By Hunter Hines
Christian Action League
December 16, 2020
North Carolinian and Buncombe County resident, Andrew Brunson, the Presbyterian missionary to Turkey who was wrongly imprisoned for his faith two years ago, said he expects hostility to Christians in America to grow. Brunson said that after more than 25 years of ministry overseas, he was deeply concerned about his own country for the first time in his life.
In 2018, Brunson was serving a small Christian church in Turkey, when he was arrested and erroneously associated with a group that Turkish authorities said was responsible for a coup attempt against President Tayyip Erdogan. Brunson denied all the charges against him, arguing at trial that he had never done anything against Turkey. He said that he loved Turkey and had been praying for the country for more than two decades. He said that he wanted the whole truth to come out.
The U.S. Department of State said there was “no credible evidence” to justly convict Brunson of any crime. The United States Commission on International Freedom “strongly” condemned the charges. North Carolina, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis made several visits to Turkey and worked diligently to get Brunson out of prison. President Donald J. Trump successfully negotiated and secured Brunson’s release and had him transported back to the United States.
During Brunson’s time in prison, the Christian Action League spearheaded a resolution by the North Carolina House and a Senatorial Statement by the North Carolina Senate, calling on the Turkish government to free him.
Upon his return stateside, Brunson went to the White House, and in a profoundly moving moment, kneeled next to President Trump, put his hand on his shoulder, and earnestly prayed for his leadership.
Brunson made his remarks during a virtual event called “Global Prayer for U.S. Election Integrity.” It featured other speakers such as Jim Garlow, Eric Metaxas, and Michelle Bachman, to name a few. Brunson explained to the online event’s audience that his concerns were not precipitated simply by the urgency of election fraud, but had been growing within him for the last two years.
“The pressures we are seeing now in our country are going to increase. And one of these pressures is hostility toward people who embrace Jesus Christ and his teaching, who are not ashamed to stand for him,” said Brunson. “My concern is that we are not ready for this pressure, and not being prepared is very, very dangerous on a number of levels.”
Brunson said that one of the purposes he believes God had for him in his persecution and imprisonment experience was to learn perseverance on a deep level. “Again and again and again,” Brunson said that he was broken, and finally God rebuilt him. God’s plan was to teach him perseverance so he could show others the same for the coming persecution in the U.S.
Brunson added that American Christians are unaccustomed to oppression or maltreatment because of their faith. They have been spared major bouts because the generations of Americans before them honored God and made it possible for them to live free from it.
It’s not as though our country had no national sins in its past, Brunson added, but many of the leaders of that time revered and respected God. Today this is not the case, with leadership in open defiance to him, he said.
“Whoever ends up prevailing in this election, I believe that persecution is still coming, and it’s coming quickly, and it’s coming soon. So if President Trump prevails, it will delay persecution at a government level, but this will not keep us from the hostility that’s rising in our society toward followers of Jesus,” counseled Brunson. “And I want to mention here that Jesus was the most loving, kind person in history, and yet he was called evil. And people are not just going to disagree with us; they will say that we are evil, and they will justify everything they do to us because they will paint us as evil people. What is heavy on my heart is that we need to prepare ourselves – to prepare our own hearts.”
Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said Brunson’s words were timely, especially with a Biden-Harris administration ahead, as well as the prospect of two Senate seats being lost to Republicans in the run-off election in Georgia.
“I admit that what Brunson is saying is frightening. But all the signs are pointing in this direction. I respectfully submit that so many of our brethren are unaware of the dangers apparently ahead. This is America, but there is a growing hatred of conservative Christians. And make no mistake about it, mainline denominational groups who are compromised doctrinally, those who have embraced socialism, and lead by the likes of William Barber and Raphael Warnock, hate us too. But there is no Christian more radiant than a persecuted Christian, that is if we faithfully persevere,” said Creech. “It appears that very soon we may be seeing who really is on the Lord’s side.”
Creech concluded, “If you are unwilling to stand up for Christ now when the going gets hot, what makes you think you’ll stand up when it gets much, much hotter? We should be certain our hearts are right with God through Christ and ask God daily to give us strength never to deny him in any situation, now or later.”