From Jerusalem to Ephesus and its surrondings

ICEJ Worldwide

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25 Apr 2016
From Jerusalem to Ephesus and its surrondings

Earlier this year, I had a unique opportunity to represent ICEJ and minister at a conference for pastors in Turkey, the multifaceted country with rich Christian history. Only a few kilometers away from the biblical town of Ephesus, dozens of pastors gathered to attend the event; together with ICEJ partners in Turkey, we shared the message of God’s love for Jerusalem.

The ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus, one of seven churches mentioned in the Book of Revelation, are a great reminder of its significance in the history of Christianity, as well as unfortunately the sad spiritual condition of the surrounding areas. Modern Turkey, where all seven biblical churches were located, has a very small Christian community today and life can be challenging for the local followers of Jesus. Many of the 200 registered churches in Turkey, which average between 30 and 150 members, still teach replacement theology and anti-Semitism is not uncommon, even among Christians.

At the Conference for Pastors, I had the privilege to introduce the ICEJ ministry to the attendees and play some music from Israel, including worship songs. For an hour and a half, the participants’ attention was turned towards Jerusalem! For some of them it surely was a challenging time, but most of them welcomed the message of the ICEJ with tears and joy.

The "Israel question" about the nation and role of the Jewish People in God’s plan was always a topic of secret discussion for the Turkish churches. Christians in Turkey are hesitant to openly discuss the Hebraic roots of Christianity, for fear of being accused of Zionism, which is a crime in Turkey.

Today, around 20 thousand Jews live in Turkey, mostly in the city of Istanbul. In the midst of great instability in the region, anti-Semitism is increasing, and Turkey also faces the dangerous spread of Islam and the Islamic State. The current and potential new ICEJ representatives in the cities of Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara and Alanya are in great need of our prayers. As in the days of the first disciples of Jesus, the ICEJ is reaching this incredible nation with the message of hope and reconciliation. 

 

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