Government Control Slipping in Iran as the People Thirst for Freedom: Part 2
If you missed it, check out Part 1 first.
10/04/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Pastor Rasoul Heydari, who leads a Persian ministry called Everlasting Hope, wants Christianity to grow even more visible inside Iran. He has initiated an outreach campaign with a unique twist. He is encouraging believers to write the phrase “God is love” on the walls of the city as a sign of protest against the lack of religious freedom for Christians.
This campaign stands out, as many Iranians are not ignorant of the persecution that Christians face at the hands of the regime. The government attempts to maintain a delicate balance of raising enough awareness about the illegality of Christian activities, without actually encouraging Church growth.
The graffiti is a reminder to Iranians why they are protesting: to end the regime’s oppression. Pastor Rasoul explained to Mohabat News, “This is a fight against oppression, in the sense that it promotes knowledge of the true God. I wouldn’t call it civil disobedience, as we’re not calling on people to disobey any rule.”
“Rather,” he continued, “we encourage them to make the true God known to the people around them. We’re commissioned to give the good news of salvation to all. Many Iranian youths are turning from God because they don’t have an understanding of the true God.”
His graffiti campaign, while a simple message, helps chip away at the walls preventing Gospel outreach in Iran. After all, Iranians often speak about how the culture lacks a concept of love and openness. The possibility of these values existing in reality is a foreign concept to many Iranians, and a message that many are eager to hear.
One underground believer shared about her recent conversion, “I felt a love from God that I never felt before and a joy I never experienced before. I started to cry for hours after two years and the frog that was in my throat burst because of the love of Christ that I received and it was like a bomb went off inside of me… I became madly in love with Jesus and I felt His love for me and he never abused me or hurt me ever.”
It was because of someone courageously sharing the Gospel that this believer, and countless others, have encountered the transformative love of Christ. Whether it is through the boldness of graffiti or direct conversation, the unrest in Iran undoubtedly presents a unique opportunity for Iranians to encounter Christianity more directly. As more Iranians convert, the regime, however, shifts its focus toward building more walls to maintain control of its citizens.
Dr. Shariat explained, “As Christianity is growing fast in Iran, the top religious leaders are alarmed. They then put pressure on the Revolutionary Guard’s security police as, ‘What are you doing to stop Christians?’… The strategy of the government is not a widespread arrest and execution. Their strategy is to arrest a few, but publicize their arrest to put fear in the hearts of 1-3 million Christians and make them isolated, fearful, and prisoners in their homes.”
“In the wake of [the] worsening sociopolitical [and] economic situation in Iran, we see an increased level of persecution against Christians in the country,” added Lazarus Yeghnazar of 222 Ministries. “As history has shown, like any despotic regime at the last hours of their brutal control, I expect that the clerics in Iran (which virtually are the government!) will become more bitter, mindless, and unpredictable.”
“Sadly, most are deeply corrupt by all counts and simply punish the ‘house church’ and its leaders because they are angry that Christianity is stealing away from their blind adherents, hence endangering their existence. We, the free Christians in the West, need to stand in the gap in united prayer,” he continued.
Months of unrest clearly show that Iran’s political powers are transforming; yet, the greatest transformation is happening within the souls of Iranians. Whether it is through graffiti or other means of outreach, Christianity is spreading throughout Iran. The country’s Islamic regime has lost control over the mechanics of governance as well as its grasp over directing people’s souls. Iran is at a historical crossroad, and many dare to hope that Iran will walk down the path of religious and political freedom.
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