Archive for ‘Persecuted Church’

March 4th, 2012

Rumors of Pastor Youcef’s Execution are False

In this day and age of Twitter, rumors galore, even rumors of prominent people’s death. Saturday night was no exception. It was particularly shocking for some of us when tweets went out declaring the execution of Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who has been on death row for apostasy from Islam. Some believed the rumor and started sending out condolences. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before the America Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) put an end to the rumor with a tweet when its sources in Iran confirmed Pastor Youcef is alive. Here is a part of a post from Jordan Sekulow of ACLJ:

Reports that his execution occurred earlier today are false, and images being circulated purporting to be from his execution are outdated and demonstratively false.

The ACLJ still believes that the execution order has been issued, but we can confirm that as of today Pastor Youcef is still alive. International pressure continues to build on Iran.

I am writing a Yahoo! News article on the plight of Pastor Youcef, which might be published later this week. I have interviewed an official at the International Christian Concern (ICC) and Jerry Dykstra, the spokesperson of Open Doors USA. Please continue to pray for Pastor Youcef and all other believers who are in prison on account of their faith in Jesus Christ. Pray also for their loved ones. Thank you.

November 21st, 2011

Any Mosques Turning into Churches?

While participating in a panel discussion at Moody Church recently, Dr. Erwin Lutzer asked me a question a Muslim man had asked him. He was trying to highlight the plight of persecuted church in Muslim majority countries. The Muslim had argued Islam was the true religion simply because there were no mosques turning into churches but there are churches turning into mosques. The question was, “Are there any mosques turning into churches?”

In my answer, I noted the only mosque I knew of in Cordova, Spain, which was turned into a church building. Muslims had conquered Cordova and turned a Catholic church into a mosque. It remained a mosque for a few centuries until Spaniards overthrew the city and turned the mosque into what it used to be, a church building.

How this Muslim man would claim Islam is a true religion based on mosques not turning into church buildings is baffling. I wonder if he knows most Muslim majority countries do not even allow repairs on existing church buildings let alone establishment of new ones, which is an avenue for turning mosques into church buildings!

I added, no mosques are turning into church buildings because the playing field is not leveled in Muslim majority countries. There is no religious freedom for non-Muslims. Many Muslims who secretly follow Jesus Christ would come forward and establish a place of worship for themselves if it weren’t for threats they face.

We need to tell our Muslim friends a building is not what constitutes a church. A church is a body of believers. A Christian—one who professes Jesus Christ is the Son of God and abides by His Word—is a member of “church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven.” This Church even has members who are of Muslim background in a country as restrictive and hostile to Christians as Saudi Arabia. Though without walls, this church is flourishing and if freedom of religion were granted, would convert mosques into church buildings.