January 3: Rev. Andrew Brunson

A Living Martyr
by Rev. David Myers

Upon first glance, the title of our post seems to be a contradiction. When we think of martyrdom, it speaks of death. But it was possible for our person in today’s post to be exactly what our title speaks of, namely, a “living martyr.” And so was Rev. Andrew Brunson, recently of Turkey and now a free man in our blessed land.

This author had followed his trials and imprisonment in Turkey, prayed for him and that of his wife, asking God to deliver him from that jail and false sentence. It wasn’t until he was released that the full story came out to me, namely, that he was a Christian Presbyterian.

Reared in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARP) from his parents, missionaries themselves in Mexico under that church’s Mission Board, Andrew, who was born on January 3, 1965, went to Wheaton College in Illinois. He aced, we would say today, his studies and graduated in three years instead of the normal four years. He had enough time however to marry another Wheaton student, Norine, who had a similar background to him in being a missionary “kid.” The new married couple went to Erskine Seminary, the flagship seminary of the ARP. They originally set off for Turkey under this Reformed church, but transferred to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church mission board, World Outreach, in 2010. Their place of ministry was Biblical Smyrna, or Izmir in modern times, where Pastor Brunson ministered as a pastor/evangelist.

The Biblical description of the town in Revelation 2:10 is plain from the Word of God. It reads, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested.” And Andrew Brunson was arrested on trumped up charges by the government on December 9th, 2016. Thrown into an over-crowded cell with all Muslims for fellow inmates, the first year was an emotional hardship for him. But the second year was a spiritual growth year for him. Eventually, he was set free by the providential grace of God.

The entire story, too long to treat here, is recorded in the Christian magazine, WORLD, November 24, 2018 issue, written by Mindy Belz, Senior Editor.

Words to Live By:
Tell me, dear reader, if you were imprisoned for the cause of Jesus, and His saving grace, would you be able to stand strong for the Lord, as Andrew Brunson did? Your answer would surely be “by the grace of God, we would.” What about beginning memorizing key Bible texts and passages today, which would keep you in good stead for such a time as this?

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