Sudanese woman condemned to death probably not a Christian at all

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MichaelNZ

Puritan Board Freshman
Apologetica Christiana - Christian Apologetics: Sudanese "Christian" woman sentenced to death probably not a Christian at all

Mariam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, the woman described as a "Christian" in the news media, is probably not a Christian at all. Despite the false teaching of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo church, which Mariam's mother belonged to, it turns out that Mariam is actually a Romanist. While researching the above blog article I came across an article (linked to in the blog post) stating that Mariam entered the Romish "church" not long before marrying her husband (who is presumably a Papist as well).

Please pray for their conversion to Christianity as well as their being able to leave Sudan.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
She is a Christian in the sense that she is within the bounds of the Visible Church, although she may be - as far as can be known by men - unregenerate.
 
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One Little Nail

Puritan Board Sophomore
To say that Romanism is within the bounds of the visible church is to be charitable to a fault! thy charity knows no bounds.
 

yeutter

Puritan Board Senior
Roman Catholicism apostate, not a cult

To say that Romanism is within the bounds of the visible church is to be charitable to a fault! thy charity knows no bounds.
The Roman Catholic Church is an apostate church. Having said that; let me also observe that many Presbyterian/Reformed Churches recognize the validity of Roman Catholic Baptisms.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Graduate
I am bothered by what I perceive to be a willingness to disregard the plight of an otherwise innocent woman based solely on the fact that she is Roman Catholic. It may not have been anyone's intentions to come off in that way, but that is how it appears.

Regardless of the credibility of this woman's profession or the legitimacy of her church affiliation, she is being brutally persecuted by Muslims for being a "Christian." That is the impetus behind their persecution and that ought to be seen by us as an assault on the very name of Christ. Even if she were a Jew being persecuted for her faith, it ought to be esteemed by us as a gross injustice against another human being and leading us to pray for her deliverance from her captors.
 

kodos

Puritan Board Junior
I am bothered by what I perceive to be a willingness to disregard the plight of an otherwise innocent woman based solely on the fact that she is Roman Catholic. It may not have been anyone's intentions to come off in that way, but that is how it appears.

Regardless of the credibility of this woman's profession or the legitimacy of her church affiliation, she is being brutally persecuted by Muslims for being a "Christian." That is the impetus behind their persecution and that ought to be seen by us as an assault on the very name of Christ. Even if she were a Jew being persecuted for her faith, it ought to be esteemed by us as a gross injustice against another human being and leading us to pray for her deliverance from her captors.

Thank you for posting this - I am of like mind with you on this. This is exactly what I thought as I read through this thread.

And as far as this discussion is concerned, it is suffering for the sake of Christ's name. Regardless of her being regenerate or not, or even if she is the member of the apostate Roman Church. And in many of these lands, in God's Providence, there often is no strongly visible Protestant Church, and many end up united to the RCC or EO because as far as they know -> that is where Christ is.
 

whirlingmerc

Puritan Board Sophomore
The central legal issue that any person with a Muslim father who becomes a Christian may be targeted is something everyone should be very concerned about. She even had a deadbeat dad who abandoned her. Thank God for her god fearing mother. And by the way... it's even more problematic in Saudi Arabia where all males are technically Muslim by being born there, no matter who the father is.

I think it's important to speak up for her, even if she goes to a church that doesn't preach the gospel with clarity. It's important to stand up for religious liberties and conscience in general. There is also nothing wrong with saying there remain many stunning truths shared between protestants, Catholics and Orthodox, despite differences and stand up for the rights of people, whether culturally or actually Christian (.....and we should be concerned for the rights of moderate Muslims and Jewish people as well ... )

I didn't realize also that her husband was disabled and in a wheelchair. I think they need people to be praying and advocating for them.
 

jambo

Puritan Board Senior
I am bothered by what I perceive to be a willingness to disregard the plight of an otherwise innocent woman based solely on the fact that she is Roman Catholic. It may not have been anyone's intentions to come off in that way, but that is how it appears.

