Iran (MNN) — Iranian secret police arrested house church leaders in four cities in what many are calling a crackdown on the house church movement in that Islamic nation. However, some Christians say the government’s just trying to get a handle on the growing Christian population.
American Evangelist Sammy Tippit beams Christian television programming into Iran via satellite. “We estimate that there’s probably been, this year, 100 people who have been arrested, who’ve been interrogated and released. Just in the last week or so it has increased even more.”
Tippit believes it’s the government’s attempt at fact finding. “The government doesn’t know and they’re trying to get a handle on how big the house church movement is, because it’s growing so rapidly and God is doing great things. It seems as though these arrests are taking place all over the country.”
Tippit says there’s a tremendous hunger for the Gospel and the government appears to be shaken by it. People are hearing the Gospel through national believers, Satellite television and the internet.
Tippit tells us why people are turning to Christ in such large numbers. “One Iranian told me, ‘Here in the Persian world, we’ve had a form of Islam forced on us. We know what Islam really is and we’ve rejected it. And so, our people are saying, ‘what is the answer?’ And, they’re looking for an alternative. And, many of them are turning to Christ.'”
While the persecution has obvious negative consequences, it also has positive implications, says Tippit. “The more they do against Christianity, the deeper the hunger becomes and people want to know more. So, there’s much more interest.”
In response the Iranian government has destroyed satellite dishes and also used Tippit’s personal email address to discredit him.
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