Turkey has regularly expelled Protestant missionaries since 2018. But why?
Floyd Brobbel with The Voice of the Martyrs Canada says, “If we were to see that only the missionaries from the US were expelled, we might say, ‘Okay, there’s something more political to this.’”
However, Turkey has also expelled missionaries from the U.K., South Korea, and many other countries. Brobbel says, “The fact that they’re expelled across the board seems to indicate there is a feeling that maybe their work is too effective.”
Listen to this episode of the Connections podcast to hear more about the importance of Turkey in early Christianity
As the Church in Turkey shares about the risen Jesus, many Muslims have begun to follow.
That’s bad news for authorities in a predominantly Muslim country. Brobbel says, “You’re seeing a rate of about 1.2 percent of Muslims becoming Christians. And probably that’s what we’re starting to see now: a bit of a backlash as people are turning to Christ.”
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Throughout history, leaders have used a common religion to keep society stable.
But Brobbel says that kind of thinking won’t actually benefit Turkey or any other country. “Once people become Christians, they actually become better citizens. They take care of their neighbors. Often, they’re the first people to respond in times of crises.”
“So they would see it as a security threat. We, of course, would see it as the betterment of the country.”
Turkey itself has a rich Christian history, Brobbel says. “Christianity was a big part of the country before it even came to the West. And I don’t believe the general population knows that part of their history.”
How to pray
Ask God to protect Kingdom workers still in Turkey. Pray evangelism will continue, and that many will come to faith in Jesus.
Brobbel says, “Pray for agencies that have been expelled. Pray that the Lord would give them wisdom and that they wouldn’t see Turkey as a closed-door just because they can’t get personnel in there. This may mean that we need new and creative ways to get in.”
This story originally appeared at Mission Network News and is republished here with permission. The headline was updated by our editor.
The header photo shows the Hagia Sophia, an ancient Church in Turkey that has been since converted into a Mosque. (Photo courtesy of Dennis Jarvis from Halifax, Canada, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)