“It’s an astronomical increase,” Mani Erfan, CEO and founder of CCM Ministries, which has been involved in Iran’s underground church movement for more than two decades, told FoxNews.com. “And it’s been predominately young people. We call it an awakening.”
Erfan says much of Iran’s young population has grown tired of the regime’s oppressive religious rule, which often distorts Islamic teachings.
“The youth have become restless and have looked toward an alternative to the regime and Islam,” he said. “The youth find Western culture and the Christian church very appealing.
“It’s become a counter-culture,” he added. “A counter-revolution to the [1979 Iranian] Revolution.”
Erfan adds that the evangelical movement began in the wake of 9/11 but has steadily increased in the past three to four years and that experts predict that by 2020, the Christian population in Iran will top 7 million — or 10 percent of the total population.
“That’s a paradigm shift,” he said. “It would change the dynamic of the country and the region.”
The news out of Iran may provide a glimmer of hope for the Christian community elsewhere in the Middle East.
With the rise of extremism in neighboring Iraq and Syria, Christians have been under siege in the region due to ISIS. The Christian population in Iraq has plummeted from 1.5 million in 2003 to current estimates of 275,000, and could be gone for good within five years, according to a report last summer. The dwindling numbers have been due to genocide, refugees fleeing to other countries and forced conversions.
Much of Iran’s Christian population is forced to obtain religious materials and teachings from satellite TV, or social media forums like Telegram and Instagram and gather for worship services in the homes of pastors and other clergy members.
“The [Iranian] government says that they are basically illegal gatherings,” David Yeghnazar, executive director of Elam Ministries, told FoxNews.com. “They are forced to meet in these house churches which the regime deems to be unlawful.”
Iran Briefing | News Press Focus on Human Rights Violation by IRGC, Iran Human Rights
Oct 19, 2017 Comments Off on As Kirkuk’s Governor Is Forced to Flee, Iran Moves In
Oct 04, 2017 Comments Off on IRAN REGIME IS SUPPLYING HEZBOLLAH WITH INCREASINGLY ACCURATE MISSILES
Oct 03, 2017 Comments Off on Dozens Arrested in Iran for Celebrating Kurdistan Referendum
Oct 02, 2017 Comments Off on HRW: Iran ‘recruiting’ Afghan children to fight in Syria
Oct 10, 2017 Comments Off on British woman jailed in Iran faces 16 more years in prison as fresh charges are brought
Oct 09, 2017 Comments Off on Imprisoned Teachers’ Rights Advocate Esmail Abdi Denied Sentence Review
Oct 07, 2017 Comments Off on Rights Activist Barred from University Under Ahmadinejad Faces Same Roadblocks Under Rouhani
Sep 30, 2017 Comments Off on Q&A: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s Husband Speaks Out About Dual National’s Imprisonment in Iran
Oct 19, 2017 Comments Off on As Kirkuk’s Governor Is Forced to Flee, Iran Moves InAs Kirkuk’s Governor Is Forced to Flee, Iran Moves In Najmaldin Karim, the Kurdish governor of Kirkuk Province, will not be returning to the city that elected him in 2011 and 2014. It’s too dangerous.
Oct 17, 2017 Comments Off on Iraqi-Kurdish Clash in Kirkuk Opens Door to More Iranian InfluenceIraqi-Kurdish Clash in Kirkuk Opens Door to More Iranian Influence The United States is scrambling to defuse tensions between two allies in the fight against the Islamic State that have turned on each other,...
Jul 14, 2016 Comments Off on Corps’ one hundred thousand of triggered missiles in Lebanon:An official Israel-threatening by CorpsIran Briefing: Since August 7, 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini declared the last Friday of Ramadhan as “Quds Day”, the Islamic Republic has always tried to hold an imposing ceremony by using state resources as well as requiring people’s involvement. This year’s Quds march had fundamental...