Strengthening the Identity of Converts from Islam in the Face of Verbal Assaults: A Study with the Background of Turkish Society

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Abstract

The study focusses on converts from Islam to the Christian faith in Turkey. Converts are confronted with special challenges. Based on Islamic theology and Turkish nationalism most Turks cannot think of positive reasons to choose Christianity. So verbal assaults with social consequences like ostracism, prejudice, suspicion, and very low esteem are very common. The First Letter of Peter provides advice for strengthening new Christians by defining their identity as chosen und loved people of God.

Personal caring for converts from Islam is crucial to provide a new “home” in assuring them of their new identity. They have to learn to evaluate accusations honestly, and from a faith-based position, and to integrate their new faith with their old environment. In the context of modern Turkey a fresh look at history can be meaningful: There were Turkish Christians before Islam, and there are still Christian Turkish people today. More important however is a genuine spiritual approach that understands verbal assaults within the framework of God’s history with his people. Converts should find their identity “in Christ”. At the same time, being in Christ must become practical in finding a new family in the local church and seeing themselves as part of the worldwide multinational body of Christ.

Mission Studies

Journal of the International Association for Mission Studies

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