Despite hostility, underground churches continue to thrive in Iran.
In line with details, secretive churches are expanding as thousands of people are coming to Christ. These underground house churches are becoming home to mushrooming congregations, despite the fact that Iran ranks high in the list of the worst persecuting country of the Christians.
In the World Watch List of 2016, which is compiled on data of the worst countries where Christians are being persecuted, Iran ranks at number 9. It is a country of notorious history of persecuting Christians specially converts to Christianity.
In the face of antagonism, about one million people have joined these house churches as revealed by Open Doors spokesman. She said that it will be safe to say that Iran is seeing Iran is witnessing world’s fasted growing evangelical movement than any other country in the world. “The house churches are causing such rapid growth in conversions it is unmatched by any other country in the Middle East,” she said. She went on to explain that vigorous persecution and frustration with the Iranian regime have prompted many people to seek Christianity.
In this respect, Todd Nettleton from Voice of the Martyrs explains, “I have talked to an Iranian Christian who called Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, the greatest Christian missionary in the history of Iran because he established the Islamic Republic which is now pushing people to Christ.”
He himself had been a part of one such underground church, by the name of Iran Alive Ministries. He said that, broadcasts were the essential medium to air the Gospel of Christ to tens of thousands of Iranians. .
“Into that void in the hearts of Iranians, the Gospel message of a Savior who loves them enough to die for them is like sweet music. And it is coming on radio waves, over satellite television, online, and even in supernatural means like dreams and visions,” he said.
On the other hand, in the Shiite majority country, Christian house churches are illegal, while those found guilty are liable to face imprisonment or other strict legal action. As detailed by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), Iranian government is using the religious laws as a means to put off all possibilities for the Iranians to exercise their rights to freedom of expression of religion or belief.