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Pastor once held in Turkish prison tells U.S. Christians to prepare for persecution

Christians in the United States can expect persecution to come in the near future, says Pastor Andrew Brunson who was unjustly locked up in a Turkish prison for two years

Brunson, 52, served as a missionary in Turkey for more than 20 years. Then he was arrested by police in a broad sweep in 2016 following an alleged coup attempt against Turkish President Erdogan that Brunson had nothing to do with. The pastor had established the Izmir Resurrection Church, which openly shared Christ and also helped Syrian refugees, some of them Kurds. The Turkish government accused Brunson of being a CIA agent who was plotting with Kurdish terrorists to carry out the alleged coup. Finally, he was freed after President Donald Trump personally intervened with his counterpart in Turkey.

“On my return to the United States just over two years ago, for the first time in my life I have an urgency for this country,” Brunson said. “And not just with this election. It’s not precipitated by this election, but it has been growing in me these last two years.

The pastor says Christians are only getting a taste of what’s to come. “I believe the pressures that we’re seeing in our country now are going to increase, and one of these pressures is going to be hostility toward people who embrace Jesus Christ and his teaching, who are not ashamed to stand for him. My concern is that we’re not ready for this pressure. And not being prepared is very, very dangerous on a number of levels.”

An interview with Pastor Brunson:

Brunson said he believes God had a purpose for allowing him to be thrown into a Turkish prison so he could better prepare others for the upcoming trials and tribulations that they will endure.

“I think one of the purposes God had for me in my imprisonment was that I learned perseverance at a deeper level again and again and again, as I was repeatedly broken and finally he rebuilt me,” he said. “But one of the purposes he had for me was to learn this perseverance so that I could help to prepare others to persevere.”

The pastor said he believes persecution will come whether or not President Trump is successful in his election legal challenges.

“Whoever ends up prevailing in this election, I believe that persecution is still coming and it’s coming quickly and it’s coming soon,” he said. “So if President Trump prevails, it will delay persecution at a government level, but this will not keep us from the hostility that’s rising in our society toward followers of Jesus.”

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice