All posts tagged: Iran

Judge rules that it is not illegal to attend a house Church in Iran

Morning Star News is reporting a surprise turn of events in Iran, when a judge overturned the conviction of Homayoun Zhaveh, 64, and his wife, Sara Ahmadi, 45, who had been found guilty of attending a home church in 2020. Despite persecution, Iran has one of the fastest-growing Christian populations in the world In 2019, Iran’s Intelligence Minister, Mahmoud Alavi, warned Muslim clerics at a gathering of Islamic leaders about the growth of Christianity in their country, Iranwire reported. He told the group that Muslims are converting to Christianity because they wanted peace and were tired of the violence being propagated by Islamic clerics. In an effort to hinder Christianity’s growth, the country’s intelligence agencies claimed that participation in house churches was a political threat to the country’s security. However, in overturning the conviction of the two Iranian Christians, the Appeals Court judge ruled that it was not illegal to attend a house church in Iran. He even suggested that it was ‘natural’ for people with a common faith to gather together. “The reports by …

Iranian-born MMA fighter tells his people there is freedom in Jesus

UFC fighter, Beneil Dariush, 33, who was born in Iran but now lives in the US recently testified of Jesus after his eighth consecutive MMA win, CBN reports. After the fight held on Oct 22, 2022, a reporter asked Dariush about his victory. Instead of talking about himself, he directed his comments to the Iranian people fighting for freedom in the tyrannical Islamic regime. Dairush told the Iranians that there is only freedom in Jesus. CBN reports: “I need to dedicate this fight to: My people in Iran. I know you’re struggling,” he said. “I know you’re fighting for freedom. I know it’s a tough struggle. I want you guys to know we’re praying for you, and we love you.” “Let me tell you one more thing. This might be the most important thing you’ll ever hear: there is true freedom, a freedom that no one can take from you in the name of Jesus Christ, the son of God,” he said. “Don’t ever forget that. If you remember one thing I say, remember that.” …

Iran? Russia? and maybe China? What is happening to our world?

The news is getting scary. You have probably heard that people in Iran are demonstrating against their government, and things are getting violent. The news, where I live, is that an army base has been attacked. In Russia, there are other problems. We know about the Russian army attacking Ukraine, a close neighbor. It’s now a complicated story, and the Government of Russia is bringing compulsory military service, to keep their effort going. Apparently, people in Russia are not happy about this, and they are demonstrating in the streets. Russia is the largest country in the world in terms of landmass. In China, things seem to be more peaceful, and there doesn’t seem to be a violent crisis. COVID lock-downs are still happening, but young adults are not getting married and having babies, and the population is declining. A younger generation of new adults is distracted by the stress of living, in their country. This may seem trivial, but over time, a smaller population will mean a smaller economy, and that will be a smaller …

Iranian believers sentenced under country’s amended anti-conversion law

Morning Star News, an organization sharing stories about persecuted Christians around the world, is reporting the first sentencing of Iranian Christians under Iran’s newly amended law targeting the conversion of Muslims to the Christian faith. Under Article 500, the Iranian government can now sentence individuals up to five years, if they are found guilty of sharing “any deviant education or propaganda that contradicts or interferes with the sacred Sharia [Islamic law].” Those found guilty under the new law, that came into effect on March 5, 2021, can also be prevented from voting for 15 years and fined upwards of 40 million tomans (US$1,600). Prior to this amendment, Iranians were charged with actions against the Iranian state (Articles 498 and 499) and typically received jail terms of six months. The recent amendment provides Iranian prosecutors an additional tool that they can use to stop the spread of Christianity in the Islamic regime, as it allows them to tack on additional charges against Christian converts. Morning Star noted that three men, Amin Khaki, Milad Goudarzi and Alireza …

Baptismal service in Iran Photo: Elam Ministries

Something Good From a Pandemic

We might have missed the news, but the COVID pandemic has produced a strange effect in Iran. The nation is an Islamic Republic governed by conservative Shiite Muslims, but millions of people are moving to Christianity. This is a scenario that generates religious persecution; the government is strict and it does not like this change. Iran has also suffered from the pandemic after receiving the virus early from China. To protect people from the virus, many prisoners have been released, including many persecuted Christians. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” (Romans 8: 35) READ: Iran Releases a Third of Christian Prisoners Due to Coronavirus Concerns

