Baptist Churches in Islamic Nations.

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Ben W, Aug 14, 2004.

  1. Ben W

    Ben W
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    Not to long ago I posted a poll on "Which direction should the church face." I posted a variety of answers and some question was raised over one answer which was "towards Mecca".

    The reason that I put that answer there was based on a real situation that Christians face in Islamic Countries. All worshippers at mosque face Mecca, often there temples are faced that way also. Yet what happens to those who convert from Islam to Christianity in oppressive situations like this. It is obviously all or nothing when a muslim is baptised into Christianity.

    So which way do churches face in Islamic Countries? There is much debate on that subject. Some want the church to face Mecca to help people in transition, others want the church to face Jerusalem in perception of Jesus returning there. Others say the church should just face a main road or similar. Yet it is important to understand that the way the church faces in these countries is an important cultural issue that we are not always aware of.

    So what does the church do?

    Interestingly what is working is an old style of seating used in the early days prior to the civil war in the U.S, many churches have the pews in a square or a circle, the church faces one another. Christ is in all of us, not in a place on earth. When we face one another we are facing Christ.

    I would like very much to see churches in the west reembrace that concept, I think it could very much add to the community aspect of church.
     
  2. HankD

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    Make the churches with four doors, one for each point of the compass.

    HankD
     
  3. Artimaeus

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    Why not just teach the truth? It doesn't matter which direction the church faces.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. DHK

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    Churches in Islamic countries face enough persecution that they don't give much thought to which way they face and it is a trivial matter. They meet in homes, fields, on the streets, wherever then can find a place for the most part. Most of them live in poverty. Some of them are able to put up a tent like structure each Sunday (or whatever day they are able to meet), and then take it down until the next time they meet. They have no time for trivial things. They are concentrated on preaching the Word of God to the people they have, facing the consequent persecution, and providing for their families. Buildings are luxuries that few know about.
    DHK
     
  5. mioque

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    "Buildings are luxuries that few know about."
    ''
    Those churchservices, by local churches I visited in Egypt were all in buildings.
     
  6. Ben W

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    Where did the recent bombings in Iraq occur, was it not to a number of Christian churches there?

    Indonesia the worlds most populas mulim country
    has Churches all over the place.

    What saddens me to some extent is the attitude from people in the Western Churches that the direction that the church faces is only a "trivial" matter. rolleyes:

    Go speak to a Missionary sometime and you will quite quickly see that it is a deep part of their culture, and if you refuse to deal with that, your church is garanteed to fail.

    If people go into a country and treat the peoples culture there with contempt, is it any wonder that Islam is the fastest growing religion in many countries?

    If a muslim has been taught that he must face Mecca during worship, and is then born again, he is still very much set in his patterns of worship, that is why many Christians do face mecca during worship, they dont know any other way. Resultingly the idea of having the people worship in a circle, deals with this issue in a positive manner that assists people to worship Jesus, not be stuck in an old pattern.
     
  7. DHK

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    What church buildings did you visit? Were they Catholic perhaps? Did you visit any Baptist churches that had buildings? If you found any they were the exception, not the rule.
    DHK
     
  8. DHK

    DHK
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    What the media shows as "Christian" is usually Catholic. You rarely find Baptist or evangelical churches with buildings. There are many cults and Charismatics that manage to have their own buildings. But those who preach the true gospel of Christ rarely own their own their own building.

    Show me in the Bible the importance of having a church building. It is not there. In fact Christians didn't have church buildings of their own until some 250 years after the age of the Apostles. It is not important. It is a trivial matter. The church is the people, not the building. A local church is a called out assembly of baptized believers. The very word church in the Bible means assembly. The word ekklesia ought to be translatied assembly. It has nothing to do with a building. The early Christians in Rome met in the catacombs--the burial places of the Romans.

    Would you reccommend that I talk to myself? [​IMG]
    The churches I have been involved with have not failed, in fact the opposite is true. I have first hand experience. How about you?

    If the culture is wrong, change it. If it is trivial, ignore it. If it would offend others (Christians) don't do it. You don't need to accomodate to the Muslim religion, the Muslim needs to learn about Christianity. In fact, as I have already mentioned this is a non-issue. No Christian, on converted Muslim even thinks about such an issue. It doesn't matter to the Christian. A Muslim that converts to Christianity forsakes his family, his belongings, his culture to some extent, embraces an entirely new life in Christ. His very life is in continual danger of being snuffed out. The triviality of what way the church faces is a ridiculous matter for him to think of in his new Christian walk with the Lord, and in the light of losing his very life under the threat of persecution.
    If a Muslim is born again, "old things are passed away, all things are become new." He is a new creature in Christ. These trivial things do not matter to him any longer. Prayer is no longer a ritual. He no longer has a religion to attend to; he has a relationship with a real and living Saviuor. The ritualism is gone. The relationship with Christ is what counts with him.

