Saturday, September 08, 2012

Rejoice! Pastor Nadarkhani released, acquitted of apostasy


His Grace has been informed that Yousef Nadarkhani, the Church of Iran pastor sentenced to death for apostasy, has been released and is now at home with his family.

According to reliable sources (via CSW), during court proceedings that took place today, Pastor Nadarkhani was acquitted of apostasy, but found guilty of evangelising Muslims. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment for the latter charge, but released because he had already served this time.

Pastor Nadarkhani was arrested in his home city of Rasht in 2009 soon after questioning the Muslim monopoly of religious instruction for children, which he felt was unconstitutional. He was sentenced to death for apostasy in 2010, a decision that was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2011. Although the Iranian penal code did not specify death for apostasy, a constitutional loop-hole allowed judges to refer to Shari’a and authoritative fatwas to justify such a sentence. Today the Pastor had been expected to face new charges for unspecified crimes, but was instead released.

CSW’s Chief Executive, Mervyn Thomas said: "CSW is delighted to learn of Pastor Nadarkhani’s release after a long incarceration. We commend the Iranian judiciary for this step, which is a triumph for justice and the rule of law. While we rejoice at this wonderful news, we do not forget hundreds of others who are harassed or unjustly detained on account of their faith, and CSW is committed to continue campaigning until all of Iran’s religious minorities are able to enjoy religious freedom as guaranteed under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is party.”

His Grace thanks his readers and communicants for their prayers. Rejoice!

39 Comments:

Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Three years for evangelising Muslims?

All of us in the West can be thankful that the cost of following His Word is so small here. Thank God that His servants in Iran will pay that price for the sake of the Lord.

If the experiences of other witnesses in oppressive nations are anything to go by, Nadarkhani and others like him will face continued persecution. It is good that the Lord has brought His servant out of prison, but it is better still that his freedom is in Christ.

8 September 2012 at 11:49  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Cranmer

Is there any word concerning the other pastors? Pastor Irani, and another, whose name I have regrettably forgotten?

8 September 2012 at 12:10  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8 September 2012 at 12:28  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace,
Praise God for the faithfulnes of these men.

8 September 2012 at 12:42  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Your Grace. A most excellent outcome, what ! The best we could have hoped for.

Sadly, also a defining victory for the state as any Christian who comes into contact with would be muslim converts to Christ must continue to tread with extreme caution. The Inspector wishes the underground Christian church in Iran the continuing divine providence it so badly needs...

8 September 2012 at 12:52  
Blogger David B said...

Anyone know what CSW's position is on another minority - those with no religion?

I am glad to see the guy released, though.

David B

8 September 2012 at 14:30  
Blogger Simon said...

Such excellent news, Your Grace.

There have also been developments today in the case of "Pakistan blasphemy girl", as the BBC chooses to call her on their News home page.

8 September 2012 at 15:02  
Blogger Ian said...

Fantastic news.

8 September 2012 at 15:05  
Blogger non mouse said...

Thank you, Your Grace, for bringing us further inspiration from an exemplary Christian.

Here, that wonderful photo of the family tells a story that is both heart-warming and heart-warning. Their faces reflect the effects of long suffering indeed. May God speed and sustain the healing of His very special people.

8 September 2012 at 17:44  
Blogger John Magee said...

This man's face and demeanor positively glows with kindness and decency that can only come from within.

The photograph of him with his family could be one of any kind and decent average Protestant cleric in any town or village anywhere in the world.

He doesn't want the fame his misfortune has caused him and his family. All he wants to do is serve the Lord and his Christian people in Iran.

But his future and that of his family could be martyrdom and not a happy and comfortable life writing Sunday sermons, visiting the sick, helping the poor, etc he deserves.

A life his Western colleagues take for granted.

A life we all take for granted.

God be with you Pastor and your beautiful family too.

8 September 2012 at 22:26  
Blogger IanCad said...

"Praise God from whom all blessings flow--"

9 September 2012 at 08:31  
Blogger Martin Sewell said...

Your Grace,

I have just asked the BBC Sunday programme if they covered this story. I think not but may have missed it.

Does anyone here know?

I do not think the mainstream media have shown any interest. Can anyone tell me if I am wrong?