Twitter slammed for its hypocrisy

Several have slammed Twitter for flagging a tweet of US President Donald Trump for promoting a video of medical doctors talking about the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine as a Covid treatment, while allowing Iran’s Ayatollah to call for a Jewish genocide. The Daily Mail explains: Twitter has been slammed for its double standards for flagging posts by Donald Trump while Iran‘s Ayatollah can call for ‘genocide’ of the Israeli people. The social media giants says the dictator’s anti-Semitic tweets calling Israel a ‘cancerous growth’ pass as ‘commentary on political issues of the day’, while President Trump’s tweets ‘could inspire harm’.  During a Knesset hearing on antisemitism in social media Wednesday, human rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovsky questioned why the President’s tweets were flagged but not those of Ayatollah Khamenei, who  ‘literally called for the genocide of Israel and the Jewish people’.  READ: Twitter is slammed for flagging Donald Trump’s tweets on hydroxy because they ‘could inspire harm’ while allowing Iran’s Ayatollah to call for ‘genocide in Israel’ because it is ‘commentary’ Apparently, the President’s recommendation of a commonly used malaria drug …

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard arrests 12 Christians with aid of house church infiltrators

According to a report by Article 18, an organization dedicated to monitoring religious freedoms in Iran, between June 30 and July 1, 2020, the country’s Revolutionary Guard arrested over 12 Christians in three cities — Malayer, Karaj and Tehran. In addition to this, officials also secured the identities of dozens of other Christians. Article 18 reported that about 10 agents with the Revolutionary Guard stormed a house church of about 30 people in Tehran. They arrested six people who were blindfolded, handcuffed and taken away. The families have no idea where they are. Five of the people arrested were Muslims who had converted to Christianity which is illegal in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The remainder had their cell phones seized and were forced to sign forms that the Revolutionary Guard had “not” taken their phones. The Revolutionary Guard then went to the homes of people attending the house church meeting, including the six arrested, to search for Bibles and Christian literature. Others who were not at the house church meeting were also arrested as …

The new world that we can’t see

Iran is often in the news. That country was one of the first outside of China to have an outbreak of the Coronavirus, and we all heard the stories. Other news about Iran is often hidden, but many things are happening in that nation. Reports are coming from Iran that changes have already happened in that society, on a huge scale. Recently, top government leaders have begun to admit that people are changing in their society. When the government secrecy is removed, I think the world will be surprised by the new Iran. READ: Iranian official: mass conversions ‘are happening right under our eyes’

Some religions depend on pilgrimages

Worshipping God is now complicated, and restricted. Some religions depend on pilgrimages and mass gatherings to keep the members faithful, and now they are fighting with their own governments. How much ‘critical mass’ do we need to believe? Can we remain faithful when we are not reinforced and surrounded by large numbers of other people, who are just as fervent as us? The virus pandemic is reducing religion to personal conviction. Remember, Jesus spoke to one person at a time, and asked each one to follow Him. READ: Shiite Hardliners in Iran Storm 2 Shrines That Were Closed to Stop Coronavirus Spread

Documentary tells of the explosive growth of the house church movement in Iran

According to a documentary released in August, the explosive growth of Christianity in Iran is a result of a rapidly expanding house church movement with most being led by women. The documentary entitled Sheep Among Wolves was produced by Frontier Alliance International (FAI) and looked at the growth of Christianity in Iran perhaps one of the most repressive regimes in the world. And we know Christianity is growing because of the repeated public statements made by Iranian officials and religious leaders in recent years warning of Christianity’s growth. In their video, FAI explained what was behind the unusual growth. In its trailer, the documentary noted: “The Iranian awakening is a rapidly-reproducing discipleship movement that owns no property or buildings, has no central leadership and is predominantly led by women.” In the video they were forced to disguise the Iranian believers because of fear of arrest. One Iranian Christian said “What if I told you the mosques are empty inside Iran.” He went on to say that the political and the elites are the ones who …