    I have talked with a man who has lost his leg (as a result of his family persecuting him)
    I have talked to a man who had his finger cut off. Again it was his family that did it.
    I talked to a young married woman, who had been tortured and raped by the Muslim priest (Mulvi).

    All of these, converted Muslims, attending churches--not buildings. A building is a trivial matter. Which way it faces is even more trivial. Living for Christ is what counts. What counts in your life?
    DHK
     
  9. mioque

    mioque
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    DHK
    "What church buildings did you visit?"
    ''
    I visited several Koptic churches. They don't count in your eyes?
     
  10. DHK

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    No, in my experience they are not the evangelical churches that undergo persecution in these countries. The coptic church thrives in Russia but Baptist churches work underground fearing for their lives. The same is true for many of their break away states like Uzbekistan which would be Muslim, but tolerate Coptic. The more evangelic churches, like Baptist, are not tolerated.
    DHK
     
  11. mioque

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    DHK
    "The coptic church thrives in Russia"
    ''
    :confused: The Koptic Church is the church of Egypt, it has no presence at all in Russia.

    You seem to be talking about the Russian-Orthodox Church and that is something completely different.

    "they are not the evangelical churches that undergo persecution in these countries."
    ''
    Thee Kopts have survived 13 centuries of systematic discrimination, with bouts of persecution by the Moslim rulers of Egypt.
     
  12. DHK

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    You are not getting my point. There are coptic churches all over the world, as there are Catholic Churches, just not as great in number.
    However let's take Egypt then, for example. Egypt is a Muslim nation with a good percentage of Coptic churches in their "Christian" minority. It is usually that part of the "Christian" minority that is not bothered by the Muslims because they are not evangelical, and threatened by the Muslims. Here is an article for you to consider:

    Egypt: Police Officer Murders Three Christians

    May 11, 2004
    By Michael Ireland
    Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

    Worthy News

    If the Coptic church or Catholic Church faces such persecution, what happens to the Baptists and evangelicals? I assure you it is far worse.
    DHK
     
  13. mioque

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    DHK
    "There are coptic churches all over the world, as there are Catholic Churches, just not as great in number."
    ''
    With a thriving presence in Russia according to you...
    Just admit it when you make a mistake.

    Than you claim. That the Koptic Church usually is:
    " that part of the "Christian" minority that is not bothered by the Muslims because they are not evangelical,"
    ''
    And to back it up you post a dreadfull piece of news about a case of brutal persecution inflicted on Koptic Christians. Evangelical pastors are after all not referred to as father.

    "If the Coptic church or Catholic Church faces such persecution, what happens to the Baptists and evangelicals?"
    ''
    Exactly the same.

    This whole, they aren't true Christians so it is inconceivable that they suffer as much persecution as the real ones is silly.
    In Communist Russia, the Russian-Orthodox Church was indeed treated better than the baptists, but that says little about the Islamic world.
    The most heavily persecuted church in the world in the last century, was the Arminian Church a denomination that differs greatly from baptist/evangelical Christianity.
     
  14. DHK

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    "Obstruction and the refusal to grant permits for church repairs is a recurring problem in Egypt."

    Look Moique, I may have made some mistakes about labelling churches. That really doesn't bother me. The point of this thread is churches in Islamic countries. The opening post was concerning which way they should face. I find that is one of the most trivial and ridiculous matters to be concerned about when Christians all over the world are dying for the faith. Converted Muslims are just trying to escape from their families and communities who will kill them if they catch them. Do you think they care what way a church faces?

    Most such Christians don't have a church to go to. In Russia Baptists work underground. They meet in homes. Only the Eastern Orthodox Church (if that is its proper name) is the offical registered church, that had the opportunity to actively participate in social life. The other churches, especially if evangelical, are persecuted to the extent that they own nothing. You need to talk to Baptist missionaries from those areas, or read Voice of the Martyrs.

    In China spies are sent out to persecute and jail evangelical Christians. Many are martyred for their faith.

    In Uzbekistan, apart from the existance from the "registered" Eastern Orthodox Church, others are persecuted, and put to death in this Muslim state.

    Evangelicals in Pakistan are persecuted on a regular basis, though the United Church of Pakistan (a liberal conglomerate of about five protestant denominational churches that preach a social gospel), and the Catholic Church, go relatively untouched. It is the evangelical churches that suffer the most. The Catholic Church gets in the act and persecutes the Baptists as well.

    Those that preach the gospel will suffer persecution. It is promised in the Bible. Thus the Catholics, the Coptics, the Orthodox, and many mainline denominational churches who stick to a social gospel or simply social works without any gospel can build their cathedrals and do their work without fear of persecution.