9 September 2012 at 14:18  
Blogger Simon said...

Martin Sewell:

When I did a Google News search yesterday afternoon, the only mainstream news source I could find carrying the story was Fox News. Today I notice the Daily Mail and the Guardian have picked up on it, as has CNN. I can't find any trace of the news on the BBC website; you can listen again to the Sunday programme here to find out whether it was mentioned: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01mhqk2

9 September 2012 at 15:36  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

I'm probably not going to be popular for this comment, but here goes anyway.

We should be careful before (metaphorically) canonizing pastor Nadarkhani, bearing in mind his highly unorthodox views- he denies the Trinity, surely the foundational distinctive of Christianity. We should continue to pray for pastor Nadarkhani's salvation, now that he has his freedom.

Of course no-one should be persecuted for their religious affiliation, but I do not think this man could be reasonably described as a Christian.

9 September 2012 at 16:02  
Blogger len said...

This man put his life on the line for his Saviour I wonder how many would do that in his position Mr Keningly?.

I would rather have this man praying for me than many so called 'Christians'(even if they have the 'right' theology)

9 September 2012 at 21:04  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

len

This man put his life on the line for his Saviour

So might a Mormon. Or a Jehovah's Witness for that matter. The difference between a Mormon and a Christian is found in doctrine. The difference between a JW and Christian is doctrine. That doesn't change the courage of the man in question. It doesn't alter the integrity of his stand. It does call into question what he means by "Savior." You can't just dismiss questions of doctrine as meaningless triviality. Modalism is a serious error about an essential doctrine. Indeed, I am surprised you would make say otherwise given your constant flogging of RCs on this board over questions of essential doctrine.

I would rather have this man praying for me ...

Really. Would you also pray with a Mormon or a JW? I refuse to do so because we do not pray to the same God. The exercise would be pointless. In fact, it would be worse than pointless. It would extend a covering of legitimacy to a false religion. It would amount to synchretism.

... than many so called 'Christians'(even if they have the 'right' theology)

Meaning what, exactly? That someone who points out serious doctrinal error
at inconvenient moments is giving evidence against his own faith? That's a ridiculous assertion on its face. If Nadarkhani is a Modalist, then he has done more than not getting doctrine right. He is someone who doesn't know the Father. And that is a serious matter indeed.

carl

9 September 2012 at 21:47  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Len, you have been belittled by Carl.

As your man pointed out, you are anti Roman Catholic, but curiously tame on denial of the Trinity. One of course puts that down to your schooling, for want of a better word, by nefarious sites on the internet. Themselves virulently anti Catholic, but there you go, that is how extreme protesting justifies it’s existence.

Now, hang head in shame, scoundrel...


9 September 2012 at 22:27  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector

I agree with you and with Carl's demolition of len's ill-considered statements.

Now I can also understand how this arises. You see, he has built his house on sand and it shifts about. We Catholics share with Calvinists a commitment to Truth and a doctrinally consistent understanding of how salvation is achieved. Both quite different, of course, and one theologically incorrect (can you quess which one?).

This Pastor is spreading a false Gospel and one that might endanger souls. He is brave and one must recognise this. He is also serving God as he understands Him. Through him the word of Jesus will be better known in Iran, and other Muslim countries, and interest in the Gospel will grow. And therein lies the problem. Without informed and proper Shepherding by Christ's Church, a proper understanding of the Truth will not be spread.

9 September 2012 at 23:50  
Blogger John Magee said...

Keningley

It's a case of ignoring the overall big picture of Islamic persecution of millions of Christians in majority Muslim countries while concentrating on select individual cases because they are so terrible they can't be ignored.

Or

We try and draw attention to the massive persecution of entire groups of Christian minorities in places like Nigeria, the Southern Sudan, Egypt, Kosovar, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Indonesia, Mindinao in the southern Phillipines, and any other place in the Muslim world where Islamic Law of Sharia is the law of the land and Christians and others are persecuted.

People who still want to believe that Islam is not essentially evil will usually select individual stories of Muslim brutality and violence and claim they are rare acts committed by "extremists" and do not represent Islam while those of us who view the Koran and Islam as an evil book and an evil violent cult want to have a wider view of the enormous persecution by Islam of Christians and others exposed and reported. We want both individual acts and mass Islamic persecution given equal attention.

10 September 2012 at 05:57  
Blogger IanCad said...

This is getting nasty.

What exactly are Pastor Nadarkhani's heresies that are bending the Calvinists all out of shape?

As Albert once chided me:
Have any one of us got it all right?

