By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
TEHRAN, IRAN (BosNewsLife)– Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani facing imminent death has urged his church to remain “firmly in Christ” shortly after a court apparently ordered his execution, a church official told BosNewsLife.
Nadarkhani was still alive Wednesday afternoon local time, February 22, but it remained unclear when he would be hanged on charges of “apostasy” or “abandoning Islam”, confirmed the pastor’s Church of Iran council member Firouz Khandjani.
The Lakan Prison, near the pastor’s northern home city of Rasht, is viewed as notorious by rights activists as several inmates were allegedly “secretly hanged” their, without a fair trial. Nadarkhani, who is married with two children, was however “allowed yesterday to speak with his wife from prison,” said Khandjani.
“He did not speak with her about the court order. However he urges his church to stay firmly in Christ,” the church official added. A lawyer of Nadarkhani was informed about the execution order, although the defense team has not yet received official written notification from the court.
Khandjani said however that courts not always follow proper procedures in Iran, which is known to have a highly secretive judicial system.
He said the church fears execution is almost inevitable as the pastor has refused to make a compromise with Iran’s Islamic rulers. “He was recently asked by the court to acknowledge Prophet Muhammad as a messenger from God. But he refused because he did not want to recant his faith in Christ. That’s why the execution order came.”
The pastor has been detained since 2009 when he was captured in Rasht to register his house church. The regional Gilan Court sentenced Nadarkhani to death in November 2010 on charges of “apostasy”, or abandoning Islam.
His appeal against that ruling was seen as being rejected in 2011. The Supreme Court said “he can be executed” but added it would first ask a “re-examination” by the same court that already sentenced him to death. “Basically they are upholding the sentence,” Khandjani explained.
EVANGELICAL HOUSE CHURCH
Iran’s Church of Iran is one of the largest evangelical house church movements in the country, with Pastor Nadarkhani’s congregation alone having hundreds of members.
Several pastors and other Christians of the movement, many of them former Muslims, are known to have been detained. Some of them have fled after being forced to pay for their release. “We are praying for the pastor,” added Khandjani speaking to BosNewsLife.
He is currently hiding with his family amid concerns over his own safety.
Iranian officials denied wrongdoing and have accused the pastor of being “a criminal” and “Zionist.”
Despite the reported difficulties there may be at least as many as 100,000 devoted evangelical Christians in Iran, many of them former Muslims, according to mission groups. (This is a developing story, stay with BosNewsLife for continues coverage).
(BosNewsLife strongly disagrees with this comment below. We have very well qualified sources about the order. The question is only whether the authorities will indeed carry out the execution or not. We have made clear that the attorney still awaits official notification).
please , enough -stop- this news about Y.N is not truth.
none of them are confirmed by official sources or his attorney and are just a rumor as yet.
ask some iranian news agency
Thank you for posting this news. I am sharing it through HymnSite, too, and asking all visitors to pray.
I hope to God that they don’t execute this man, but if they do, Nadarkhani will go straight to Heaven. Why do muslims have a problem with someone leaving islam? Why can’t this man just be allowed to go home to his family?
Wake up children of Christ and pray hard for our brother.
Too many of us live in free country’s and we take our faith for granted.
We can worship without fear of persecution.
He is on the front lines where it counts the most.
My prayers for Pastor Youcef and all his family as well to stand strong.
Our God is a mighty God……..Ahmen?
Lyrics to : Cathedral of People ….By Downhere
If they shut down the churches,
Where would you go?
If they melted all the stained-glass windows
Replaced every sanctuary with a condo
Where would you go?
Where would you go?
We are a cathedral made of people
In a kingdom that the eye can’t see
We’re a house, we are the bride
Where God’s Spirit lives inside
And nothing ever could stand against her
If they burned every Bible
What would you know?
If they tore your marked-up pages
How would you grow?
And declared your devotion to be criminal
What would you know?
What would you know?
When they throw you in prison
What will you do?
When they hate you for the things that you know are true
They can tear down this temple,
But they can’t touch you.
Pastor Nadarkhani is a beacon to all those in darkness in Iran and a pillar of God. May we be encouraged and strengthened by the example of his unwaivering faith in our own walk with Christ. May the light of the Most High continue to shine through him and through the church he pastors. God bless Pastor Youcef. May we all unite in prayer for him and for his family.
I want to encourage the church of Nadarkhani to not loose heart or become faint, but keep on keeping on.GOD is present in this case. The bible says that TO BE ABSENT FROM THE BODY IS TO BE PRESENT WITH THE LORD. JESUS was crucified for our sins. and He will never leave you nor forsake you, or your family or HIS Church. keep the FAITH Saints until Christ return, we in agreement with all of you’ll in the chirch of Iran.Praying and interceding for our Pastor.