Regardless of the credibility of this woman's profession or the legitimacy of her church affiliation, she is being brutally persecuted by Muslims for being a "Christian." That is the impetus behind their persecution and that ought to be seen by us as an assault on the very name of Christ. Even if she were a Jew being persecuted for her faith, it ought to be esteemed by us as a gross injustice against another human being and leading us to pray for her deliverance from her captors.

Well said. I was thinking exactly the same as I read the posts and was glad to come across your comments. Whether Miriam is genuinely converted or not, she finds herself in the position she is in because of her faith. Although I believe the RC church to be totally erroneous in almost all of its teaching, nevertheless I do believe there are people (but not many) within its ranks who are truly converted. Not because they keep the teachings of the church, but because of a work of grace in their lives. In the western world there are churches everywhere and one does not have to travel too far to receive good teaching. But in the likes of Sudan this is most certainly not the case. People in such countries may be converted but with a lack of teaching there is possibly nowhere else to go except the local RC church.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
She is a Christian in the sense that she is within the bounds of the Visible Church, although she may be - as far as can be known by men - unregenerate.

If she is, in fact, unregenerate, then she isn't a Christian in any sense. So, hopefully, she is regenerate.
 

MichaelNZ

Puritan Board Freshman
I by no means wished to disregard Mariam's plight in the post. She is on my weekly prayer list - both for her freedom and her conversion.

However, it annoys me when Christians refer to her as a Christian being persecuted, when they haven't looked into the issue and don't know which church she belongs to. I felt the same way when Romanist Asia Bibi was mentioned in our church bulletin as a persecuted Christian and mentioned it to the editor. While I have never attended an Ethiopian Orthodox liturgy, I have attended several Coptic Orthodox liturgies (the EOC was administratively part of the COC until 1959), and they are just as idoloatrous as a Roman Catholic Mass. I was sad to discover she was actually a Papist.

Yes, Mariam is being persecuted by Muslims for being a "Christian" and that is sad and horrific, but it also seems sad to me that she's undergoing so much persecution here on earth only to face eternity in hell if she doesn't leave the Romish "church". Christians being persecuted have that hope of everlasting life, but all Mariam has to look forward to after death is hell unless she converts to Christianity.

I encourage all of you to pray for Mariam's conversion as well as that she can escape Sudan. While we can always hope that she is a true Christian despite her Romanism, I do know that converts to a religion are often more zealous than those raised in such religion. Also, the Romish "church" requires converts to undergo lessons in the Romish faith before conversion. I know this because I converted to Romanism many years ago. All these facts point to the fact that Mariam most likely knows what the Romish "church" officially teaches. Please pray also for the conversion of the Muslims in Sudan who persecuted her.
 

Tim

Puritan Board Graduate
She is a Christian in the sense that she is within the bounds of the Visible Church, although she may be - as far as can be known by men - unregenerate.

If she is, in fact, unregenerate, then she isn't a Christian in any sense. So, hopefully, she is regenerate.

I think Presbyterian theology does recognize a use of the term Christian in the way Mr. Tallach suggests above, such that Christian is not strictly the same as elect. I think this is related to baptized infants being considered Christians, although I don't have the time to find appropriate supporting materials now. This point may therefore be applied to the situation of the Sudanese woman. If RC baptism is considered valid, then it can be appropriate to use the term Christian here.
 

Phil D.

Puritan Board Senior
I think Presbyterian theology does recognize a use of the term Christian in the way Mr. Tallach suggests above, such that Christian is not strictly the same as elect. I think this is related to baptized infants being considered Christians, although I don't have the time to find appropriate supporting materials now. This point may therefore be applied to the situation of the Sudanese woman. If RC baptism is considered valid, then it can be appropriate to use the term Christian here.

Here is one example from the Westminster divines.

