Editor’s Note: A previously published article from Dr. Brown that is just as relevant today as it was then.
Stephen stood before the Sanhedrin. The appointed Jewish leadership confronted this anointed Jewish believer. They glared; he glowed. They were enraged; he was enraptured. Their faces were contorted with anger; his was like the countenance of an angel. “Men and brothers,” he said, “listen to me.”
He rehearsed the history of Israel, from Abraham to Moses to David, the faithfulness of God in spite of the unfaithfulness of the people. But Stephen was not there that day merely to recite the lessons of history. He was there to be a witness, and as a faithful witness he spoke. His words turned to piercing rebuke:
You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered Him — you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it (7:51-53).
Soon his body lay battered and bloody, a mangled, motionless mass. He had not backed down. He had not compromised. He had not omitted a word. He was a witness and a prophetic voice. And that day he became the Church’s first martyr — the first, but not the last. Hundreds of thousands have followed in his path. Being a witness for Jesus could cost you your life.
In the early Church, witnessing and martyrdom quickly became associated: The Greek word for “witness” is martus. Witnesses testify with their lives and often seal their words with their own blood. Have you done any “witnessing” lately?
It’s one thing to read the Word and be stirred by the examples of men like Stephen. But this was real life! He was probably a young man with a wife and children. His whole future lay before him. His family was dependent on him. There may have been a toddler waiting to greet him that day when he came home. But he never came home!
And then there was his ministry. He was a powerful preacher, anointed to heal the sick and perform miracles. Think of all the lives he could touch! Think of all the good he could do for the kingdom of God.
Why didn’t Stephen simply deny the false charges? “Men and brothers, the accusations are not true.” Why didn’t he politely dismiss their questions and calm their anger? Why did he continue to stand up and speak out? The answer challenges us all: He was not seeking to save his life; he was seeking to be a witness.
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it (Matt 16:25).
This is the story of the true Church in every nation and in every age:
You did not renounce your faith in Me, even in the days of Antipas, My faithful witness, who was put to death in your city — where Satan lives (Rev 2:13b).
This is the gospel of martyrdom, the gospel of Jesus. It is the gospel that Paul preached and lived:
I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace (Acts 20:24).
That is why he could say:
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain (Phil 1:20-21).
As Leonard Ravenhill observed, Paul didn’t mind if the cost of his obedience was prison,
for it were better that he should be “the prisoner of the Lord for a few years than that his fellow men should be the devil’s prisoners in hell forever (Why Revival Tarries, 118).
How different this is from the philosophy that rules in today’s luxury-soaked America. How different this is from the modern gospel of success! Jesus cut to the very core of the issue. When Peter told the Lord in no uncertain terms that He was not to go the way of suffering, rejection, and death (“Never, Lord!” he said.” This shall never happen to you!”), Jesus identified Peter’s words as satanic.
Get behind Me, Satan! [Jesus said to Peter.] You are a stumbling block to Me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men. (Matt 16:23)
What was at the root of this satanically inspired theology? What fueled Peter’s opposition to the cross? It was a different set of values, a different perspective, a different viewpoint, a different understanding: “you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” Now we’re getting down to the basics!
One “gospel” is interested in the things of this world, the things of men. The other gospel is interested in eternal things, the things of God. One message cultivates preservation of self; the other cultivates denial of self. One says, “Add to your life!” The other says, “Lose your life!” One message encourages self-satisfaction, the other encourages self-denial. One message tells carnally minded people “what their itching ears want to ear” (2 Tim 4:3); the other message tells the truth.
Whether or not we have much in this world is not the central issue. (Most of us in America have an incredible abundance, dozens of times what we actually need to live.) What matters is our attitude towards our what we have. And we who have an abundance must guard our hearts. Riches are deceitful!
Jesus rebuked the church of Laodicea:,
You say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful poor, blind and naked (Rev 3:17).
But Jesus commended the church of Smyrna:
I know your afflictions and your poverty — yet you are rich. . . . Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you into prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution ten days. Be faithful to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life (Rev 2:9-10).
We must see how tragically earthly the gospel of success really is. It still stands in the way of the cross. It still rebukes Jesus for promising suffering and death. In fact, it actually calls the path to Calvary “religious” — meaning traditional, unanointed, and fruitless.
It is no overstatement to say that there is no cross in the gospel of success. In its most extreme modern forms, it originates from the pit. (Remember, it was Satan whom Jesus rebuked for trying to keep Him from going to the cross.)
The gospel of success criticizes the message of the cross because it leads to “death.” But the true gospel must lead to death — death to the flesh, death to the will of man, death to this world’s priorities. Only through death can there be resurrection. Only through the cross can there be abundant life. In fact, if you want what some teachers call “the God kind of life” you’re going to have to experience “the Jesus kind of death.” Which path will you take?
The last generation taught what is often called “pie in the sky” theology — and this theology certainly had its problems! There were plenty of negative distortions in the message. But we have substituted something worse. We now have the theology of “have your cake and eat it too.” The first message starved its hearers, depriving them of the blessings of life in the Spirit in this world. The second message engorges them, robbing them of the light of eternity.
