“turkishness” In The Cradle Of Christianity

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    “Turkishness” in the Cradle of Christianity

    December 1, 2006

    icon-interactive.gif Turkishness–Gary Lane
    This week from Turkey, CBN News reporter George Thomas told us about Hakan Tastan and Turan Topal, two Christians on trial in January for allegedly insulting “Turkishness.”

    Most Turks today associate “Turkishness” with Islam; to be a Turk is to be a Muslim.

    But Turkey is a country with a rich Christian heritage. Christian Turks lived and worshipped in the country for at least 600 years prior to the advent of Islam. The Apostle Paul spent much time in Turkey and the Book of Acts tells us a riot broke out at the amphitheatre in Ephesus after Paul and Christian disciples had led “large numbers” of Artemis worshippers “astray.” (ACTS 19:26)

    The Book of Revelation mentions the seven churches—Ephesus, Smyrna (where John’s disciple Polycarp was martyred), Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. All of these churches were located in Turkey.

    So, if the early Christian church was started in Turkey, why do Christians number less than one percent of Turkey’s 66-million people? They numbered about 20% in 1900 so, what happened?

    I posed that question to an evangelical pastor not long ago when I visited Izmir (ancient Smyrna). He told me, “You see, over the years we spent much of our time teaching Turks ABOUT Christianity, but we never really INTRODUCED them to Christ.”

    The good news today is that many young Turks are meeting Christ because of the internet, satellite television and the efforts of bold evangelists like Tastan and Topal.

    Pray citizens of the country that served as the cradle of Christianity will come to realize that true “Turkishness” can include Turkish Christians.

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