CHURCH GROWS UNDER PERSECUTION

For the gospel did not did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, … 1 Thessalonians 1:5

Missionary strategists have been reporting for some time that Iran is experiencing the most impressive surge of church growth on the planet. Elam Ministries in England says more Iranians have become Christians since 1979 than in the previous 1,300 years. Some organisations estimate that there could be as many as 800,000 to 1 million believers in the country.

The political, economic, and spiritual situation in Iran resulted in a deep spiritual hunger for truth. Iran may be a closed land, but the people have open hearts. Iranians today are seen as the most open Muslim people to the Gospel in the world. As Elam reported, more have become Christians since the revolution than the previous 1,300 years put together.

But Iran is also one of the most difficult places on earth to be a Christian because of persecution from the hard-line Islamic government. Believers are jailed and tortured. Churches are forced to meet in secrecy. Yet one ministry there has reported that so many people are being converted they can’t keep enough Farsi Bibles in stock to give to new believers.

Iran-church

Elam Ministries says Iranian churches typically have between eight to 12 members only. To stay safely off the radar, the small churches multiply quietly. But this method of small-group discipleship actually produces stronger Christians than a bigger church would. Elam also reports that many people make decisions for Jesus after watching Christian television broadcasts.

In May of this year, Iran’s intelligence minister, Mahmoud Mahmoud Alavi, gave a speech to Muslim clerics in which he publicly decried the alarming growth of Christian faith. He announced that mass religious conversion to Christianity is “happening right before our eyes.”

Iran’s revival is also gaining more attention because of the new film Lambs Among Wolves, Vol. 2, a documentary produced by Frontier Alliance International Studios. One unidentified church leader in the movie asks: “What if I told you the mosques are empty inside Iran? What if I told you no one follows Islam inside of Iran? Would you believe me? This is exactly what is happening inside of Iran.” If you have not seen Lambs Among Wolves Vol 1 & 2 then do so and spread the word amongst your Christian friends that these videos are great evangelism tools. Joel Richardson (Joels Trumpet and The Underground) works with Frontier Alliance and I am confident that I have promoted these videos on previous posts.

GOD IS BUILDING HIS CHURCH IN INDIA DESPITE PERSECUTION

Source Premier News Service

The number of converts to Christianity continues to rise across India, despite growing acts of violence towards believers after Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi was re-elected as Prime Minister.  Pastor Kumar Swamy of the All India Christian council said “One particular incident took place in the state of Pradesh where a church were having their prayer meeting, which was disrupted. ” Around 50 Hindu extremists were trying to stop the prayer meeting and harassed and manhandled the pastor.”  Pastor Swamy recalled the struggle of sharing the gospel in Indian villages.

He said: “I shared my testimony and a group of people started attacking me with stones, I got hurt and was bleeding.  That’s the scene almost every day in the country as we share our faith.”  He continued: “But today in the same village, by God’s grace, we have around 15 churches planted.

“On one hand, there is attacks, threats and bloodshed but on the other hand, God is growing his church in the midst of this persecution and this will be the story of India.” 

Christian leaders have joined together to raise their concerns for the safety of India’s Christian community following the recent election results. Plans have been made to meet with the Prime Minister to request increased security for religious minorities.  Pastor Swamy said: “The Christian Council is planning to lead a delegation of Christian leaders, to meet our Prime Minister, and our Home Minister, to give us protection and freedom.  “We feel it’s important to enlighten our Prime Minister, and assure him that we will be praying and standing with him that God will give him the wisdom to rule this nation with peace.”  According to Pastor Swamy, education and an ongoing dialogue between the government and religious minorities is needed in order to bring about lasting change.