Iran’s intelligence minister warns about the spread of Christianity in that country

One thing can be certain, the Iranian Intelligence minister, Mahmoud Alavi, undoubtedly understated what is really going on in his country. According to Iranwire, Alavi recently called a meeting of Shia Clerics to discuss a growing problem of people converting to Christianity in Iran. There are two main branches of Muslims, Sunni and Shia. The basic difference between the two groups is that Shia believes the leader of Islam must be a direct descendant of Muhammad, while the Sunni do not believe this is necessary. Iran is primarily Shia in belief. Alavi told the group: “Christianity is spreading in parts of Iran.” He then explains why Iranians are becoming Christians. Basically, Muslims are tiring of the violence they are witnessing first-hand in Islam. Alavi said: “We had no choice but to summon them to ask them why they were converting. Some of them said they were looking for a religion that gives them peace. We told them that Islam is the religion of brotherhood and peace. They responded by saying that: ‘All the time we …

The notorious Evin Prison north of Tehran, Iran Credit: Yaadaavar/Flickr/Creative Commons

God displays His power in Iranian prison as Bible verses show up in an unusual way

Recently Open Doors USA interviewed Mojtaba Hosseini, 30, a former pastor of an Iranian house church, who was arrested by the Iranian secret police as a “threat against national security.” He had been previously arrested for leading a House Church and after his release immediately started leading a second group. This resulted in a second arrest and a three-year term in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison located outside Tehran reserved for political prisoners, murderers and drug dealers. After his release in 2015, Mojtaba left Iran and recently shared how God miraculously provided while he was in prison. He suffered in horrid conditions and admitted he was very scared. Initially he believed God was punishing him and spent hours repenting of his sins. That continued until God spoke to Mojtaba and told him to stop being so selfish and to look at the people around him. For the first time he saw the desperate people inside this prison and realized that God wanted him to share his faith with them. “It’s funny how God works sometimes. It …

Protests in Iran Credit: Javad Saharban/Flickr/Creative Commons

Christian pastor arrested in Iran as protests rage through the country

According to reports, Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani has once again been arrested by authorities. Plain clothed agents with Iran’s secret police arrived at Yousef’s home on July 22 and were trying to break down the door. When Yousef’s son opened the door to find out what was going on, he was immediately tasered and thrown to the floor. The Iranian agents then tasered pastor Yousef and brutally beat him in front of his family before arresting him and taking him away. The family found out later that the government transferred Yousef to the country’s notorious Evin Prison renown for its brutal treatment of religious and political prisoners. This isn’t the first time the Iranian secret police had arrested Yousef. In 2009, police arrested him for questioning school authorities on why his Christian children were being taught the Koran. Though the Iranian constitution guarantees religious freedom, the current government of Iran routinely ignores the law. At that time, the police charged Yousef with “apostasy,” as it is illegal in Iran for a Muslim to convert to …

Protests in Iran Credit: Javad Saharban/Flickr/Creative Commons

The New Islamic Revolution

Did you know there is a revolution among us? I don’t know if it will succeed, but it is starting, and it is huge. Check out this video to see the brave leaders of the revolution: In Bangladesh, high school students are protesting in large numbers, for bus safety. RELATED: Bangladesh teenagers demanding road safety paralyse Dhaka: BBC In Iran, mass protests are demanding a prosperous western-styled economy, without the restrictions from the Islamic revolution. RELATED: Iran protests spread to 10 cities in widest unrest since January: VOANews And in Sweden, a young woman stood up on a plane to prevent it from taking off because one of the passengers was being deported to Afghanistan. The plane did not leave and the man was removed, to be deported later. The young woman said “It’s not right to send people to hell.” Note that “hell” is a Muslim majority country, Afghanistan. That is strong language from a 21-year-old woman. RELATED: Swedish student stops deportation of Afghan man with protest streamed on Facebook: CNN Bangladesh, Iran, and …

