Thursday, September 29, 2011

White House Condemns Possible Execution of Iranian Pastor

White House Condemns Possible Execution of Iranian Pastor - Click the link and read the entire story at Fox News.

The White House condemned the conviction and possible death sentence for an Iranian pastor who refuses to renounce his Christian faith on Thursday, saying the execution would further demonstrate Iranian authorities "utter disregard" for religious freedom.

Youcef Nadarkhani, 32, who maintains he has never been a Muslim as an adult, has Islamic ancestry and therefore must recant his faith in Jesus Christ, the 11th branch of Iran's Gilan Provincial Court has ruled. Iran's Supreme Court had ordered the trial court to determine whether Nadarkhani had been a Muslim prior to converting to Christianity.

Why are we surprised that Iranian clerics don't share our western, primarily American, "regard" for religious freedom? Islamic law has room for only one religion; Allah is the deity of that religion and Mohammad is it's prophet. That they would seek to martyr a Christian dhimmi in their midst should surprise no one, especially if they have been paying attention to Islam since at least 1979.

"Pastor Nadarkhani has done nothing more than maintain his devout faith, which is a universal right for all people," the statement released by the White House read. "That the Iranian authorities would try to force him to renounce that faith violates the religious values they claim to defend, crosses all bounds of decency, and breaches Iran's own international obligations. A decision to impose the death penalty would further demonstrate the Iranian authorities' utter disregard for religious freedom, and highlight Iran's continuing violation of the universal rights of its citizens. We call upon the Iranian authorities to release Pastor Nadarkhani, and demonstrate a commitment to basic, universal human rights, including freedom of religion."

On the contrary, this is a fundamental difference between Islam and Christianity. Religious tolerance in Islam bears little resemblance to western, or Christian, religious tolerance. To leave the faith is to place yourself under sentence of death in Islam. Both the Koran and Sharia prescribe the sentence. That is also why it is so important that they defence in this case prove that he was never a Muslim as an adult. If that is the case, Nadarkhani will never have been an apostate. He would simply be a dhimmi.

When Jesus sent out his disciples to call people to repentance, their evangelism method involved neither weapons, conquest, nor persecution. To the contrary, those who rejected the message of the Gospel were to be left to themselves, the obligation of warning the unregenerate sinner of their predicament under the Law and the proclamation of the Gospel to them having been discharged. St. Marks writes:

And he said to them, "Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them," (Mark 6:11).

The act of shaking the dust of their feet is a symbolic ritual, demonstrating God's judgment against those people who reject the Gospel. In the same way the Apostle Paul won converts for Christ by preaching in markets and town squares, and reasoning in synagogues. He, as well as the 72 who are sent out by Jesus in Luke 10:10-11 are commanded to do likewise (Acts 13:51; 18:6). Oftentimes it was St. Paul who was verbally and physically mistreated. He was ultimately murdered for his work to promote the Gospel and serve the church. At no time did St. Paul gather an army and wage a holy war on the cities that rejected his teachings as Mohammad did.

Contrary to Islam, Christianity is an actual religion of peace. Jesus, unlike Mohammad, commanded no conversions by the sword. Those who practice such abominations in the name of Christ are no Christians because they practice a way of life contrary to the commands of the Lord, and contrary to the nature of the new creation they are supposed to be in Christ. That fact that such actions are contrary to Jesus' teachings is easily demonstrated by opening a Bible and reading what Jesus actually taught. One would get a different picture of Islamic religious values by doing the same with the Koran.

Christians everywhere must pray diligently that this brother in Christ be protected and strengthened by God, in accordance with his will, and that, no matter what the outcome, that the Lord Jesus would work these things to the good of those who serve Him, who are called according to his purpose.