10 September 2012 at 09:03  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

len

This man put his life on the line for his Saviour I wonder how many would do that in his position Mr Keningly?.

I would rather have this man praying for me than many so called 'Christians'(even if they have the 'right' theology)


As Carl has already pointed out, being martyred doesn’t prove you are correct or a spiritual role model. What about Muslim martyrs? Also, given that my name is written out quite clearly above my comment, it would be good if you would do me the courtesy of spelling it correctly.

John Magee

My concern isn’t with drawing attention to this persecution, it is with people claiming that this man is a spiritual hero of Christian leadership.

IanCad

What exactly are Pastor Nadarkhani's heresies that are bending the Calvinists all out of shape?

As Albert once chided me:
Have any one of us got it all right?


This isn’t a question of some fine, scholastic doctrinal distinction. This man has explicitly said that he does not believe in the Trinity. Other Protestant pastors in Iran have said that this man is part of a church linked with a Jesus-only, Oneness Pentecostal cult.

Have any of us got it all right? No, probably not. So let’s include those who deny the deity of Christ. Have any of us got it all right? No, probably not. Let’s bring the polytheistic Mormons into the fold. But have any of us really got it all right? No. So what right do we have to exclude those nice Arians? And while they’re coming in, shall we invite the Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Jews etc. to all be one big happy “Christian” family? After all, we don’t want to divide over something as petty as doctrine.

10 September 2012 at 11:22  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Thomas:

By "Jesus-only" do we mean a rejection of God the Father in line with Gnosticism, or the more traditional form of non-Trinitarian Christianity where Jesus is divine but a created being?

One of the things to note about countries where discussion of faith is generally forbidden, is that they often develop positions in the course of their faith that seem heretical to those of us who have the luxury of being able to read of, discuss, and study Christian theology.

I know for instance that the Christian House Church movement came up with some pretty heterodox ideas. But here's the thing: it also becomes very difficult to deny the work of the Holy Spirit in sustaining such Churches under assault.

My own position is to have faith. The Holy Spirit moves on His own terms, and nobody else's. If He wishes to uphold the faith of a believer with heterodox beliefs, that's His business. Where I think we can be helpful, is firstly praying for a situation in which it becomes possible to share firm doctrine (and very often to make Bibles more widely available - this is a big issue for many in the Persecuted Church), but also to tread carefully with regards to judgements.

I'm reminded of something from Pastor Wurmbrand's book about his long imprisonment in Communist Romania. He basically said that by the end of 18 years in prison, he had all but forgotten his Bible - but during that time he had never felt closer to God. Now that isn't an argument for the Bible being anything other than the Word of God - but it is, I think, important to recognise that in exceptional circumstances, faith in God is perhaps more immediately important than what you believe.

When it comes down to it, wait until Iran is liberated, or Nadarkhani is in the West. Then sit down and prayerfully talk about the Trinity. If the man has the Spirit within him, then there will be no impediment to his recognising the teaching. But until then, it is not wrong to prayerfully ask the Spirit for His intercession in supporting our brothers and sisters who suffer for the name of Jesus Christ.

10 September 2012 at 11:59  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

*Chinese House Church movement. Really do need sleep.

10 September 2012 at 12:00  
Blogger Matthias said...

I pray now for the release of Asia Bibi from a Pakistani gaol

10 September 2012 at 13:15  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

I don't really understand the whole differences of doctrine, but let us be thankful that this man has been released. And be thankful that we in the west can argue and practice our religions without fear of being locked up for an exposition of them.

10 September 2012 at 16:54  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

AIB

And yet ...

Spreading error is not helping the Gospel or necessarily bringing people to Christ.

I agree that faith in Jesus and in God does not have to be highly 'intellectual' or 'theological'. However, there is a need for orthodoxy and for a visible and organised Church with authority to answer the complex questions.

Simply giving people the New Testament will not bring them to a knowledge of Jesus and the significance of His life and death. The Trinity is not something that is plainly gleaned from the Gospels and yet it is central to an understanding of God and His message of salvation.

Where would the Christian Church be today without the Nicene Creed? Would there even be a recognisable Christian Church?

I have concerns about 'go it alone' pastors and independent Church networks who simply 'follow the Spirit'.

11 September 2012 at 02:23  
Blogger John Magee said...

I don't really understand the whole differences of doctrine.

