Where Are They Now? Fikret Bocek And The Reformed Mission To Smyrna

Office Hours 2016 full sizeLong-time listeners to Office Hours will know the name Fikret Bocek. I interviewed him back in 2010. Here we are nine years later, and Fikret is still with us. That is no small thing, as you will hear. He is a 1998 graduate of Westminster Seminary California and the pastor of a Reformed congregation in Izmir, Turkey. You know this city from your New Testament. In the 1st century, Izmir was known as Smyrna, an ancient port city on the west coast of Turkey. It is the third largest city in Turkey, and, as a port city, a cosmopolitan city. You have read about the church in Smyrna in the letters to the seven churches in Revelation chapter 2. To that church our ascended Lord Jesus wrote, through the Apostle John:

I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death’ (Rev 2:9–11; ESV)

If you know a little about church history, you might know that one of the most faithful and famous pastors of the Ancient Church, after the Apostles, was Polycarp, who was pastor there until his martyrdom at the hands of the pagans the AD 150s.

Pastor Bocek planted a Reformed congregation in Izmir, in 2009. This year is the congregation’s tenth anniversary and it is a good time to get us caught up since the last time Fikret and I were in studio together. The interim has been interesting. As recently as the summer of 2018, Fikret had his bags packed waiting to be arrested by the authorities. If you have paid attention the news, you might remember the arrest and release of the Associate Reformed pastor, Andrew Brunson. Fikret himself has been arrested and detained briefly. We’ll let him tell the story. He has had a fruitful ministry, so much so that he has sent to us two students, one of whom is ministering in the USA and one who is studying presently.

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