The Synod of the Diocese of Sydney has unanimously passed a motion supporting a protestant pastor, sentenced to death in Iran.

Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani has been in prison since 2009, accused of apostasy, a charge levelled at Muslims who change religion.

Nadarkhani, who became a Christian as a teenager, is also accused of evangelising and baptising converts from Islam.

Under sharia law, court authorities in Rasht, north of Tehran, have imposed a death penalty even though the verdict seems to conflict with the religious freedom provisions of Iran’s constitutional law.

In order for his life to be spared, Pastor Nadarkhani was given three chances to renounce Christianity but refused to abandon his faith. He is married with two young children.

The British government, through Foreign Secretary, William Hague and the White House, have issued statements condemning Iran’s continued imprisonment of the pastor.

A White house spokesman said "Pastor Nadarkhani has done nothing more than maintain his devout faith, which is a universal right for all people.  That the Iranian authorities would try to force him to renounce that faith violates the religious values they claim to defend, crosses all bounds of decency, and breaches Iran’s own international obligations.

In a motion moved by the Dean of Sydney, Phillip Jensen, the Synod
i requests that the Diocesan Secretary asks the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs to express publicly and privately to the Iranian Government, our nation’s opposition to the imprisonment and threatened execution of the evangelical pastor: Yousef Nadarkhani;
ii asks that clergy make this a matter of public prayer, especially praying for pastor Nadarkhani, his wife Fatemah, their sons Daniel and Joel, and their church as well as praying for all Christians in Iran and
iii calls upon the representatives of the media to bring the plight of this man who refuses to recant his conversion to Christ to the attention of our nation.
Synod voted overwhelmingly in favour of the resolution, as one of its first decisions of the current session, which began on Monday.

The motion was rushed through because of concern for the welfare of Pastor Nadarkhani and a fear that Iran might quickly carry out the sentence.


Photos: Present Truth Ministries

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