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THE AID AGENCY FOR THE PERSECUTED CHURCH

www.barnabasfund.org

MAY/JUNE 2012

IN THIS ISSUE

New threat Partnership The Trinity:


to Nigerias Christians: with the persecuted: eradication from lessons from the North Philippians one God in three Persons

RESOURCES

In this issue, we promote a new devotional resource featuring the moving stories of Christians who have been martyred for their faith, a new booklet about the Muslim Isa (Jesus), and a collection of essays that explores ideological conflicts.
You can spend a year in the company of the greatest heroes of our faith with this exceptional devotional resource, which contains 366 stories of brave and dedicated Christians who gave up their lives for Christ. Through their deaths these martyrs still speak, to encourage us to live more wholeheartedly for our Lord and Saviour. Why not allow God to touch your life, as He touched and transformed theirs for His glory? Bible quotations, prayers and short readings are provided to help you respond.
Isaac Publishing, paperback, vi + 386pp, offer price 9.99 including postage (RRP 11.99)

0.50

9.99

Is the Muslim Isa the Bibical Jesus? Patrick Sookhdeo Those who seek common ground between Christianity and Islam tend to ignore or suppress the real differences between them. They may even say that the Isa of the Quran is the same as the Lord Jesus Christ of the New Testament. But this view strips Jesus of His uniqueness, which is based on His deity, incarnation, passion, crucifixion, resurrection, redemptive mission and universal Lordship. All that is left is the human Jesus, not the divine, and thus the very foundation of the Christian faith is undermined. Although Muslims claim Isa (Jesus) as one of their prophets, it is important to know what they teach about him. This booklet explores what the Quran and Hadith say about Isa, his birth, crucifixion and death, and the relationship between Isa and Muhammad. It will help you understand the wide difference between the Christian and Muslim views of Jesus. Other booklets in this popular series are: What is Islam?, Islam and Truth, What is Sharia? and Islam and Slavery.
28pp, 0.50 (postage free)

Heroes of Our Faith

Patrick Sookhdeo

Every year hundreds of Christians are called to make the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. Their stories provide inspiration and strength to believers today as we seek to follow Him through our own hardships and sufferings.

7.99
Fighting the Ideological War: Winning Strategies from Communism to Islamism

Middle East and North Africa. So the United States is less safe than it was before 9/11, as is everyone else outside the Islamist fold. Until the United States understands and confronts Islamist ideology, it will not be able to slow the Islamist revolution and its destructive effects. This collection of essays proposes an effective strategy for countering and defeating the beliefs that motivate Islamists. It examines those beliefs in detail, considers their strengths and weaknesses, and draws on the lessons of past ideological conflicts. Thus it provides invaluable equipment for the war of ideas in which we must now engage.
Isaac Publishing, paperback, offer price 7.99 including postage (RRP 9.99)

Editors: Katharine Gorka and Patrick Sookhdeo


Islamism is a growing and powerful ideology that tolerates no dissent or rivalry. Yet in recent decades the United States has responded only to the violence that Islamism has generated, not to the beliefs and ideas that drive it. As a result of this failure, Islamist numbers and confidence have grown, and Islamist regimes have taken power in the

NOW PUBLISHED! Who is the Real Jesus? Uncovering the Truth

5.99

H Dermot McDonald Foreword by Patrick Sookhdeo

In this adapted version of his classic book, H. Dermot McDonald uncovers the truth about the real Jesus by presenting the Biblical teaching on the humanity and deity of Christ. This rigorous introduction will strengthen and deepen your faith in Him.

To order these books, please visit www.barnabasfund.org/shop. Alternatively, please contact your nearest Barnabas Fund office (addresses on back cover). Cheques for the UK should be made payable to Barnabas Fund.

Isaac Publishing, paperback, vi + 122pp, offer price 5.99 including postage (RRP 7.99)

WELCOME FROM THE DIRECTOR

The Silence of God

Contents

sther, the 16-year-old daughter of a Christian pastor in Uzbekistan, was brutally beaten by the police until she was unconscious because she tried to prevent them from harassing her father. She suffered appalling injuries and is now in a wheelchair. A small Brethren assembly in north-east Kenya has seen two of its members murdered in a three-month period, not long after a Brethren church-planter in Uganda had been killed. Ugandan Pastor Umar Mulinde, who sought to stand up for his faith, was brutally attacked with acid in the face, and his eye was badly damaged. These recent stories are but a few examples of the growing catalogue of death, injury and sheer brutality that is being meted out to Christians in many parts of the world. They raise a question: why? Why does God allow His people to suffer to such a degree? Why does He not intervene? Why is He silent? The prophet Habakkuk in chapter 1 of his book raises a similar question. In verse 1 he is described as a person who saw a burden (NKJV). The Hebrew word for Gods oracles, which was often used by the prophets, also means burdens. The burden that God caused Habakkuk to see was that of his people being crushed by a brutal invading force. Their sufferings would be appalling. He cries to God, but God seems to be silent (1:2). This is all the more difficult for Habakkuk to comprehend since he knows that God loves His people. So how can a loving God bring or allow such brutality for those He loves? Habakkuks question is natural, for he loves his God and he loves his people. Many have raised the disturbing issue of suffering, whether it be the prophet Job or Jesus our Saviour dying on the cross with the cry, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? (Matthew 27:46). The apostle Paul and his companions were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of

life (2 Corinthians 1:8, NKJV). Burden equals pressure, and the pressure can be so heavy that ones very life is squeezed out by it. Christians today who suffer pressures that seem beyond their ability to bear seldom question their circumstances. It is those of us watching from the outside who ask why. It would be easy to shut our eyes to what is taking place simply because we cannot bear to see the suffering of our brothers and sisters. But if it is God who causes us to see these events and if it is He who places these burdens upon us, then can we rightly evade them? In 2 Corinthians 1 Paul uses his experience of immense, lifecrushing pressure to communicate to others in order to encourage their prayer and support. Is God really silent? In chapter 2 Habakkuk decides that he will watch to see what God will say to him (2:1). Before long he is ready to speak of God being in His holy temple with all the earth in silence before Him (2:20). In chapter 3 Habakkuk describes God as a marching army that will vanquish those who have persecuted and brutalised His people and deliver His people in the ultimate victory. In chapter 2 he had already seen the remarkable vision of the day when the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (2:14). But what of now? Now we must live with uncertainty and potential difficulties: the barren fig tree and vine, the empty cattle stall (3:17-18). But though the Lord may seem silent, He is working His purposes out, both among the persecuted churches and among us, for His own glory, in which we shall share one day. In the words of the ancient Liturgy of St James: Let all mortal flesh keep silence, and with fear and trembling stand; Ponder nothing earthly-minded, for with blessing in his hand, Christ our God to earth descendeth our full homage to demand.*

Building up faith through Bibles and books; care for pastors daughter beaten by police

4 Compassion in Action Genocidal anti-Christian violence in Nigeria; shadow of sharia in Tunisia

8 Newsdesk What does the Bible say about the Trinity? PULL-OUT Equipping the Church Petition makes strong start; schools receive Christian resources from Barnabas Fund 11 Campaigns Qatar: key player in the Arab Spring

12 Analysis Partnership in Philippi and with Barnabas 14 Biblical Reflection Barnabas UK Supporters Days, June 16 In Touch Imprisoned and intimidated in Iran 18 Learning from the Persecuted Church

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo International Director


* translated by Gerard Moultrie The paper used in this publication comes from sustainable forests and can be 100% recycled

To guard the safety of Christians in hostile environments, names may have been changed or omitted. Thank you for your understanding. Front cover: These Afghan Christian refugees are assisted in another country by Barnabas Fund Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the New International Version. Every effort has been made to trace copyright holders and obtain permission for stories and images used in this publication. Barnabas Fund apologises for any errors or omissions and will be grateful for any further information regarding copyright. Barnabas Fund 2012 BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2012 3

COMPASSION IN ACTION

how barnabas
(US$80,600; 61,100)

51,000 for food

(US$5,200; 4,000)

3,311 for medical expenses 38,109 for feeding orphans

Relieving hunger of beleaguered Christians in Egypt

Specialist care for Ugandan convert pastor after acid attack

(US$60,300; 45,700)

(US$78,700; 59,700)

49,800 for teaching farming methods

Zimbabwe: long-term and immediate food

Pastor Mulinde on his hospital bed Egyptian Christian couple with their food parcel

You came at just the right time for us. You arrived at 4pm and my family had no food to eat for dinner. Thank you for coming at the right time. A grateful Christian mother said this to a local church member, who had brought them sustenance. Barnabas stepped up our feeding programmes in Egypt after the Arab Spring of 2011. Sadly, the uprising has brought deepening poverty resulting from high inflation, as well as increased political power for Islamists and greater violence against Christians. In one of the additional programmes added since the Arab Spring, Barnabas sent 51,000 (US$80,000; 61,000) to help Egyptian churches provide food to over 3,000 vulnerable Christian families who are living in areas that have been particularly affected by the revolution. The total sent for feeding in Egypt in 2011 was 186,000 (US$294,000; 222,000).

Im feeling a little bit better than the way I came in. The doctors are doing very hard to make me improve every day. Ugandan pastor Umar Mulinde said this during the first weeks of his stay in an Israeli medical centre where, with help from Barnabas, he was receiving acute and rehabilitative care for the burns he suffered in an acid attack. Over half of the skin grafts that burn specialists have placed on to the burned tissue have been successful. At the time of writing eye doctors have delayed a decision on whether to remove his right eye, because Umar has started to see some light and shade through it. Last Christmas a man flung the burning liquid on his face, neck and face, severely damaging his right eye. The attacker ran away shouting Allah Akbar [god is great]. Umar, who came from a strict Muslim family and was a sheikh before he dedicated his life to Christ, thinks that the attack was prompted by his outspoken warnings against the introduction of sharia to Uganda.
Project reference 11-220

One of the trainers in front of tilled land

Project reference 00-345 (Victims of Violence Fund)

They learnt the method from 24 trainers, who travelled many miles throughout all ten provinces of Zimbabwe to share their knowledge and help their suffering compatriots. Barnabas Fund paid their salaries for one year. The agricultural training is combined with sound teaching in Christian principles of discipleship. Through a recent grant Barnabas is also helping to feed 1,500 orphans, who live at five orphanages. We also support many widows through on-going feeding programmes.

BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2012

Project references 91-751 (farming training) and 91-721 (feeding)

We have seen livelihoods improved as families who were previously unable to feed themselves now have surplus to sell. Thanks to our latest training grant to Christians in Zimbabwe, over 4,800 throughout the country have learnt a simple but innovative farming method. By applying it, they were able to provide for their families, thus helping 20,000 Christians break free from hunger and poverty.

is helping
(US$19,300; 14,600)

COMPASSION IN ACTION

Our brothers and sisters in Christ tell us time and again how encouraged they are by the help they have received from Barnabas Fund. Through your support you are sending them a message of love in their time of need. Thank you! These and the following pages present just a sample of the many ways you are helping persecuted Christians. Please pray as you read.

12,224 for legal fees

Christian village wins lawsuit

Helping victimised Christians graduate

(US$5,400; 4,100)

3,427 for translation agency start-up costs

New homes in Horale village, built with the help of Barnabas

Ambrose (front) with his family

Russia: selfsufficiency for converts in ministry

Some rare good news has come out of Indonesia! Horale, a beleaguered Christian village, has won an important legal battle. Barnabas Fund is supporting them by paying the legal costs. We reported in 2008 on the destruction of this remote community by a Muslim mob from a neighbouring village, who burnt down 120 houses and torched three churches, killed four Christians and wounded another 56. Our supporters generously helped at the time with the rebuilding of the gutted Christian homes and other buildings. Soon after the attack, the Christian villagers faced more opposition in the form of a lawsuit brought by the other village that contested their ownership of the land. The case eventually went to the Supreme Court and in early 2012, almost four years after the assault, Indonesias highest court ruled that the land belongs to the Christian inhabitants. Since Horales villagers are mainly impoverished farmers who earn about 150-200 (US$240-310; 180-230) per year, Barnabas Fund has covered the balance of the legal fees.

Studying at university level is an unheard of achievement for many young, talented Christians around the world. Their families are so poor, often due to discrimination, that they have no possibly of paying the fees. Sometimes Christian applicants are unjustly blocked from entrance because of their faith (see details of a recent case in Pakistan on page 10). This is why Barnabas helps Christians living in contexts of persecution to attend university; by helping some to obtain professional skills we can strengthen an entire Christian community. In 2011, we supported 142 students in Indonesia, Iraq, Pakistan and Syria to study subjects such as engineering, accountancy, business and medicine. The entire time at the medical school and hospital has really helped me learn the clinical skills and to be a true ambassador [for Christ] being a doctor, said Ambrose, about to graduate from university in Pakistan. Also an active worship and youth leader, he gave thanks to God for using him for His glory in the specific capacities and duties and places He has assigned.
Project reference 00-1031 (Student Support Fund)

Project reference 00-356 (Small Business Start-up Fund)

Twelve converts from Islam (five of them ministry leaders) are now supporting themselves through a translation agency in St. Petersburg that Barnabas helped them to start. All have emigrated from Central Asian countries where the pressure on Christians, especially those from a Muslim background, can be severe. Using the languages of their homelands, they have a skill that enables them to support themselves. The group plans to use some of the profits from the agency to enable other Christian migrants in their church set up a new business.

Project reference 22-753

BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2012 5

COMPASSION IN ACTION

bringing hope,
Ananthan Yalinis congregation is in a Hindumajority area. She told us, We prayed in earnest to God as we did not have a church to worship in our area. Even though we resettled in our own areas after being displaced, we were still worshipping in a temporary structure. The present church constructed brings much joy and refuge. This church is a great blessing in our village. Christians in Sri Lanka regularly experience discrimination, harassment and even violence, but the involvement of the Christians in community life in this village is drawing new believers to the church. Barnabas has funded 75% of the construction costs of seven churches with attached pastors houses, two of which are still being built. A further grant is helping to build another ten churches. Altogether there is an estimated need for at least 100 churches.

Sri Lanka: new churches reunite shattered congregations


The church brings us great comfort and solace.
Mrs Chandrakala, a Sri Lankan Christian Five newly constructed church buildings in the north of Sri Lanka now contain flourishing congregations. Their original buildings had been destroyed during the civil war. Christians tell of joyfully gathering in their simple but beautiful churches to praise and worship the Lord. Each church also has a new pastors house built alongside it. After returning to their war-torn villages in 2009, some Christians gathered for worship in homes, while others were reduced to meeting in wattle and daub huts or in small groups under trees. During heavy rains, those worshipping in huts had to break off their services as the floors got too muddy for them to sit on mats.

Dedication of a new church in northern Sri Lanka

74,022 for seven church buildings with attached pastors houses (US$117,000; 88,700)

Project reference 85-927

Medical help for Christian teenager beaten by police in Uzbekistan


Esthers family were not at home on 21 May 2011 when three policemen arrived on their doorstep. Both her brother and her father, a pastor, had recently been arrested and held in custody for several days. Their house had also been searched and all literature confiscated, a frequent occurrence for Christians in Uzbekistan. The 16 year-old schoolgirl told them nobody was at home. When one of the officers tried to break into their car, Esther attempted to stop him, because she knew that the police often plant drugs or illegal literature in the property of Christians to provide a pretext for arresting them. The officer bent her arms, grabbed her by the hair and repeatedly smashed her head against a wall and on the car until she lost consciousness. Her mother found her lying alone beside the car. When the medical staff at a local hospital heard she had been beaten by police they were reluctant to help her and even more so when they heard she was a Christian. That same night the police came to the hospital, and soon afterwards the doctors asked Esther to leave. After being turned away from another state hospital, months of fruitless visits to private hospitals followed; although she was diagnosed with severe injuries to the brain, the medical treatment she received was inadequate. Her parents decided to take her to Russia for an operation. The Russian medical staff were horrified by her condition and said it was a miracle she could still move parts of her body. Esther has now started on the long road back to recovery. Although she is only starting to regain reflexes in her hands or feet, she is learning to walk again. Barnabas Fund is helping pay the medical bills, which her parents could not afford even after selling their car, computer and other appliances. The family are standing strong in faith despite continued harassment from authorities.

The parliament building in Uzbekistan. Christians experience much harassment from the authorities (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

3,600 for medical costs (US$5,683; 4,300)

Project reference 00-345 (Victims of Violence Fund)

BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2012

transforming lives
Own-language resources: lifelines for persecuted Christians
Persecuted Christians are often starved of good Christian resources in their own language. This is why Barnabas Fund is active in translating, printing and distributing Christian books and DVDs. We provided 1,480,834 pieces of Christian literature, including Bibles, New Testaments and other Scriptures, to persecuted Christians in the past two years.

COMPASSION IN ACTION

Christian Children in Kyrgyzstan are delighted to get a copy of a Kyrgyz-language Christian magazine

Christian literature: 10,000 in Burma (US$15,800; 12,000) 43,021 in Kyrgyzstan (US$68,000; 51,580) 3,500 in Turkey (US$5,500; 4,200) 17,824 in Kenya and Tanzania (US$28,200; 21,400)

Until recently Lhaovo Christians in Burma did not have a Bible they could read in their own language and unique writing system. The very few that had owned a foreign-language Bible lost them when the Burmese army came to their villages, destroying and burning. Last year Barnabas Fund enabled the printing of Gods Word in Lhaovo. At the time a partner let us know that Lhaovo pastors are thrilled that these Bibles are being printed and are higly anticipating their arrival into Burma. Early this year Barnabas partner brought them a truck full of the Bibles. A childrens magazine is written, translated and made available in three Central Asian countries in their own languages. In Kyrgyzstan, where it is forbidden to distribute Christian resources in public places, this is the only Christian magazine available in the Kyrgyz language. Although intended for children and full of pictures, riddles and crossword puzzles, many parents are just as excited to get a copy as their children. Particularly in remote areas the bi-monthly magazine is read out loud to the whole family and entire church groups. A grandmother wrote to the editors, Id like to receive a new issue every month. Im

reading it also for my own. But sometimes my grandchildren are taking it out of my hands in order to read it for their own. This magazine is very helpful to grow in faith. In Kenya and Tanzania Barnabas helped provide a pastors book pack to 500 pastors and other Christian leaders. Each pack contained over 60 books and booklets. Many of the leaders are ministering in isolation in the Muslim-majority coastal and north-eastern areas of Kenya where Christian resources are scarce. One of the distributors wrote, The tremendous response to the project by the pastors and church leaders has been overwhelming. More and more pastors are calling in wanting to know when the next book distribution will be held. This book will be a great encouragement to the believers and it will take them deeper and deeper in Christ, wrote our Christian partner in Turkey about the devotional My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. Last year it was translated into Turkish and handed out free to believers. Barnabas is paying for a reprint.

Project references 00-360 (Christian Literature Fund) 00-362 (Bibles and Scriptures Fund)

BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2012 7

NEWSDESK

BoKo HArAM DeCLAreS IT WILL erADICATe CHrISTIANS froM PArTS of NIGerIA


NIGERIA: Militant Islamist group
Boko Haram has declared war on Christians in Nigeria, saying that they are planning coordinated attacks to eradicate Christians from certain parts of the country. On Sunday 4 March a spokesman for Boko Haram said, We will create so much effort to end the Christian presence in our push to have a proper Islamic state that the Christians wont be able to stay. Boko Harams actions over recent months indicate that this is no idle threat, with churches in Jos being targeted by suicide bombers. At least ten people were killed after explosives were detonated at the gates of a church on Sunday 11 March, while on 26 February two women and an 18-month-old child were killed and around 50 people were injured as a vehicle exploded three metres from the Church of Christ headquarters. On 6 March, two days after issuing the threat to eradicate Christians as part of their campaign of terror, the spokesman also said that the group would put into action new efforts to strike fear into the Christians of the power of Islam by kidnapping their women. He said that they would not harm or sexually assault the women but would demand as ransom that the families leave our Islamic areas.

