Local watchdog groups from Iran are reporting that as many as one million Muslims converted to Christianity are risking imprisonment or death penalty in Iran by worshiping Lord Jesus Christ as part of their house church movement.
Open Doors USA estimates there are approximately 450,000 + practicing Christians in Iran. Others surveys and reports estimate more than 1 million. They all face torture, imprisonment or the death sentence under Sharia law for not observing Islamic religious festivals and dress codes.
Thousands of persecuted Christians have fled the country, which saw Hossein Soodmand hanged in 2008 for following his faith in Jesus Christ.
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,” as reported by 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.
Iranians don’t know that they’re doing the very thing that will produce more Christians. “They don’t know that Christianity grows amid persecution.
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.