Iranian Ministry Reaches Millions with the Gospel
By Martin Hopman
07/07/2021 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – “I hated every one of you because I considered all of you infidels and blasphemers. I used to insult you all the time in my comments on your social media. I cursed you all the time. But your response was always gentle and full of love. This made me even more angry.”
Iran, an officially Shia Islamic country known for its harsh religious enforcement, has long been closed to the outside world. This makes sharing the Gospel and practicing Christianity challenging, forcing the church underground.
However, the purported religious uniformity of Iran by its regime may be far from the reality of its religious demography. A survey released in February of this year by a Dutch research organization named GAMAAN showed a startling amount of religious diversity amongst Iranians, in which only a third of participants claimed to be Shia Muslims.
With the advent and rapid spread of the internet over the last 20 years, Christian ministry to countries like Iran has become easier for accessing information and communication. This flourishing of online activity and Iran’s increasing religious diversity has led the regime to increase its scrutiny of online platforms and attempt to heavily regulate internet use within the nation.
Throughout the past 20 years, an evangelistic ministry founded by Iranian Christians in America has sought to provide encouragement, counsel, and prayer to Iranians seeking help. Partnering with ICC and utilizing satellite TV, radio, and social media, this ministry has spread the Gospel message throughout Iran, assisting the underground Church and anyone willing to listen.
Although not welcomed by the government, the content offers citizens a lifeline when all other sources of hope fail. “One day, one of my close friends had a horrible car accident. His skull and neck were broken…Full of despair, that night I watched your program. On the program, you said, ‘It is never too late for God to do a miracle. What is impossible with man is possible with God. He says, Ask and it shall be given to you.’ So right away I called you and you prayed for my friend.”
In a nation governed by a strict religious legalism, the effect is transformative. “The next morning, my friend’s family called me and said a miracle had happened. My friend was conscious, had opened his eyes, and could recognize everybody. Involuntarily, I fell on my knees, started crying, and called out loud the name of Jesus…Today, I am a child of God and follower of Christ.”
This kind of ministry has been particularly impactful for women, who have suffered greatly at the hands of an oppressive society. One woman recounted being raised in the Islamic tradition and learning to hate it, as women are property of their husbands or fathers. When she did marry, she was abused by her husband for nine years. But after having been exposed to the Gospel via the ministry’s satellite channel, she found her husband broken down and crying.
“Soon my husband started reading the Bible and he started changing. Now, he paid attention to me, showed kindness and a great supernatural love towards me. Then I started reading the Bible for myself. I learned that the God of the Bible sees men and women as equally important…So, when I saw the change in my husband, and after reading the Bible, my heart was touched, and I gave my life to Jesus.”
This Gospel program reaches millions of Iranians. ICC’s partnership has provided support throughout the years to assist this ministry despite every new and continued challenge presented by the government.