(Posted by The Economist). Some evangelical Christians in the United States have stratospheric political connections, and can be sure of gaining access to the White House whenever they want. But Andrew Brunson, a Presbyterian minister from North Carolina who has been imprisoned for nearly a year in Turkey, is not part of that charmed circle.
Since 1993, he and his wife Norine have quietly built up and shepherded a community of about 25 souls in the Turkish city of Izmir, where they have raised three children. They belong to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, a smallish group which takes an intermediate position on Presbyterianism’s liberal-conservative spectrum.
When the Brunsons were summoned to the police station last October, they thought they might be about to receive the “permanent resident” status they had long wanted. Instead, they were both put under arrest. She was released after 13 days, but he remains incarcerated. He was initially charged with membership of a terrorist organisation, and more recently with gathering state secrets and attempting to overthrow the Turkish government. The authorities have failed to produce any convincing evidence or indeed to release any details of the case against him. Just in the last few days it has become clear that he has been haplessly caught up in a wider standoff between the governments of Turkey and America.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has suggested openly that the American pastor could be part of a high-level strategic swap. Swaps involving contentious individuals were a feature of the cold war: in 1976, for example, Vladimir Bukovsky, a Soviet dissident, was exchanged for a Chilean communist. But in this case a NATO ally wants to trade Mr Brunson not for another man’s freedom, but for another man’s arrest and extradition: that of Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish preacher who lives in Pennsylvania.
Speaking to police officers on September 28th, Mr Erdogan virtually offered to send Mr Brunson home if the American authorities would turn over Mr Gulen, an erstwhile friend of Turkey’s ruling party who is now blamed for fomenting last year’s coup attempt in Ankara. (It was his movement to which Mr Brunson was allegedly linked.)
“They belong to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, a smallish group which takes an intermediate position on Presbyterianism’s liberal-conservative spectrum.”
If the author’s statement here is equivalent to the truth of the rest of the article I now understand FAKE NEWS. The EPC does not take an “intermediate position” it stands on the word of God (while the PCUSA blows whatever way the liberal wind is blowing). And I take the use of “smallish group” means Pastor Brunson’s life isn’t as important as if he were in a “biggish group”. We have enemies all around us.
I would respectful request that circumspection is called for. I am a member of another smallish presbyterian group (ECO) that isn’t as old as the Evangelical Presbyerian Church. We also believe we stand on the Word of God. I think We are well left of Orthodox Presbyterians and well right of PCUSA. PCA is right of us. There are half a dozen or more other presbyterian groups sprinkled throughout this spectrum. Sometimes I wonder how useful the left and right descriptors are, except as a vague indicator where We fall on a few hot button political issues. I’ll continue praying for brother Andrew.
As of today I have written to the President as well as the local congressional reps on this matter, as well as prayed for his safe release and return. In any aspect such as this, advocacy and prayer are the least a Christian believer can do. So why is this such a non-event for the PCUSA, as well as the recent history of Christian genocide in the Middle East? Given the insularity and self-absorption of the Administrative State PCUSA in their own issues one is not surprised. Nor do missionaries in the classic sense of spreading the faith have an established lobby in the Administrative State PCUSA, as do the various racial, tribal, identity groups. But there is a deeper cause I think.
In essence the PCUSA, its governing bodies, clergy by and large, its school house academia, no longer believe in really anything much anymore. They are unsure what to believe, and unsure what to say to themselves, let alone in the public square, save the standard political musings of the Home Office. In essence they lost faith in Jesus really to change anything about themselves or their beloved denomination. They have given up. Hence why lobby or have interest in a missionary in trouble for precisely proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. Their take is that he should have known the place he was, kept his head down, go with the flow and accommodate and adapt. Again for Louisville, this is an non-event, as was the slaughter of the Christians in Iraq and Syria since ISIS. For them issues of white guilt, self-loathing, GA in St Louis, the 3 ring circus of the 3 committees take far too much of their limited talents and energies. its energies spent, its people either exhausted, apathetic, or both.
Of course, your views are correct. Nonetheless, it is difficult to not have compassion on the sheep when the false shepherds are beginning to outnumber the true shepherds and the false shepherds seem to have the upper hand at the moment. If justice does not prevail in the land, the situation looks bleak for those sheep.
Brother Andrew’s situation? We continue to pray for strength and health, for Andrew, his family, and all of his advocates around the world. May God’s name continue to be glorified in this horrible situation.