Why the quote and why the award? As the Canadian Lutheran tells us, it is because of his work with Iranian converts to Christianity over the past five years.
More from the Canadian Lutheran:
The growing number of Iranian converts to Christianity in Germany was highlighted in a 2012 article for Christianity Today entitled “The other Iranian Revolution.” That article, which featured Dr. Martens and his work, noted that Germany is now home to the largest Iranian community in Western Europe with approximately 150,000 Iranian immigrants. The January 2013 issue of SELKinfo further notes that dozens of Iranian Muslims in Germany are estimated to be converting to Christianity every month.
“These refugees are taking unimaginable risks to live their Christian faith,” says Dr. Martens in the article for Christianity Today. “Imagine! Of all places, God chooses eastern Germany, one of the world’s most godless regions, as the stage for a spiritual awakening among Persians.”
The article goes on to explain how numerous Iranian Muslims are reportedly receiving visions of Christ as a precursor to their conversions. “He always makes it clear that he is Jesus of the Bible, not Isa of the Qu’ran,” the authors write, “and He directs them to specific pastors, priests, congregations, or house churches, where they later hear the gospel.”
And now the latest news, reported last week by the International Lutheran Council:
The Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELK) continues to see remarkable numbers of Iranian Muslims converting to Christianity. According to a recent SELKinfo story, Rev. Dr. Gottfried Martens of St. Mary’s Lutheran Church (Steglitz, Berlin) reports that the number of congregational members and applicants for baptism of Persian background at his church has recently grown by 75%. The same report notes three groups of Iranians were preparing for baptism at the time, with the first group scheduled to have been baptized December 15, 2013.
“It is a kind of miracle which we experience in Berlin right now,” explained Rev. Dr. Jobst H.M. Schöne (Bishop Emeritus of SELK) during a 2013 visit to Canada. It all began when a few Iranians showed up for service at the church one Sunday, he said. As time went on, they expressed an interest in being baptized. “We thought at the beginning,” Dr. Schöne reflects, “that’s it: two people, maybe three people, maybe four people. I tell you, it’s now more than 300.”
Great stuff. Check out the whole article.