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Iranian House Church Leader’s Martyrdom Prompts Muslim Curiosity About Christ

By Allie Martin

AgapePress (03/07/06)

Iranian House Church Leader’s Martyrdom Prompts Muslim Curiousity

Islamic terrorists recently stabbed to death a Christian cell church pastor in Iran for refusing to renounce his faith. The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) has learned that Pastor Ghorban Tourani, a convert to Christianity from Islam, died after being invited by Turkmen religious leaders to join a meeting — an invitation he accepted in hopes of sharing Christ with them.

During the meeting, however, members pressured Ghorban to deny Jesus Christ and return to Islam. The pastor refused, and soon after leaving the meeting he was contacted by one of the participants, who claimed he wanted to learn how to become a Christian.

The pastor agreed to meet with the man, who failed to show up at the appointed time and place. Afterward, Pastor Ghorban was attacked on his way home and stabbed to death. Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs, a ministry to the persecuted Church, says the minister’s death has affected many people.

“I think the amazing thing about the story of Pastor Ghorban and his martyrdom is how God has used it to build the church,” Nettleton says. “Our contacts in Iran have said how even his own family, his wife and children, have been encouraged in their faith by seeing the way Pastor Ghorban lived and died.”

The body of the recently martyred house church leader was laid to rest — without benefit of a funeral — in an obscure corner of a Muslim cemetery. The VOM spokesman says this is because Muslims consider Christian remains unclean and unfit to be buried next to Muslim corpses.

According to the VOM’s sources, many hard-line Muslims in the area are now curious about Christianity as a result of the courageous Christian leader’s death. “We’ve been told that his story has now spread throughout the ethnic Turkmen community in Northern Iran ,” Nettleton notes, “and many Turkmen people are asking questions about Christianity. They are asking about Pastor Ghorban and why a man would be willing to die for his faith in Jesus Christ.”

Even as the members of Ghorban’s Christian community mourn, they are encouraged by the groundswell of interest in Christianity that his murder has created. The Iranian Christians are trusting that God can use the pastor’s death to bring about a great revival among Turkmen people and are asking fellow believers to pray that God will bless his sacrifice to that effect.