Wednesday, 24 April 2013
The cost of being a Christian
Youcef Nadarkhani became a Christian at the age of nineteen. He went on to become an ordained pastor and lead a church in Iran. He is now thirty-five years old and has two young children.
In 2010 he was arrested and sentenced to death for ‘apostasy’ (for refusing to renounce his faith). Thankfully, after sustained international pressure, the decision was finally reversed last month.
During his trial, Pastor Nadarkhani refused to recant his belief despite facing a death sentence. He told the judge: ‘I am resolute in my faith and Christianity and have no wish to recant.’ The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, paid tribute to his courage. The Guardian newspaper described him as ‘an inspiringly brave Christian’.
People like Youcef paint a picture of the Christian faith as something of great worth.. You get the impression here in Britain that in comparison we don't value it nearly half as much. This is seen in the refusal of so many Christians to commit themselves to Christian work or mission, preferring instead to become what one clergyman described as 'pew fodder', receiving instead of giving, watching rather than participating. We are saved to serve.
I read this morning the following alarming statistics: "Only six per cent of British adults read or listen to the Bible, while 55 per...