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Despite danger, thousands find Christianity irrisistible
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Imagine a world in which freedom of religion is unheard of - let alone accepted. In this world, your every move is governed by authorities and watched by your friends, family and neighbors. Each city contains intricate surveillance networks designed to locate and extinguish anyone who steps out of line.
Now imagine an underground organization preaching radical ideas like equality, a loving God and basic human rights. This group exists in secret - anyone caught propagating these ideas is executed immediately. No trial, no jury. And now you're one of them.
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In Iran, Christian house churches are illegal and anyone participating can be jailed or worse.
A USCIRF report stated: "The government continues to use its religious laws to silence reformers, including human rights defenders and journalists, for exercising their internationally protected rights to freedom of expression and religion or belief."
In fact, no Farsi-speaking Persians are allowed to attend Christian churches at all and can face violence from authorities, their community and even members of their own families should they turn to Christ.
No one can be trusted. Especially the authorities.
One of the female house church planters told The Voice of the Martyrs Radio, "One of my biggest fears is that the secret police would come one day and they would rape me."
The unidentified woman told Christian Headlines she was a former Muslim and was on the secret police's wanted list. As a believer in Christ, she was able to find peace through the fear and continues to fight to spread the Gospel.
Fuentes believes Iran's growth in Christianity stems from the severity of its persecution. She shared her opinion with Todd Nettleton, of Voice of the Martyrs, who responded: "I have talked to an Iranian Christian who called Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, the greatest Christian missionary in the history of Iran because he established the Islamic Republic which is now pushing people to Christ. ...
"[I]nto that void in the hearts of Iranians, the gospel message of a Savior who loves them enough to die for them is like sweet music," Nettleton stated. "And it is coming on the radio waves, over satellite television, online, and even in supernatural means like dreams and visions."
Though they are persecuted, no one can deny Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. As more and more Christians convert in Iran, hope that the newer generations will be more accepting and religiously tolerant grows as well.
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