A real story of persecution, incarceration, and perseverance by Andrew Brunson

A real story of persecution, incarceration, and perseverance by Andrew Brunson

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In the summer of 2018, the United States sanctioned its NATO ally Turkey for the continued imprisonment of Andrew Brunson, a North Carolina Evangelical Presbyterian pastor. Brunson, who had lived in Izmir for decades, was then detained for nearly two years, and President Donald Trump's support for him, especially when speaking to Christian listeners, resulted in sanctions that had a significant impact on Turkey. Brunson was sentenced and released the following October.

Brunson's account is mainly about his emotional and spiritual struggle during these years of imprisonment, a detention that is often in poor conditions and sometimes collaborates with enemy inmates, usually other victims of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's neurotic suppression of real or imaginary groups . It is clear that none of the (often changed) allegations made by various state actors were true and no serious evidence was ever presented. So in Brunson we have a passionate, politically naive evangelist who falls victim to a paranoid populist state.

Brunson's naive southern evangelical religiosity sees God as fully interventionist in everything that happens to him. His theology is a source of deep agony. He speaks of God making him tougher, and his and his friends' prayers are expected to work like magic, but in the end it is not the Bible or his prayer that helps, the psychiatrist's recipe . His belief and mind depend on secular medicine. Also significant to his ultimate freedom is the closeness of his denomination to major political actors, particularly Mike Pence and President Trump, who is one of the book's heroes.PAAndrew Brunson prays with President Trump in the Oval Office, October 2018

For many years, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom has reported, among other things, on the oppression of Christians in Turkey. Brunson was completely unaware of this. His own very narrow world is reflected in his story. A simple man finds himself a tool of President Erdoğan's bullying populism and is saved by the very similar President Trump.

This book is worth reading. It would be an excellent discussion to ask questions about God's intervention in daily life, but also the attribution of wrong actions by the mighty to God; because, despite the title of the book, Brunson was President Erdoğan's prisoner, not God's. He has a theology deep in the Old Testament world. It is also powerful from a human rights point of view as it reveals the cruelty of the Turkish government.

The Reverend Stephen Griffith is a retired Anglican priest. He specializes in Syria and the Syrian community in Turabdin.

God's Hostage: A True Story of Persecution, Imprisonment, and Perseverance
Andrew Brunson with Craig Borlase
Authentic media € 9.99
(978-1-78893-127-4)
Church Times Bookstore £ 9

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