In an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), Mike Ansari the director of Mohabat TV said the growth of the underground church in Iran is defying all odds.
Over the last several years, the Iranian government has been cracking down on the Christians forcing many underground into the house church movement. Despite the persecution and some say because of it the Iranian underground church has become one of the fastest growing Christian movements in the world.
As evidence, the Mohabat released edited photos of 20 Iranians being secretly water baptized inside Iran. Ansari told CBN, some of those believers had been waiting years for the opportunity to be baptized.
Mohabat TV started in 2006 and is broadcasting the Gospel in the Farsi language into Iran 24 hours a day. They estimate that last year 20% of Iranians (16 million people) viewed at least one of their gospel programs either on their cell phone or satellite TV.
He added that many of the younger Iranians are becoming increasingly disillusioned about what is happening in their country.
Nathan Rostampour, who offers a program on Mohabat TV on how to safely operate a house church in Iran, told CBN:
“The government is afraid of Christianity. They are very scared of the Bible and they realize many Iranians are attracted to Christianity.
The government persecutes them, hoping to undo the effect, but the result is the opposite as more come to faith.”
But the Holy Spirit is not only moving in Iran but among other Muslim groups as well.
According to a report by Christian Aid Mission (CAM), Syrian refugees in Spain are also turning to Christ in droves.
In an interview with CAM, Pablo, a minister with a small indigenous ministry working with CAM, told the story of Amer. His family (including his wife and two teenage children) had made their way to Germany and were later resettled in Spain, where they came in contact with Pablo’s ministry.
Initially the family wanted nothing to do with an organization run by Christians.
But barriers began to break down when Pablo’s group found the family a home. Finding housing has been difficult for Syrian families particularly since the August terrorist attacks in Barcelona as many are not wanting to rent to refugees.
Because they can easily find other accommodations, church members in Pablo’s group responded by giving up their homes and renting them to the Syrian families.
Pablo’s group also hosts events such as Syrian food festivals to build bridges to refugees.
He says that the love and compassion his group shows the Syrians is such a stark contrast to the brutality they experienced at the hands of the Islamic state that they slowly begin to change their minds on what they have been taught about Christians.
Amer and his family eventually became believers and are now members of a house church.
Pablo says his group has started over 60 house churches among Syrian refugees and explained the secret for his success:
“We train the first believer to share Christ with his family, other relatives and neighbors and he teaches the others to do it. So then every believer does the same thing — he has to start a new church. They meet in accountability groups where they discuss evangelizing they did each week, what they didn’t do…..”
God is moving among people in the middle East and one of the more unusual stories in the Old Testament involving the Tabernacle of David sets the stage for what we see happening today.
In the account recorded in (2 Samuel 6:6-15), King David decided to move the Ark of the Covenant from the Tabernacle of Moses in Kiriath-jearim (2 Samuel 6) to a tent David had set up in Jerusalem. It would be known as the Tabernacle of David.
As they were transporting the Ark, it shifted on the cart and Uzzah reached out to steady it and was immediately struck dead.
Stunned by what happened, King David must have thought he made a huge mistake removing the Ark from the Tabernacle of Moses and he stopped the transfer. They quickly stored the Ark at the nearby home of Obed-edom and David returned to Jerusalem:
10 And David was unwilling to move the ark of the Lord into the city of David with him; but David took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite.
11 Thus the ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household.
12 Now it was told King David, saying, “The Lord has blessed the house of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, on account of the ark of God.” David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the city of David with gladness. (2 Samuel 6:10-12 NASV)
But here is the key. Obed-edom was not a Jew he was a gentile and an incredible thing began to happen. God began to bless Obed-edom.
When this news reached David, he realized God was not against moving the ark to Jerusalem, but the Lord opposed how it was being done.
David then properly completed the transfer and set up the Ark in the Tabernacle of David in Jerusalem. Years later the Ark of the Covenant would be moved into the Temple built by David’s son Solomon.
But for three months, God’s Presence blessed a simple gentile farmer. He would be an ancient ancestor of some of those living in the Middle East today.
Centuries later the prophet Amos gave a powerful prophetic word that God wanted to restore the Tabernacle of David — not the Tabernacle of Moses or the majestic Temple of Solomon, but rather this simple tent set up by David.
In addition, Amos said when God restored the Tabernacle of David, gentiles would flow into the Kingdom of God:
“In that day I will raise up the fallen [a]booth of David,
And wall up its breaches;
I will also raise up its ruins
And rebuild it as in the days of old;
12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom
And all the nations who are called by My name,”
Declares the Lord who does this. (Amos 9:11-12 NASV)
What happened to Obed-edom became a promise for all gentiles — a promise that was ultimately fulfilled in the church (Acts 15: 13-22).
- 20 Iranian Christian embark on secret journey to celebrate baptism: CBN
- Fruitful Strategy Wins Muslims in Spain: Christian Aid Mission
- Syrian refugees in Spain ‘frustrated with Islam’ embracing Christianity at dramatic rate: Gospel Herald