I believe in Hebrews the 13th chapter and the 8th verse, God who delivered Daniel from the lions Den will surely deliver Pastor Yousef
I believe with all mt heart with a God of all possibilities, who answers prayers. Whatever the case His perfect will is certainly going to be done. when one part of the body suffers, we all do, and certainly we feel for our brother, and trust the Lord will see Him through, AMEN!!!!!!!
(BosNewsLife strongly disagrees with the upcoming comment that Youcef Nadarkhani is not a Christian. If he says in the added link that there is “One God” in the superimposed translation on state-run Press TV the pastor is obviously right. Christ Jesus was and is resembling God. There are no three thrones in heaven. That is the discussion sometimes about the trinity. Press TV calls him a ‘priest’, though he is a pastor. From all the letters we have seen from the pastor, it has become clear that he is a true believer in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.)
Might I put forth another way in which we might pray “more specifically” for Mr. Nadarkhani, his soul. There is a documented video, that Mr. Nadarkhani, himself, states that he rejects that the Bible teaches the doctrine of the trinity, thus affirming the ancient heresy of sabellianism or modelism. The doctrine of the trinity is the highest revelation that God has revealed about Himself through the scriptures, therefore I can not call Mr. Nadarkhani a brother in Christ for rejecting this doctrine. But, I can pray that God might grant him repentance and saving faith in the true God of the Bible (2 Peter 3:16).
Its discussed 50 seconds into the video: http://mohabatnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3182:iranian-officials-qno-death-penalty-for-nadarkhaniq&catid=36:iranian-christians&Itemid=279
prayer for pastor Yousef,
”I love you my Lord and Saviour Christ.My precious saints do the same.Loving saviour, our beloved pastor,YOUSEF NADARKHANI, is in the same situation like that of Shadrack,Meshack and Abadnego when they (evil men) pushed them to that fire.He is nearing the angry teeth of HANGING,because of preaching on salvation of dying souls,baptizing them ,pointing them to your calvary all in your name-THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. His goal is to win them to you JESUS CHRIST. Now there are others not less than 400 in his congregation.And many others.Let it be that before he steps in it (execution) do as you did to them (Shadrack Meshack and Abadnego).STOP any other move of the judiciary or any authority.May your NAME be GLORIFIED. You are always a GOD OF MIRACLES”……..Amen and Amen.
By way of your comments and posts, it appears you have inside access to those around Mr. Nadarkhani and what he believes. You can easy clear up for a number of people whether Mr. Nadarkhani is “Firm in Christ”. Because, as you know there are other anti-trinitarian reports that oppose your view and information.
Mr. Bos, you are a very informed gentleman looking to report the truth to your audience. As an informed truth seeking person and professing christian, and thus a lover of truth (3 John 1:8), I am sure you are aware that anti-trinitarians use the same terms/words and or redefine words (in their mind) to mean something different to fit their presupposition. Might I put forth a few questions that you could ask or show from “all the letters” you have access to, to make such a bold statement as “Firm in Christ”. Which Christ? (Titus 1:9)
1. Did the Son, as a divine Person, distinct from the Father as a divine Person, exist prior to the birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem?
2. Do you affirm (agree with) what is in the Nicene and Athanasian creeds?
3. Will you affirm (agree with) that those who do not affirm these creeds are holding to a heretical view?
4. If you affirm (agree with) the above questions would you put this in writing?
For your reference the “three thrones in heaven” is a presupposition from islam. Mr. Bos where did you get this understanding? For your reference:
May God place His angels around this faithful brother, and mercifully spare him from death to keep leading his church and to be with his family. But whether He will or whether He won’t, it inspires my soul to view the stand this brother is making for the TRUE Lord! God bless richly him and his church and family! We are praying without ceasing here in the US for the Lord to bind the hand of Satan that is trying to silence the Bride of Christ! Hallelujah!
I am a firm believer in Jesus Christ. With God nothing is impossible. God of miracles who protected Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego and also Daniel will see this Pastor through this trial. The world will know that God is all powerful and mighty. There is no power that can hinder Him from a miracle. Let His name be glorified!
Dear Mr. Ben.
For me the ONLY ‘Creed’ that really matters is God’s Word, the Bible. The creeds you mentioned have been agreements between church institutions. What I have seen from Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is that He believes the same as the Bible.
He allegedly says in a government controlled Press TV segment that he does not believe in trinity, most likely meaning three seperate persons, as “there is One God”. Well the Bible says there is One God. However Nadarkhani himself makes clear that he is firm in Christ in his letters and communication with his family and supporters. His church enourages people to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, a view based solely on the Bible.
