Bishop stabbed in pulpit forgives attacker

Frighteningly, the subdued suspect appears to smirk after attacking the bishop. The picture is from a video taken during the service. Congregants pinned him down and waited for police after the attack.

By Michael Ashcraft –

In a development that’s being hailed as a symbol of Christianity prevailing, Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel publicly forgave Thursday the terrorist who slashed him up with a knife when he was preaching Monday in his Australian church.

“I forgive whoever has done this act,” Mari Emmanuel says in a recording probably from his hospital room just three days after he was knifed up. “I say to him, You’re my son. I love you and I always pray for you.”

The striking response of forgiveness evokes Pope John Paul’s forgiving a Turkish Muslim who shot him in 1981. When the Pope visited Mehmet Ali Ağca in prison, news cameras recorded the extraordinary surprise on the would-be murderer’s face. He later became a Catholic.

The attack on Monday was live-streamed.

As people of the great world religions strike against each other with violence and revenge, Christianity turns the other cheek. God needs no one to act on his behalf. “Vengeance is mine,” God says in the Bible. It is the response of love that makes Christianity stand out over other religions.

Prior to Monday’s attack, a video had been circulating online threatening Mari Emmanuel, an unabashed critic of sin and false religions, with only two weeks to live. Before being attacked, Mari Emmanuel addressed the threats and said he was not worried for his life.

“I’m not running away,” he says in a video by Impact Evangelism on YouTube. “I was extremely excited when I learned I had two weeks to live because I don’t want to live in this world. I’ve had my share of this world. I pray that the Lord take me today rather than tomorrow. I have confidence in the Lord Jesus and I choose him all day long any day of the week. I don’t care about the world.”

With holy sarcasm, the bishop thanked the video maker, he says.

A 16-year-old was arrested after congregants swarmed and neutralized him for stabbing their beloved pastor mid-sermon. Police came and arrested him. While he’s being held down, the young man says in a video on YouTube, “Allahu Akbar” and what has been translated from Arabic “If he didn’t insult my prophet, I wouldn’t have come.”

The video shows the youth smiling after his attack, while he is being subdued on the floor.

Sydney police said other arrests were pending. News reports speculated that he was a troubled youth who had been radicalized by extremists.

The attack does not appear to be linked to a knife attack in a nearby mall in Sydney.

Dressed in Medieval garb of The Ancient Church of the East, the Iraqi-born Mari Emmanuel hardly looks the part of a vibrant preacher and polemicist addressing the most pressing issues facing Christianity today.

His effective communication transcends his natural community, the Assyrians abroad who have fled persecution in Iraq. Known as the Tiktok Bishop, his viral sermons can be seen all over the internet.

Mari Emmanuel suffered only minor lacerations and is recovering in the hospital, he says. He issued a plea to his followers to be like Christ, non-violent. Immediately after the attack was live-streamed on YouTube, a mob attacked police outside the The Good Shepherd Church in Wakely, demanding cops release the perpetrator to them and vigilante justice.

Impact Evangelism entitled its coverage Mari Emmanuel’s forgiving: Why Islam Will Never Win!

But as is usually the case, the true data is in the meta:

“This attack worked in our favor,” DingoNovember said. “I’m from Thailand and many people have known Mar Mari and heard his message because of this incident and no doubt that there was divine intervention here. May our Lord Jesus Christ watch over us.”

Tiktube5105 commented: “I’m an arab ex Muslim i accepted Jesus as my lord and savior for less than a year and that attack on Bishop Mar Mari made me know that I’m on the right side … we are the religion of peace.”

And kenkanifffromconnecticut9921 said: “This attack has done nothing but shed light on millions of millions of Christians that there is a great bishop and his name is Mar Mari Emmanuel. And he speaks the truth. Evil lost. This backfired on the devil.”

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About this writer: Michael Ashcraft pastors a church in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles.