Iran: When Losing is Winning

“I know exactly what I’m doing!”

So said a young Iranian calling in during a live broadcast on Iranian television. The  on the air host advised him to be cautious with his decision, to which he responded: “Would you keep me from the truth about life in Christ? The state can kill me for this, but I have nothing to lose. I can only win…”

It appears that the  Iranian population has become immune to government threats, and many are willing to accept the harsh consequences for conversion. Spiritual despair and longing for hope in Iran are huge. The quest for both spiritual and temporal freedom continues unabated.

You might recall that several Christians were released from Iranian prisons in recent months. Unfortunately, approximately 100 more Christians are still detained and not much has improved for Christians in Iran.

In spite of this, young Iranians are boldly turning to Christianity to find hope in increasing numbers. Iranian Christian TV channels and pastors, such as the one who received this zealous young caller, report that they are completely surprised how quickly Muslims convert to Christianity in Iran – although they expect the worst from their decision to follow Christ.

Indeed, the human heart is restless until it finds its hope in Christ.

Some things that influence Iran’s culture:

  • The official language is Persian. This puts Iranian Muslims on the margins of the Middle East’s Islamic diaspora, which values Arabic as it primary and most holy language.
  • The population is majority Shia Muslim in Iran, but a minority of only 10-13% among the world’s Sunni Muslims. There is longstanding historical animosity between Sunnis and Shias.
  • Drug abuse and prostitution are rampant, with the highest rates in the Islamic Republic world.
  • Much of Iran’s population lives in extreme poverty (up to 70 percent), and 12 million go to bed hungry every night.
  • There is a vibrant arts subculture with an emphasis on protest, street graffiti, rap and hip hop.

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5 Comments

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  1. One of the outcomes of a client nation going into battle to aide other countries that are asking for help is the ability to spread the word of salvation, and provide missionaries to follow the troops as infrastructure is built when those against freedoms and a stable society are driven out. That’s why it’s so important for their to be high standards of conduct for all of our military personnel and for each as individuals when on leave in foreign countries. We are there not only to defeat the enemies of freedom; rebuild their roads, schools, government buildings, homes, wells; to ensure free elections; to make sure that their change to a system of free and safe elections is guaranteed. Once that system is stable it is much easier to allow missionaries to go into the country to evangelize and teach the Word of God so those who are positive to His Word can accept the gift of Christ’s Death on the cross and have eternal salvation. If people are open to hearing the truth, and willing to listen, God must find a way for them to hear the salvation message, and quite often war is the only way for them to hear. In the case of the Middle East it seems this is the case. Let’s hope they are fast learners.

    • I always appreciate you coming by, Zuzusays! The Swiss organization with whom I work empowers indigenous leadership in place where Western missionaries are not welcome – often the case in hostile regions. In many cases, they do not need Western missionaries, as God is already on the ground working among these communities. I encourage you to look into their work at christianresponse.org. Cheers!

      • ” In many cases, they do not need Western missionaries, as God is already on the ground working among these communities.”

        Thanks for writing this Karen. This is really insightful and it provides hope for those of us in the states. Often, at least for, it is perceived, through a western lens, that the gospel message isn’t going forth in other countries, especially the Middle East. I appreciate your steadfastness in helping to think more globally. Keep up the good work.

        • Thanks for your encouragement, Delonte. My colleagues and I sometimes feel like the smallest voices in Christendom, but your comments help us feel like we’re beginning to make an impact on peoples’ awareness. Thanks for stopping by.

        • Thank you Delonte for clarifying. I didn’t mean to imply that only Western missionaries were the ones who could do the work of God on the ground. I should have done better with my words. In the Middle East there are many Christians, as we know here because we’ve heard of their persecution by followers of Islam. I often wonder is Christians here would be so brave and willing to proclaim their faith in the face of such danger, I’ve even doubted myself under such pressure. I do think that the stabilization of life brought about by a decisive victory over Islamic Terrorism would help Christians in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe especially, have the ability to evangelize more freely. It’s important for all Christians to work together in support of each other, as once we are saved there is no race, nationality, creed, we are all members of the royal family of God. I love that we can all encourage each other to teach Christ’s salvation.

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