Thanks to Nina Shea, we now have word that Pastor Yousef did not waiver in his faith. He stood firm and once again refused to deny Christ. From the court proceeding:
The Washington Post’s blog Religion Right Now posted a piece by Jordan Sekulow that included the following excerpt from court proceedings this week: “When asked to ‘repent’ by the judges, Youcef stated, ‘Repent means to return. What should I return to? To the blasphemy that I had before my faith in Christ?’ The judges replied , ‘To the religion of your ancestors, Islam.’ To which he replied, ‘I cannot.’”
We should continue to pray, as his fate will be determined soon.
ORIGINAL POST BELOW:
As this news article from Baptist Press details, Islam in Iran is once again displaying its blood-thirsty side. Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, a house church leader for 400 Christians in Iran, is subject to the death penalty because he will not renounce his faith in Jesus Christ. Earlier this year, Nadarkhani’s execution was delayed so that he might be given the opportunity to recant. According to the law, Nadarkhani must refuse 4 times before being put to death. He has already refused 3 times. Today could mark the end of his life if he refuses for a 4th time to deny Christ.
The blood-thirsty nature of Islamic clerics in Iran is particularly on display in this case, given the fact that Nadarkhani was never a practicing Muslim. The fact that he is descended from Muslims is enough to warrant a charge of apostasy culminating in death. The article
points out that he remains guilty of apostasy because he has Muslim relatives. Even more, there is no law in Iran specifically calling for the death penalty for those who leave Islam. Thus, even though Nadarkhani never left Islam, and even though there is no law against leaving Islam in Iran, this pastor may well be put to death for leaving Islam.
In short, Pastor Nadarkhani may be put to death for his faith in Jesus Christ. If so, his death will be a great injustice. Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time (or the last) that the body of Christ were treated unfairly and killed untimely. May the Lord strengthen this brother with grace and peace and faith–and reward him with the crown of life if she should die. To be absent in the body is to be present with the Lord. It may well be the will of our God for him to be delivered as Peter and Paul and others often were. We should (as they did in Acts 12) pray to that end.