Iran (MNN) — In the last year, Iran has faced locusts, COVID-19, earthquakes, mysterious explosions, political turmoil, the death of an Iranian general, and burning ships. So when the Iranian government took the opportunity to implement a new law condemning the use of virtual ministry, no one noticed.
Now, a wave of arrests is sweeping the Iranian Church. Now, believers are taking notice.
Put simply, the new law makes online ministry or Christianity in nearly every conceivable form illegal. Online church services, teaching seminars, discipleship chat sessions, or distributing Christian material are all considered psychological manipulation. It’s not just creators of this kind of content; anyone downloading or viewing these materials could face legal action, too. If it’s Christian and digital, it’s criminal.
In other words, an Iranian believer could face arrest for reading this article.
The consequences for engaging with Christian digital media are steep. Believers suspected of illegal activity must be immediately fired from their place of work even before they go to court. If they are found guilty of any Christianity-related charges, they must serve a minimum of five years in prison. In a worst case scenario, they could be served the death penalty.
You may be wondering how Mission Network News can even report this story. How can Iranian believers share their plight beyond borders? Fortunately, Reza of Global Catalytic Ministries says they’ve partnered with Christians who have the tools and know-how to circumvent some of the detection methods put in place to prevent digital ministry.
Regardless of laws and restrictions placed on the Church, God’s people continue to thrive, and His Church continues to grow.
“The Iranian government knows that Iran is the fastest growing church in the world and they are terrified of this,” Reza says. “And Afghanistan is the second fastest, so all around them, God is moving His kingdom forward. The Gospel’s moving forward with powerful speed and urgency, and they want to stop at any means possible.”
Want to help? Here are three ways you can come alongside Iranian believers.
1. Use your knowledge: If you have a background in technology, consider connecting with Global Catalytic Ministries or with Mission Network News. Your expertise may be just what Iranian believers need to navigate the dangerous circumstances of this digital persecution.
2. Spread the word: This new Iranian law has gone largely unnoticed by the global community. Write your local representative, contact your home church, and share this story on social media so that Iranian believers do not need to suffer silently for their faith.
3. Pray for God’s protection: The Iranian Church may be growing, but this dangerous new twist could see many believers get hurt. Pray for their safety and for God’s hand of comfort and security over His followers in Iran.
Header representative photo courtesy of Unsplash.