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Tortured Christians
Acceptable News?   

Q. I read a news article on your website about the satanic torture and killing of three Christians in Turkey. It was terribly upsetting, and I'm not sure you should run stories like this.

Answer:

It was upsetting to me, too. I read the article and found it so horrid that I still haven't been able to erase it from my mind. Please remember that we don't have control over the news items revealed by Koinonia House. But, I'm not so sure we would have removed it anyway.

Depravity of Man

The news article points out several things to those of us in America. For one thing, it reveals the utter depravity and sinful nature of man. There is no room for believing in the intrinsic "goodness" of man preached by humanists when confronted with stories like this.

All are Sinners - No one is Good

It brings to light that "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Ro. 3:23). "None is righteous, no, not one. No one understands. No one seeks for God. All have turned aside. Together they have become worthless. No one does good, not even one" (Romans 3:11-12). Mankind clearly needs a savior from this despicable evil.

Goodness of Christianity

The article reveals the intrinsic goodness of Christianity as opposed to religious believers who encourage their followers to brutally torture and murder unbelievers. Christianity says to "always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. Yet do it with gentleness and respect"… (1 Peter 3:15). Islam tells its followers to "slay the infidels."

Bless those who curse you

The Bible tells Christians they are "blessed when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5:11).

In contrast, other religions promote pride in self, pride in possessions, pride in achievement, and pride in evil, murderous mayhem. Their philosophy is "Me" and "Me Only!" What's in it for ME?

Their philosophy of pride rivals that of Satan's when he proclaimed,

"I will ascend to heaven above the stars of God. I will set my throne on high. I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds. I will make myself like the Most High (Isaiah 14:13-14).

Give me the Highest, the Biggest, and the Best

In other words, in like manner Satan's followers want the highest towers, the biggest temples, the most power. They want people to fear them and worship Satan, in effect, and to follow the devil's rules and laws. They want those they call unbelievers to beg for their lives and submit to a false god. You get the picture. It is Satan's philosophy of the "I Will."

In contrast Christianity teaches people to love their enemies and do good to those who persecute them.



Living in America

This is in stark contrast to Joel Osteen's "Your Best Life Now," isn't it? We tend to fall prey to a Disneyland mentality where the Robert Schullers of our country study "marketing tactics to lure worshippers from other congregations…to build enormous ministries focused on a generic, feel-good Christianity" (Flaccus. "Change at the Top," Skagit Valley Herald, 2/25/06).

It amazes me that mega churches inside the United States tend to focus on church growth, feel-good seminars, and acquiring wealth when they, too, are confronted by stories of modern day martyrs worldwide such as we read from Christian news sources.

Thank Him for our Blessings

Nevertheless, never forget the fact that we are incredibly blessed to live in America. Never forget to thank God for your circumstances. Never forget that "He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation" (Acts 17:26, NASB).

To never forget these blessings translates into all of us Americans becoming more thankful for things like running, hot water - thankful for food - thankful for grocery stores filled with everything we need - thankful for housing - thankful for medical care - thankful for washers, dryers and dishwashers - thankful for modern sanitation - thankful for jobs - thankful for clothing - thankful we are not persecuted - thankful for our families and thankful for our country.

Instructions for the Rich

The apostle Paul tells Timothy to "instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy" (1 Tim. 6:17).

Paul continues, "Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed" (1 Tim. 6:18-19, NASB).

To behave in a grateful, generous manner will enable American Christians to store up treasures for themselves in Heaven and to gain a better perspective on their own lives by helping those less fortunate than themselves.

Martyrdom

Finally, Christian martyrdom is a part of Christianity. Hebrews 11:35-38 says,

"Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned. They were sawed in two. They were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated - the world was not worthy of them" (NIV).

The Seeds of the Church

In an incredible twist, a surviving Turkish convert, Fikret Bocek, said this about the martyrdom of his brethren in an article about the murders: "People who had a fear of sharing their faith will start sharing. I believe that Necati, Tilman, and Ugur's blood will be seed in the Turkish church. Now we cannot look back. We cannot deviate from preaching the gospel" (Nelson, "No Turning Back," World Magazine, 5/5/07, WorldMag.com.).

That, friends, takes courage.
______________________________




Sources Cited:


Penner, Glen. 2004. In the shadow of the cross. Bartlesville, OK: Living Sacrifice Books.

Voice of the Martyrs. www.persecution.com.








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