For instance John 14:6 (New Living Translation) says: Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Jesus could say that because for instance John 1:18 (King James) notes” “No man hath seen God at any time;
the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”
The Bibles also says in Colossians 1:15-20 (New Living Translation) that Christ Is Supreme
15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,[a]
16 for through him God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church,
which is his body.
He is the beginning,
supreme over all who rise from the dead.[b]
So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
So in short: If you accept Christ, you accept God. If you reject Christ, you reject God. With accepting Christ you will be filled with the Holy Spirit, and become a new creation. That’s I believe the trinity explained. In some traditional churches this has become more about religious rituals, but the Bible is very clear about this.
About the thrones. I said there are NO three thrones when talking about this debate on trinity. I got that understanding from the Bible. About the throne I would suggest reading Revelation 5:11-13 (New Living Translation)
which clearly explains the majesty and throne of Jesus Christ, the risen Lord, as it says:
“Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne
and of the living beings and the elders. 12 And they sang in a mighty chorus:
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered—
to receive power and riches
and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and blessing.”
And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang:
“Blessing and honor and glory and power
belong to the one sitting on the throne
and to the Lamb forever and ever.”
Hope that helps. BosNewsLife earlier published a letter from Youcef Nadarkhani. If the Bible would not have been completed yet, this could have been added to those letters from Apostle Paul. I republish Nadarkhani’s letter below.
Pastor On Death Row Writes Christians
TEHRAN, IRAN (BosNewsLife)– BosNewsLife News Agency publishes the letter of 33-year-old evangelical Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani who faces execution in Iran for refusing to abandon his faith in Christ.
“Saturday, January 08, 2011,
Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2 When someone internalizes the revelation of the Truth, he will be willing to share it with others and future generations. We are indebted to the people who, in the past, fought for the Truth, allowing us to have access to this glorious revelation of Jesus Christ. These believers understood the richness and the beauty of the revelation and they were ready to fight in order to pass down the fruit of the revelation. How can we bear similar fruit for eternal life? It depends on the way we choose.
First we have to close our ears to the voice of the darkness as it is written in the first psalm:Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
Psalm 1:1. The second thing is to open our ears to the Voice of the Spirit speaking through the Word of God, as it is written:But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
Psalm 1:2The fruit of communion with the Lord through his Life-giving Word is stability in this life and eternal fruit that others bear in their life, as the Scriptures say: And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
Psalm 1:3 “Come”A lot of people admire Jesus as a unique model to follow for generations and a lot of people would like to become like Him. Jesus did not come to be admired but to give us a perfect model to follow.
If we want to be like Him, we need to take a step of faith, like Peter. When the apostle saw his Lord walking on the furious sea, he asked to come to Him on the water. Jesus said: “Come!”Everyone willing to follow the Lord is supposed to have listened in some way to this seemingly imperious command: “Come!” a command which implies an act of faith, referred to sometimes as the “leap of faith.”
As it is clear from the Scriptures, what we are able to see is not faith, as the biblical faith is defined as : “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” We have to decide “in spite of”’, in order to experience the power of God. But we need to remember that everything must be done according the Word of God.
Peter did not experience the possibility to walk on water because he decided to leave the boat but because of the Word, the Command of the Lord. The Word of God tell us to “expect to suffer hardship” and dishonor for the sake of His Name. Our Christian confession is not acceptable if we ignore this statement, if we do not manifest the patience of the Lord in our sufferings.
Anybody ignoring it will be ashamed in that day. Let us remember that sometimes the leap of faith leads us towards some impasses. Just as the Word led the sons of Israel leaving Egypt toward the impasse of the Red sea. These impasses are midway between promises of God and their fulfillment and they challenge our faith. Believers are to accept these challenges as a part of their spiritual course.
The Son was challenged at Calvary in the hardest way, as it is written in the Scriptures:“Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.” Hebrew 5:7-8The cry “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” is enough to express the sufferings of our Lord at Calvary.
Behind this cry of distress, we can identify the great faith that led Him to accept the will of the Father. Yea, He knew that God will “not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” and he was to rise up within 3 days.
Beyond the power of death, the Lord perceived the victorious power of the resurrection. I don’t need to write anything further about the basis of faith. Let us remember that beyond beautiful or painful feelings, only three things remain: Faith, Hope and Love. It is important for believers to make sure which kind of Faith, Hope and Love will remain.
Only what we receive according the Word remains forever. I would encourage you to live in a way that is worthy to the Holy calling of the Word. Let believers, who are heirs of the glory, be examples for others in order to be a witness of the power of Christ for the world and the future. I beg you to live according the Word of God in order to chase the powers of darkness that generates doubts in your heart.
The overcoming faith that casts out the doubt comes by hearing the Word of God.Only a church based on the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ will remain, for beyond the protection of the Word of God the destroyer destroys. Let us keep His Holy Testimony.
