Appeals for prayer and aid circulated widely among Christians following the April murder of three Christians in Turkey. Now leaders of the country's evangelical community are denouncing one such appeal as dishonest.
Sent under the name of Naim Aksam and his ministry, Turkish Mission, a Bible bookstore in Adana, Turkey, this e-mail included graphic descriptions of the supposed torture and dismemberment of the Malatya martyrs' bodiesdescriptions discredited by widows' testimonies and autopsy reports. It also urged readers to send funds to the ministry's U.S. Post Office box to relocate the victims' families and other endangered believers.
Aksam has denied sending the appeal, claiming that someone accessed his ministry's e-mail account and distribution list without permission.
But the Alliance of Protestant Churches of Turkey (TEK) still believes that he sent it, and said that it was rife with "lies and fabrications." In a July 30 statement, the evangelical umbrella organization wrote, "We are shocked and appalled that such a tragic event has been turned into an act of self-promotion and money grabbing." The organization's executive board is urging believers to stop supporting Aksam's ministry, stating that past warnings about his fundraising methods have been ignored.
Kenneth Behr, president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, said appeals that use free e-mail services, lack Web sites, and list P.O. boxes for contributions ought to raise red flags for donors.
Still, said Todd Nettleton, director of media development for Voice of the Martyrs, "The worst-case scenario here is if people stop giving. For this bad apple to plant the seed of doubt in anybody's mind, that would be a tragedy."
Copyright © 2007 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
Our previous coverage of the murders in Malatya, Turkey includes:
Faith Perfected | Recent martyrdoms sadden us but cannot make us despair. A Christianity Today editorial (July 12, 2007)
Young Muslims in Turkey Murder Three Christians | Deaths mark first known martyrdom of Turkish converts since founding of republic. (April 20, 2007)
News Briefs | Malatya murders, Child Online Protection Act, and Remnant convictions. (May 14, 2007)
More commentary and links are in weblog.
Other Christianity Today articles on persecution and missions are available on our site.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more
More from this Issue
Read These Next
- TrendingJunia, the Female Apostle Imprisoned for the GospelWhat Scripture tells us about the story of this “outstanding” Jewish woman in chains.Português
- From the MagazineBhutanese Nepali Refugees Turn Their Trials into Zeal for EvangelismThousands found Jesus while displaced, which prepared them to plant churches and settle in a new land.
- RelatedHillsong Says It Is Moving ForwardNew revelations will require increased accountability, but pastor wants to look to the future.
- Editor's PickAfter Nashville, Moral Numbness Is Our EnemyShootings have become normal to the American public. But as Christians, we know better.