From God Reports:
Chaffing under repressive Islam, young Iranians are secretly turning to Christ in record numbers, and Iranian-born Shahrokh Afshar wanted to be part of the revival. So he filmed 13 programs for young people and offered them to SAT7, which broadcasts Christian programming into Iran via satellite.
“Iran is 25% 14 years or younger. Iran has the largest number of drug addicts per capita in the world. Alcoholism, prostitution. The economy sucks; it’s like 15% unemployment,” Afshar said. “Life is very very hard for the average young Iranian. There wasn’t much being done as far as programs are concerned to reach out to these kids.”
Iran has the fastest-growing evangelical population in the world (estimated at 19.6% by Operation World in 2015), despite an atrocious human rights record against people who abandon Islam, according to Christian Today. In fact, the explosive growth has overloaded the religious police.
A network of underground home churches thrives, and at least six satellite stations broadcast Christian programs continually into Iran. Afshar personally knows of 400 house churches with 5000 members. The number of Muslim converts to Christianity was “a handful” before 1971. Now, it is perhaps 1 million.
The Iranian Church is under a government that hates Christianity with more open violence and more stuffed prison cells than Sweden, or France, or Canada.
But, unlike the rotting church in those rotting secular states, the Iranian Church is on the grow.
She remembers her Lord, and her Lord remembers her: and, unlike the temporary and bitter retreat of the Church in Iraq, the Church in Iran will triumph over enemies, God willing — not just spiritually, but in history, in time and on earth.
Why the Church in Iraq failed is worth investigating, especially if you, like me, expects the faith to be victorious on this earth, with only temporary setbacks. I would note the strength of home churches in Iran, and the more modern Protestant cast of that branch of Christ’s Body: and compare that to the general ethnic (Assyrian) flavour of the Church in Iraq.
God does not want His church to be limited to a particular ethnic group: and it always seems to take a bloodbath to break those blood ties. It happened in Europe — does anyone associate Christianity with White Western Europeans anymore? Anyone? Anyone? — it happened in the US (from the Civil War to the Abortion Slaughter), and it happened to Iraq.
(And it even happened to the early Church in the Jewish Wars,leading up to the destruction of the Temple on 70 AD.)
Also: Orthodoxy/Eastern Christianity does not aim for victory, or Divine Law and Justice, or expanding the Kingdom of Christ. Instead, there is this escapist emphasis on mysticism, and suffering; of keeping things the same, of keeping the Spirit bottled up and under control of the Elders… and of not pushing missionary and conversion activity, “because it might anger our Muslim overlords.”
Now, how did that work out for the Church in Iraq?
Crawling before evil – be it Islamic, or be it Secular – only invites the wicked enemies of God to press the attack, to increase the level of oppression and lies, restrictions and public contempt… and, in the fullness of time, rape, theft, murder, and extermination.
Just as their master in hell encourages them to.
All either publicly celebrated by the hostile mainstream media, or passed in silence, with empty distractions pushed before the public.
Christians cannot afford to live in ghettos (physical or cultural), walled in by their loathsome enemies… or by treasonous clergy, their fears of the Power of Man, and their need to control their petty kingdoms.
The Faith must expand. The Kingdom of God must grow.
There is no substitute for this.