God is moving in Iran. Tehran, Iran in the winter 2006 Credit: Siamax/Wikipedia

God continues to move in astounding ways among Muslims

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. …

Qom, Iran where many of the youth are turning to Christ. Credit: Graeme Wood/Flickr/Creative Commons

Muslim cleric warns of explosive growth of Christianity among Iranian youth

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 …

Ahvaz, Iran Credit: HOSSEIN MTP/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

129F (53.7C) — setting a heat record in Iran

I may have to eat my words, a quaint way of saying I was wrong. In a post a few months back, I was talking about some hot weather the earth experienced this past June, when locations in both the US and England were experiencing near record temperatures. I found it interesting because in the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John saw extreme heat as one of the judgments that God would pour in the earth in the end times: The fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun, and it was given to it to scorch men with fire. 9 Men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory. (Revelation 16:8-9 NASV) In my earlier post, Turning up the Heat, I noted that though it was extremely hot in these areas of the world in June, they were not temperatures records and because of that I stated: “I do not believe the …

Tehran, Iran Credit: rasool abbasi17/Wikipedia

Iran: Despite persecution mass conversions to Christ continue

The Iranian police have been busy these past few months arresting Christians. According to the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI), in September the police arrested 25 Iranians attending a church service in the city of Kerman. Other agencies reported similar raids in August when armed police arrested 11 Christians and confiscated Christian literature in Isfahan and nine more attending a house church meeting in Western Iran. Police also arrested five Christians in Firouz-Kouth County where according to Morning Star News, believers fear this arrest was intended to extract information on leaders of the house church movement in that area. Iran has one of worst records of Christian persecution in the world.  NCRI reported the Iranian government executed seven Christians on Christmas Day 2015. The death penalty can come into effect when a Muslim converts to Christianity. Just recently, the country’s sharia court sentenced three men to 80 lashes each for drinking communion wine at a house church meeting in Rasht. The three, that includes the group’s pastor, are also facing charges involving “action …

Muslim Shrine in Iran. You can see an image of the Ali Khomeni, the Supreme Leader of Iran, on the left. Photo: My life, the universe and ..../Flickr/Creative Commons

Christian population surging in Iran

Despite Iran’s heavy-handed crackdown, the Christian population in Iran is flourishing and growing rapidly. The country has a population of about 78 million. The official religion is Muslim, and on paper it allows other religions including Christianity. However, it is illegal for a Muslim and even members of other religions to convert to Christianity. Iran is an Islamic Republic and though there is an elected president, according to Iran’s constitution he is subject to the country’s “Supreme Leader” who is the highest ranking religious leader in the country — currently Ali Khomenei. Iran is made up primarily of Shia Muslim, the smaller of the two main branches of Islam, the larger being Sunni — ISIS comes out of this latter group. It is dangerous for a Muslim to convert to Christianity in Iran and aside from societal/family pressure can lead to imprisonment, torture and even death. As a result, most Iranian Muslims convert secretly, keeping it hidden from their family. One of those Muslims who converted to Christianity in Iran but didn’t keep it quiet …

Celebrating the Feast of Silvester in Burserberg, Austria. The feast which falls on December 31st marks the death of Pope Sylvester I who died on that day in 335 AD. The feast is celebrated in many European nations. Photo: BRainy Photography/Flickr/Creative Commons

Top ten stories of 2015

It has been an eventful year, so what were the top most read stories on  From first to tenth, actually eleventh due to a virtual tie for last place, here they are: Did the Bible predict beheadings by Muslim extremists? With gruesome stories coming out of the Middle East about ISIS beheading Christians, it is not surprising many Christians are wondering if this was mentioned at all in the Bible particularly as it related to the end times. Not surprisingly it does. This story topped the list with 7,868 reads in 2015. Sir Isaac Newton predicted world would end in 2060 AD End times events are on many people’s minds these days. Researchers studying the writings of Sir Isaac Newton, who died in 1727 AD, stumbled upon his prediction when Christ would return. Newton studied the Bible and particularly end time events. Why did he date Christ’s return to centuries later — in our day?   One more thing, from his study Newton also determined that Israel had to be restored back to the Promised …

There has been a 1,800% increase in YouVersion Bible app being used in Iran Photo: Colourful Iranian restaurant My Life the Universe and/Flickr

God by the Numbers: The Bible, Finland, and the Islamic Republic of Iran

While the world argues and bickers about important things, the foundations have shifted under our feet. “Relevant Issues” are dinosaurs, and we don’t see it. A church in Oklahoma has published a Bible app YouVersion, now downloaded 200 million times. One business estimate in 2014 said it might be worth 200 million dollars. They reached 100 million downloads in 2013 and 200 million in 2015. Have you ever been to Finland? Me neither; but while the world was fascinated with old European stuff in London, Paris and Rome, some people up north in the Finland woods moved the world. And they don’t get much credit. When DOS, MS Windows and Mac OS dominated the computer business, scientists quietly continued with UNIX, an operating system that belonged to everyone. Only serious nerds cared, until Linus Torvalds in Finland made the LINUX core into a free operating system that resembled Windows. Linus UNIX is Linux and it is free. Then the big money people got involved. Apple is possibly still the wealthiest corporation in the world, and …

Middle East hit by apocalyptic heat wave? Photo: Bedouins crossing Liwa desert, United Arab Emirates/Flickr/Globovision

Did the Bible predict the searing heat in the Middle East?

On July 31, 2015, temperatures in the city of Bandar Mahshahr, Iran hit a blistering 165F (74C), once you factored in the humid “feels-like” index. The air temperature was  (115F) or 46C. In terms of actual temperatures the hottest spot that day was Kuwait City where the temperature reached 118F (48C). Despite the Middle East’s largely desert-like condition, most countries have high humidity due to the Persian Gulf. The heat blast covered several Middle Eastern countries including  Iraq, Egypt, Unite Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and even Israel. After 8 days of heat exceeding 120 degrees, the Iraqi government declared a four-day holiday for all employees, no exceptions. In an interview with the New York Post, AccuWeather meteorologist Anthony Sagliani described the unusual heat this way: “That was one of the most incredible temperature observations I have ever seen and it is one of the most extreme readings ever in the world.” The Middle East is not the only regions experiencing extreme heat. In June, a heat wave resulted in 600 people dying in Pakistan. …

Did Iran’s Ayatollah spur the brutal attack against the Jerusalem Synagogue?

[by Dean Smith] On Tuesday (November 18, 2014), the world was stunned to hear about the attack on a Jerusalem synagogue by two Palestinian cousins that left five people dead and seven injured. Three of the dead were Americans and one was from Britain. The fifth was a policeman responding to the attack. The two men — Ghassan and Oday Abu Jamal — involved in the brutal assault, lived in East Jerusalem. They entered the synagogue during morning prayers and though people tried to defend themselves, they had little chance against the terrorists armed with meat cleavers and a gun.

Why is the Christian population exploding in Iran?

Iran is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a Christian, so why does the country have one of the fastest growing Christian populations in the world. Elam Ministries recently announced the release of a new Bible translated into modern Persian, the language of Iran. In its news release, the organization stated that in 1979, there were an estimated 500 Christians in Iran. Today, Christians number in the hundreds of thousands in that country. Speaking on behalf of Elam, David Yeghnazar said: “A very conservative estimate puts the number of Christians in Iran at 100,000.  The generally-accepted estimate is 370,000. Some believe there are 700,000, some over a million.”

Tehran, Iran Credit: rasool abbasi17/Wikipedia

Iranian Christians sentenced to 80 lashes for drinking communion wine

On October 6, four Iranian men were sentenced to 80 lashes each for drinking ceremonial wine as part of a communion service in their local house church. Alcohol is forbidden under Iran’s sharia law which governs the justice system and the death penalty is an option for any Muslim who converts to Christianity. Last December, Behzad Taalipasand, Mehdi Rez Omidi (Youhan), Mehdi Dadkhah (Danial) and Amir Hatemi (Youhanna) were attending a house church in Rasht, Iran, when the meeting was raided by Iranian police. According to sources, the portion of their name in brackets represents their Biblical names.