The American pastor whose two-year imprisonment plunged Turkey into a diplomatic feud with the United States urged young Christians in his home country to prepare for the persecution he sees gathering for them on the horizon.
Pastor Andrew Brunson, 51, told the Washington Examiner how troubled he has been by the ominous trends he has observed in American culture during the year since his dramatic, high-stakes release from a Turkish prison. Drawing on the ordeal he recounts in God’s Hostage, his new memoir published Oct. 15, Brunson also offered insight into what he gained from his suffering and how he learned to be faithful to God even when he is silent.
“It’s actually very normal throughout history,” Brunson said, reflecting on religious persecution. “The abnormality is to not have persecution, but we haven’t had that much in the West. And so people don’t expect it, and when you don’t expect it, then you are not prepared for it.”
Brunson and his wife Norine had expected persecution of some kind during their 23-year ministry in Turkey, but it fell upon them suddenly in 2016. They were among the tens of thousands detained in the wake of an alleged coup attempt against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Rights crumbled for everyday Turks as political turmoil roiled the NATO country, and many were imprisoned without a trial.
Thinking they had been summoned by local authorities to renew their residence permits, the Brunsons were instead arrested and told they would be deported. Norine was released after two weeks, but Brunson’s imprisonment would drag out for two years while Erdoğan used him as a political pawn. (Read more from “Freed Pastor Warns Christians to Prepare for Persecution” HERE)