Yousef Nadarkhani, a Muslim convert to Christianity when he became an adult capable of making his own spiritual decisions is a Pastor in the 400 member Church of Iran. He has been imprisoned since September of last year. His wife was also briefly imprisoned in an effort to force him to recant his testimony for Jesus Christ by threatening her. It didn’t work. Amnesty International, The American Center for Law and Justice, and some from the Catholic church have taken up the cause.
Notably, the U.S. government has been silent on the matter, much to their disgrace and a pointed example of how cowardly we appear on the world stage when that which is clearly unjust is allowed to persist. Edmund Burke’s wisdom rings true again:
“All that is needed for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”
The judges, according to the American Center for Law & Justice, demanded that Nadarkhani recant his Christian faith before they would allow submission of evidence. Though the judgment runs against current Iranian and international laws and is not codified in Iranian penal code, the judge stated that the court must uphold the decision of the 27th Branch of the Supreme Court in Qom.
When asked to repent, Nadarkhani stated: “Repent means to return. What should I return to? To the blasphemy that I had before my faith in Christ?”
“To the religion of your ancestors, Islam,” the judge replied.
“I cannot,” Nadarkhani said.
Let this be every Christian’s call to action. A time is coming soon when our comfortable manner of Christian practice will come under increasing pressure to conform with the world and face this same intolerance. Nadarkhani clearly knows the Lord and what it means to live for Him. It may mean a violent death and a less safe existence for his wife and sons, who will have to live with the pain their remaining days. The sons could be forced to return to Islam.
I say again, let this be every Christian’s call to action for Yousef’s release and exoneration, for God Almighty to be glorified in this situation and that many more Muslims will be bold and come to the knowledge and love of the saving truth of Jesus Christ.
For now, we should be making a lot of noise at the world media who have had virtually nothing to say about this grotesque miscarriage of law, even by Iranian standards, which seem to be a moving target in every instance.
What will you do, brothers and sisters?