Iran: Have Hijab Protests Made It Ground Zero For A Christian Revival?

Written by Wes Walker on January 10, 2023

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Much of the Western church may have gotten so fat and happy that it’s forgotten its identity as salt and light. But that isn’t the case everywhere.

It’s in times of great darkness that even a pinprick of light can shine brightly. If even a simple candle, if lit at center field in a darkened stadium, could be seen from anywhere in the stands, how much more the light of Christ in a time of real trial like what is playing out in Iran?

Iran’s theocratic regime has been cracking down on its own citizens, with their ‘morality police’ sometimes murdering people over the ‘crime’ of letting the hair on the head be visible or murdering others for daring to protest against their government for such atrocities.

If their goal was to secure the supremacy of their regime and (more importantly) religious worldview, they have very much misplayed their hand.

The regime has alienated many of the people and has inadvertently accelerated a Christian revival in — Iran!

A recent Washington Times story interviewed two ex-pat Iranian Christian ministers who are among the difference-makers in getting the gospel to a closed nation, and they both credit the recent hard-line crackdowns of the theocratic regime for incentivizing Iranians to look elsewhere for spiritual answers.

Some quick statistics that will provide a helpful backdrop for what follows.

Current population of Iran: approx 86 Million.

The CIA’s demographic numbers:
Muslim (official) 99.6% (Shia 90-95%, Sunni 5-10%), other (includes Zoroastrian, Jewish, and Christian) 0.3%, unspecified 0.2% (2016 est.)

Horomoz Shiriat explained why he believes Iran is in the midst of a significant spiritual revival.

“Iran has the fastest-growing evangelical population in the world,” Mr. Shariat said. “Iranians are done with Islam, [they are] very open to other religions, including Christianity. That’s why we see such a fast growth of Christianity.”
He said Iranians are “sick and tired of the violence in Islam, the hatred in Islam and the revenge in Islam. They don’t want that and that’s what they see in the Quran and implemented by the government. So there is a spiritual openness to the people of Iran.”
A 2020 survey of 50,000 Iranians by a research firm called Gamma found only 32% of respondents affirming a belief in Islam, with 33% saying either that there is no God or that religion is not relevant to daily life. The remaining third was exploring “everything but Islam” as a spiritual option.
-WashingtonTimes

Here is a brief video from his website, explaining how they get around the regime’s rigid controls.

The other ex-pat they interviewed was Rev. Lazarus Yeghnazar. Before he emigrated to England following the Iran-Iraq war, 36 years ago, he was a former top translator for Iran‘s war ministry and budget ministry. Now, he leads the ministry ‘Transform Iran’ which reaches out to ‘the desperate’ in Iran.

“We have the names of over 90,000 Muslims who have contacted us and prayed to receive Christ,” Mr. Shariat said. He said “there’s probably multiple times that number who have already made the decision to follow Christ,” but that it’s difficult to get accurate figures.
The Rev. Lazarus Yeghnazar, a former top translator for Iran‘s war ministry and budget ministry, emigrated to England 36 years ago following the Iran-Iraq war. He now heads Transform Iran, a faith-based humanitarian outreach “to the desperate” in that country.
He said in an interview that members of the 70 underground churches his group supports are ministering to protesters and others in the streets.
“They take bandages in their backpacks, find people suffering, and bless them,” Mr. Yeghnazar said from his home in Oxford, England. “Some of these doctors have been beaten so badly, now they need assistance.”
–WashingtonTimes

There’s a lot of bad news in the world. But be encouraged. Some of it is very good.

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