Christians need buildings in order to be trained and train others for ministry.

By March 6, 2006

Turkey (MNN) — Fury over the Mohammad cartoons hit with intensity in Turkey, the largest unreached nation in the world. Muslims make up 99.7% of the population of 70 million people.

Although the Turkish government is more secular and directed people not to react with violence, IN Network’s Behnan Konutgan says, “People are not secular, and people hate Christians, and because of that, the Christians are scared.”

The Christians are also scared because recently a Catholic priest was killed in cartoon-related violence. But even in the midst of the violence, Konutgan says the church is called to display Christ and love those who persecute them. “So the church should forgive these people, the church should be hope to those people, the church should love these people and pray.”

Although the Muslims in Turkey are more secular than most Arab Muslims, they are not open or receptive to Christianity. There is a huge rift between Muslims and Christians in Turkey, preceded by centuries of violence, enmity and antagonism. “Turks don’t like Christians,” says Konutgan, and he says that only God can heal that.

But the Body of Christ is growing in Turkey, and IN Network is providing support and training to the church in Turkey, to help believers reach out to their neighbors. “Our aim is really to be a channel to Muslims in Turkey to reach them through some methods, and through evangelizing and through training them,” says Konutgan.

A critical need for the Turkish church is buildings in order to help train and teach others.

There are only 3,000 Evangelical Christians in Turkey, but Konutgan says they’re central to spreading the Gospel as they develop relationships and live godly lives in a vastly majority Muslim country. “Relationship is keynote; it’s key, very important. When people know that you love them, you care for them, then they will understand you, then they will listen to you. If you don’t love them, if you don’t care, then they will not listen to you. So relationship is very important.”

Konutgan issues the Western church this challenge: “Lastly I would like to say that people who live in, let’s say the West or America, are privileged, they have a lot of things. So they should use this privilege not to be spoiled, but taken as a warning to cling to the Word of God more and more, and to love people and do be hope to the hopeless, and to be light to those who walk in darkness. This is a great, great responsibility for the church, and I ask God to bless all of you, Amen.”

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