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Taal Tonmezon wrote:

Hi, guys —

I'm an 18-year-old student who lives in Turkey with my parents. I have been searching Christianity for over one year now.

I don't believe in Islam anymore. I want to be a Christian. I shared my feelings with my some of my girlfriends. They are relatively open and trouble free; it's OK for them but there is a problem for me.

My whole family are really, really strict Muslims and if my family noticed my Christian interest, they would fire me. My life would be in danger and I wouldn't be able to survive in this situation.

I want to ask you a question.

  • If I become a Christian, and I don't want them to know it, for example; I go to the church every Sunday secretly, can I keep my faith secretly (just like Joseph of Arimathea or earlier Japanese cyrpto Christians)?

I just want to hide my faith from my family, not from everyone.

  • Is this a sin?

If someone noticed my Christian interest, and asked me:

Are you a Christian?

  • Can I refuse or deny it?

I know it's a big sin.

Taal

  { If I become a Christian, can I keep my faith secretly from my really strict Muslim family members? }

Bob replied:

Taal,

You are a brave young woman, and it's wonderful that you have chosen to pursue Christianity. I know that in the world of Islam this can be a dangerous decision. Here in the USA we have more freedoms than Turkey, and certainly a much greater cultural connection to Christianity. I will pray for you and your discernment.

At this stage there is no sin in concealing it from your parents. Eventually, when you are an adult (no longer dependent on anyone), they will not be able to dictate what you can and can't do; while you are dependent on them, however, you must pay them respect and try to honor their house rules. However, they cannot tell you what to hold in your heart. I would seek guidance in prayer on how to proceed, and try to find someone who is Christian that you can confide in, share your story and seek counsel and support. There are certainly others among your community that have already traveled this road. You need to find them. Maybe there is a church with a good priest to talk to. Pray that the Spirit will lead to the right persons.

So, you can go to church and do all these things, but the likelihood is that your parents would eventually find out. If you live in your own apartment or with other believers you may be better off. So, use discretion until you have your independence.

Lastly, for respect and love of your parents you will have to tell them, if they haven't already discovered by that time. When you do, you must preface the conversation with how much you love and respect them, and the gifts they have imparted to you, which have always helped you to seek the truth. They may not accept it, but you will do well to show as much kindness and respect in breaking the news. There is no hurry to do that now, but when the time comes, pray that the Spirit gives you the words.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

John replied:

Taal,

I'd just like to add to Bob's comments.

Once you are an adult, it would indeed be best to disclose your faith to your parents . . . if it's safe to do so.

The situation in Turkey is that the Government is becoming more and more Islamic. It is also part our Christian witness to share our faith and attest to it. However, we must use caution. There is a difference between not telling them and denying it if asked.

Once we are adults we should do our absolute best to never deny our faith when asked but it doesn't mean we have advertise it. Yes, we are called to share it but we do so with discretion, wisdom, respect, and love.

Finally, welcome to the family!

John

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