Christian Persecution Update

Iran arrests more than 100 Christians in growing crackdown on minority

Blog note:  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 me be 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 arrests more than 100 Christians in growing crackdown on minority

Josie Ensor. The Telegraph. December 10, 2018

Iran has arrested more than 100 Christians in the last week, charities report, amid a growing crackdown by the Islamic Republic. Many of the 114 detained were converts to Christianity from a Muslim background, accused of “proselytising”.

They had to report the history of their Christian activities and were told to cut contact with any Christian groups, according to Open Doors UK, a charity which speaks out on persecution against Christians.   

While Christianity has existed in Persia since Christ’s death, many believers fled after the Shah was deposed in a coup and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was installed in the Islamic revolution of 1979. There are no official records, but there are estimated to be some 350,000 remaining in Iran – some one per cent of Iran’s population, with a rising trend toward converting to Christianity.

Christian advocacy groups report a growing underground evangelical movement in Iran, where they say increasing numbers of people who have become curious about the minority religion.

While worship is permitted under the Islamic Republic’s constitution, conversion to Christianity can be a crime meriting a sentence of more than 10 years imprisonment.

Iran’s powerful mullahs are committed to expanding the influence of Shia Islam and blame “foreign influence” for the conversions.

Some groups say they have reported a worsening of treatment of Christians following the U’s reinstatement of sanctions on Iran.

“There are many reports that this has contributed to the government’s ever-increasing dependence on hardline Islamic ayatollahs, who naturally see Christianity as a threat to their power,” Jeff King, president of International Christian Concern.

“For this reason, it’s not surprising that we’re seeing an increase in Christian persecution.” It has become increasingly common for authorities to arrest worshippers, raid house churches, and confiscate Bibles.

At the end of September, Christians Saheb Fadaie and Fatemeh Bakhteri were also sentenced to 18 and 12 months in prison, respectively. The two men were found guilty of “spreading propaganda against the regime,” apparently for preaching about the ascendancy of Jesus Christ.

A report released earlier this year by the Commission for International Religious Freedom observed that, “in the past year, religious freedom in Iran continued to deteriorate for both recognised and unrecognised religious groups, with the government targeting Baha’is and Christian converts in particular.”

“This spike in arrests is highly concerning,” said Zoe Smith, head of advocacy at Open Doors. “It follows an established trend of the Iranian government – as the number of converts to Christianity increase, so the authorities place greater restrictions on churches.

“The restrictions are worse for churches seen to be attended by Christians who have converted from Islam. Not only that, but the government is asking unreasonably high bail amounts and seeing longer prison terms for Christians.”

She warned that some Christians disappear from their communities after serving prison sentences. “Church leaders are put under pressure to leave the country or face an arrest,” she said. “House churches weaken as their members choose to decrease their meeting hours and minimise their activities; some Christians lose the contact with their churches altogether becoming isolated.”

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