    Evangelicals like Baptists for the most part never see a church building. Their work is largely undergound: in homes, on the street, in a field, from place to place. The last thing they would ever give thought to is such a trivial thing as the direction a church should face.
    DHK
     
  15. mioque

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    DHK
    "I may have made some mistakes about labelling churches. That really doesn't bother me."
    ''
    It isn't a problem. However simply admitting to mistakes is good for the quality of the conversation, it helps to prevent needless sidetracking and helps to build some basic trust between the participants.

    "I find that is one of the most trivial and ridiculous matters to be concerned about when Christians all over the world are dying for the faith."
    ''
    A valid&important point of view.

    "Only the Eastern Orthodox Church (if that is its proper name)"
    "'
    Russian-Orthodox, Eastern-Orthodox is an umbrella covering a number of similar churches (including the Russian-Orthodox) that originated on the Eastern half of the great schism of 1054.
    The Russian-Orthodox Church actually dislikes the Roman Catholic Church more than it dislikes the Evangelicals.


    "Evangelicals in Pakistan are persecuted on a regular basis, though the United Church of Pakistan (a liberal conglomerate of about five protestant denominational churches that preach a social gospel), and the Catholic Church, go relatively untouched. It is the evangelical churches that suffer the most. The Catholic Church gets in the act and persecutes the Baptists as well."
    ''
    Can you provide a good link with more in depth information on this? I know little about Christianity in Pakistan.

    "Those that preach the gospel will suffer persecution. It is promised in the Bible. Thus the Catholics, the Coptics, the Orthodox, who stick to a social gospel or simply social works without any gospel can build their cathedrals and do their work without fear of persecution."
    ''
    Your "thus" betrays your private prejudice. The simple fact that you perceive their acts as fake Christianity does not mean that Moslims perceive those churches in the same light.
    In fact liturgical denominations are more visible than those denoms that do without the pomp and circumstance. Making them more likely targets.
    The Bible assures us that those preaching the Gospel will be persecuted, it does not tell us that if you are a heretic you will face no persecution.
     
  16. DHK

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    Uzbekistan is an Islamic break away from Russia. The major religion is Islam. The Eastern Orthodox is the only registered church which is allowed to be a registered church, and apparently does not suffer any persecution because of its long history in the area. BUT:

    Uzbekistan Persecution
    Pakistan Persecution

    I don't have internet documentation, but I have other sources where Baptist missionaries went from village to village in a Muslim nation preaching the gospel, and the Catholic priest would follow (a little later) and try to persuade or bribe the people with money, "not to join that mission" as he would put it. If they "would not join" he would give them money. That is the sort of thing Baptists would have to put up with.
    DHK
     
  17. Johnv

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    Churches should face, and be setup in, whichever way and manner that the local congregation is comfortable with. If they have a custom of houses of worship facing east, then great. If they have a custom of the pulpit in the center, great. If they have a custom of a church being built on its side, then by all means, let them build it on its side. None of it matters to the Lord.
     
  18. DHK

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    Psalms 121:1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

    Put it toward the roof! :rolleyes:
     
  19. mioque

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    DHK
    I'm aware of the situation in Uzbekistan. That incident was a tv news item in the Netherlands.
    Interesting contrast between your claim and the article by the way.
    Your claim is :"The Eastern Orthodox is the only registered church which is allowed to be a registered church, and apparently does not suffer any persecution because of its long history in the area."

    While the article states: "Currently, there is only one registered Christian community left in Khorezm region - the Korean Protestant church"

    The Pakistan article gives no clue that certain denominations are persecuted less.

    That last statement.
    "I have other sources where Baptist missionaries went from village to village in a Muslim nation preaching the gospel, and the Catholic priest would follow (a little later) and try to persuade or bribe the people with money, "not to join that mission" as he would put it."
    ''
    Sounds like fiction instead of news.
     
  20. DHK

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    Perhaps the article was concentrating on the plight of the Protestants in particular. Beforehand, I did a search on Uzbekistan. On many of the official sites of Uzbekistan, it lists the nation as an Islamic nation with two religions: Islam, and the Eastern Orthodox. That is what most of the websites that I looked at said.
    The news article that I quoted is a news item that comes from a Christian based news letter, much like Voice of the Martyrs, and reports persecution of Christians around the world (Catholic, protestant, and otherwise). Thus there probably was not a need for the article not to mention the Eastern Orthodox church.

    It is not fiction. I have talked to the missionary that works there personally.
    Many times an evangelical missionary, such as a Baptist, becomes a missionary both to the native people he is sent to, and to the liberal missionaries that are already there.
    DHK
     

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