Andrew Brunson and Christian Persecution

For the past two years, Andrew Brunson languished in Turkish prison cells for crimes he did not commit. Brunson, an evangelical pastor from North Carolina, had been faithfully ministering in Turkey with his wife and three kids for over two decades. Suddenly one day, his life turned upside-down and he faced up to 35 years in prison for completely implausible and ridiculous charges. The Turkish government claimed Brunson took part in an attempted coup of their paranoid president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Thankfully, in response to the prayers of Christians from all around the world, the US government was able to pressure Turkey to release Pastor Brunson, and he recently traveled home safely.

Pastor Brunson’s persecution for his Christian faith was unusual for its international visibility, but unfortunately there is nothing “unusual” about Christians being persecuted. It happens every day, and it’s getting worse. Open Doors USA estimates that 160 Christians are detained without trial and imprisoned every month, just like Andrew Brunson was. Open Doors estimates 104 Christians are abducted, 180 Christian women are raped or sexually harassed, and 255 Christians are martyred every single month—simply for their commitment to follow Jesus Christ. We need to be shocked anew by the evil and injustice of Christian persecution, woken up out of our ignorance and indifference about this widespread suffering.

We need to be shocked, yet not surprised. Jesus himself said, “In this world you will have trouble.” And we must remember and proclaim boldly the hope we have. The same Jesus who predicted we would have trouble also went on to say, “Take heart, for I have overcome the world.”

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Dr. Robert Jeffress is a best-selling author of 25 books, a nationally and internationally syndicated TV and radio host and the senior pastor of First Baptist Dallas, one of the largest and most influential churches in America. Pathway to Victory, Dr. Jeffress’ broadcast ministry, airs daily nationwide on more than 900 radio stations and is broadcast live to 195 countries. His latest book, Choosing the Extraordinary Life: God’s 7 Secrets for Success and Significance, is available in bookstores everywhere. He is an evangelical adviser to the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

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