|Widow of Turkish martyr forgives attackers|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Friday, 27 April 2007 17:00|
|The Turkish government have arrested a group of five men and women they believe were responsible for the horrific attack of three Christians working at a Bible publishing company in Malatya. Turkey has a secular government but the majority in the country are Islamic, and Christians are a persecuted minority. The three Christians were holding a Bible study in their offices for several Turkish men who it was believed wanted to become Christians. After the Bible study began, the three Christians were bound and brutally tortured for three hours by their attackers, the assault being recorded on the Muslims' mobile phones. Police received a tip off and the Muslims were caught while attempting to escape. I must give you a warning, for the description of their martyrdom is this article is particularly graphic. The comments of Susanne Tilman regarding her husband's murderers have made the front page of Turkey's largest newspaper, calling for them to be forgiven rather than calling for revenge against the Islamic assailants. |
Quote: ""Please pray for the Church in Turkey," wrote Pastor Fikret Bocek. "Don't pray against persecution, pray for perseverance." "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," the letter said. "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 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," the letter said.
The letter, written by Turkish Christians to the worldwide Church, states that persecution against Christians in Turkey has increased since the Turkish National Security Council made a decision in 2001 to consider Christians as great a threat to security as al-Qaeda. As I have said before, similar views have been expressed by our own leaders, including the Pope, Prime Minister Tony Blair, and former Home Secretary David Blunkett. Although we may claim to enjoy the freedom of democracy, we are really only a government away from experiencing the kind of persecution on the scale of that seen in Turkey. But on a more positive note, as the Pastor wrote, do not pray for an end to persecution but for perseverance. For in spite of tremendous persecution in countries like China, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, etc, thousands are being saved and they are crying out for the Word of God. It's not really about us, that is what the devil wants to put an end to, and let's not give him opportunity to get what he wants.