Your brother in Christ,
Hello Mr. Bos,
I am most grateful that you have been willing to engage in this discussion.
I think it is important that I acknowledge that I have presuppositions and the whole counsel of Gods Word is to govern how I think, how I evaluate experiences, so on and so forth. One of the things I presume, is that, truth is one of the attributes that makes up God’s essences, an absolute truth (God can not, not be truthful). So, when a government (Iran in this case) or other agencies look to suppress debate/dicussion it shows it is not in conformance to the revealed Biblical truth. I have a problem with that because this is not true to the nature of God and is not how Christian’s are to wage war (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). The only way for people (governments, agencies) )to make sense of their world-view is to steal from God attributes. Why? because they are in the Image of God and rely on them. The Iranian officials presuppose their religion as being true and therefore suppress any free discussion/debate on what religion and Book is The True Religion. And a Biblical worldview would say I have no need to fear truth or need to suppress it.
Having briefly dealt with the effect that Sharia law has and a brief highlight of one of the attributes of God, we see two different views and there “cause and effect”. I must now point out that even non-orthodox (sects/cults) do the same. Not wanting to assume, but I think we would both agree that mormons and Jehovah Witnesses fit into that non-orthodox label and yet a Mormon or Jehovah witness could easily affirm the statement of “he believes the same as the Bible”. This generalized statement make little to no sense when a syllogism is presented.
“All people who believe in the Bible are Christians”
“Mormons believe in the Bible”
“Therefore Mormons are Christians”
“All government controlled news agencies in iran are not capable of reporting truth”
“Press TV is a government controlled news agency in Iran”
“Therefore Press TV is not capable of reporting truth”
Above I used the word “generalization” because this is a common theme in your articles and responses, Mr. Bos. But I think you can offer your audience and others peace of mind by getting detailed information as to who is twisting words (Press TV or Mr. Nadarkhani). All to the Glory of God and if it be the Lord’s will, clearing Mr. Nadarkhani’s name. I again present that my March 2nd comments/questions are a clear way for you to do so.
Mr. Bos, I think your presuppositions are getting in the way of your understanding of creeds and confessions. Creeds/Confessions (those that withstand scriptural testing) main purpose is to clearly layout a summary of what the Bible teaches as a whole, and or, address a specific problem brought about by non-Biblical/controversial views. Such is the case with the view of Arianism (Arianism heresy led to the Nicene creed) and Sabelianism (Athanasians creed provided greater clarity about the nature of Christ and the trinity because of views like Sabelianism, also known as modalism).
One must be careful not to imply that the Bible believing Christians who have come before us, in some way, did not use there Bible to formulate and defend, in summary form, what the Bible teaches about the nature of Christ and the nature of the trinity, etc. We stand on shoulders of giants and anyone who thinks he can blow off what past believer’s have summarized in key doctrines, is on the pathway to repeat and promote heresy (1 Timothy 4:16, Jude 1:3)
At this point I think it would be informative for you and the audience to see some of the verse’s which are used to promote the modalist heresy. These are verses that are used to twist (2 Peter 3:16, 1John 2:23) the highest revealation of God, the trinity . I would encourage every one to read these verse in whole and establish there context by the surrounding verse’s.
John 14: 9-10 …”he who has seen Me has seen the Father…”
John 10:30 “I and the Farther are one”
1 Peter 1:20 “He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you”
1 John 1:2 “…the life was made manifest…”
1 John 4:9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us…”
I fear that my comments are already getting to long. And I will only look to keep Mr. Nadarkhani’s letter in context. It about “christain’s” suffering for the sake of Christ, and not the truine nature of God. Keep in mind, that any Mormon or Jehovah Witness could and would affirm the same. Do not think this letter deals with the a specific issues (doctrine) related to the Trinity because that was not what Mr. Nadarkhani’s was addressing, agreed?
I will end with a suggested reading for those who want to know more about the trinity or in my case to offer hope that there are answers these difficult doctrine like the trinity. The book is The Forgotten Trinity by Dr. James-White
Dear Mr. Ben,
I will keep my reply short as I already had the opportunity to explain my opinion more in-depth. You are free ofcourse to keep Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s letter “in context”. I want to point out however that his letter starts with: “Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” So much for the people who claim he is somehow linked to the “Jesus-Only sect” whatever that means. By the way: Jehova Witnesses claim only 144,000 people can go to heaven…That’s clearly not true. I have never ever heard Pastor Nadarkhani say such things. Based on what I have read and heard about him, I can only say he is a Christian persecuted for his faith.
Thanks for taking the time to explain your opinion which we have published as you can see.
God bless you,
Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife
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