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Thursday, December 1, 2016
The Christian church is exploding underground in Iran despite oppression
Experts say that the Christian church in Iran is growing by leaps and bounds in the shadow of an oppressive and hostile Islamic regime. While many see a crisis in the church in the West, where we enjoy the freedom of religion, the opposite is true in repressive Iran under the threat of punishment and imprisonment.
Hundreds of Iranian citizens have been converting to Christianity, and many are being baptized in large ceremonies in underground churches held in private homes across the country. This month, Christian ministry ELAM estimated that more than 200 Iranian and Afghans were secretly baptized in a service just across the Iranian border.
“It’s an astronomical increase,” Mani Erfan, CEO and founder of CCM Ministries, which has been involved in Iran’s underground church movement for more than two decades, told FoxNews.com. “And it’s been predominately young people. We call it an awakening.”
Iran grew hostile to Western values, including freedom of religion, after the 1979 Iranian Revolution when the government friendly to the U.S. was replaced by Islamic extremists. Now it appears that many Iranians are growing restless with the austere Muslim culture and looking to the Christian church for spiritual fulfillment.
“The youth have become restless and have looked toward an alternative to the regime and Islam,” [Erfan] said. “The youth find Western culture and the Christian church very appealing.
“It’s become a counter-culture,” he added. “A counter-revolution to the [1979 Iranian] Revolution.”
Erfan estimates that the Christian population will top 10 percent in Iran by 2020, which he said would precipitate a “paradigm shift” in the country and the surrounding region.