Although it isn’t covered on the Nightly News, Iran is having a spiritual revival. Underground and persecuted, the church in Iran is growing. Even more, this reality extends beyond Iran’s political borders, as Iranian expatriates are coming Christ in great numbers. There are many (hundreds?) of Iranian churches in America (not to mention Europe, or Iranian believers who worship in non-Persian congregations). Some have estimated that there are perhaps a million Iranian believers around the world (although these numbers cannot be substantiated). Many Iranians come to faith in Christ every year in Athens and go on to share the gospel with innumerable others, planting Farsi-speaking churches around the world.
This is exciting news; praise God for His grace among the Iranian people. Repressive governments like Iran, however, don’t appreciate this sort of subversion. It threatens their political power and their religious superiority. Because of this, there has also been a marked rise in persecution in Iran. Believers are singled out, arrested, and sometimes murdered. Their property is confiscated; their businesses are forcibly closed. Christianity Today recently published an article on this increased persecution. Click HERE to read it for yourself. Here is an excerpt:
Christians report that persecution has increased markedly and that believers are experiencing greater hardship since the election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in August 2005. He has pledged to restore an Islamic government in Iran. Islam is the official religion in Iran, and all laws and regulations must be consistent with the official interpretation of Shari’ah law….
Still, a large group of Christians with a Muslim background continue to practice their newfound belief. One Christian worker said of the once-Muslim believers: “They aren’t intimidated by the government and continue to spread the gospel. Muslims who came to the Lord in the past few years fear nothing and no one.”
Please pray for Iranian believers, the Iranian church, and those who share Christ in this context.