A country in transition, Christians have more freedoms

By December 23, 2005

Turkey (MNN) — Turkey’s desire to enter the European Union is allowing Christians a bit more freedom. IN Network’s Rody Rodeheaver calls Turkey a country in transition. This may be exactly what IN Network needs to allow for more church planting and evangelism in the country.

Rodeheaver says both are needed desperately. “It’s a country that has 72 million people. Of that 72 million there’s approximately somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 evangelical Christians.”

According to reports, support for Turkey joining the EU is just over 31-percent. Rodeheaver says this is actually good for Christians. “Because of their interest in being a part of the EU, it’s opening up to religious diversity. They are really lessening on human rights issues, because they’re under the microscope of the European Union. So, this has helped the church.”

That doesn’t mean there aren’t threats to their efforts. Rodeheaver says, “The dangers in Turkey, at this point, are more from the hard line fundamentalists who many of them are in opposition to their government’s desire to be more of a secular western nation. And so, there is internal conflict there about ‘Are we really Muslims or are we Turks?'”

According to Rodeheaver this is a good time for Christians in Turkey. “It gives an opportunity for Christians to take a stand, to be begin to put into place ministry projects and to work with people in a way that I believe will give a new birth to the land of Turkey.”

IN Network hopes to have 10,000 believers and churches in 50 provinces by 2010.

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