strange snarling sound.

He phoned the police, and the nearest officer arrived in about five minutes. He pounded on the door, “Police, open up!” Initially the officer thought it was a domestic disturbance. At that point they heard another snarl and a gurgling moan. The police understood that sound as human suffering, prepared the clip in his gun and tried over and over again to burst through the door. One of the frightened assailants unlocked the door for the policeman, who entered to find a grisly scene.

Tilman and Necati had been slaughtered, practically decapitated with their necks slit from ear to ear. Ugur’s throat was likewise slit and he was barely alive.

Three assailants in front of the policeman dropped their weapons.

Meanwhile Gokhan heard a sound of yelling in the street. Someone had fallen from their third story office. Running down, he found a man on the ground, whom he later recognized, named Emre Gunaydin. He had massive head trauma and, strangely, was snarling. He had tried to climb down the drainpipe to escape, and losing his balance had plummeted to the ground. It seems that he was the main leader of the attackers. Another assailant was found hiding on a lower balcony.

To untangle the web we need to back up six years. In April 2001, the National Security Council of Turkey (Milli Guvenlik Kurulu) began to consider evangelical Christians as a threat to national security, on equal footing as Al Quaida and PKK terrorism. Statements made in the press by political leaders, columnists and commentators have fueled a hatred against missionaries who they claim bribe young people to change their religion.

After that decision in 2001, attacks and threats on churches, pastors and Christians began. Bombings, physical attacks, verbal and written abuse are only some of the ways Christians are being targetted. Most significant is the use of media propaganda.

From December 2005, after having a long meeting regarding the Christian threat, the wife of Former Prime Minister Ecevit, historian Ilber Ortayli, Professor Hasan Unsal, Politician Ahmet Tan and writer/propogandist Aytunc Altindal, each in their own profession began a campaign to bring the public’s attention to the looming threat of Christians who sought to “buy their children’s souls”. Hidden cameras in churches have taken church service footage and used it sensationally to promote fear and antagonism toward Christianity.

In an official televised response from Ankara, the Interior Minister of Turkey smirked as he spoke of the attacks on our brothers. Amid public outrage and protests against the event and in favor of freedom of religion and freedom of thought, media and official comments ring with the same message, “We hope you have learned your lesson. We do not want Christians here.”

It appears that this was an organized attack initiated by an unknown adult tarikat leader. As in the Hrant Dink murder in January 2007, and a Catholic priest Andrea Santoro in February 2006, minors are being used to commit religious murders because public sympathy for youth is strong and they face lower penalties than an adult convicted of the same crime. Even the parents of these children are in favor of the acts. The mother of the 16 year old boy who killed the Catholic priest Andrea Santoro looked at the cameras as her son was going to prison and said, “he will serve time for Allah.”

The young men involved in the killing are currently in custody. Today news reported that they would be tried as terrorists, so their age would not affect the strict penalty. Assailant Emre Gunaydin is still in intensive care. The investigation centers around him and his contacts and they say will fall apart if he does not recover.

The Church in Turkey responded in a way that honored God as hundreds of believers and dozens of pastors flew in as fast as they could to stand by the small church of Malatya and encourage the believers, take care of legal issues, and represent Christians to the media.

When Susanne Tilman expressed her wish to bury her husband in Malatya, the Governor tried to stop it, and when he realized he could not stop it, a rumor was spread that “it is a sin to dig a grave for a Christian.” In the end, in an undertaking that should be remembered in Christian history forever, the men from the church in Adana (near Tarsus), grabbed shovels and dug a grave for their slain brother in an un-tended hundred year old Armenian graveyard.

Ugur was buried by his family in an Alevi Muslim ceremony in his hometown of Elazig, his believing fiance watching from the shadows as his family and friends refused to accept in death the faith Ugur had so long professed and died for.

Necati’s funeral took place in his hometown of Izmir, the city where he came to faith. The darkness does not understand the light. Though the churches expressed their forgiveness for the event, Christians were not to be trusted. Before they would load the coffin onto the plane from Malatya, it went through two separate xray exams to make sure it was not loaded with explosives. This is not a usual procedure for Muslim coffins.

Necati’s funeral was a beautiful event. Like a glimpse of heaven, thousands of Turkish Christians and missionaries came to show their love for Christ, and their honor for this man chosen to die for Christ. Necati’s wife Shemsa told the world, “His death was full of meaning, because he died for Christ and he lived for Christ… Necati was a gift from God. I feel honored that he was in my life, I feel crowned with honor. I want to be worthy of that honor.”

Boldly the believers took their stand at Necati’s funeral, facing the risks of being seen publicly and likewise becoming targets. As expected, the anti-terror police attended and videotaped everyone attending the funeral for their future use. The service took place outside at Buca Baptist church, and he was buried in a small Christian graveyard in the outskirts of Izmir.

Two assistant Governors of Izmir were there solemnly watching the event from the front row. Dozens of news agencies were there documenting the events with live news and photographs. Who knows the impact the funeral had on those watching? This is the beginning of their story as well. Pray for them.

In an act that hit front pages in the largest newspapers in Turkey, Susanne Tilman in a television interview expressed her forgiveness. She did not want revenge, she told reporters. “Oh God, forgive them for they know not what they do,” she said, wholeheartedly agreeing with the words of Christ on Calvary (Luke 23:34).

In a country where blood-for-blood revenge is as normal as breathing, many many reports have come to the attention of the church of how this comment of Susanne Tilman has changed lives. One columnist wrote of her comment, “She said in one sentence what 1000 missionaries in 1000 years could never do.”

The missionaries in Malatya will most likely move out, as their families and children have become publicly identified as targets to the hostile city. The remaining 10 believers are in hiding. What will happen to this church, this light in the darkness? Most likely it will go underground. Pray for wisdom, that Turkish brothers from other cities will go to lead the leaderless church. Should we not be concerned for that great city of Malatya, a city that does not know what it is doing? (Jonah 4:11)

When our Pastor Fikret Bocek went with a brother to give a statement to the Security Directorate on Monday they were ushered into the Anti-Terror Department. On the wall was a huge chart covering the whole wall listing all the terrorist cells in Izmir, categorized. In one prominent column were listed all the evangelical churches in Izmir. The darkness does not understand the light. “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also.” (Acts 17:6)

Please pray for the Church in Turkey. “Don’t pray against persecution, pray for perseverence,” urges Pastor Fikret Bocek.

The Church is better having lost our brothers; the fruit in our lives, the renewed faith, the burning desire to spread the gospel to quench more darkness in Malatya …all these are not to be regretted. Pray that we stand strong against external opposition and especially pray that we stand strong against internal struggles with sin, our true debilitating weakness.

This we know. Christ Jesus was there when our brothers were giving their lives for Him. He was there, like He was when Stephen was being stoned in the sight of Saul of Tarsus.

Someday the video of the deaths of our brothers may reveal more to us about the strength that we know Christ gave them to endure their last cross, about the peace the Spirit of God endowed them with to suffer for their beloved Savior. But we know He did not leave their side. We know their minds were full of Scripture strengthening them to endure, as darkness tried to subdue the unsubduable Light of the Gospel. We know, in whatever way they were able, with a look or a word, they encouraged one another to stand strong. We know they knew they would soon be with Christ.

We don’t know the details. We don’t know the kind of justice that will or will not be served on this earth.

But we pray– and urge you to pray– that someday at least one of those five boys will come to faith because of the testimony in death of Tilman Geske, who gave his life as a missionary to his beloved Turks, and the testimonies in death of Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel, the first martyrs for Christ out of the Turkish Church.