04
Apr
17

Underground Iranian Church


I came across this video after following links recommended by Jeanne T given in the comments section of a recent thread.


 

At the beginning of February I finished reading a book about the growth of Christianity in Iran. Too Many to Jail, by Mark Bradley. I thought I’d written a “review” of it here and wanted to link to the review after the above video. However, I couldn’t find it and suspect my memory was of an email I sent to a friend at the time.

 

The book tells of growth in the underground church in Iran, and suggests that Iran’s history and culture has prepared the country for the gospel.

In recent decades, the Islamic government of Ayatollah Khomeini , followed later by the Khomeini inspired Mahmoud Ahmadinejad presidency, caused a lot of disillusionment among Iranian Muslims who couldn’t reconcile the words and actions of “Allah’s representatives” with their own idea of what God was like.

Bradley also writes of other aspects of Iranian society that helped make Iranians look favourably upon Jesus and how some had been primed to respond to the gospel through dreams, visions and miracles before being led to someone who could share the truth with them.

 

After around 100 years of mission work leading up to Khomeini coming to power, traditional churches in Iran could only count around 500 believers – now motivated by home-grown house churches, the number of believers is thought to be in the 100s of thousands.

 

 

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10 Responses to “Underground Iranian Church”


  1. 1 Jeanne T.
    April 4, 2017 at 9:53 am

    Thanks for posting the book review. I’ve ordered it.

  2. April 4, 2017 at 10:06 am

    My pleasure.

    I thought I’d written a proper review early in February, but could only find an email to a friend where I gave a brief description. I adapted that description for this post.

    At the same time I downloaded the Joel Richardson video from Vimeo, I also found Better Friends Than Mountains filmed by Dalton Thomas. The version I saw seems to be abridged to half the length of a longer film that’s available to buy.
    Even in a shorter version it was encouraging to see mission work being done with refugees from ISIS – unlike so much of the reaction (even from believers) towards other refugees who’ve been able to make their way beyond the immediate conflict area.

    https://vimeo.com/120108506

  3. 3 Jeanne T.
    April 4, 2017 at 10:52 am

    The “Better Friends Than Mountains” ‘Special Edition’ has several extra features, so I guess that’s what you’re paying for. The film itself is the same length as the free Vimeo version and the one posted on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8iWet_-l3c. Same with the other films, I believe. But the extras are really good if you want to put out the money for them. And once you purchase the versions with the extras you can watch them as many times as you want.

    FYI, in ‘Sheep Among Wolves’, you’ll also hear the voice of Dalton Thomas’ mother near the end . At the time the film was made, she was also ministering in one of these restricted nations (not identified). This particular film and the testimonies of the Christians really touched me beyond words. I cannot watch it without weeping. While it is encouraging to hear how God is moving in these lands, at the same time the saints are paying with their lives. This film really gives you a good picture of the reality of life for Christians in these countries and all of the risks and precautions they must take. I do hope you can watch it.

    Even though we don’t know their names we can pray for these brothers and sisters. God knows them by name.

  4. April 4, 2017 at 11:00 am

    I’m now downloading Sheep Among Wolves to watch later.

  5. 5 Jeanne Marie
    April 5, 2017 at 2:03 am

    There is an church of Iranian believers in the area where we used to live in Northern Virginia. The pastor and his wife both escaped Iran several years ago. The wife (I think her name was Mina) began to question Islam very early in her life. She would ask such questions as why she could not pray in her own language; couldn’t Allah understand? Her older brother was very devout, a cleric, as I recall, and he would react very angrily toward her because she even asked the question. Muslims are not allowed to question anything. Later, she went to the university, and one day she was in the library, sitting at a table, when she felt something underneath the tabletop. She reached under and pulled desk and tried to turn it in. The librarian did not want it and told her to just keep it. She took it home and began reading it by flashlight, underneath the covers her bed. Because of what she read she eventually turned to Christ and began attending a secret home church. While she was there, she met a nice young man, but was naturally suspicious because the churches can be infiltrated by informants. One day her parents announced they had arranged a marriage for her with a Muslim man. When he came to the house to meet her, she was shocked to find out that it was the same young man she had seen in the church group. They became engaged, and she discovered that the young man was actually a Christian, unbeknownst to her parents, of course! Anyway, the house church they attended was eventually exposed and the two had to escape Iran.

    Long story short, they escaped to Turkey (a harrowing experience, since they were hidden in the trunk of a car, and by this time they had a baby) and then were able to make their way to the UK, as I recall. They were able to meet other Iranian Christians there. One day, when they were meeting for church, there was a woman attending who looked very familiar to Mina, but she just could not put her finger on where she would have known her. As it turned out, this woman was the very librarian in the university who told her to keep the Bible!! Several years ago I read Mina’s book about her life, and if I can remember the title, I will post it.

    The postscript to this story is that Mina’s parents also came to Christ some years later, on the same day, though they were not in the same place at the time.

  6. 6 Jeanne T.
    April 5, 2017 at 2:20 am

    Here is “Ali”, the pastor mentioned in this episode of the Underground:

    Here is the Underground Episode with Joel’s interview of “Ali”; “Ali” is also “the main voice”, i.e., narrator, in the film “Sheep Among Wolves”: https://joelstrumpet.com/the-underground-episode-39-miraculous-testimonies-from-an-underground-pastor-in-the-middle-east/

  7. April 5, 2017 at 8:20 am

    That’s a wonderful testimony Jeanne Marie. I hope you can recall the name of the book and are able to post it here. I’d love to read it.

  8. April 5, 2017 at 8:33 am

    Here is the Underground Episode with Joel’s interview of “Ali”;

    Thanks Jeanne, I’ll have a look at those videos later when I have time.
    I downloaded a lot of the Underground episodes yesterday onto a USB stick and will be working my way through them – the episode in your link is one of them.

  9. April 5, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    I downloaded a lot of the Underground episodes yesterday onto a USB stick

    And somehow I’ve just deleted the whole folder I’d saved them in 😦

  10. 10 Marleen
    April 22, 2017 at 5:38 am

    Very interesting about all the middle eastern languages in Iran.


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