Islam and Christianity are two vastly different religious concepts. How can anyone not understand this????

11 September 2012 at 04:17  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Dodo:

Although I have written a lot about intellectualism and faith, I'd actually see this as a slightly different situation: it's really about "in extremis".

Under such extensive persecution, I think we're best taking our guidance from Mark 9:38-40:

"“Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”

“Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.
"

At the minute, there are Christians with heterodox views who are suffering for the name of Christ.

11 September 2012 at 10:25  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

John Magee,

I wasn't referring to Christianity vs Islam, but Christianity vs Christianity, i.e. the discussion between Len, Dodo, Carl etc, essentially regarding 'what is a Christian?' as some doubt this pastor actually is a Christian and he apparently denies the concept of the holy trinity.

11 September 2012 at 11:12  
Blogger John Magee said...

Here is my brief summary about who the Unitarians are. They are a denominational offshoot of Calvinism and Lutheranism, their sect developed in the mid 1500's in Poland, Transylvania (eastern Hungary & Rumania today) and later spread to England and in the early 1700's to the British colonies in what is now the USA. They believe in the moral authority of Jesus but not necessarily in the divinity of Jesus. They do not believe in the Trinity but they are still considered Christians and call themselves "Non trinitarian Christians".

Other Nontrinitarian Christians are the Jehovah's Witnesses, The Mormons, some Penteccostals, and a strange sect called the Christadelphians.

So says Wikipedia.

Here is my own observation of them. Until the middle part of the 20th entury the Unitarians attracted brilliant minds and were know for their excellent educational standards, they gravitated to the professions in law, medicine, and commerce. They did excellent charity work. Their churches in New England in the USA were beautuful Greek revial buildings with fine Wren spires. Around the 1940's they were gradually taken over by liberal far leftists and their sect is in ruins today. Very sad as Unitarians once an admirable group of Christians.

11 September 2012 at 16:39  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

AIB

We're not a million miles apart on this one. However, I am reminded of a speech Pope Benedict made a little while ago warning of the hazards to the Church of faith not grounded in sound doctrine.

To me the bottomline for a Christian has to be an acceptance of the Nicene Creed's presentation of Jesus Christ as God made flesh.

"We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God,
begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father.

Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man."


John Magee

Unitarians are not Christian unless they have been baptised in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Most Unitarians congregations have child dedication ceremonies for infants, young adopted children, or young children whose families have recently joined the congregation. These ceremonies are usually crafted by the parents and the congregation's minister. Adults are not required to be or become baptised when joining the Unitarian Universalist faith. An old formula used was "In the religion of Jesus, Brotherhood, and Hope I dedicate you to God, your Father in Heaven."

Christian?

11 September 2012 at 20:30  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Dodo:

I'd make the Nicene creed my bottom line too.

12 September 2012 at 01:17  
Blogger John Magee said...

Dodo

I agree with you 100%.

Many years ago in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania my home town, I lived near a Unitarian Church. Every time I read the church bulletin board on the church wall as I passed on the sidewalk I almost split my gut from laughing after reading the rediculous nonsense they posted. Total wackos. Total leftists. Total nutters.

As I already mentioned. Before the mid part of the last century the Unitarians in England and New England in the USA and other parts of the USA had high ideals and stood for righteous causes and equal justice. Their church was taken over by left wing loons who twisted those noble ideals into a political far left agenda today which hates patriotism and traditional values. Things right wingers like myself treasure.

I completely disgreed then and now with their rejection of almost everything in the Apostle's Creed.

What I think doesn't matter, they live in a free country with guaranteed religious freedom, so can believe and call themselves whatever they chose.

12 September 2012 at 02:04  
Blogger len said...

You Catholics strain at gnats and swallow elephants.

12 September 2012 at 19:56  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

len

Please explain that comment.

Are you denying the Trinity? Or the need for Baptism in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit?

The actual words of Jesus: "Blind guides, who strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel." He was criticising the Pharasees for ignoring the "weightier things of the law; judgment, and mercy, and faith" and focussing on less important matters.

Now I'd say not accepting the Nicene Creed's statement of Christ's Incarnation and part of the Triune Godhead, is you swallowing a camel!

12 September 2012 at 21:29  
Blogger len said...

Dodo,

By way of explanation.

