We thank and praise God that Bishop Juhana Pohjola, LHF’s coordinator for translation projects in Finland, and author Päivi Räsänen have been found not guilty of “incitement to hatred” for their work on the LHF pamphlet “Male and Female He Created Them” (which puts forth a Biblical view of marriage).
The celebration has been short-lived, however, as Finnish prosecutors have appealed the decision, and the case will now move to the next higher court. Rev. Tuomo Simojoki, a Finnish pastor who coordinates LHF’s work in Nairobi, Africa, speculates that the case will likely go all the way to the highest courts of the European Union.
Though it’s a very stressful situation for those involved, Rev. Simojoki shared a different perspective – one of joy in persecution.
“In our public media [in Finland], the Biblical teachings of human sexuality and relationships outlined in this booklet are being shared,” he enthused. “Long passages of the Bible are being read and reported in the news.
“Furthermore, Bishop Pohjola and Päivi have been able to proclaim Christ in forums where we never before had access, all because of this little booklet.”
LHF printed “Male and Female He Created Them” in 2004, when conservative Finnish Lutheran leaders recognized the ever-growing influence of liberal ideas promoting gay marriage, even within the Lutheran Church.
“When the pamphlet was first published, we had no idea what its power would be,” Rev. Simojoki continued. “It was just a small book, similar to the ‘What About…’ series from the LCMS. But God knew, even then, how He would use an insignificant pamphlet like this to preach His Word to a large audience.
“When we do our work, we don’t know how God will use it. Sometimes our works as Christians are very humble, happening in a small corner. But when God wants to use that seed, there’s no stopping it!
“In our world, filth is coming as a tidal wave. In despair, we feel the Church is dying. A lot of Christians feel in a corner, put their fists up and get defensive. But we’re the winners!” Rev. Simojoki encouraged. “We’re in Christ’s victory parade! God is doing His work this whole time.”
Follow new developments on this case at the LHF Facebook page.