This article was originally published on September 20, 2018, and in the October issue of Christianity Today.
This article expands my previous coverage of Andrew Brunson and the US-Turkish crisis to include also issues related to advocacy for Christians in Iran.
Why did advocacy succeed for the drug dealers but not the pastor? And what should be made of Youcef Nadarkhani, the Iranian house church leader released in 2013 after much international advocacy—only to be arrested and beaten this past July?
“Christians engaged in this part of the world always walk a knife edge regarding how to respond to unjust imprisonment,” said Mark Bradley, an author of three books on Iran and Christianity.
“Some prefer to remain under the radar. Others prefer to get as much support from politicians and journalists as possible. It is impossible to know which is more effective.”
Todd Nettleton, chief of media relations for Voice of the Martyrs, said some persecuted Christians hope for sanctions that will either push politicians to reform or the people to revolt.
But with the experience of working in 68 countries, he described others who believe a society unfettered by sanctions leads to openness to the gospel and a demand for rights and freedoms.
“In our work, we encounter Christians living in hostile and restricted nations who fall on both sides of this debate,” he said. “We stand with them regardless of the action or inaction of earthly governments.”
Please click here to read the full article at Christianity Today.