And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.Matthew 10:22
Last week, GCM attempted to distribute a press release with a warning from two Iranian women, who are leaders in the underground church, about what they heard from the September speech from President Joe Biden and how they heard the same rhetoric right before the Iranian government made Christians the enemy of the state. The press release was denied for “baseless claims about U.S. security [and generalizing] Islam as a violent religion”. The “powers that be” do not want to hear the truth about the violence that continuously occurs in Iran because of Islamic law, or that persecution is coming to the United States. They believe this message is false and offensive.
The truth is that the truth is offensive.
This press release was not political in nature or to insight fear but simply to share a warning to the Church in the West to take their faith seriously. To learn what it means to offer one’s body as a living sacrifice. To not just run to comfort. To truly be a disciple of Jesus. We realize this message is hard to hear but persecution is coming whether we are ready for it or not, Republican or Democrat.
Some of the persecution we are seeing in the states is subtle right now, like the suppression of our press release. But the growing denial of truth is on another level. The very day this company denied us and stated that Islam is not violent, Mahsa Amini was murdered in Iran.
The Morality Police
Last week, a young Iranian woman died at the hands of the Morality Police for “wearing bad hijab”. Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, was violently taken into police custody for violating hijab laws. Sometime between her arrest and arriving at a “re-education center”, something much like a detention center, Mahsa sustained a traumatic brain injury. After 3 days in a coma, she died.
According to CNN:
The Morality Police are a law enforcement force with access to power, arms and detention centers. They also have control over the recently introduced “re-education centers.”
The centers act like detention facilities, where women – and sometimes men – are taken into custody for failing to comply with the state’s rules on modesty. Inside the facilities, detainees are given classes about Islam and the importance of the hijab (or headscarf), and then forced to sign a pledge to abide by the state’s clothing regulations before they are released.
Life and Death
Mahsa is one of many who have been killed by the Iranian government’s Morality Police for not following Islamic law to the letter. The Washington Post reports that protests have spread to all 31 of Iran’s provinces, and are the largest demonstrations in 3 years. In an effort to crack down on the spreading unrest, the Iranian government has severely restricted internet access. They are also using live ammunition and excessive security force to take down protesters. The Morality Police have killed at least 41 people.
Yet many Iranian believers continue to put their lives at risk for the sake of following Jesus. Underground church leaders understand the persecution of which they speak. Anyone who doesn’t follow Islamic law is seen as a threat to the government and must be punished. Arrests, beatings, rape, torture, and death are increasing at an alarming rate.
Because of this, the people of Iran are seeing the true face of Islam. They are actively seeking something more, looking for a God who loves them and cares for them. A God of peace. The Holy Spirit is moving among the people of Iran, opening hearts and minds to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Iranians are receiving dreams and visions from God, leading them to believers who share about this God who loves deeply and even sacrificed himself on their behalf to rescue them.
Growth in Persecution
The violence and persecution the people in Iran face are turning them towards the true God, which is quickly expanding the underground church. Even though they face the horrors the Iranian government throws at them, they have peace that passes all understanding. Their hope isn’t in religion, or people, or government. Their hope is in Jesus.
What’s more is that they don’t pray for the persecution to end. They welcome trials, because it keeps their hearts clean. Persecution leads people to pray and fast, deepening their walk with God. May the Holy Spirit teach the church in the west what it means to be steadfast in our faith and how to not just survive persecution, but thrive for the glory of Jesus.
Loving People to Christ
What would the Western church look like if we loved God so much that nothing else mattered? If we listened to the Holy Spirit and obeyed what we heard? Would the pastor burnout number drop? The satanic lullaby lifted? Would the western church surpass the underground church in Iran as the #1 fastest growing church?
Our underground leaders in the Middle East are encouraging and praying for our Western brothers and sisters to open up their eyes to see the coming persecution, but find peace in that statement. To open their hearts to hear the words of the Holy Spirit. To make obedience to Christ a good and holy thing. To love God so much that nothing else matters. In doing this, we would truly love people to Christ.
As persecution continues and even spreads across the globe, our brothers and sisters in Christ treasure your prayers. We do not know what these latest protests will produce, but we know that the Gospel will be proclaimed throughout the whole earth, then the end of this wicked age will come, and Jesus will rule the whole earth. Let us labor together for this beautiful goal.
- That our Iranian brothers and sisters wouldn’t seek governmental peace, but supernatural peace that comes only by the Spirit of God.
- That the Holy Spirit would move among Iranians and draw them near.
- For Iranian Christians to be hidden in plain sight.
- For the underground church to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
- Pray for boldness and courage for believers.
- For rapid multiplication among believers in Iran.
- Pray that God would open Iranians’ spiritual eyes and remove spiritual blindness.
- Pray that believers would be able to form relationships with protesters.
- Pray for the Morality Police, that they would come to know Christ.
- For God to open the eyes and hearts of the Western church to the persecution that is coming.
- Pray the Western church would run away from comfort and into the true calling of discipleship.
Support the Underground Church
God continues to move in a mighty way, allowing us to reach more and more people in a dark, dying world. Because of your generosity, we are able to provide hope to the people of Iran. Partnering with us at $59 a month will keep this work going. Donate today.