And In Other News...

Written by Anthony Douglas on 18 May 2019.

With all the attention given to our federal election, there’s not a lot of space for anything else to catch our eyes. Well, let’s try some old news.

IranForty years ago, an Islamic revolution took control of Iran. The Shah was overthrown, and the Ayatollah Khomeini enacted a theocracy. Sharia law was adopted, and Islam’s dominance was total. To convert to another religion was to face a death sentence.

It was, of course, a disaster for the gospel. Iran had been notoriously hard soil for missionaries, and at the time of the revolution, it was estimated that there were only 500 Christians from Muslim background ethnicities in the whole country. There was no chance now.

Fast forward, though, and something strange happened. By 2005, it was estimated that there were now 40,000 ethnic Iranian Christians - one new believer for every five, each year. An 18% annual growth rate. By 2010, the number was now 175,000 - a 34% annual increase. Today, estimates suggest there may be as many as a million Christians in Iran.

In the face of oppression and opposition, God has done something remarkable in Iran. As Islam has been seen to fail, and Iranian Christians have gone bravely to martyrdom, the gospel has been powerfully effective. For us in the West, used to less than lukewarm responses to our evangelistic labours, it should encourage us. The stories we will read in Acts over the coming months are great.

But they aren’t just stories. They’re His Story, and it’s still being written. He is risen, and his church rising still!

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