STOCKHOLM – Mention the words “immigration” or “asylum” and the average American’s thoughts turn to our southern border. The issues are so controversial in the U.S. that we tend to think that we are the only country in the world restricting immigration and that the refugees at our border are the only ones finding borders closed.
America is not the only country dealing with immigration issues. The entire European Union declared itself in an immigration crisis in 2014. While America is trying to handle asylum-seekers from Central and South America, the EU is being flooded with refugees fleeing conflict and persecution in the Middle East and Africa.
The mass exodus of refugees seeking asylum has strained the resources of many European countries where the refugees are seeking a safe haven. Political scientist, Julia Wessel suggested that instead of referring to “the refugee crisis” perhaps we should call it “the crisis of the refugee.”
Missions Box News has learned that refugees from Afghanistan who profess to be Christians are experiencing the crisis of the refugee first hand in an unexpected place – Sweden. Hundreds are being refused asylum and are being deported back to Afghanistan where they are certain to face threats of persecution and death.
This is where the situation in Sweden becomes problematic. These refugees are being returned to Afghanistan, not because they claim to be Christians, but because they cannot prove that they are.
About 30 or 40 years ago, a popular question asked from pulpits was,
“If you were taken to court because you are a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”
Afghans claiming to be Christians are being taken to Swedish immigration courts where they are examined by the judges. Hundreds fail to pass the test.
The problem is perplexing.
The courts are doing their best to ensure the safety of Swedish citizens by sifting out people from MENA countries who may be terrorists using Christianity as their cover for legal entry. We understand the country’s legitimate concern. The so-called “war on terror” has nations fighting an unidentifiable enemy.
The judges are literally trying to separate the wheat from the tares. Jesus said that it is impossible to dispose of the tares without inadvertently causing harm to some of the wheat.
Swedish authorities have devised exams to help them determine who the real Christians are. The heart of this news is that a distinctly secular nation has created a test to determine whether a person is a Christian.
One Swedish evangelical pastor called the procedure “a full-blown catastrophe.”
The tests include questions like:
- How many parts does the New Testament have?
- What are your thoughts on the New Testament being anti-women?
- What does Matthew 10:34 say?
Odds are that most readers will have to look up the answer to the last question at the very least. The reality for Afghan asylum applicants is that 68% are denied asylum on the grounds that “their faith is not judged to be genuine.” In some courts, the rejection rate is 93%.
Many among the rejected have come to faith in Christ after arriving in Sweden. They are babes in Christ, not theologians. The secular judges are also not theologians. Even if they were, our eternal destiny is not determined by theologians.
What are we to do?
Pray. Swedish churches have begun submitting inquiries into the validity of the process. We need to pray for their successful intervention.
Scripture teaches us that our security is based solely on the forgiveness found in Jesus Christ and in Him being our only judge. He judgments are righteous and true.
Realize that no one can expel us from the refuge of everlasting life awaiting us. Our entrance into heaven has been assured.
Understand that governments must act to protect their countries as best they can.
Accept that the number of places that are friendly to followers of Christ are becoming fewer and fewer. Expect that it to be a trend that will continue.
Rejoice in the security of our salvation in Christ and count these momentary afflictions when compared to the joys that await us.
To read more news on the refugee crisis on Missions Box, go here.
- The Christian Post, ‘It’s a complete lottery’: How Sweden condemns Christians to their death
- Report by Maria Gustin Bergström, Ulrik Josefsson, Maria Lindqvist, Ruth Nordström, Rebecca Ahlstrand, and Jakob Svensson, Inquiry into the Asylum Processes of Religious Converts in Sweden
- Pingst, The converts investigation
- Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe, Report Calls Swedish Asylum Process for Converts a “Complete Lottery”
- The World and Everything In It, A test of faith in Sweden
- Wikipedia, Refugee crisis in Europe from 2015
- The Christian Post, These are the questions Sweden asks asylum seekers to see if they’re ‘real’ Christians