Iranian Christian news agency, Mohabat News, confirmed what many are reporting that there has been an extraordinary number of Iranians coming to Christ.
The agency, that monitors Iranian news, said the confirmation came in an unusual way. It reported that an Islamic cleric in the Iranian city of Qom publicly warned about the spread of Christianity in that city particularly among the youth.
Qom is one of the most Islamic cities in Iran and if there are concerns about the growth of Christianity in that environment, then what is happening in the rest of the nation?
Ayatollah Alavi Boroujerdi, who works at an Islamic seminary in Qom, stated, “accurate reports indicate that the youth are becoming Christians in Qom and attending house churches.”
It was even reported that the son of an Islamic cleric based in Qom became a Christian.
According to Mohabat News, this is not the first time an Islamic cleric in Iran warned of Christianity’s growing influence in that country.
A year earlier, another Ayatollah, Makarem Shirazi based in Mashhad, said that youth were turning to Christ in his city. His pronouncement resulted in the secret police stepping up efforts to close down house churches in Mashhad that they estimated at upwards of 200. It also resulted in the arrest of several Christians.
Several other senior Islamic clerics have also expressed concerns in recent years about Iran’s growing Christian population, sparking the Iranian government to shut down church buildings.
However, this move simply resulted in Christians moving to house churches where due to growing persecution, believers employ several tactics to avoid government detection. This includes keeping the size of the meeting small and moving from house to house. They also stagger people’s arrival so not to attract attention. In some meetings, they just mouth the words of worship songs to avoid being heard.
Iranians are turning to Christ for a number of reasons. Many are tiring of the repressive Iranian regime and women in particular are finding more freedom in Christianity. In fact, many of the house church leaders are women.
Christian ministries are also using satellite TV to broadcast the gospel into Iran and other parts of the Middle East. This allows people to hear about Christ in the privacy of their homes. Eventually, they seek fellowship with other believers.
Of course, when the New Testament church came under persecution, the Holy Spirit moved through miracles, signs and wonders resulting in the rapid growth of the early church.
One of the unique ways that God is drawing Muslims is through dreams and visions. One former Middle East Muslim who turned to Christ told Open Doors USA that more Muslims are becoming Christians through this method than direct evangelism.
The man who went by the name Ismail spoke of the dream he received:
“I saw a white face and heard a voice: ‘Follow Me.’ Nothing more. But it was enough. I made the decision to follow Him (Christ).
Centuries earlier, the prophet Joel said that God would pour out His Holy Spirit in the end times and speak to people through dreams and visions. However, no one, including myself, suspected this would be a method of evangelism drawing tens of thousands of Muslims to Christ.
“It will come about after this
That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your old men will dream dreams,
Your young men will see visions. (Joel 2:28 NASV)
Iranian officials have tried to counter Christianity’s rapidly growing influence by pouring millions of dollars into Islamic teachers and materials particularly directed at the youth. However, it seems to be having the opposite effect as disillusioned youth are turning to Christ in increasing numbers.
In 2006, the Iranian government said there were 106,000 Christians in their country of 78 million. However, this number is suspect. Since it is against the law for Muslims to become Christian the government did not include those type of conversions or any estimates of the size of the underground church that is also illegal.
In 2015, Open Door USA estimated there was over 450,000 Christians in Iran. However, if recent reports are accurate, this number is probably low.
- Islamic clerics warn against spread of Christianity in the most Islamic city in Iran: Mohabat News
- Iranian youths mass converting to Christianity despite Islamic indoctrination, government’s efforts: Christian Post
- Christianity is rapidly growing in Iran: CBN News
- Persecuted Christian says most Muslims come to faith through visions and dreams, not by evangelists: Christian Post