Onlookers survey the damage after a suicide bomber struck a church in Jos, Nigeria on 26 February (Source: Stefanos Foundation)

SHArIA LAW To GoVerN TUNISIA UNDer DrAfT CoNSTITUTIoN


TUNISIA: Post-revolution Tunisia draft was more Islamic than expected
is moving in an increasingly Islamist direction with a draft constitution that denotes sharia as the principal source of legislation. Popular List, a party in coalition with the main Islamist party, Ennahda, which took the largest share of the vote in the elections for the National Constituent Assembly in October, has been tasked with drawing up the countrys new constitution. Shortly after Ennahdas election victory, in an apparent attempt to reassure secularists, leader Rachid Ghannouchi said that the first article of the Tunisian constitution should remain unchanged, and in November 2011 he said, There will be no other references to religion in the constitution. But Popular List founder Hachmi Hamdi said that the because the public that voted for us is a conservative public that wants sharia as the principal source of the constitution. In addition, a self-appointed committee for the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice has been given legal status by the Tunisian government, further frustrating Western hopes that the revolution would lead to the establishment of a secular democracy in Tunisia. The committee, called Centrist Association for Awareness and Reform (CAAR), states that its objective is to call on citizens to be righteous and follow sharia. The name of the newly-formed organisation relates to a Quranic verse commanding good and forbidding evil, which is enshrined in sharia as the basic duty of an Islamic society.

Pastor freed after 13 years


LAOS: Bounchan Kanthavong, leaving the traditional Lao religion
a pastor in Laos, was set free on (spirit worship), embracing a foreign 2 February after being locked up religion and becoming loyal to a for nearly 13 years because of his power other than the Lao authorities. Christian activities. Bounchans actions were perceived Bounchan had been introduced as a threat to national security, and in to Christianity in January 1997 when June 1999 he was arrested. He was he spent the night with a Christian then sentenced to twelve years in jail family while away on business. When for treason and sedition. he returned to his home in Vanghai Bounchan is married with five village, Udomsai province, he began children. Following his detention, to spread his new faith. People came his wife Sengkham took over the to his clothing shop from leadership of their other villages, keen to Christian community, Bounchans hear and embrace the which has grown witness led Gospel. Bounchans to more than 3,000 to around 70 witness led to around 70 believers today. In April people accepting Christ. people accepting 2011, the authorities Christ The Lao authorities told Bounchan that they repeatedly warned were willing to release him to stop believing, him if he renounced practising and spreading the Christian Christ and separated from Sengkham, faith and ordered him to cease but he clearly did not as his detention all worship activities at the shop. was prolonged. They were concerned about people

BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2012

NEWSDESK

CHrISTIANS SUfferING IN SYrIA


SYRIA: Christians in Syria
continue to suffer grievously in the conflict between President Assads troops and anti-government forces. On Sunday 18 March a violent explosion rocked the Christian quarter of Aleppo, Syrias second city, killing three people and causing devastation. This attack was one of two bombings in the Christian area, though otherwise there has been little violence in Aleppo, and another bomb was detonated in the Christian sector of Damascus. A Christian leader said, We pray to God that Christians would not be targeted and become a victim

We pray to God that Christians would not be targeted and become a victim and scapegoat of what is going on.
and scapegoat of what is going on. At the height of the fighting in Homs in February, Barnabas Fund received reports of Christians being used as human shields by the anti-government Free Syrian Army (FSA). Around 70 homes belonging to Christians were invaded and pillaged by the opposition forces; they also occupied an evangelical school and home for the elderly, which were then shelled by the army. Christians in Homs have suffered kidnappings and gruesome murders., Almost the entire Christian population of the city, some 60,000 people, have fled and are now homeless and jobless. Following the announcement on 1 March that the FSA would pull out of Homs, a major humanitarian relief effort got underway to help residents who were without power in freezing

weather and in desperate need of food and basics. Prices had rocketed, supplies were running low, and often it was too dangerous to go out. On Wednesday 29 February, a bomb fell on the roof of an 81-yearold female church worker. She was not in the room at the time. Barnabas Fund is working directly with Christian partners in the country to get emergency aid to needy Christians throughout Syria, especially in and around Homs. Please send donations to the Middle East Fund (project reference 00-1032).

CHUrCHeS TArGeTeD, CHrISTIANS ArreSTeD


IRAN: Christians have been
targeted in a recent wave of arrests and persecution in Iran. During the early months of 2012, a number of Christians were rounded up and raided, and Christians were seized in their homes and workplaces. In addition, two registered churches that hold Friday services in Farsi in Tehran have been ordered issued with the order by the Ministry of Intelligence and Security and announced it to their congregations on 10 February. It is thought that this is the latest attempt to prevent Muslims from hearing the Gospel in their own language, as Farsi is spoken by the Muslim majority in Iran. There are now no Christian services in Farsi on Fridays in any officially registered church in the capital. The order was not applied to Sundays, but Friday is the main weekly holiday in Iran, and it can be difficult for people to attend church on any other day because of work commitments. In a separate case, the Iranian authorities have given an unprecedented penalty to a Christian convert from Islam. Fatemeh Nouri, an art student at a university in Tehran, was given a sentence of deprivation of education for one year following charges of attending a house church, insulting sacred figures and activities against national security. She had been arrested at her home in September 2011 and spent nearly three months behind bars.

House churches and registered churches have been raided, and Christians were seized in their homes and workplaces.
held in custody, including a 78-yearold woman. House churches and registered churches have been to stop doing so. The pastors of Emmanuel Protestant Church and St Peter Evangelical Church were

Iranian Christians at worship. The Iranian authorities have been rounding up believers across the country in a wave of arrests

BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2012 9

NEWSDESK

CHrISTIAN STUDeNT DeNIeD exTrA MArKS AWArDeD To MUSLIMS


PAKISTAN: A Christian student
Sciences, which conducts the medical missed out on a place at state medical tests, said, We realise this is against school under the discriminatory human rights and have debated a lot system in Pakistan that awards an on this policy, since minorities are extra 20 marks to Muslims who have being marginalised but we follow memorised the Quran. government orders. Haroon Arif, from Haroon took the Dera Ghazi Khan in case to court with the We realise Punjab, got A grades in help of a human rights this is against both his matriculation human rights ... organisation, arguing and intermediate exams that his rights had been but we follow but was just 0.0255% off violated. He submitted a government the mark required in his letter from the Church of orders. final aggregate to attend Pakistan and one from a government-run medical university. the Bishop of Islamabad, stating that He argued that his knowledge of Haroons religious education was on the Bible was equivalent to that of a par with any Islamic education. But a Muslim who had memorised the the court did not acknowledge that this Quran, and that he should therefore was a human rights issue. Punjabs qualify for the extra 20 marks they education minister said, We cannot receive; this would boost his final change the system because of a result by about 2%. nominal amount of people. Haroon tried to show the A state-run medical school, which university his three certificates in charges only 10% of the cost of a Bible education, but the authorities private university education, was said they had no policy to accept Haroons only hope of training to them. Mohammad Atif, head of public become a doctor. His parents are affairs at the University of Health low-paid health workers.

PreSSUre oN CHrISTIAN GroUPS


KAZAKHSTAN: Hundreds of the 50 signatures required, because
small religious groups have recently been stripped of their registration in Kazakhstan as a senior religious affairs official says that their activity is now banned under new rules intended further to restrict religious freedom in the country. Kairat Lama Sharif, chair of the Agency of Religious Affairs, described the 13% fall in the number of officially-recognised religious groups as a positive dynamic in the systematisation of the total number of religious associations. He said that the number would probably decrease further as the new Religion Law is enforced. A number of local congregations from a range of Christian denominations are among the 579 religious groups that have been deregistered. A religious group must now have at least 50 adult members to be registered, and leaders of small churches have received official warnings to stop their activity and hand back their registration certificates. For many it will not be possible to collect they do not have sufficient members or at least not enough willing to give their personal details to the authorities. Small churches are still meeting for services, but they face harassment from the state. A representative of one church said, Now our believers are afraid each time they gather for worship We are worried about possible punishments from the authorities. In addition, churches have been raided, leaders fined and Christian literature confiscated in recent months. In just one example from February 2012, Aleksei Asetov, a father of ten, was fined 485,400 tenge (2,060; US$3,300; 2,440) an estimated average local wage for 18 months for leading a small unregistered church that meets in his home in Ekibastuz in Pavlodar Region. Aleksei is the fourth Christian known to have been fined since the harsh new Religion Law and changes to another associated law came into force in October 2011.

Pastor released from labour camP


TURKMENISTAN: Pastor imprisoned. His wife Maya said, His
Ilmurad Nurliev (46) was unexpectedly set free from a labour camp in Turkmenistan along with around 230 other detainees in a presidentially decreed amnesty to mark Flag Day on 19 February. Pastor Nurliev was arrested in August 2010 and given a four-year sentence on charges of swindling. His congregation insisted that these charges were fabricated to punish him for leading the unregistered church. Barnabas Fund sent financial support to buy food, clothes and medicine for the pastor, who is diabetic, and help with legal costs when he was release was so unexpected It is such a joy I cant tell you. However, Pastor Nurliev must still report to the police every Saturday evening. Despite this good news, Begjan Shirmedov (77) was detained on 3 February by a religious affairs official and questioned for six hours by police after he tried to print copies of a small book of his Christian poetry. He was forced to write a statement and banned from travelling outside his home region of Dashoguz in northern Turkmenistan while the case is investigated.

Pastor Ilmurad Nurliev, who was recently released from a labour camp, outside the centre where he ministered to drug addicts and alcoholics before his detention

10 BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2012

EQUIPPING THE CHURCH

Our series on key teachings of the Christian faith continues with a discussion of the triune nature of God.

