Christianity in Iran Growing Despite Persecution
BY: Amanda Casanova / Religion Today Contributing Writer
Watchdog groups are reporting that as many as one million Muslim converts are risking prison or death in Iran by worshiping as part of a house church movement.
Open Doors USA estimates there are about 450,000 practicing Christians in Iran. Others estimate more than 1 million.
According to Fox News, The Pars Theological Center is training some 200 Iranian Christians to become the next generation of Iran’s Christian leaders.
“Pars sees this as a real chance to train agents of change who would transform the Iranian society from the bottom up by fostering a grassroots development of the values of Jesus in an Iranian style,” a source close to the center told The Christian Post.
“It is not anti-Iranian,” the source said. “It’s an Iranian movement. It’s a great, great number of Muslims turning to Christ.”
The persecution of Christians started in Iran in 1979 after Christians faced death and torture. Today, about 100 Christians are still in prison from under that time of rule.
In 2010, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the underground house churches “threaten the Islamic faith and deceive young Muslims.”
The Iranian government has imprisoned many Christians. Pastor Farshid Fathi has been imprisoned since 2010 for what the Iranian government called “actions against national security.” Fathi had reportedly distributed Bibles printed in Farsi.
Another minister, Pastor Behnam Irani is imprisoned for “actions against the state.” He is to serve six years after preaching to a group of Christians at a house church.
Publication date: March 8, 2016