How many books are there in the New Testament? You might need to know this, if you are an asylum seeker

Sweden has struggled to cope with the influx of refugees, and no longer has an open door policyReuters

Some Christians seeking asylum from persecution in Europe are converts. And they come from countries where blasphemy laws and restrictions on freedom of religion mean their lives are at risk on a daily basis.

Others arrive in the West as refugees from war and hunger, and once here they might encounter Christianity perhaps for the first time – and convert.

But in some countries, such as Sweden, simply finding faith in Jesus is not enough.

To successfully claim asylum, the new Christians must master facts that few who are Christians from birth are even aware of – facts such as how many books are in the New Testament, and what is the difference between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

Now church leaders and lawyers in Sweden are criticising migration officials for the tests, arguing that they examine technical knowledge rather than faith.

'I think it's terrible. I have repeatedly had to interrupt administrators who ask these questions because they are not relevant and are far too complicated,' said lawyer Serpil Güngör, according to The Local.

Güngör now urges clients to make careful study of the Bible carefully before they go for the mandatory interview before they can be granted asylum. Some Swedish parishes also prepare fact sheets about Christianity for asylum seekers to learn.

The Migration Agency defended the tests. A spokesman said: 'It is a reasonable demand that the asylum applicant should show some knowledge of the Bible - this should come naturally, and isn't something you need to study.'

More News in World