What does the Bible say about the Trinity?

hristians and Muslims both believe in one God, and many people today think this means that Christianity and Islam are basically the same. After all (they say), our beliefs about God are the foundation of everything else that we believe, and if we have these in common, then we must be agreed on all essential matters. on this view, if there are differences between Christians and Muslims, these must be about secondary issues that do not matter very much. In fact, however, there is a fundamental and vital difference in what Christianity and Islam teach about God. Muslims believe not only that there is one god, but also in that gods absolute unity. He has no equals, partners or associates, and to connect him with others is the worst of sins (known as shirk). Thus Muslims deny that their god has a son, or that it is possible for him to have one. Christians, on the other hand, believe that the one God is a Trinity of persons: the father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. each of these persons is fully God, and each is distinct from the others, yet they are one God and not three. This understanding of God marks Christianity out decisively from both Islam and Judaism (the other religions that believe in one god) and shapes every aspect of Christian theology in a distinctive way. far from giving us common ground with Muslims, the Christian view of God puts an ocean of clear water between us. In this article we shall consider what the Bible tells us about the nature of the one God who is three persons. We shall also look at some of the Muslim objections to its teaching and how we can respond to them. We can find all the building blocks for a clear and coherent doctrine of the Trinity in the Bible. It is grounded in three key statements, which we will examine in turn:

Introduction

The Trinity in the Bible


The belief that there is only one God is fundamental to old Testament (oT) teaching and faith. The basic Jewish confession of faith, the Shema, affirms it unambiguously: Hear, o Israel: The LorD our God, the LorD is one. Love the LorD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength (Deuteronomy 6:4-5). So although the oT acknowledges the existence of various heavenly or spiritual beings, such as angels (Genesis 28:12; Psalm 148:2), it does not put them on a level with Yahweh, the God of Israel, who is the one true God. He is the everlasting God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 40:28). He is the King of the whole world (Psalm 47:2; 97:5), who rules over all things as the sovereign Lord (Psalm 9:8; 103:19). He is the redeemer and Saviour of His people (Deuteronomy 32:15; Isaiah 60:16). In all these ways He is unique (Isaiah 44:6-8; 45:5-6). The implication of this robust confession of the one God is that the gods worshipped by the other nations have no real existence. The oT not only insists that there is no other god apart from Yahweh (Deuteronomy 4:35, 39; Isaiah 45:18-25); it also mocks the powerlessness of other objects of worship, whether idols of wood and metal (Isaiah 44:9-20) or pseudo-deities such as the Canaanite god Baal (1 Kings 18:25-29). Thus the God of Israel is not only incomparable; He is absolutely unique. The belief in one God was one of the basic and core convictions of the Jews in the period between the Testaments and into New Testament (NT) times. The NT writers never challenge it, but affirm it explicitly in several places (e.g. 1 Corinthians 8:6; 1 Timothy 2:5; James 2:19), and elsewhere simply take it for granted. It is an important basis for other NT teachings, such as Pauls understanding of justification by faith for Jews and Gentiles alike (Romans 3:29-30) and the unity of the Christian congregation (ephesians 4:3-6). So whatever the NT writers say about Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, it is clearly not their intention to undermine the consistent Biblical testimony that there is only one God. Their teaching must be understood within this framework, even if it also develops it in new and unexpected ways.

1. there is only one God

1. There is only one God. 2. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. 3. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct persons.

BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2012

EQUIPPING THE CHURCH

What does the Bible say about the Trinity? 2a. the father is God
that He is Gods agent in creation as well as reconciliation. In Him Gods pre-existent Wisdom has become a human being, in whom the fullness of deity dwells bodily (Colossians 2:3, 9). So Christ has a heavenly origin before time began, and He is Himself divine; he may even be called God (romans 9:5). For John, Jesus is the Word, who is to be identified with God Himself (John 1:1). This Word, who was with God in the beginning and is His agent in creation and revelation (John 1:2-5), has now become flesh among us (John 1:14). As the incarnate Word, Jesus is the supreme and final revelation of the father (John 14:7, 9) and His principal agent on earth, performing the full range of divine tasks (e.g. John 3:17; 17:2), speaking the fathers words (John 14:10) and performing His works (John 10:25). Thomas confesses Him as his Lord and God (John 20:28), and the first letter of John calls Him the true God (1 John 5:20). other NT writings develop these ideas in various ways. for example, the letter to the Hebrews presents Christ as the exalted and unique divine Son (Hebrews 1:2-3) who is superior even to the angels (Hebrews 1:4-14). And in the book of revelation the exalted Christ receives worship along with God (revelation 5:8-14), to whom alone it is said to be due (revelation 19:10). So the NT affirms the deity of Christ, both explicitly and in the characteristics and roles ascribed to Him. Its presentation of Jesus clearly shows that the divine father has an equally divine Son. In the oT the Holy Spirit is usually known as the Spirit of God or the Spirit of the LorD (Yahweh). He is Gods agent in creation (Genesis 1:2). He comes in power on Israels judges for the performance of great deeds (Judges 6:34; 14:6), and on Saul and David for the task of kingship (1 Samuel 10:6; 16:13). He is even reputed to catch people up and take them elsewhere (1 Kings 18:12; 2 Kings 2:16). In short, He is Gods power in action. The Spirit is associated with the divine gifts of wisdom, understanding and skill (Genesis 41:38; exodus 31:3). He is also the Spirit of prophecy, who inspires people to speak Gods word (Numbers 24:2-3; 2 Chronicles 20:1417; Ezekiel 11:5). He is identified so closely with God that rebellion against the Spirit of God amounts to rebellion against God Himself (Psalm 106:33). In the NT the Spirit descends on Jesus for the fulfilment of His divine mission (Mark 1:10-11), which includes the proclaiming of the Gospel and the performance of powerful works (Matthew 4:23). In the book of Acts the coming of the Spirit on the disciples at Pentecost is seen as the promised outpouring of the Spirit of prophecy on Gods people (Acts 2:17-18), and He fills them to speak Gods word (Acts 4:8; 13:9). Because the Spirit is the vehicle of Gods power and Gods word, He is equated directly with God. Like God, He is eternal (Hebrews 9:14) and all-powerful (Luke 1:35); He knows everything (1 Corinthians 2:10-11) and gives new birth (John 3:5-7). Where the Spirit lives, God

The oT refers to God as father (Deuteronomy 32:6; Isaiah 63:16; 64:8), and in the NT this becomes a frequent designation for Him. In the Gospels Jesus both speaks and refers to God as father (Matthew 11:25-27; John 16:31 17:1), and He tells His disciples to address their prayers to God in the same way (Luke 11:2). There are also many references to God as the father in the epistles (e.g. romans 6:4; ephesians 3:14). The deity of the father is assumed throughout the NT; the title is a way of referring to the one God. In one passage all people are said to be the offspring of God because He is their creator (Acts 17:26-28), but the name father is used especially to denote His fatherly relation to His own people. So for Christians He is not only the father who made us and all things, but our father who has given us new birth and adopted us into His family as His children. The Lords Prayer invites us to address Him as our father (Matthew 6:9), and both Paul (in romans 1:7 and many other of his greetings) and James (James 1:27) use the same description for Him. But it is significant that God is also identified repeatedly in the NT as the father of Jesus, and that this relationship is presented as unique. Thus Jesus Himself frequently refers to God as my father (e.g. Matthew 7:21; John 5:17), and in the letters God is sometimes called the father of our Lord Jesus Christ (e.g. Colossians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3). except in the Lords Prayer, Jesus never uses the phrase our father, only my father (see above) and your father (Matthew 5:16), and He refers to Himself just as the Son (John 5:19-23). Also the message sent by the risen Christ to His disciples in Johns Gospel says, I am ascending to my father and your father, to my God and your God; it marks out His relationship with God as father from that of His disciples (John 20:17). Considered by itself, this usage could reflect nothing more than Jesus special relationship with God as His anointed king (Christ) and representative on earth (son of God). But when it is put together with other NT evidence it points to something even greater than this: an eternal relationship between a father and a Son who are both fully God. The NT writers present Jesus Christ as a unique human being, far greater than any other. He is given the exalted titles of the prophet (John 6:14), Christ (romans 9:5), Son of God (Luke 3:22) and Son of Man (Matthew 20:28), and in His resurrection and exaltation He has also become the Lord (Acts 2:32-36). Paul shows that He now shares many of the roles fulfilled by God Himself: He is the object of faith (Galatians 2:20); He gives salvation and eternal life (1 Thessalonians 5:9; romans 6:23); and He will come as judge to gather His people (2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18). But Pauls letters and Johns Gospel in particular go much further than this. In Philippians 2:6-7 Paul indicates that Christ existed before the world was created (see also Galatians 4:4) and that He was equal with God. Colossians 1:15-20 says that Christ reflects the very image of God, and

2c. the Holy spirit is God

2b. the son is God 1

II

BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2012

What does the Bible say about the Trinity?


lives (1 Corinthians 3:16), and to lie to the Spirit is to lie send the Son (Galatians 4:4) and the Spirit (John 14:26) to God (Acts 5:3-4). to accomplish His purposes. The Son also fulfils His work Both Paul and John affirm that the Holy Spirit is the through the Spirit (Acts 10:38), and He too is said to send Spirit of God (romans 15:19; John 3:34), but they also the Spirit (John 16:7). identify Him closely with Jesus. for Paul He is nothing less So the NT brings together its confession of one God than the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:19), while for with its affirmation that the Father, the Son and the Holy John He is a replacement for Jesus of the same kind (John Spirit are all God in terms of three distinct divine persons 14:16). This connection is a further indication of the deity in relationship with one another. It is this understanding that of both the Son and the Spirit. allows the writers to link the three so closely together, both So the Bible bears a clear and consistent witness that directly (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14) and more the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God the father, and the NT obliquely (1 Corinthians 12:4-6; ephesians 4:4-6; 1 Peter adds that He is the Spirit of God the Son. His own deity 1:2). And it is this that provided the foundation for later follows naturally from these premises. Christians to construct the full-orbed doctrine of the Trinity.

EQUIPPING THE CHURCH

The Bible teaches that there is only one God, and that the father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all God. How are these statements to be reconciled? The easiest solution is to see the father, the Son and the Spirit as no more than different ways in which the one God operates and reveals Himself, either at different points in history or at the same time. on this view there is no real distinction between the three; they are just alternative names for the same God. However, this simple idea is firmly denied by the New Testament, which maintains that the father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct persons. The father is not the Son or the Spirit, the Son is not the Spirit, and the three are in relationship with one another. There is plenty of NT evidence that the father is distinct from the Son. In the same place where John says that the Word was God, he also says that the Word was with God (John 1:1), thus differentiating Him from God the father. Jesus is also said to be our advocate and priest before the father (1 John 2:1; Hebrews 7:24), which implies a distinction between them. Moreover, Jesus experience of the father and prayer to the father (e.g. John 12:28) makes no sense if they are not different individuals; in effect He would be conversing with Himself. In the oT the Spirit is not seen as a person in His own right, distinct from the father. But in the NT the Spirit is distinguished from the father (romans 8:27), and He is said to engage in a range of personal activities, including speaking (Acts 8:29), bearing witness (romans 8:16), forbidding certain actions (Acts 16:6-7) and approving others (Acts 15:28), being grieved (ephesians 4:30), and deciding the distribution of gifts (1 Corinthians 12:11). And although the Greek word for Spirit is neuter, He is denoted by masculine pronouns in John 15:26 and 16:1314, which also point to His personal nature. The Son and the Spirit are also explicitly distinguished from each other (John 14:26; 16:7). Jesus is anointed by the Spirit (Luke 4:18), speaks about the Spirit as someone distinct from Himself (Matthew 12:32) and breathes the Spirit on the disciples (John 20:22). The relationship between the three persons is one of activity and agency. The father carries out the work of creation and redemption in the Son and by the Spirit (Colossians 1:15-20; romans 8:3-4). Thus He can be said to

3. the father, the son and the Holy spirit are distinct persons

The Trinity and Christian mission


This Biblical understanding of God provides an effective response to Muslim objections to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. In this section we will look at three of these objections: that Christians deny the unity of God; that we believe in a trinity of God, Mary and Jesus; and that the claim that Jesus is Gods Son amounts to blasphemy. The Quran speaks out strongly against associating partners with the one god. Q 4:116 says, Allah forgiveth not [the sin of] joining other gods with him. Those who teach the doctrine of the Trinity are said to be sacrilegious and will be punished most severely for their offence: They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except one god. If they desist not from their word [of blasphemy] verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them (Q 5:73). So in Islam the unity of the one god is absolute, and Muslims criticise Christians severely for supposedly denying this unity and asserting that there are three gods. They condemn this belief categorically, as no better than pagan polytheism (belief in many gods) and idolatry. They also suggest that the Trinity is not a Biblical doctrine, but that it was invented by the Christian councils in the 4th and 5th centuries. Some of Muhammads early advisers were ebionites, members of a sect that confessed Jesus as the Messiah but denied the doctrine of the Trinity as incompatible with the oT belief in one god. So it is perhaps unsurprising that early Islam came to understand the doctrine as involving belief in three gods. But our review of the evidence shows that the Bible is clear and consistent in its own teaching that there is only one God. This is not only one of the basics of oT faith; it is both assumed and asserted by the NT writers too. We have also seen that the father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are personal distinctions within the one God, not names for three separate gods. It is true that the systematisation of the doctrine of the Trinity was not fully developed until some centuries after the NT was written, but it was created by the churches based on the Scriptures. Indeed, it was thoroughly and solidly grounded on Biblical testimony, and was intended

three gods?

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EQUIPPING THE CHURCH

What does the Bible say about the Trinity?


say: (God) Most Gracious has begotten a son! Indeed ye have put forward a thing most monstrous! (Q 19:88-89). The Quran does not deny the existence of Gods God, mary and Jesus? Spirit as it denies that of his Son, but it also does not present Some Muslims believe that Christians worship a the Spirit as a distinct person; to do so would also contradict Trinity composed of father, Mother (Mary the mother of its teaching on the unity of the one god. As in the oT, spirit Jesus), and Son (Jesus Himself). Q 5:116 says, And be- seems to be only a name for divine power; for example, hold! Allah will say: o Jesus the Q 58:22 says, He has written son of Mary! Didst thou say unto Holy, holy, holy! lord God faith in their hearts and strengthmen, Worship me and my mother almighty! ened them with a spirit from himas gods in derogation of Allah? all thy works shall praise thy name, self. He will say, Glory to Thee! Never in earth and sky and sea; But the Biblical teaching could I say what I had no right to Holy, holy, holy! merciful and that the father, the Son and the say. mighty! Holy Spirit are distinct persons, It appears that Muhammad God in three persons, blessed who relate to one another within thought Christians believed that trinity! the life of the one God, underGod had had a physical relationmines the Muslim view. As we ship with Mary, which resulted in the birth of Jesus. The have seen, this is how the NT reconciles the certain truth Quran suggests that this follows necessarily from the view that there is only one God with the equally sure fact that that the one god has a son: How can he have a son when the Father, Son and Spirit is each fully God. It affirms that he hath no consort? (Q 6:101). the father can have a Son, and a (personal) Spirit too, withIt is possible that there was an extreme sect in the out the divine unity being compromised in any way. The time of Muhammad that did worship a trinity of God, Mary divine Sonship of Jesus follows naturally from His deity, and Christ. But more probably the misunderstanding arose but in Scripture it does not then follow that there must be only from the great veneration accorded to Mary by some of more than one God. the Christians whom Muhammad met. The view that Mary is one of the persons of the Trinity is not found in the Bible; Conclusion in fact it is a crude caricature of Biblical teaching, which is that the Trinity is comprised of father, Son and Holy Spirit. So each of the three key statements that make up Although Scripture presents Mary as highly favoured Biblical teaching on the triune nature of God can be used to by God, it never comes close to suggesting that she is di- address one of the Muslim objections to the Trinity. Chrisvine. She is portrayed as just a human being, while each tians do not believe in three gods; there is only one God. person of the Trinity is shown to be fully God. Nor do the We do not worship a trinity of God, Mary and Jesus; it is conception and birth of Jesus arise from any kind of sexual the father, the Son and the Holy Spirit who are each fully encounter between God and Mary. Instead the angel tells God. And no blasphemy is involved in our confession that her that the Holy Spirit will come upon her and the power God the father has a Son or a personal Spirit; these three of the Most High will overshadow her (Luke 1:35). Nor, are distinct persons related within the one God. for that matter, does God the Son begin to exist only when Yet the nature of God is a profound mystery that Jesus is conceived; as we have seen, He existed as God can never be fully understood by finite human beings. even before creation. The Bible is clear that God is Three-in-one, and it tells us something about what this means. But exactly how that is God can have no son? possible can never be completely explained, and ultimately for Muslims it follows from the absolute unity of the our proper response to the triune God is to fall down before one god that he can have no son. Q 112 insists, Say: He is Him in worship and adoration and to offer our lives to Him Allah, the one and only; Allah, the eternal, Absolute; He in worship and sacrifice. begetteth not nor is he begotten; and there is none like unto So it is not only for the sake of our mission to MusHim. And in Q 19:35 we read that It is not befitting to lims and others that we should understand and uphold this (the majesty of) Allah that he should beget a son. In Islam doctrine. It sets out to us the nature of the God whom we Jesus is only one prophet among many and much inferior worship and serve, who calls us to acknowledge and honour to Muhammad. To claim that he is the son of god, or that Him as one God in three persons, the blessed Trinity. May the one god can have a son at all, is blasphemous: They we know Him and confess Him as nothing less than this.
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as a coherent and systematic expression of that testimony in the language and concepts of the time.

The person of the Lord Jesus Christ was discussed in detail in the pull-out supplement of the March-April 2012 edition of Barnabas Aid. The conclusions of that article regarding His deity are summarised here; please refer to it for further information and Bible references.

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PROCLAIM FREEDOM

he Proclaim Freedom campaign and petition have got off to a very encouraging start with people enthusiastically promoting the petition among family, friends, churches and neighbourhoods. One supporter in Glasgow asked for 100 copies of the petition form for distribution among local churches, then came back twice for further batches of 100 copies. Within just the first four weeks of the campaigns official launch, 6,754 people had already

signed the petition. We thank the Lord that at present there does seem to be more concern among media and politicians about the issues of anti-Christian persecution and minority rights, so now is the perfect time to build on this, make our voices heard and proclaim freedom. For more copies of the petition form please contact your local Barnabas office (addresses on back cover) or download them from
www.barnabasfund.org/proclaim-freedom-petition.

You can also encourage people to sign the petition online, and it is also available in German, Russian and Spanish from the non-English sections of our website. The Proclaim Freedom campaign calls for Western governments to use their influence with other governments to promote global human rights, religious freedom and justice for all minorities, especially Christians.

Operation Nehemiah
TOWARDS THE SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION OF OUR SOCIETIES

Schools across UK receive Christian resources:


Thank you so much for the superb resources you delivered to school last week. The teachers have looked at them and are very pleased with the contents. I am sure they will be a very useful addition to our R.E. resources.

Reaching our Muslim neighbours for Christ


he rapid growth of the Muslim population in Western countries is both a challenge and an opportunity for churches. Although there are thousands of Muslim converts to Christ, many more Muslims need to hear the saving message of the Gospel. Muslims are generally much more willing to discuss their religion than many Christians, so there are great opportunities to share Christ with them.

A headteacher from West Sussex

Owing to the kind generosity of churches and individual Christians, over 85 primary schools in the UK have now been provided with a free resource pack on Christianity. ACTS (Assisting Christianity Teaching in Schools) contains over 450 worth of material. As Religious Education is often one of the first areas to be affected by budget cuts, it is no surprise that the resources are being very well received. Each pack contains high-quality books, posters and DVDs that are rich in Christ-centred content, providing a valuable investment in our childrens classrooms. In Llandudno, Wales, eight schools received an ACTS pack after a consortium of seven churches in the town rallied together to raise funds. And 13 schools in Aberdeenshire have received packs. The complete packs are available for a donation of 250. For more information please visit
www.barnabasfund.org/operation_nehemiah

How do the churches respond to this challenge? Is your fellowship prepared to engage with the growing Muslim community? Perhaps you have Muslim friends, neighbours or work colleagues and would like to know more about what they believe and how you can best explain your faith to them? Operation Nehemiah has produced a special Evangelism Pack with resources that aim to equip Christians with what they need to engage with Muslims.

The pack contains:


Unveiled: A Christian Study Guide to Islam A selection of tracts and booklets

This is an invaluable resource for personal and group study. It will help you understand what the religion of Islam teaches, and how it impacts the thinking and culture of Muslims across the world. Each chapter includes a Bible study and questions for reflection and discussion. The last chapter explains how to witness to Muslims.

addressing some of the key issues and questions that Muslims have:

Can I know God? Has the Bible been changed? How can God have a Son? Love my enemies? Is it possible? Who is the God of Abraham? Sure of going to Paradise? Did someone else die in Jesus place?

Breaking through the Barriers: Leading Muslims to Christ

And more, including the background booklets

This popular book lifts the veil on Muslim culture, practices and faith to find the points of contact that will help Muslims to respond to the Christian Gospel.

What is Islam?, What is Sharia?, Islam and Truth, Islam and Slavery.

The packs can be ordered at a cost of only 10 each. Please contact your local Barnabas Fund office or visit www.barnabasfund.org/operation_nehemiah to reserve your copy.

BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2012 11

ANALYSIS

Qatar

An influential force

The Middle East has seen a wave of uprisings over the last year. It has been a time of tumultuous change, and the region is likely to be unsettled for quite some time. In the midst of this chaos, who are the key players?
atar is a tiny, thumb-shaped, former pearl and fishing settlement which is now at the forefront of gas and energy supplies, with Western Europe increasingly dependent on Qatars gas. In a 2 billion deal announced in April 2011 Qatar agreed to supply Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to the UK for the next three years. In 2010, Qatar supplied the UK with 15 per cent of its total gas demand. Qatar lies on the eastern border of Saudi Arabia, just to the north of the United Arab Emirates, and is itself an

Shaping the region

Emirate, ruled by the Al Thani royal family. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani is its supreme ruler. It is a non-democratic monarchy, usually regarded as absolute, that practises the Wahhabi form of Sunni Islam as the state religion. Despite its small stature, Qatar is playing a significant part in shaping the region through religion, politics and economics. During the Arab uprisings Qatar has sought to assert its influence by channelling finance and weapons to opposition forces in Libya, and it has led calls for the same to be done in Syria. In 2011-2012 alone Qatar has also been engaged in the following initiatives:

Opening of a political office for the Taliban in the capital, Doha (January 2012) Brokering of a peace deal between Hamas and Fatah (February 2012) Leadership of the international effort for regime change in Syria Leadership in the Libyan oppositions ground assault and in reconstruction post-Gaddafi Hosting of a very large American airbase just outside Doha

Qatar also exercises crucial influence through the Al Jazeera television network. Al Jazeera is the

12 BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2012 Picture sources: West Bay buildings: Wikipedia.org, Kangxi emperor6868. Aeroplane: Flickr.com, Peter Russell. Television studio: Flickr.com, Laika

ANALYSIS leading Arab and (more recently) international news provider focused on the Middle East. It has been incredibly successful, exercising a huge influence over opinions and events, and it has helped to re-shape Arab broadcasting both regionally and internationally. The network arguably helped to make the Syrian uprising into an international event, as it did those in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen. what is primarily a Sunni revolt against a state dominated by an Alawi Shiite minority. But it is also attempting to realign the region by helping to turn a state friendly to Iran into one more favourable to other, competing, regional powers i.e. the Sunni Gulf states. Qatar has led calls for action on behalf of the anti-government forces both within the Arab League, where its influence is increasing, and more widely. For example, in a recent visit to Norway the Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani said, I think we should do whatever is necessary to help them, including giving them weapons to defend themselves. Many suspect that Qatar is already helping covertly to arm the Free Syrian Army. Balancing East and West: Qatar appears to be increasingly adept at balancing different and at times conflicting perspectives. For example, the recent opening of an Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan office that will serve as a diplomatic mission for the Taliban in Qatar may seem to conflict with Qatars good relationships with the West. However, by doing this Qatar is both keeping itself in favour with the Taliban and other extremist groups and positioning the country as a mediator between the West and groups with whom the West is reluctant to engage or at least have direct dialogue. The Taliban have stated that the purpose of the Qatar office is to come to an understanding with other nations and that they have ruled out negotiations with the Karzai government. One analyst has noted, By seeming reasonable, Taliban leaders may hope to encourage the United States to leave more promptly while they harbour plans to go for the Afghan democratic leaderships jugular later on down the road. to create separate Islamic societies or further to marginalise and possibly radicalise existing Muslim-majority areas. Concerns have been raised at the motives that lie behind these large international investments. Qatar is clearly keen to promote its own interest and seek to gain influence where it can; however, this investment may be driven by a desire to promote Islamic ideologies and strengthen Muslim-majority communities abroad.

Why Qatar?

So why is Qatar seeking to proclaim its power? What motives lie behind its efforts to gain influence and shape events, and what groups are involved with it? Islamic Groups: The role of Islamic groups is central to the whole region and is considered to be particularly relevant to the agenda of the Qatari regime. Qatar has played host to influential Islamists, such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian who regularly preaches on Al Jazeera, Ali Salibi, a prominent Libyan Islamist, and Khaled Meshal, the political leader of Hamas. Qatar has acted as a broker in discussions with Palestinian groups and also enjoys close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. In the 1960s and 1970s many Islamists fled from Syria and Egypt to Qatar for refuge, and from these beginnings Qatar has built a network of relationships with political Islam, which are proving valuable to it today. By maintaining close relations with the leadership of the main Islamist groups in the region, the regime hopes to avoid a terrorist threat within Qatar and also to promote a stable environment for Qatari investment abroad. The Qatari emir recently said, We will spare no effort to continue carrying the message and spreading the tolerant teachings of Islam in the whole world. Libya: During the military campaign to overthrow Gaddafi, Qatar armed and trained the Libyan opposition forces. At the time the head of the National Transitional Council (NTC) acknowledged that success was as a result of Qatari engagement. However, in recent months the NTC has been highly critical of Qatars continued engagement with Libyan Islamist groups. Although the council is committed to making sharia the main source of law in the new Libyan Constitution, it is also broadly secular and views the Islamist groups as an obstacle to Libyas economic progress. Syria: Within the Middle East Qatar has sought to build tactical regional alliances aimed at establishing influence over the next generation of political leaders. Their motivation is both religious and political. In Syria Qatar is supporting

Qatar and Christianity

There are small groups of Christians, Jews, Bahais and Hindus from the international community within Qatar, but non-Muslim public worship is prohibited as it is considered to disturb the public order. Converting to another religion from Islam is technically a capital offence, although there has been no recorded punishment for such an act since the country gained independence in 1971.

The future of Qatari influence

Qatars political strategy appears to have given it the edge over the traditional power holder (Saudi Arabia) in the Middle East in the context of the current seismic political shifts. As the region moves into a new era, Qatar is likely to emerge as the regional power broker, backed by its enormous wealth. Many are concerned that the Church in the Middle East is being put at further risk owing to Qatars influence over the Arab uprisings. The exporting of its ideology has contributed to the pressure and attacks experienced by Christians and churches during the last year, in Egypt and especially in Syria, which have increased to the point where the very existence of the Syrian churches is now in question. Many fear a future where Islamist groups dominate their countries governments, leading to further restrictions on Christians. Qatars influence in Europe may also lead to the radicalising of Muslim communities there (for example, in France), thus posing new dangers to individual countries and to the continent as a whole. Qatar will probably be the enabling power behind a number of Islamist groups within the Middle East for as long as such groups have the potential to affect its stability. Many analysts believe that Qatar is investing in the Islamists to ensure its own survival in the medium term. The strategy that Qatar has adopted towards Libya and Syria testifies to its emerging position in the international community as the most important player in the Middle East.

Qatar in Europe

Qatars enormous wealth has also enabled it to fund many initiatives in Europe. In the UK Qatars investments include stakes in Barclays, Sainsburys, Harrods, the Shard complex in London, Canary Wharf and the 2012 Olympic athletes village, as well as energy investments in Wales. Qatar also has interests in France. In 2011 the country was encouraged to buy a majority stake in the French football team Paris-StGermain, and Al Jazeera, the Qatari owned news channel, also bought the rights to Ligue 1, the French equivalent of the English Premier League. In December 2011 Qatar announced the creation of a 50 million (US$67 million) investment fund aimed at supporting entrepreneurs from Frances deprived suburbs. According to reports, these relatively poor communities are already being exploited by Muslim preachers in an attempt

BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2012 13

BIBLICAL REFLECTION

arnabas Fund works in partnership with many others in our work of bringing hope and aid to persecuted Christians. We partner with our brothers and sisters in contexts of pressure and hostility, and their leaders often help to shape our strategies. We partner with the many churches and Christian organisations that work tirelessly to channel our funds to suffering believers. And we partner with our supporters and local representatives (church and area partners), whose warm generosity and unstinting commitment are essential to our ministry.

Partnership is a New Testament idea, derived partly from the Greek word koinnia, which means participation, fellowship, association. It reflects the fact that the Christian life is not meant to be lived in isolation from others, but in connection with them. This partnership between Christians takes many forms, and several of these are identified by the apostle Paul in his letter to the church in Philippi. They help us better to understand how we can all work together to sustain our Lords persecuted people in their distress.

through our prayers, concern and gifts for our persecuted Christian family, and by supporting local believers who provide them with practical and spiritual resources in their need. We rejoice to see the great difference that this help so often makes to them, as individuals, churches and communities. And we are in this partnership for the long haul as long, in fact, as our work is needed.

Partnership in the Spirit (2:1)

Partnership in the Gospel (1:5)

At the beginning of his letter Paul expresses his affection for his Philippian readers, and his confidence in them, by saying that he always prays for them with joy. The reason for his gladness is their partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. This partnership is the Christians active participation, with Paul, in sharing and furthering the Good News of Christ, as they both live it out in Philippi and support Pauls wider ministry. Through their collaboration with him, Gods power is at work as the Lord Jesus is proclaimed in word and deed. And this association is a long one: it dates from the time of Pauls preaching to them and their conversion, and has lasted to the present. All Christians are called by the Lord to be partners with one another in the work of the Gospel. This involves both consistent Christian living where God has placed us, and providing assistance to those who are making Christ known elsewhere. In doing this, we have the immense privilege of experiencing Gods power at work through us, and of seeing lives transformed through the wonderful message of the Lord Jesus. And as with Paul and the Philippians, it is meant to be a long-term commitment. Barnabas Fund and our many co-workers and supporters are dedicated to this partnership in the Gospel. We seek to live out the Good News

At the beginning of chapter 2, Paul appeals for unity among the Philippian Christians, over against the self-centred attitudes that so easily disrupt it. One basis of his appeal is the believers sharing or partnership in the Holy Spirit of God. God Himself has shared His Spirit with the Philippians, and by their partnership in that Spirit they are united to Christ, to Paul and to one another. Therefore they must express that unity in their relations with one another and their engagement with those outside the congregation. The Spirit also empowers all that God is doing among the Philippians and all that they are doing in the Name of the Lord Jesus. It is in and by the Spirit that they are able to stand, to contend for the faith of the Gospel, and not to be intimidated by their opponents (1:27-28). But this steadfastness is also grounded in the unity that the Spirit brings, in the common life that is theirs through their sharing in Him. For Barnabas Fund our partnership in the Spirit, with persecuted Christians and those who help us to help them, is at the heart of our ministry. United with each other by the Spirit, we all take responsibility for supporting one another, and we stand together against the destructive forces and ideologies that threaten and oppress our Christian family. This unity in the Spirit also enables all of us, and especially our suffering brothers and sisters, to remain faithful to Christ in the face of great pressure to compromise our commitment to Him.

Partnership in Philippi

14 BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2012

BIBLICAL REFLECTION

Partnership in Christs sufferings (3:10)

In chapter 3 Paul explains to his readers what he has gained in becoming a Christian, beyond and instead of his former privileges as a Jew. This gain is to know Christ and to be united to Him, and it involves both experiencing the power of His resurrection and sharing or partnership in His sufferings. This teaching implies that suffering on behalf of Christ is part of our normal Christian experience. It may range from the social pressure and hostility that the Philippian church was probably having to endure, to the imprisonment and possible martyrdom faced by Paul. But remarkably, whatever form it takes, it is a partnership in Christs sufferings. It is the channel through which the effects of Christs passion and death are applied to us and to others; it is the way in which His risen power is released in and through us. Persecuted Christians throughout the world know very well what it is to be partners in Christs sufferings, and their faithfulness and fruitfulness in trying and even tragic circumstances bears witness to the power of His resurrection at work among them. In the West the experience of suffering for Christ is generally much less severe, but in our commitment to our Lords persecuted family, Barnabas Fund tries to identify with their pain and thus to relieve their anguish. The often sacrificial giving of our supporters, and the costly and selfless service of our project partners, are also a sharing in the sufferings of Christ, and they bring His life-giving power to believers in distress.

has included their partnering with him in giving and receiving; this includes their sharing their material means with him, but it also involves much more. In the early days of Pauls mission in Macedonia, when he was preaching in Thessalonica, the Philippian church gave him aid more than once. Now, in his imprisonment for the Gospel, they have sent him another gift. But this is not a onesided relationship, in which they do all the giving and he the receiving. He is their apostle, through whom they have received the word of the Lord; and both they and he are in Christ, in whom they are related as equals. Barnabas Funds network of associates and supporters, and the persecuted Christians to whom we bring assistance, also form a partnership in giving and receiving. Like Paul in his Roman prison, our suffering brothers and sisters are deeply grateful to the fellow-Christians who share and relieve their burden through generous financial gifts. Yet this relationship too is not one-sided: through their example of patient endurance and infectious joy in the midst of intense grief, these believers also give to us: through them we receive encouragement, inspiration and guidance for our own discipleship. We are all equal in Christ, and that equality is expressed in a genuinely mutual exchange.

Questions for personal study or group discussion

1.

Why should the Christian life not be lived in isolation? What benefits do you experience through partnership with other Christians?

2. We are called to be partners in the Gospel. What does it mean to live out that Gospel where you are? How can you and your church help those who are making Christ known elsewhere? 3. How should we express the unity that results from our partnership in the Spirit? How does it help us to stand firm for Christ under pressure? 4. What experiences do you have of partnership in Christs sufferings? In what ways did they help you to know and share His life-giving power? 5. How do you partner with other Christians in giving and receiving? How costly is that partnership to you, and how beneficial? 6. Think of one action you can take to express your partnership with persecuted Christians.

Conclusion

Partnership in giving and receiving (4:15)

In the last main section of his letter, Paul affirms his happy relationship with the Philippian church and indirectly thanks them for it. This relationship

Christian living and Christian ministry involve partnership: in the Gospel, in which Gods power is mightily at work; in the Spirit, who unites us to each other and enables us to stand firm in our faith; in the sufferings of Christ that convey to us His resurrection life; and in giving and receiving in an equal and mutual relationship with one another. It is this partnership that Barnabas Fund seeks to create and maintain, and in which we invite our supporters to share.

BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2012 15

IN TOUCH

Barnabas Fund Mobile App gives iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Android phone users easy access to information and updates from Barnabas Fund. Using the App, Barnabas supporters will have access to: Latest news about persecuted Christians around the world Emergency appeals Daily prayer point for our suffering brothers and sisters Quick link to donate to Barnabas Fund Information about Barnabas Funds work with the persecuted Church The App can be downloaded from the Apple iTunes store. There is also an App for Android phones; this can be downloaded from the Android App store.

An App for Barnabas Fund

We are always grateful to receive your donations and learn of the imaginative ways in which you have raised money for our persecuted brothers and sisters. Here we share stories from several British supporters about their fundraising for Barnabas. Peter Bell and his wife Joan raised 143 for Barnabas Fund by selling delicious cakes, coffee and other items at their Christmas Caf organised by Elim Pentecostal Church, Huddersfield in December 2011. In January 2012, Trinity Church, Stafford, raised 200 for Iraqi Christians by selling apples in their church coffee bar. And Nathan McStay, aged 12, from Carlisle, donated part of his pocket money to Barnabas Fund and requested that we use the money (10) to buy a sack of wheat flour for a Christian family in Ethiopia who are starving because of the famine.

Cakes, apples and pocket money: fundraising for Barnabas

Below, Mr SB, a supporter from the UK, shares his thoughts on what prompted him and his family to support Barnabas Fund: When our three daughters were young we felt a burden to make a difference to Gods Kingdom worldwide by supporting people connected with the areas of poverty, persecution and proclamation of the Gospel. It was then that we first contacted Barnabas who connected our burden with their persecution specialism. We specifically asked to support people in areas of the world where we were not supporting anyone else. Our praying has not been so much in terms of quantity, but quality. We have tried to be specific, either about things we know, or things we feel Gods Spirit telling us. It was so exciting recently after praying for several years for one specific Christian worker to find a wife, to hear that he is now married with a small baby. Our financial giving has been small, but regular (monthly). It was especially difficult when several times we have gone through our own financial crisis, living on almost nothing, but even in these tough times our principle was to keep our monthly support going. It has been our privilege to partner with Barnabas knowing that a normal family in a normal home really can make a significant difference to Gods Kingdom worldwide.

An ordinary family making a difference

Peter and Joan Bell raised money for Barnabas Fund at their church Christmas cafe

Drawing up a will is a good way to have a final say about the things that matter to you the most: your loved ones, the causes you support, and honouring the Lord by helping to provide for your wider family in Christ. Enclosed with this magazine is a leaflet setting out some advice on writing a will and the advantages of leaving a legacy to a charity of your choice. Bequeathing a portion of your estate to Barnabas Fund, for example, enables us to use it for the support of our persecuted brothers and sisters. The leaflet also provides valuable information on British Inheritance Tax. Please take time to read through this leaflet and prayerfully consider if you can leave money to Barnabas Fund in your will. We have pr epared a booklet to explain how important it is for Christians to make a will and to offer advice on how to go about it. A Christian Guide to Making and Changing your Will is available free from your nearest Barnabas office or as a download from www.barnabasfund.org/resources.

Could you leave a legacy to support your persecuted brothers and sisters?

16 BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2012

IN TOUCH

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. Isaiah 61:1 This year, Barnabas Funds Supporters Days will focus on the Proclaim Freedom campaign, which seeks to raise the profile of our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. This is a critical time for the suffering Church, and we invite you to stand with us as we call upon governments to engage with issues of anti-Christian persecution.

UK Suppor ters Days 2012

Saturday 9 June 1 - 4pm: St Andrews Church, Quickley Lane, Chorleywood, WD3 5AE Saturday 23 June 2 - 4:30pm: Central Baptist Church, 9A Ward Road, Dundee, DD1 1LP Free Tickets This event is by ticket only and places are limited, so please contact us to book your place and get your free admission ticket. We also have a poster available if you would like to advertise this event at your church. To get tickets and copies of the poster, please call 024 7623 1923 or email tickets@barnabasfund.org. You may also write to us at the UK office: 9 Priory Row, Coventry, CV1 5EX. Tickets can also be ordered online at www.barnabasfund.org/events. Please be sure to indicate which date and venue you would like. For more information, please contact Alastair Kirk at the Pewsey office.

Overview from the International Director, Dr Patrick Sookhdeo Reports from the field Information about new developments at Barnabas Fund Insights into Proclaim Freedom: How can we remain silent while Christians are being persecuted? Meet Barnabas Fund staff members View the latest resources

Canon on wheels

Canon John Bowers from Cheshire has been a faithful supporter of Barnabas Fund for a number of years. Since hearing about the Cana Girls Refuge Centre that we support in Kenya, John has undertaken an annual long-distance cycling pilgrimage for his own devotional benefit, and to raise funds for this work of Christian compassion. His daughter Ruth has accompanied him on the last three pilgrimages.

Donate to Barnabas via Internet Banking


Internet banking is a quick, cost-effective and secure way of donating money to Barnabas Fund, as it reduces administrative and banking costs. If you donate via internet banking and you are a UK resident, please give your postcode as a reference, and if the money is meant for a particular project, please also give the project reference number, as this will make identification much easier. If you would like to receive a thank you please include TY in your reference. E.g. SN95DB/1032/TY. Gifts in British pounds sterling may be made using the following details: Account Name: Barnabas Fund; Account No: 50133299; Sort Code: 202646. This is a new Barclays Bank account we have opened specifically to receive one-off donations made either via internet banking or by paying in at a branch of Barclays. Our existing accounts into which standing orders and direct debits are received will continue unchanged. For supporters in Europe: we now have a euro account with HSBC. Please provide your surname and initials as a reference and the project reference number if relevant. Please use the following references to make gifts in euros: Swift/BIC: MIDLGB22 IBAN: GB37 MIDL 4005 1571 3530 52

The home is a refuge for Christian girls who seek help to escape from the abusive customs associated with African Traditional Religions. More than 70 girls and young Canon John and his women have been rescued to date, and daughter Ruth getting ready to raise money for they have been looked after in the hostel, Barnabas Fund where they are protected, fed, clothed and educated in a loving Christian environment. Barnabas Fund helps with running costs for this growing ministry. We would like to give thanks to John, who raised approximately 16,000 in 2011 through the generosity of many of his friends and churches, and ask that you support him with your prayers as this year he undertakes his seventh cycle ride to raise money for Barnabas.

If you make an internet donation please email finance@barnabasfund.org with details so that we can allocate your Project reference 25-663 gift correctly. For any finance-related queries, please use the same email address.

BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2012 17

LEARNING FROM THE PERSECUTED CHURCH

GODS POWER
A
young Christian couple in Iran were imprisoned for their faith. Arash Kermanjani and his wife Arezoo Teymouri told of their inner struggles in prison, their release and their subsequent flight from Iran. The first few days were the most difficult, said Arash. I was afraid of what may happen to Arezoo and prayed for her all the time, asking my Lord to protect and save her. On the day of their arrest the couple were at the house of Christian friends, Vahik Abrahamian and Sonia Keshish Avanesian, in Hamedan when plain-clothes agents broke into the house, arresting both couples without charges and bringing them to a secret prison of the Ministry of State Security. The husband and wife, both in their late twenties, were put in solitary confinement for days on end. During this time alone Arash prayed continuously for his wife. Soon he received an answer from God. He gave me His calm and assurance concerning her fate and I was able to accept His decision in humility; I realised that Gods power is far greater than my fears. From then on my mind was at peace and could clearly see the hand of God protecting us. Before giving their lives to Christ, the couple had both led turbulent lives, which the guards used as a weapon of attack. Arezoo said, Well aware of my past life, they used it to crush me psychologically and reduce me to confessing to what they demanded. But their attacks did not have any effect on her resolve to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. She stood firm in the truth that He will protect His flock. Our Lord Jesus Christ, who upon the Cross took our sins unto Himself is standing right by me, Alive, Comforting and Protective, proving their falsehood. During their captivity the couple heard that they had been accused of being ideological thieves and members of a Zionist group opposing the Islamic Regime. Arash was also put under constant pressure to confess to having helped foreigners against his country. He said that in response to these accusations we only spoke of our own personal experience with Jesus Christ. After eight months I guess they realised they were wrong about us and caught on the fact that we are but simple witnesses to Christ.

EXPERIENCING

Our Lord Jesus Christ, who upon the Cross took our sins unto Himself is standing right by me, Alive, Comforting and Protective, proving their falsehood.
But although Arash and Arezoo were out of prison, they were still not safe. Arash said, We feared attack by Islamic vigilantes and agents of the Islamic regime. All venues of work and employment were closed to us and we were constantly under surveillance. Fleeing the Islamic Republic was the only way forward for them. At the time of the interview Arash and Arezoo were in a neighbouring country awaiting relocation

Set free

Mockery and accusation

After eleven solitary days, Arezoo was transferred to Hamedans main female prison. The wardens harassed her incessantly because of her Christian faith. Arash, who suffered a total of 43 days of solitary confinement, experienced the same mockery. My Christian beliefs were questioned and it was denigrated to the level of childish thoughts and a passing trend.

One day without notice the couple and Sonia Keshish Avanesian, one of their Christian friends who was arrested at the same time, were peremptorily ordered to leave the prison. Thrown out without any form of transport, they had to walk a long way before reaching a main road. As soon as they got into a hired car, three motor-cyclists surrounded it screaming obscenities and hurling bricks. All the way to Tehran the three Christians feared for their safety and their lives.

Iranian Christian couple Arash and Arezoo were imprisoned for their faith

by the UNHCR. They would prefer not to have been forced to leave the country of their birth, but hope to be able to serve the Lord wherever they are sent.

18 BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2012

Based on an interview from the Farsi Christian News Network

Yes, I would like to help the persecuted Church


Here is my gift of ______________________
Please use my gift for Wherever the need is greatest (General Fund) Other ___________________________________________* I enclose a cheque/voucher payable to Barnabas Fund. Please debit my Visa Maestro Number Maestro issue number Expiry date
/

Please send the following free resources (indicate quantity required):


Proclaim Freedom petition forms ___ A Christian guide to making and changing your will ___ Gift Aid Declaration (Applicable to UK tax payers only) I authorise Barnabas Fund, registered charity no. 1092935, to treat all donations I have made since 6 April 2007 and all subsequent donations as Gift Aid donations until I notify you otherwise.
Signature ___________________________________ Date ____________
If you have previously signed a Gift Aid Declaration for Barnabas Fund, you do not need to sign again. To qualify for Gift Aid, what you pay in income tax or capital gains tax must at least equal the amount of tax reclaimed on donations to registered charities in the tax year. Please inform us if you change your name or address or stop paying tax.

Mastercard

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Name Address
(Mr,Mrs,Miss,Ms,Rev,Dr)

CAF card /other charity card

or issue date

Postcode Email

Telephone

Signature ____________________________

I do not require an acknowledgement of this gift. I would like to give regularly through my bank. Please send me the appropriate form. (UK supporters may use the Direct Debit form below.) Alternative Gift Card To make an alternative gift for a loved one, please Mag contact your national Barnabas office.
05/12

Please return this form to Barnabas Fund at your national office or to the UK office. Addresses are on the back cover. Barnabas Fund will not give your address or email to anyone else. Phone 0800 587 4006 or visit our website at www.barnabasfund.org to make a credit card donation. From outside UK phone +44 1672 565031.
Registered Charity number 1092935 Company registered in England number 4029536 *If the project chosen is sufficiently funded, we reserve the right to use designated gifts either for another project of a similar type or for another project in the same country.

Supporters in Germany: please turn to back cover for how to send gifts to Barnabas Fund.

Mag 05/12

DIRECT DEBIT for UK supporters who would like to give regularly

I/We want to bring hope and aid to the persecuted Church by a regular gift, to be used where it is most needed (General Fund) or for ________________________________*(give reference number of project to be supported) Name Address
(Mr,Mrs,Miss,Ms,Rev,Dr)

I would like to give a regular gift of _______________________________ (amount in words) _____________________________________________ Starting on 1st / 11th / 21st _________________ and then every month/quarter/year (delete as applicable) until further notice.

Postcode

This Direct Debit is a new one / in addition to / replaces an earlier Standing Order / Direct Debit in favour of Barnabas Fund. (delete as applicable).

Instruction to your bank or building society to pay by Direct Debit


Please fill in the whole form including official use box using a ball point pen and send it to: Barnabas Fund, 9 Priory Row, Coventry CV1 5EX Name and full postal address of your bank or building society Service User Number

2 5 3 6 4 5

Reference (Barnabas Fund to complete) Instruction to your bank or building society: Please pay Barnabas Fund Direct Debits from the account detailed in this instruction subject to the safeguards assured to by the Direct Debit Guarantee. I understand that this instruction may remain with Barnabas Fund and, if so, details will be passed electronically to my bank/building society. DD18

Name(s) of account holder(s) Bank/building society account number Branch sort code

Signature(s) Date

*If the project chosen is sufficiently funded, we reserve the right to use designated gifts either for another project of a similar type or for another project in the same country.

Mag 05/12

THE DIRECT DEBIT GUARANTEE This Guarantee is offered by all Banks and Building Societies that accept instructions to pay Direct Debits. If there are any changes to the amount, date or frequency of your Direct Debit Barnabas Fund will notify you 14 days in advance of your account being debited or as otherwise agreed. If you request Barnabas Fund to collect a payment, confirmation of the amount and date will be given to you at the time of the request. If an error is made in the payment of your Direct Debit by Barnabas Fund or your bank or building society, you are guaranteed a full and immediate refund of the amount paid from from your bank or building society. If you receive a refund you are not entitled to, you must pay it back when Barnabas Fund asks you to. You can cancel a Direct Debit at any time by simply contacting your bank or building society. Written confirmation may be required. Please also notify us.

BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2012 19

UK Supporters Days 2012 Proclaim Freedom for persecuted Christians


Saturday 9 June, 1 - 4pm St Andrews Church, Chorleywood Saturday 23 June, 2 - 4.30pm Central Baptist Church, Dundee

Please contact us to book your place. Turn to page 18 for more information!

Come and visit Barnabas Fund at CRE


Barnabas Fund staff and volunteers will be happy to welcome you at Stand S70 at the 2012 International Christian Resources Exhibition at Sandown Park, Esher, 8-11 May.

A special Barnabas Fund seminar will be led by our Deputy Director, Mark Green, on Friday 11 May at 3:30pm in the Park View Suite. Complimentary tickets CRE organisers have kindly provided access for Barnabas Fund supporters to register for free tickets. To obtain, go to the Buy Tickets section of www.creonline.co.uk and enter SANDNAT into the complimentary ticket reference.

How to Find Us
You may contact Barnabas Fund at the following addresses: UK 9 Priory Row, Coventry CV1 5EX Telephone 024 7623 1923 Fax 024 7683 4718 From outside the UK Telephone +44 24 7623 1923 Fax +44 24 7683 4718 Email info@barnabasfund.org Registered charity number 1092935 Company registered in England number 4029536 For a list of all trustees, please contact Barnabas Fund UK at the Coventry address above. Australia Postal Suite 107, 236 Hyperdome, Loganholme QLD 4129 Telephone (07) 3806 1076 or 1300 365 799 Fax (07) 3806 4076 Email bfaustralia@barnabasfund.org Germany German supporters may send gifts for Barnabas Fund via Hilfe fr Brder who will provide you with a tax-deductible receipt. Please mention that the donation is for SPC 20 Barnabas Fund. If you would like your donation to go to a specific project of Barnabas Fund, please inform the Barnabas Fund office in Pewsey, UK. Account holder: Hilfe fr Brder e.V. Account number: 415 600 Bank: Evang. Kreditgenossenschaft Stuttgart Bankcode (BLZ): 520 604 10

Jersey Le Jardin, La Rue A Don, Grouville, Jersey, Channel Islands JE3 9GB Telephone 700600 Fax 700601 Email bfjersey@barnabasfund.org New Zealand PO Box 27 6018, Manukau City, Auckland, 2241 Telephone (09) 280 4385 or 0800 008 805 Email office@barnabasfund.org.nz USA 6731 Curran St, McLean, VA 22101 Telephone (703) 288-1681 or toll-free 1-866-936-2525 Fax (703) 288-1682 Email usa@barnabasaid.org International Headquarters The Old Rectory, River Street, Pewsey, Wiltshire SN9 5DB, UK Telephone 01672 564938 Fax 01672 565030 From outside UK: Telephone +44 1672 564938 Fax +44 1672 565030 Email info@barnabasfund.org

barnabasaid the magazine of Barnabas Fund


Executive Editor Steve Carter Published by Barnabas Fund The Old Rectory, River Street, Pewsey, Wiltshire SN9 5DB, UK Telephone 01672 564938 Fax 01672 565030 From outside UK: Telephone +44 1672 564938 Fax +44 1672 565030 Email info@barnabasfund.org

Barnabas Fund 2012. For permission to reproduce articles from this magazine, please contact the International Headquarters address above. The paper used is produced using wood fibre at a mill that has been awarded the ISO14001 certificate for environmental management.

www.barnabasfund.org

To donate by credit card, please visit the website or phone 0800 587 4006 (from outside the UK phone +44 1672 565031).