Iranian Christian Revival!

Portions of the following article are originally from WND.com

….the nation of Iran is presently experiencing the greatest Christian revival in the world. In my opinion, more American Christians need to be on their faces praying for the Iranian people rather than openly calling for war. Of course, there are no easy answers here, but among those calling for war, I see very few who are beginning in the place of prayer,” Richardson told WND.

He recently was a guest on a show broadcast via satellite into Iran hosted by Pastor Hormoz Shariat, Ph.D., who is known as “the Billy Graham of Iran.” His television show on the Shabakeh7, or Network 7, channel is so popular that Shariat is said to be the third most recognizable figure in Iran after Ayatollah Khamanei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

A former research scientist, he now helps leads Iran Alive Ministries, which operates the Shabakeh7 channel and it’s 24-hour a day programming into Iran.

The name Shabekah7 is a reference to the fact that there are six official television stations in Iran. Although Shabekah7 is an outside station beamed in via satellite, it is estimated to be watched far more than the official networks.

Although satellite dishes are technically illegal in Iran, more than 60 percent of the homes have one.

“It’s a bit of a joke actually,” said one of the station’s producers. “The government confiscates the dishes, and then turns right around and sells them back to the people. In fact, satellite dishes are so abundant in Iran, that they are jokingly referred to as the unofficial national flower    of Iran.”

With tensions between Iran, the United States and Israel running extremely high over Iran’s uranium enrichment and weapons programs, some Americans have been openly calling for the U.S. or Israel to attack Iran. Richardson, however, cautions that such an attack could have drastic negative ramifications.

Further pointing to the profound moment of societal, religious and cultural shaking taking place in Iran, the Iran Alive website added:

Violence and crime are on the rise as Iran has the highest drug use per capita in the world. Out of desperation, people are turning to drugs and prostitution to escape the pain of their seemingly hopeless situation. With the prevalence of crime and addiction, there is a growing public opinion that something is fundamentally wrong with Islam and people are seeking change in multiple ways: politically, spiritually and culturally. In this unique season of the spiritual revolution Iran Alive Ministries has the opportunity to greatly impact the next generation of Iranians who are desperately searching for the transformation of their country.

Since its work began, Iran Alive Ministries has documented more than 21,000 salvations. The mission statement of Iran Alive Ministries is: “Transforming Iran into a Christian nation in this generation.”

Though some skeptics claim that this goal is far too optimistic and unrealistic, Iran Alive workers are not deterred.

“Despite tremendous resistance, the church in Iran right now is growing at a rate of 20 percent per year. Conservative estimates claim that there are presently between 2 to 7 million Christians in Iran. Most of these are newer converts. At the rate the present revival is spreading, in just a few years, that level of growth could be truly explosive,”

“It is absolutely essential that the American and Western church wake up right now to this moment of opportunity to bring Jesus to the Iranian people, who are so deeply hungering for the freedom and eternal life that only he offers. In any generation, the goal of the prophetic church is to recognize what God is doing in the earth, and then get behind it. We must get fully behind ministries like Iran Alive. Jesus said that we must recognize the harvest before us. If there is anywhere in the world where the fields are white, it is Iran. But we must act before the window of opportunity closes.”

 

2 comments on “Iranian Christian Revival!

  1. We are conditioned to follow events relating to the “persecuted Church” in almost purely negative terms: how much suffering, torture, deprivation, violence, harassment , murder. As a Christian who, among other things, prays earnestly for Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani (see archives) and for evangelism throughout the Muslim world, I will certainly be taking a much closer look at Iran Alive Ministries!

  2. Info from Wikipedia can put the word “Revival” into perspective:
    According to Acts 2:9 in the Acts of the Apostles there were Persians, Parthians and Medes among the very first new Christian converts at Pentecost. Since then there has been a continuous presence of Christians in Persia/Iran.
    During the apostolic age, Christianity began to establish itself throughout the Mediterranean. However, a quite different Christian culture developed on the eastern borders of the Roman Empire and in Persia. Syriac Christianity owed much to preexistent Jewish communities and the Aramaic language. This language was most probably spoken by Jesus, and, in various modern forms is still spoken by the Assyrian Christians in Iran today (see Assyrian Neo-Aramaic and Senaya language). From Persian ruled Assyria (Assuristan), missionary activity established the Saint Thomas Christians of India and the Nestorian Stele and Daqin Pagodain China.
    Early Christian communities straddling the Roman-Persian border were in the midst of civil strife. In 313, when Constantine I proclaimed Christianity to be a tolerated religion in the Roman Empire, the Sassanid rulers of Persia adopted a policy of persecution against Christians, including the double-tax of Shapur II in the 340s. Christians were feared as a subversive and possibly disloyal minority. In the early 5th century official persecution increased once more. However, from the reign of Hormizd III (457–459) serious persecutions grew less frequent and the church began to achieve recognised status. Political pressure within Persia and cultural differences with western Christianity were mostly to blame for theNestorian schism, in which the Persian church was labelled heretical. The bishop of the Persian capital, Ctesiphon, acquired the title first of catholicos, and then patriarch completely independent of any Roman/Byzantine hierarchy.
    Persia is considered by some to have been briefly officially Christian. Khosrau I married a Christian wife, and his son Nushizad was also a Christian. When the king was taken ill at Edessa a report reached Persia that he was dead, and at once Nushizad seized the crown and made the kingdom Christian. Very soon the rumour was proven false, but Nushizad was persuaded by persons who appear to have been in the pay of Justinian to endeavour to maintain his position. The action of his son was deeply distressing to Khosrau; it was necessary to take prompt measures, and the commander, Ram Berzin, was sent against the rebels. In the battle which followed Nushizad was mortally wounded and carried off the field. In his tent he was attended by a Christian bishop, probably Mar Aba I, and to this bishop he confessed his sincere repentance for having taken up arms against his father, an act which, he was convinced, could never win the approval of Heaven. Having professed himself a Christian he died, and the rebellion was quickly put down.
    Many old churches remain in Iran from the early days of Christianity. The Church of St. Mary in northwestern Iran for example, is considered by some historians to be the second oldest church in Christendom after the Church of Bethlehem in the West Bank. A Chinese princess, who contributed to its reconstruction in 642 AD, has her name engraved on a stone on the church wall. The famous Italian traveller Marco Polo also described the church in his visit.
    The Islamic conquest of Persia, in the 7th century, was originally beneficial to Christians as they were a protected minority under Islam. However, from about the 10th century religious tension led to persecution once more. The influence of European Christians placed Asian Christians in peril during the Crusades. From the mid 13th century, Mongol rule was a relief to Persian Christians until the Mongols adopted Islam. The Christian population gradually declined to a small minority. Christians disengaged from mainstream society and withdrew into ethnic ghettos (mostly Aramaic and Armenian speaking).
    In the 18th and 19th centuries, Protestant missionaries began to evangelize Persia. Work was directed towards supporting the extant churches of the country while improving education and health care. Unlike the older, ethnic churches, these evangelical Protestants began to engage with the ethnic Persian Muslim community. Their printing presses produced much religious material in various languages. Some Persians subsequently converted to Protestantism and their churches still thrive within Iran (using the Persian language).

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