Two preachers, including an American who specializes in delivering the message of the Gospel in public places, have been arrested and face a July trial for carrying a sign telling people about Jesus at a freedom celebration in Norway.
Larry Keffer, who works through the Biblical Research Center in Tampa, Fla., was accompanied by Norwegian evangelist Petar Keseljevic when both were arrested for sharing the Gospel along a parade route in Oslo, Norway, according to officials with the International Human Rights Group.
Spokesman Joel Thornton of the IHRG, which is working with a team of Norwegian lawyers to represent the ministers, told WND the event last week was the nation’s birthday holiday.
“Larry and Petar were standing in pedestrian areas behind the crowds gathering for the celebration holding an evangelical sign and sharing the Gospel with those who were gathered for the parade,” the IHRG said.
“Police asked them to move away from the palace of the king and take their message anywhere else along the route. They moved and were then approached by other police officers. Larry was never told that he would be arrested if he did not leave. One of the officers talked with Petar in Norwegian for a few minutes and then arrested them both,” the IHRG said.
“The two men were not even preaching. Petar was holding a sign on a tall post and both men were conversing with the crowd. They were not using a bullhorn and their message was one of the need to be born again,” Thornton told WND.
The sign read: “Only Jesus can save you from hell, read the Bible for the details.”
“Several people cursed them and one person cursed America since one of the men was American,” he said.
The men’s work is shown in a YouTube video:
Their actual arrest is shown in another YouTube video:
Thornton said the IHRG is working with a team of Norwegian lawyers to try to resolve the case against the two ministers.
Keffer told WND the situation developed because police treated the preachers as if the nation didn’t recognize individual speech rights. He noted that a critic attacked Keseljevic while police were watching, and officers did nothing.
He also noted that his taping caught what appears to be a man stealing something from a parade fan, (at about 5:19 on the second video) but police were concentrating too much on stifling the Gospel message to see it.
“It’s ironic,” he told WND. “Here’s Norway celebrating a day of freedom and independence and the cops walk right by a true criminal. They can’t see him.”
Thornton said if needed, the case will be taken to the European Court of Human Rights to protect “the right of Christians to non-disruptively share their faith in public in Europe.”
He said both Norwegian and European laws support the rights of individuals to share their faith in public.
Keseljevic said the arrests support the argument that the “last days” have come upon the Christian church.
“If people really understand what it costs to preach the Gospel, you’ll understand the times we are in,” he said.
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