Since last year, Iran has faced many challenges, including locusts, Covid-19, earthquakes, mysterious explosions, political turmoil, the death of an Iranian general and burning ships.
It was in the midst of these challenges that the Iranian government took the opportunity to implement a new law condemning the use of virtual ministry, without people realizing it.
Passed in the dead of night, the new legislation now leads to a wave of arrests that are sweeping the Iranian Church. And right now, believers are realizing it.
The new law makes online ministry or Christianity illegal in almost every conceivable way. Online church services, teaching seminars, chat sessions on discipleship or distribution of Christian material are considered psychological manipulation.
Not only does the law criminalize the creators of this type of content, but anyone who downloads or views these materials may also face legal action. If you are Christian and digital, you are a criminal.
The consequences of getting involved with Christian digital media are serious. Believers suspected of illegal activity should be immediately dismissed from their workplace, even before going to court. If they are found guilty of any charge related to Christianity, they must serve a minimum of five years in prison. In the worst case, they could receive the death penalty.
The information, reported by Mission Network News (MNN), of Iranian believers reporting cases across borders is made possible by Reza, a partner with Global Catalytic Ministries, who partners with Christians who have the tools and knowledge to avoid some of the detection methods implemented to prevent digital ministry.
Regardless of the laws and restrictions imposed on the Church, God’s people continue to prosper and His Church continues to grow in Iran.
“The Iranian government knows that Iran is the fastest growing church in the world and is terrified,” says Reza. “And Afghanistan is the second fastest, so around them, God is advancing His kingdom. The gospel is moving forward with great speed and urgency, and they want to stop it in any way possible.”
Mohabat TV reports that it is recording 10 times more decisions for Christ online than last year, with 3,000 Iranians surrendering to Christ every month since March.
The large number of people leaving Islam is causing a reaction from the country’s authorities against the Church. New Christians are being arrested and imprisoned for having responded positively to the Gospel message.
This growth has aroused the fury of the government, which has hardened access to Christian content through the Internet.