Skip to comments.Open Doors: Growth of Christianity in Iran 'Explosive'
Posted on 03/23/2012 12:44:04 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
Despite the Iranian government's ongoing crackdown of Christians living in the primarily Islamic country, the number of Muslims converting to become Christians is growing at an explosive rate, according to the persecution watchdog group Open Doors USA.
There is even talk of witnessing a Christian revival, especially among young people living in the country, say Open Doors ministry workers in the Middle East.
A house church movement within Iran is part of that revival and has triggered "many secret meetings." The growth in the number of Christians is happening in all regions, but mostly in larger cities, say Open Doors workers in the region.
Iran is ranked 5th on the Open Doors 2012 World Watch List of the top 50 worst persecutors of Christians.
"Open Doors workers think that the growth of Christianity has everything to do with Iranians getting to know the real face of Islam, the official religion of Iran, and the mistrust of the people toward the government and leaders following the fraudulent 2009 presidential election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad," said a Middle East worker for Open Doors (name withheld for security reasons).
Since the beginning of this year, authorities have arrested Christian converts in Tehran, Ahwaz, Shiraz, Isfahan and Kermanshah, according to news reports from the Middle East and U.S.
In one city alone, Isfahan, more than a dozen Christians were arrested in less than a month, beginning in late February.
As The Christian Post has previously reported, although the established church in countries such as Iran suffers great violence, it is the underground, invisible church that continues to grow. Christians are putting their lives at risk for their continued faith.
According to Open Doors USA President and CEO Carl Moeller, a stream of Christianity has arisen in the Middle East's invisible church, sometimes referred to as the Muslim Background Believer Church.
"Men and women, out of emptiness of their current situation spiritually, are turning to faith in Jesus Christ despite the literally lethal risks in doing so," Moeller said. "That's only attributable to the work of the Holy Spirit."
Also, at work is a common personality trait of the Iranian people, says another Open Doors worker from the Middle East region.
"Iranians are very outgoing and want to speak about their faith," the ministry worker said. "That is why discipleship training (with elements of outreach and communications) for Iranian believers is successful. If you tell them that a Christian should share, the Iranian Christian shares."
An estimated 200 Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) were living in Iran 40 years ago, according to Open Doors. Now, the number of MBBs is estimated to be 370,000.
Iran also has the presence of the traditional Armenian and Assyrian church with about 80,000 members, Open Doors reports. These churches are presently free to have meetings in the language of its members, but they are not allowed to reach out to the Farsi-speaking Muslims.
According to the Iranian government, there are about 200,000 Christians living in Iran, Open Doors stated.
Christianity in Iran has a long and rich history, dating back to the birth of faith itself. It has always been a minority religion, however, these days - Christians of Iran are getting a lot more attention and credit for their bravery. Representing 2% of the total population, Christianity is also the fastest growing religion in Iran. To this day, there are over 500+ Churches in Iran some with thousands of registered members.
Perhaps recruitment can win where the Crusades couldn’t.
Christianity ( I think ) was never meant to win by POWER or by COMPULSION but by PERSUASION.
Christianity grew the fastest in the Roman Empire when men without power like the apostles, preached the gospel everywhere in the Empire.
Christianity started to go downhill when it occupied the levers of power.
Just my humble observation.
Very encouraging to hear... Also encouraging is the growth of Christianity in China. Estimates through 2010 showed 80-130 million active members, and by some estimates may double in the next generation.
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
There are many underground Christian groups in Iran and Iraq, as well as other islamic nations.
Your observation seems to be correct. True Christians can expect to be persecuted for their faith and persecution likewise seems to grow it.
The best thing for Iranian Christianity might be the Mullahs!
Somehow I doubt it. The Muslim world would...well, never mind. I think the SMART Christian Persians get outta Dodge.
Maybe I'm wrong.
-—Perhaps recruitment can win where the Crusades couldnt.-—
It’s an unanticipated side effect of Al Gore’s invention, the internet. The internet can evangelize where Catholic evangelists could never go.
This is very exciting because, historically, Islam has only been driven back by the sword.
Truth wins where debate is open, full, and honest. Thanks Al!
But it is a real joy to see them grow in their faith and some of the more mature ones are beginning to evangelize other Near Easterners. As a previous poster quoted Isaiah 55:11 ‘His word will not return void’ We have at least a weekly Bible Study and some attend the church's weekly prayer meeting. Most of them are asylum seekers who don't know if they'll be sent back or not.
We do have a need for Bible Commentaries in Farsi but they are a bit expensive and we'd like to give them to the more mature/emerging leaders in the group. So if the Lord leads you to help this growing ministry you can contact me directly.
Your prayers would also be greatly appreciated. As Jeremiah prophesied “In the last days I will raise up Elam(Iran)”
The Crusades were not about forcing Arabs to convert to Christianity. It was about preventing Islamist from forcing Christians into Islam.
I have a friend who is a missionary to muslims in a certain part of the world. He reports great interest in Christianity and lots of conversions.
Believe it or not, I'm pretty well aware of that.
Open Doors is one of the most effective christian ministries of this era.
not really. Until 315 AD when Christianity was illegal it only had less than 20% or so of the Roman Empire’s population. This only increased marginally until it was made the religion of the Empire by Theodosius circa 395 AD. It was still mainly a city religion. When it “occupied the levels of power” is when it spread to the Germanic peoples, to the Slavic peoples, to the Nordics, etc. etc.