Our churches mainly consist of Turkish believers who want to progress in the knowledge of Christ, learn to reflect Him in their lives and involve others in this pursuit through love.
"This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." (John 17:3)
What "church" means?
In Turkey the concept of church is identified with Christian buildings and institutions. In fact, the dictionary defines "church" as:
a) "Gr ekklesia 1. A Christian Temple. 2. Christian denominations (...) 3. A Christian religious institution. 4. The Papacy and council of bishops who teach Christianity and its precepts, and lead the community of the faithful" (Dictionary of Turkish Academy of Culture, Language and History).
Although the most common use is this one, the etymology and the New Testament usage of the word "church" primarily means:
b) "Assembly of people, community of believers, congregation, church, place of assembly..." (Classical Greek Dictionary, Bibliograf).
The Istanbul Protestant Church
The IPC is a community of believers that was established in 1995 according to the principles of the NT and protected by the basic rights recognized in the Constitution of the Turkish Republic.
In 1999 this community formed a FOUNDATION, the legal body and instrument which would "meet the spiritual needs of the Protestants" as written in Article 3 of its own Constitution. The Foundation is protected under the Constitution and civil laws of the Republic of Turkey.
Unlike "ethnic" churches (Greek, Armenian, Syriac, Latin and Arabic), The IPCF is not subject to the Lausanne Covenant, signed at the end of the First World War after the armistice. Therefore our Foundation enjoys all the rights and privileges pertaining to other civil foundation of the country.
1st official church
The building of our main church (Altintepe-Istanbul) is the first Christian church built and officially recognized by the State, since the formation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avNcyEwxw98
Other churches (fellowships) associated with the Foundation meet in buildings provided by the Foundation. Each individual fellowship is registered as "Representive Offices" of the "Istanbul Protestant Church Foundation."
The Turkish Criminal Law (TCK) 529 explicitly prohibits "the practice of religious acts outside places of worship or the instigation of religious demonstrations in streets and public spaces." Hence the need for locations specifically dedicated to worship services.
Today, the communities under the foundation are: