GERMANY - Dramatic Rise in Baptism of Refugees

Arno Froese

Gottfried Martens, a pastor at the Protestant Trinity independent church in Berlin, has already baptized 1200 refugees. He started in 2008 with two refugees from Iran who sought out his congregation. They brought an acquaintance with them, who Pastor Martens baptized. Over the years, more and more refugees came with the desire to change their religion. Now Marten’s congregation is well known in Berlin, as hundreds attend sermons there that are given in both German and Persian.

“We had to move to another church because there is not enough space. The high point came when the Balkan route was closed,” he said. During the so-called refugee crisis at the beginning of 2016, there were around 250 participants at pre-baptism courses at the Trinity Church. Usually Pastor Martens only teaches around 30 people per course.

Most of the converted congregation members live in refugee accommodations. “They tell other people from their countries about the congregation and then new people come.” Martens is happy about this interest in the congregation and says the refugees are a blessing. “After everything they’ve been through, I am very thankful that they trust in God and join our congregation.”

The conversion itself, however, carries many risks. Converts to Christianity are exposed to hostility—in Iran and Afghanistan they face religious persecution. In some instances they could be dealt the death penalty. In the past years there have been more and more reports about converts being attacked in Germany. Pastor Martens says that the refugees who come to his congregation can no longer live in their shelters without being bothered by others.

Reports in the German media describe how missionaries have promoted conversion to the refugees for better chances at staying in Germany. Public broadcaster “Deutschlandfunk” reported of rapid conversions in private apartments by cult-like congregations and of missionaries proselytizing to the refugees. Missionaries targeted Afghan refugees who were threatened with deportation.

-www.dw.com/en, 9 May 2017

Arno's commentary

In His prophetic speech, the Lord Jesus made this statement: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14). Incidentally, this shows there are no “two gospels”; there is only one. It is this same “gospel of the kingdom” that Jesus admonished to be preached “into all the world,” according to Mark 16:15: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

During the last few decades, it has become increasingly difficult to go out into the world and preach the gospel, but that does not stop our Lord from fulfilling His promise: “I will build my church.” Thus, He sends refugees into the European world. Many hear, many believe, and many are being added to the Church. That is reason to rejoice.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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