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“Many of the Iranians in Turkey say they converted in Iran and had to flee. Farzana says after three months of attending a home church, two men from the Revolutionary Guards who were watching her church detained her when they found a Bible in her car.”
Iranians are Converting to Evangelical Christianity in Turkey
NPR – In a hotel conference room in Denizli, Turkey, about 60 Iranians sing along to songs praising Jesus mixed with Iranian pop music. When the music stops, American pastor Karl Vickery preaches with the help of a Persian translator.
“I’m not famous or rich. But I know Jesus. I have Jesus,” he says, with a Southern drawl. The Farsi-speaking Christian converts shout “Hallelujah!” and clap.
Vickery, who’s part of a visiting delegation from Beaumont, Texas, then offers to pray for each person in the room.
Women with hair dyed blond and short skirts and clean-shaven men in slacks stand up to pray in unison. Vickery puts his hand on one woman’s head and speaks in tongues. One man closes his eyes as tears fall. Another woman raises her hand and shouts “Isa,” Jesus’ name in Arabic and Persian. The room smells of sweat.
Among the parishioners are Farzana, a 37-year-old hairdresser from Tehran, and her daughter Andya, 3, who runs around, taking photos with her mother’s cellphone.
“It feels good. Our relationship to God becomes closer,” Farzana says. She doesn’t want to give her last name because she says her family in Iran might face persecution for her conversion. Her family knows she is a convert and they’re scared for their own safety inside Iran.
In Turkey and across the Middle East and Europe, evangelical Christians are converting Muslim refugees eager to emigrate to the West. The refugees in Turkey escaped Iran, where conversion to anything but Islam is illegal.
There are hundreds of thousands of Christians in Iran. Those considered part of the native Christian communities are permitted to practice their religion with restrictions, but a Muslim converting to Christianity is considered an apostate. The Iranian government jails converts, especially those who proselytize. The authorities see it as a Western plan to turn Iranians against Islam and the Islamic regime, according to converts in Turkey.
It is also illegal to convert from Islam in several other Muslim-majority countries, including Saudi Arabia, and punishable by jail time or death.
The converts in Turkey apply for asylum to a third country through the United Nations, claiming they would face religious persecution if they return home. Turkey hosts more than 3.5 million Syrians and other migrants escaping war and conflict.
But Turks are becoming increasingly intolerant of refugees. While the Turkish government allows freedom of religion and even protects churches in many cities, refugees are assigned to live in small conservative towns where they may face discrimination from the local population wary of evangelicals.
Despite local objections, evangelical pastors say they will continue to preach the Bible because Turkey’s constitution gives them the right.
Many foreign evangelicals left Turkey after a botched coup attempt in 2016, when American preacher Andrew Brunson was jailed and charged with terrorism. The high-profile case strained Turkish-U.S. relations until Brunson was released in October.
But refugees have continued to come, and demand for more churches has grown. Read more at NPR
If you go to the store to buy Meat, don't run to the Milk section or the Junk Food aisle looking for it!!
The Meat Section is the True Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Milk Section is likened to those who will not preach on sin and Hell, just a feel good message, the Social gospel.
The Junk Food Isle is the outright false doctrine AKA the prosperity gospel, name it and claim it, the Hebraic Roots movement and other false teachings!!
Feasting on just Milk and Junk will eventually cause you great harm, you can count on it!!
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