• Christianity

    Interview with the Widow of a Turkish Martyr

    Last month, I posted a week-long series on the three men who were martyred for Christ in Turkey. Recently, Father Jonathan Morris interviewed Shemza Aydin, widow of martyr Necati Aydin. Morris met with the widow in her home in Turkey and was able to speak with her and her children. You can read the interview here, or you can watch video excerpts from the interview here. Please pray for this dear family. And be encouraged that God is sustaining this widow and her children with His amazing grace. I think you can see that this is so in the following exchange, especially the very last sentence from Shemza:

  • Christianity,  Culture

    The Darkness of Porn and the Hope of the Gospel

    TIME magazine has published one of the saddest, most horrifying cover stories I have ever read. It is not horrifying like the carnage of war. It’s horrifying like the carnage of a culture that is committing slow-motion suicide. The essay documents a civilization-wide calamity on a scale that we have not seen before. The title of the article is “Porn and the Threat to Virility” by Belinda Luscombe. I am not linking to the article here simply because the cover art for the magazine and at least one of the images within the article are too explicit to share. Indeed, the article is itself fairly explicit and definitely NSFW. Having…

  • Christianity

    Martin Luther, Mitt Romney, and the “Wise Turk”

    Martin Luther is eminently quotable. He had a way with words and could wield them with force and power. I was very disappointed, therefore, to learn a couple of years ago that my favorite Luther quote didn’t actually derive from Luther. Ever since then, I have been skeptical about Luther quotes. Whenever I hear one, I verify it. I bring this up because all the talk about Mitt Romney’s Mormonism in the news is bound to summon forth another famous line that has been falsely attributed to Luther. Here’s the quote:

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    Why Remember the Martyrs?

    In an attempt to raise awareness about the Turkish martyrs, I sent their story to a religion writer at the Dallas Morning News. He posted links to reports about them on the Dallas Morning News religion blog: “The killing of Christians in Turkey.” Unfortunately, one of the other religion writers at the Dallas Morning News got rankled by my concern for the martyrs. His frustration with me is posted here: “With all due respect to Professor Burk.” This reporter’s main problem with my efforts is that he thinks I am paying too little attention to all the suffering in the world. The murder of three Christians is not such a…

  • Christianity

    In the Presence of Martyrs: A Reflection from Turkey

    Dr. Mark Wilson of the Seven Churches Network attended the funeral of recently martyred Necati Aydin. He offers these reflections on the service. (HT: Ben Witherington) ______________________________ In the Presence of Martyrs: A Reflection from Turkey Recently Dindy [Mark’s wife] and I attended a funeral here in Izmir. I have attended many funerals, but this was my first in Turkey. And it was also the first time I attended the funeral of a martyr. I have been teaching and writing about martyrs and martyrdom for many years. We live in biblical Smyrna noted as the place where Polycarp was martyred in the second century. But such martyrdoms are personally and…

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    Men of Whom the World Was Not Worthy (Part 2)

    The three martyrs were buried in Turkey: Tilman Geske (46), Ugur Yuksel (32), and Necati Aydin (36). Necati (right) was the one reading the Bible when their martyrdom began. Reports say that he was stabbed multiple times during his three hour torture before his throat was finally cut. Necati was married and a father of two preschool aged children. The letter from the Protestant Church in Turkey offers this description of Necati’s funeral:

  • Christianity

    Voice of the Martyrs Revises Letter

    I noticed last night a change on the Voice of the Martyrs website. The “graphic description” of the martyrdom of the three Turkish Christians had been removed from the “Letter to the Global Church from the Protestant Church of Smyrna.” From the beginning I was wondering how much of the story contained in this letter could be substantiated. That is why I contacted a religion reporter from The Dallas Morning News yesterday to see if the details could be confirmed. He wrote me back saying that he would look into the story. I had already sought to find independent confirmation of the details of the “graphic description.” Several news outlets…

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    Men of Whom the World Was Not Worthy

    Ugur Yuksel Tilman Geske with his wife and three children Necati Aydin Two weeks ago, I saw a little story in the Associated Press about some Christians who were murdered in Turkey. The story was relatively non-descript. It briefly noted that three Christians had their throats cut by some Islamic radicals. The rest of the piece talked about how religious persecution might hurt Turkey’s bid to join the European Union. Little did I know then the horror and the glory of what really happened. On Wednesday April 18 many people in America were still focused on the aftermath of the massacre at Virginia Tech and had already moved on to…