Eight men were executed in Indonesia last week for drug-related crimes, including two Australians. Christianity Today reports that the Australian men corresponded with Hillsong pastor Brian Houston during their time in prison; Houston says that the faith of Andrew Chan inspired him.
Houston wrote before the execution, “By all accounts, these two young men—whom I have had the great privilege of being in personal contact with over the last number of months—have not only accepted the mercy and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, but have also rehabilitated themselves to be upstanding members of the prison system. Even in jail they have made a positive contribution to the lives of other prisoners, and sought to pay their debt to society. I have had the pleasure of speaking with Andrew Chan almost everyday and his faith and strength under extreme duress, have inspired me.”
Chan became a Christian while in solitary confinement and started to study theology; he was ordained in February.
Chan told Australia’s Bible Society, “Just before my court date (where he was sentenced with the death penalty), I remember reading Mark 11:23-24, where it says that if you have enough faith you can say to this mountain, ‘Be removed’ and God will do it. So I said, ‘God if you’re real and if this is true, I want you to free me, and if you do I’ll serve you every day for the rest of my life.’ I went to my court hearing and they convicted me and gave me the death penalty. When I got back to my cell, I said, ‘God, I asked you to set me free, not kill me.’ God spoke to me and said, ‘Andrew, I have set you free from the inside out; I have given you life!’ From that moment on I haven’t stopped worshipping Him. I had never sung before, never led worship, until Jesus set me free.”
The men made international headlines for singing hymns and praising God until the moment they were executed.
Publication date: May 4, 2015