I do accept the Nicene creed, (although our interpretation will be entirely different 'catholic' being lower case and' baptism' not as an infant but the true baptism of an adult believer by Jesus Christ which leads to the re-birth not the 'sprinkling of water' by a Priest)

You Catholics condemn Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani for being a 'unitarian', (whether this is true that he is a 'unitarian or not I do not know.)

There are many things in Catholic theology which quite simply are- un Biblical but are accepted by Catholics because they are passed down by the Magisterium.Just for example'The Immaculate conception, the Assumption,auricular confession,,purgatory,, the veneration of statues, the Divinity of Mary,these are the 'elephants' that catholic 'swallow' without question becuse the Magisterium cannot be questioned(even when its teachings are un- Biblical and opposed to the Word of God)

The' Trinity' is a very difficult subject to grasp and is one of the reasons for the birth of Islam many[most] Christians cannot explain the Trinity so explain the Trinity as a 'mystery'. I fully understand people having difficulty coming to terms with the Trinity(not so with Catholic theology)

To further confuse the issue God states that He is One!.

(Continued)

13 September 2012 at 08:18  
Blogger len said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

13 September 2012 at 08:24  
Blogger len said...

tinuation) To further confuse the issue God states that He is One!.


"there is no one like Yahweh our God." Exodus 8:10
"Yahweh, He is God; there is no other besides Him." Deuteronomy 4:3
"Yahweh, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other." Deuteronomy 4:39
"See now that I, I am He, And there is no God besides Me" Deuteronomy 32:39
"Hear, O Israel! Yahweh is our God, Yahweh is one [echad]!" Deuteronomy 6:4
"You are great, O Lord God; for there is none like You, and there is no God besides You" 2 Samuel 7:22
"For who is God, besides Yahweh? And who is a rock, besides our God?" 2 Samuel 22:32
"Yahweh is God; there is no one else." 1 Kings 8:60
"You are the God, You alone , of all the kingdoms of the earth." 2 Kings 19:15
"O Lord, there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You" 1 Chronicles 17:20
"You alone are Yahweh." Nehemiah 9:6
"For who is God, but Yahweh? And who is a rock, except our God" Psalm 18:31
"You alone , Lord, are God." Isaiah 37:20
"Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me." Isaiah 43:10
"'I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me." Isaiah 44:6
"Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none." Isaiah 44:8
"I am Yahweh, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God." Isaiah 45:5
"Surely, God is with you, and there is none else, No other God." Isaiah 45:14
"I am Yahweh, and there is none else." Isaiah 45:18
"Is it not I, Yahweh? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me." Isaiah 45:21
"I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me" Isaiah 46:9
"And Yahweh will be king over all the earth; in that day Yahweh will be the only one [echad], and His name the only one[echad]." Zechariah 14:9
"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth." Matthew 6:24
"For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh"? " Matthew 19:5
"But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers." Matthew 23:8
"Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ." Matthew 23:10
""The foremost is, 'Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; " Mark 12:29
"you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only [monos] God?" John 5:44
"I and the Father are one ." John 10:30
"This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only [monos] true God" John 17:3
"The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one [hen], just as We are one [hen]" John 17:22
"since indeed God is one" Romans 3:30
"to the only [monos] wise God, Amen." Romans 16:27
"there is no God but one " 1 Corinthians 8:4
"yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one [ Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him." 1 Corinthians 8:6
"Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one ." Galatians 3:20
"There is one body and one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all." Ephesians 4:4-6
"Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only [monos] God" 1 Timothy 1:17
"


(There are more scriptures )

13 September 2012 at 08:27  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

len said ...

"You Catholics condemn Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani for being a 'unitarian'"

No Catholic has "condemned" Pastor
Youcef - it was Thomas and Carl, both Calvinists, who first raised the issue of his unitarianism and started a dialogue with you. I questioned Belfast about the good that can come from spreading a Gospel not based on a true knowledge of God.

And here we go ...

"There are many things in Catholic theology which quite simply are- un Biblical ... these are the 'elephants' that catholic 'swallow' without question ..."

Now, before launching an attack on Catholic theology - and each of the dogmas you cite have been repeatedly explained to you - you really need to get your own house in order.

You and I called to: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."

The Trinity is core to Christianity yet all the scripture you cite appears to be an attempt not to shed light on it but to question it.

Back to basics:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God ...
All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made ...
He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not ...
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us ..."


And, by the way, Catholics rejoice at the Pastor's freedom.

13 September 2012 at 21:49  

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