Christian Persecution Update

Iran Sentences 12 Christians to Year in Prison for House Church Worship, Evangelism

Blog note: Jesus indicated that one (of many) signs of the end times or the end of the age of grace would be that love for one another would grow cold. Matthew 24:12, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” This can also be interpreted that lawlessness will abound. This includes violence, murder, terrorism, mass shootings, mass knife attacks, car/van attacks, chemical attacks and other similar acts of destructive and evil behavior. Yes, these things have occurred in time past. But consider the frequency, intensity and devastation of these types of attacks and mass school shootings. They are like birth pangs in frequency and intensity. This is just one part of the CONVERGENCE or CONVERGING of signs. Christian Persecution. Jesus indicated that many would hate and persecute Christians because of His name. This has always been the case and is increasing in intensity and frequency.

Psalm 25:19. Consider mine enemies; for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred.

Psalm 38:19. But mine enemies are lively, and they are strong: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied.

Psalm 41:7. All that hate me whisper together against me: against me do they devise my hurt.

Psalm 69:4. They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away.

Psalm 69:14. Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let mebe delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.

Matthew 10:22. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Mark 13:13. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Luke 6:22. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.

Luke 14:26. If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

Luke 19:14. But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.

Luke 21:17. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.

John 7:7. The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.

John 15:18. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

John 15:23. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. End of note.

 Iran Sentences 12 Christians to Year in Prison for House Church Worship, Evangelism

By Samuel Smith , CP Reporter | Aug 21, 2018 1:19 PM

An Iranian court has sentenced 12 Christians to one year in prison for holding worship meetings and evangelizing — crimes that Iran considers to be “propaganda activities.”

The Iranian Christian news agency Mohabat News reports that a Christian convert known as Payam Kharaman and 11 other Christians who were arrested in Bushehr in April 2015 were sentenced for the crime of promoting what the Iranian authorities call Zionist propaganda that goes against the Islamic Republic’s Shia Muslim-controlled system.

Kharaman told the news outlet that he and the others were accused of the crimes because they held house worship meetings, evangelized and invited others to accept Christ as their Savior. Additionally, the Christians were charged with “inclination to the land of Christianity.”

The verdict was handed down by the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Bushehr headed by Judge Abbas Asgari. Two others who were sentenced along with Kharaman were Shapour Jozi, Parastoo Zariftash.

Although Mohabat first reported the verdict earlier this month, the sentence was handed down in late June.

Kharaman explained that the state pressure against him began as early as 2012 when he was repeatedly summoned by the Office of Police Monitory Public Place in Bushehr. Kharaman said that he was interrogated about his evangelism and communications outside the country. Kharaman stated that interrogators wanted a confession that he was speaking abroad to Americans, Britains or Israelis.

“I always insisted on the belief in Christianity for myself and not for promotion of Christianity,” Kharaman was quoted as saying. “Because I had a boutique shop in Bushehr, a number of officers’ family members in the office knew me and informed of heavy sentences against me, and the case which was under investigation by intelligence office. I thought it was just an empty threat, but unfortunately became a serious issue one or two years later.”

Kharaman recalled that three security agents stormed his home with a warrant on April 7, 2015. After searching for about two hours, the agents seized his computer, cell phone, CDs, books and memory cards. Kharaman said that he was taken to an intelligence office and interrogated once again.

Mansour Borji, the advocacy director for the human rights organization Article 18, told Mohabat that the charges against the Christians are an “example of inquisition and the violation of the freedom of religion and belief.”

“Security agencies, following an ineffective policy in recent years, have tried to eliminate Farsi-speaking Christianity through unlawful pressures and false accusations in revolutionary courts and seemingly legal route,” he said.

Iran ranks as the 10th-worst country in the world when it comes to Christian persecution, according to Open Doors USA’s 2018 World Watch List.

As the United States has recently re-imposed sanctions against Iran, Benjamin Weinthal, a fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, recently wrote about how Iran has ramped up its persecution of Christians and other religious minorities.

Last month, four other Iranian Christians were arrested, including the widely reported arrest of Pastor Youcef Nardarkhani, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Despite ongoing persecution in Iran, the Iranian house church movement continues to grow.

Open Doors, which monitors the persecution of Christians in over 60 countries worldwide, estimates that as many as 800,000 Christians are living in Iran. That estimate comes after the organization previously estimated in 2016 that the Christian population in Iran was around 450,000. More optimistic estimates show that there could be over 1 million Christians in Iran.

The U.S. State Department lists Iran as a “country of particular” concern for ongoing, systemic and egregious violations of religious freedom. Iran’s religious freedom abuses extend beyond just Christians as it has been called out by human rights experts for persecuting other religious minority groups including Sunni Muslims, Baha’is, Mandaeans, Zoroastrians and others.

Leave a Reply