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Afghan Monarch Who Destroyed Church 'Overthrown by God'

In 1971, the Afghan government gave a fledgling band of Christians permission to plant a church in Kabul. It was the only Christian church building permitted on neutral soil in Afghanistan. The Afghan government permitted this place of worship only for use among the foreign community; it was never to be used by the Afghan people.

One Sunday morning, only three years after the sanctuary's dedication, soldiers arrived and began to hack away at the wall between the street and the church building. One gentleman in the congregation went to Kabul's mayor and prophetically warned, "lf your government touches that house of God, God will overthrow your government!" The mayor responded by ordering the congregation to turn over their church for destruction, thereby eliminating the need for the Afghan government to pay compensation.

"This building does not belong to us but to God," the people of the church replied. "We can't turn it over for destruction." And they proceeded to serve tea and cookies to the soldiers who were destroying their place of worship.

On Tuesday, July 17, 1973, the Afghan soldiers completed their destruction of the church building. That very night, King Mohammed Zahir Shah, who had ruled for forty years, was overthrown in a coup, and the 227-year-old monarchy in Afghanistan came to an end forever. The rest of that story is told in the history books.

Editor's Note: This story is relayed from eyewitness accounts in a short biography of that church's pastor, a missionary and then a seminary professor named J. Christy Wilson.

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