BreakPoint: The Iranian Protests and the Church

Bread, Freedom, and Faith

The protests currently shaking Iran have enormous implications for U. S. foreign policy—and for the Church.

Iranian citizens are rising up against their oppressive Shiite government. They shout, “Death to the Dictator!” while enduring tear gas, water cannons, arrest—and death.

The demonstrations initially had to do with the sagging economy, high unemployment, and the increased cost of basic foods. As one protester quoted in the Washington Post said, “When we don’t have bread to eat, we are not afraid of anything.”

But these protests may have evolved into “an open rebellion against Iran’s Islamic leadership itself.”

The outcome of these protests of course will have enormous implications for the Middle East and for U. S. foreign policy. The Iranian government is a staunch ally of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, supports Hezbollah, the Shiite terrorist group and arch-enemy of Israel, and is fomenting unrest (and that’s putting it mildly) throughout the Middle East.

And no doubt you’ve heard about the Iranian government’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

But there’s another reason Americans—and especially American Christians—should be following events there: the growth of Christianity in Iran.

In the online journal “The Stream,” my friend Michael Brown writes that Iranian converts, Christian leaders, and missiologists all tell him the same thing: “Iranian Muslims are converting to Christianity at an unprecedented pace.” Indeed, according to the Iranian Christian News Agency, Islamic clerics are alarmed at the growing number of Iranian youth who are abandoning Islam, converting to Christianity, and joining house churches. That despite the enormous risks of conversion in a country that openly suppresses the Christian faith.

The news comes as no surprise to Reza Safa, a Muslim convert to Christianity and the author of “The Coming Fall of Islam in Iran.” Safa, who now lives in the U.S., notes on his website that “Despite severe persecution by the Iranian government against underground churches, God’s Word is spreading like a wildfire all over Iran.”

That’s exciting news. And the protests against the regime raging across Iran may be a sign of hope for Christians, according to Iranian journalist and Christian convert Sohrab Amari. Amari told the Catholic News Agency that “the Iranians who are pouring into the streets have had it with an ideological regime that represses them.” Many are even chanting “nostalgic slogans” about pre-revolutionary Iran—a time when religious minorities like Christians, Jews, and Bahai’s could live well enough alongside their Islamic neighbors.

The outcome of the protests remains to be seen. Will they lead to more freedoms, or to even worse repressions?

And as the number of conversions continues to rise, will the government target churches even more fiercely, or will those who have tasted the freedom to become children of God through Jesus Christ act as leaven in Iranian society, inspiring more people to seek freedom from their authoritarian overlords?

We don’t have to look far back in history to see epoch-shaking movements of God’s people. As Chuck Colson documented masterfully in his book “Being the Body,” the fall of communism in Poland, in Romania, and throughout eastern Europe was fueled by Christian faith—and the human desire for freedom kindled by that faith.

At one time, those of us old enough to remember the Cold War couldn’t have imagined the demise of European communism. But it happened. The fall of an authoritarian Islamist regime should not be beyond our hopes and prayers.

So please, join me in prayer for our brethren in Iran—for safety, for wisdom, and for the conversion of many more to freedom in Jesus Christ.

 

The Iranian Protests and the Church: Bread, Freedom, and Faith

As events are unfolding in Iran, believers everywhere have the opportunity to intercede for Christians and new converts in that country. Read more about this critical news and its implications by clicking on the links in our Resources section.

Resources

What No One Is Telling You About Iran
  • Michael Brown | Townhall.com | January 2, 2018
Could Iranian protests bring religious freedom for Christians?
  • Michelle La Rosa | Catholic News Agency | December 29, 2017
Christianity is Rapidly Growing in Iran
  • CBN News | August 15, 2017
Being the Body: A New Call for the Church to Be Light in Darkness
  • Chuck Colson and Ellen Santilli Vaughn
  • Thomas Nelson
  • 2004

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  • Gemmel Scholz

    The new Creation in Christ alone. The worldly way develops heathen, warfare and no hope. Outside of Jesus Christ is foolishness and no hope. Jesus Christ’s way. He said ” I am the way and the truth and the life no-one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6. Come to the way, the way of Hope. Hope is not something seen but what is unseen. Hops is living and what God has delivered us into. Who hopes for what they see. Romans 8:21-24. It makes Great sense that there is One God and One Creator of all. The Bible is cohesive and makes complete sense to those who believe and put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Jesus’s Father is God Almighty, Sovereign over all the earth and like it or not Jesus Christ has authority over all mankind whether you accept it or not.(in this are two entirely opposing and different outcomes) Follow the way of peace and love and joy where too we find patience and goodness and kindness and gentleness and faithfulness and self-control and compassion and humility. I have yet to see these values embodied in islam or atheism as much as they are chameleon religions. The most important issue is the Gospel you will find God personally in the right places. What is eternal? The endless life where is it found?