Christianity in Muslim Countries




Something astonishing is taking place in Muslim majority countries.  Christianity is flourishing. The implications are potentially profound.


David Yeghnazar of Elam Ministries stated in 2018: “Iranians have become the most open people to the gospel.”


The Christian Broadcast Network reported on a an Operation World study that found “Christianity is growing faster in the Islamic Republic of Iran than in any other country.”


 Shay Khatiri of Johns Hopkins University wrote last year about Iran: “Islam is the fastest shrinking religion there, while Christianity is growing the fastest.”


An Iranian church leader posited: “What if I told you Islam is dead? What if I told you the mosques are empty inside Iran? What if I told you no one follows Islam inside of Iran? What if I told you the best evangelist for Jesus was the Ayatollah Khomeini[, the founder of the Islamic Republic]?”


A couple of years ago, a man was in the country of Iran.  Over a ten-day period, he visited more than a dozen mosques in several cities. Some of these visits were on two Fridays, which is the holy day of Shia Islam, when you would expect to find the most people in mosques.


For a Muslim, Friday is equivalent to our Sunday and to Saturday for Jews.    The man would visit when he heard the loudspeakers calling people to pray.


In these more than a dozen mosques, he found a total of 2 worshipers.


An evangelical pastor, formerly an Iranian Muslim, concurred as far back as 2008: “We find ourselves facing what is more than a conversion to the Christian faith. It’s a mass exodus from Islam.”


Several years ago, an Iranian pastor says a 22-year-old Iranian woman came to their church after seeing a vision of Christ.  He said she just showed up, hungry to study the Bible for herself. The more she studied God’s Word, the more deeply she loved Jesus.  She soon discovered that God had given her the spiritual gift of evangelism. Not only did she have a passion to share her faith with others, the Holy Spirit had also blessed her with a supernatural ability to lead Muslims to Jesus.  Today, she leads an average of fifteen people to Christ every day.  She says that Iranian Muslims are so desperate for the gospel that typically it takes about five minutes to share the story of her conversion, and how God has changed her life before the listener is ready to also receive Christ.  Her desire and prayer is to lead seven thousand Iranian Muslims to Christ over the next 5 years.


On one of our Holy Land trips to the Middle East, in Amman Jordan,  we met with two American Christian women in one of our hotel’s small conference rooms.  They had traveled together in and out of many of the countries in the Middle East.  They were seeing Moslems coming to Christ in ever increasing numbers.


This has not gone unnoticed by Muslim sheikhs and Imams.  Neither has it gone unnoticed by senior political leaders in many of the countries.  Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly once vowed to “stop Christianity in this country.”  The supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, blames house churches on “Zionists and other enemies.”


Reza Safa is an Iranian-born pastor in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and founder of Nejat V (“ministering to Muslims living in Farsi-speaking nations”).


 In his book, The Coming Fall of Islam in Iran, he sees Iran’s Christians as “an army of God” who are bringing Iran to “the brink of another revolution, this time orchestrated” by the Holy Spirit.


Dreams and Visions


One major way that God has chosen to communicate the message of the gospel to many Muslims is through an encounter with Jesus in dreams and visions.


When we were in Istanbul on another of our Holy Land Trip, we had the pleasure of meeting with an Assembly of God missionary.  He and his wife and children had spent 3 years in Tajikistan.  That small country is north of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and borders on its east with China.


While there, they were under the umbrella of the “Convoy of Hope” ministry.  He has made several trips into Iran, and corroborates the openness to the gospel in Iran.  He said to us, “Iranians are more open to the message of Christ than Americans.”  He also said, “the Iranians have seen what it is to live under Islamic radicalism and the people have found it wanting.”


Today, thousands – maybe millions – of followers of Muhammad are having dreams and visions of their own.  The experiences they encounter rock their world. These are occurring especially within countries hostile to Christianity.


     Thousands of stories are emerging from around the Islam world of those being awakened to the gospel literally from their dreams.  Many of the dreams involve the presence of Jesus, often speaking to them.


What is interesting to me is that every single Iranian convert who sees Jesus in a dream or a vision .knows without a doubt that the One in the dream or vision was actually Jesus (Arabic: Isa).  In other words, they never confuse Him with Muhammad or one of their Imams or Allah.


Joel Rosenberg writes of two Christian men driving through the mountains of Iran with a vehicle full of Bibles.  Suddenly, their steering wheel jammed and they had to slam on the brakes to keep from driving off the side of the road.


When they looked up, they saw an old man knocking on their window and asking if they had the books.  What books? They asked. “The books about Jesus,” the old man replied.


He went on to explain that an angel recently came to him in a vision and told him about Jesus.  Later he found out that everyone in his mountain village had had the same vision. They were all brand new followers of Jesus, but they didn’t know what to do next.


     Then the old man had another dream in which Jesus told him to go down the mountain and wait by the road for someone to bring books that would explain how to be a Christian. He obeyed, and suddenly two men with a car full of Bibles had come to a stop right in front of him.




Not long ago, SAT-7 was broadcasting the JESUS film.  An elderly woman in Iran was watching in the Farsi language in the privacy of her apartment.  She had always been fascinated with the person of Jesus Christ, but  knew little about Him. She did not have a Bible.  And she did not know any Christians.  She had never been to church.


On that night, she wasn’t seeking out a film about Jesus.  She stumbled onto it while flipping through the channels of her satellite receiver. As the story unfolds, she begins to respond to the love of Christ. She was intrigued by His teachings, amazed by His compassion and miracle, and moved by His love and forgiveness even for His enemies, even for those who had condemned Him to death and nailed Him to the cross. When she saw the depiction of Jesus rising from the dead, she found herself in tears.


At the end of the film, the narrator explained how a viewer could pray to become a follower of Christ. In doing so, he read Revelation 3:20, in which Jesus says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”


Because she was totally unaware that Jesus was speaking metaphorically, saying that if a person opens their door and welcomes Him in, the woman thought, “I guess I had better open the door.”  So she got up from her chair, walked over to the front door of her apartment, and opened it.  She was suddenly blinded by a bolt of light emanating from a figure in the doorway.  “Who is it?” she asked. “It is I,” Jesus said.      “Come in, my Lord,” she said, and Jesus entered her home.


For the next few minutes, Jesus spoke to her about Himself, told her He loved her and had forgiven her, and told her to get a Bible and begin reading it. And then, as suddenly as He had appeared, He was gone.     The woman, startled but excited, looked back at the television screen …and noticed there was a phone number she could call for more information.


She picked up the phone and dialed it immediately. The call was routed from Iran to an overseas number through a secure system, that terminated at a secret call center. “I just saw Jesus,” the elderly woman told a counselor who answered the phone. “That’s great,” the counselor replied.  “Isn’t it a wonderful film?”  “No, no, you don’t understand, I just saw Jesus in person, in my home.  He appeared to me and told me I am now His follower.  Can you help me get a Bible and understand what I should do next?”


In Iran, another Christian said, “you don’t go after people with the gospel.  They are coming to you to ask you about the Lord. One man, who happens to be a pastor gave this illustration.


He said, “I went to the doctor’s office because I was feeling very ill.  I asked the receptionist if I could see the doctor right away, but she was a veiled woman and a fanatical Muslim.  She had no intention of making life easier for an “infidel,” and she told me I would have to wait for two hours. He smiled and said ‘You will regret that,’ to the woman, but he sat down with other patients.  A few moments later the doctor walked by to pick up a file.  “Hello, Reverend,” he said to me.  I greeted him back.  Then everyone in the waiting room asked me, ‘Are you really a reverend?’  I said I was.  ‘How can I know Jesus?’ they asked.  I told them and five Muslims prayed with me in the waiting room to receive Christ as their Savior.  ‘See how you will regret making me wait?’ he tells the receptionist with a smile.’  She has never made me wait again.”


Here is another story of the work of God.  More than 100 people were taking part in a chat room on the internet. One person asked, “Is anyone interested to know why Jesus is God?  The comment was met with some derision, until someone asked why the question had been posted.  “Because Jesus has changed my life,” came the answer.


The two web surfers kept in touch.  Two weeks later they met at a park in Tehran.  The inquirer turned out to be an Islamic scholar, seeking to know Christ.


One Saudi woman secretly converted to Christianity.  But she had a brother who was dying of a terrible disease, and she was deeply grieved.  She wanted to spend eternity with her brother in heaven, so, she prayed fervently for God to heal and to save him.  One day, Jesus appeared to her in a dream.  “Your prayers have been answered,” He told her.  “Go tell you brother about Me.” She did.


To her astonishment, her brother prayed with her to receive Christ.  Then his health improved. The family – seeing his physical improvement but not knowing about his conversion – asked, ”Why is this happening?”


The brother said to his family, “It is because I accepted Jesus as my Savior.  And He is my healer, not only  physically but spiritually.  You must take Him too.”


These are but a few of the thousands of similar stories coming out of Muslim Countries.  Praise God.