Wednesday, August 12, 2015

How Do You Recognise A Christian?

Recently I heard about two Christians, one from Jordan and one from Iran. Both had to flee their countries, because they had converted from Islam, and had asked for asylum in Germany. Even though our asylum laws include people like them and even though Christians in Germany spoke in their favour, they had trouble being granted asylum – simply because the people involved in the decisions didn’t know whether to believe they had really become Christians or not. They had conversations with them on how they converted, their beliefs etc., but couldn’t really tell if they were telling the truth or just faking to reach their aim of a life in Germany. About the man from Jordan the authorities said he wasn’t telling his story credible enough.

These two cases – two of many, I suppose – gave me much food for thought. First I wondered what I would do if I had to decide on their asylum applications. Would I, being a Christian myself, be able to distinguish real from fake Christians? I’m not sure, but then I could always pray about it and trust that God would show me what to do. However, how is it possible for non-Christians or nominal Christians to distinguish? They are almost unable to decide properly, I guess. After all, it is possible to fake faith – at least for a while. Many oppressive governments send their spies into “illegal” churches in their countries and these spies are obviously able to disguise as Christians, deceiving even genuine believers. So how is it possible to distinguish the true from the false ones?

The other question I asked myself was – if I was in the situation of these asylum seekers, meaning if I had to ask for asylum in a foreign country because of my faith – would I be “credible” enough for the authorities? How could I prove to them that I was a genuine Christian and not someone who just had practised the right words and behaviour? I thought a lot about that, but haven’t found an answer yet.

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