That children, by baptism, are solemnly received into the bosom of the visible church, distinguished from the world, and them that are without, and united with believers; and that all who are baptized in the name of Christ, do renounce, and by their baptism are bound to fight against the devil, the world, and the flesh: That they are Christians, and federally holy before baptism, and therefore are they baptize. (Westminster Directory for Public Worship)
 

whirlingmerc

Puritan Board Sophomore
And I think most or many reformed churches would accept a Catholic Baptism and not require a new baptism even if done in a 'deformed church'
 

Alan D. Strange

Puritan Board Senior
When we designate someone as Christian for these purposes, we are not making any judgment as to whether such persons enjoy a credible profession of faith (we have no competency or calling to do so, lacking, among other things, propinquity) and to speak as if that's what we mean ("I believe this person to have a credible profession of faith") is, frankly, silly.

The lady is regarded as Christian by her tomentors. She is being persecuted in that name and for that cause. The members of the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Churches would all be regarded as those who "name the name of Christ." Whether they all depart from iniquity is another matter. All Israel was not Israel as God saw it but anyone circumcised was properly part of Israel outwardly. Similarly, members of any of these three historic Churches would be considered as those who bear the name of Christ, whether or not they possess life in Him.

Pastor Sheffield, Rom, and others are precisely right.

Peace,
Alan
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Graduate
When we designate someone as Christian for these purposes, we are not making any judgment as to whether such persons enjoy a credible profession of faith (we have no competency or calling to do so, lacking, among other things, propinquity) and to speak as if that's what we mean ("I believe this person to have a credible profession of faith") is, frankly, silly.

While I think I understand and agree with your point, I would perhaps disagree with your language here. We can make a distinction between determining infallibly if someone has saving faith (which we of course cannot do), and whether they have a credible profession of faith (which we can and must do).

For someone to have a credible profession of faith merely implies that they personally profess repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and they are not actively undermining that profession by either gross error/heresy or unholiness of life. Therefore, to determine that someone has a credible profession of faith is no guarantee that they are indeed converted but only that their profession is credible.

The Baptist Confession (26:2) states it this way:

All persons throughout the world, professing the (1) faith of the Gospel, and (2) obedience unto God by Christ, according unto it; not destroying their own profession (1-) by any Errors everting the foundation, or (2-) unholiness of conversation, are and may be called visible Saints; and of such ought all particular Congregations to be constituted.​
 

Alan D. Strange

Puritan Board Senior
Pastor Sheffield:

I am not saying that we cannot determine, when in the proper position to do so, the credibility of a profession of faith. The local elders, serving together with the minister, are called upon to do that all the time. We are never called upon to do more (since we cannot judge beyond such a credible profession).

I was simply saying that in many cases (like reports of those persecuted in the Sudan), we cannot determine that somone who self-identifies as a Christian (and is persecuted on that basis) actually has a credible profession of faith. Perhaps we even suspect them to lack such. Nonetheless we can deem them Christian without being able to ascertain whether they have a credible profession of faith, since they are outwardly Christian in the broadest of senses, naming the name of Christ and identifying with Him (deficient as their faith may be).

Peace,
Alan
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
When someone professes Christ, and is willing to die for it in the face of false religion,
they are entitled to a charitable estimation they are what they say.

That's most consistent with the summary of doctrine of Scripture in Westminster Larger Catechism question 144.

It doesn't require broader attribution.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
When someone professes Christ, and is willing to die for it in the face of false religion,
they are entitled to a charitable estimation they are what they say.

Although God alone knows for sure (as in all such cases), I think this statement is good.
 

Angela A

Puritan Board Freshman
I am bothered by what I perceive to be a willingness to disregard the plight of an otherwise innocent woman based solely on the fact that she is Roman Catholic. It may not have been anyone's intentions to come off in that way, but that is how it appears.

Regardless of the credibility of this woman's profession or the legitimacy of her church affiliation, she is being brutally persecuted by Muslims for being a "Christian." That is the impetus behind their persecution and that ought to be seen by us as an assault on the very name of Christ. Even if she were a Jew being persecuted for her faith, it ought to be esteemed by us as a gross injustice against another human being and leading us to pray for her deliverance from her captors.
Agreed
 
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