People of God, we are not to center our lives around eating and drinking, gaining and possessing, having more and being merry, because tomorrow we do not die. No. We live forever! How foolish that we conduct ourselves as if this world were our lasting home. We’re just passing through!
When Jacob was a frail old man he said to Pharaoh:
The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of pilgrimage of my fathers (Gen 47:9).
King David, in spite of the equivalent of billions of dollars of riches, could say at the end of his life:
We are aliens and strangers in Your sight, as were all our forefathers. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope (1 Chr 29:15).
Hebrews 11 commends Abraham — certainly a prosperous and influential man — because,
By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. . . . [All of them] admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own . . . a heavenly one (11:9-10, 13-14, 16).
How much more does the New Testament call us to live in the light of eternity!
Jesus told His disciples to rejoice when they were persecuted and rejected, “because great is your reward in heaven . . .” (Matt 5:12). He told them — and us! — to store up treasures in heaven (Matt 6:19-21), and Peter reminds us that we have a heavenly inheritance “that can never perish, spoil or fade” (1 Pet 1:4). That’s why we who suffer for Jesus now will be “overjoyed” when His glory will be revealed at His return (1 Pet 4:13). There is great joy now because there will be endless joy then!
You sympathized with those in prison [for the faith] and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions (Heb 10:34).
Consider the example of C. T. Studd. Raised in a wealthy, aristocratic home in England last century, he became a national celebrity as a sensational cricket player at Cambridge. (He could have become the “Michael Jordan” of his generation.) But through the preaching of D. L. Moody, he experienced a deep transformation and left everything to go to the mission field.
Was he wrong for abandoning a phenomenal sports career in England in order to preach the Word in China and Africa? Was he “religious” because he chose to forsake fame, fortune, and comfort to live sacrificically among the heathen? The decisions he made and the path he chose make one thing perfectly clear: He was not seeking to get ahead in this world. He was seeking to please the Lord. There is a difference!
On judgment day, and throughout eternity, men and women like C. T. Studd will be accounted wise. They will have our admiration and God’s commendation. Does anything stop us from following their lead? It will mean going against the grain!
Our country is saturated with a “save your life, improve your life” mentality — from health clubs to exercise videos, from savings plans to retirement funds, from insurance policies to computer programs guaranteed to put you “in control of your life.” Be successful! Live in greater security and ease! Enjoy the American dream! Jesus says, “Follow Me — even to the point of death.”
After His resurrection, He told Peter the kind of death by which he would glorify God (John 21:19). What a concept! Think of a discussion among the first eleven disciples: “Matthew, Bartholomew, Thomas, by what kind of death are you going to glorify Him?”
For these men, this would not have been idle talk: According to tradition, all the first apostles, with the exception of John, died a martyr’s death. (John was reportedly boiled in oil twice — and survived.) For them, the issue was not, “Will we be called to die for the glory of God?” But rather, “By what kind of death will we glorify Him?”
What about us? Is the call any different today? By what kind of death are we called to glorify God? Death to our reputation? Death to human opinion? Death to our careers? Death to our plans and goals? Or maybe the literal death of a martyr?
Savonarola, the prophetic priest in the fifteenth century Catholic Church understood the cost of fidelity to the Lord. When offered the red hat of a cardinal, he replied:
No hat will I have but that of a martyr, reddened with my own blood.
The fatal flaw of the modern, carnal prosperity message is that it encourages us to set our eyes on the things of this world. It makes it harder for us to leave all, lose self, and follow Jesus. It eliminates the call to take up our cross. (Remember, Jesus was not the only One called to carry the cross. Read Luke 9:23 several times out loud, and digest each word slowly: “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”)
The gospel of success says, “Jesus died for you so you could prosper and succeed in this world.” (Of course, there is some truth to the prosperity message, but its emphasis is way off.) The biblical message says, “Live so as to lose your life for the Lord” — meaning go anywhere, do anything, make any sacrifice — as long as souls are saved, lives are changed, the kingdom is extended, and Jesus is exalted. As children of God, we now make our decisions based on entirely different priorities. We are already subjects of the heavenly kingdom. We have already died to this world!
Of course, there are things in this present age that are important. Justice in our society is important. Compassionate action on behalf of the poor and hurting is important. Righteousness and integrity are important. Morality and family values are important. But only those whose lives are given over to a higher — and eternal — purpose can radically change things here. As C. S. Lewis said:
It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this one.
Can we be honest with ourselves? A major reason why we don’t take a stand against godless laws is because we don’t want to risk our lives. We’re not willing to suffer the consequences.
A key reason why we don’t share our faith more clearly and — in love — more aggressively is because we don’t want to experience rejection. We don’t want to lose our friends, or our jobs, or our ease.
One major factor that keeps many of us from the mission field is that we’re too comfortable here and now. (Let’s face it: Here and now is where it’s at for most of us. There’s only one way you can prove me wrong: Live differently!)
It’s time for the old spirit of martyrdom to enter the church of America. (Much of the Church worldwide has no choice in the matter. Christianity for them is synonymous with suffering. Just ask the families of the Christian men in Sudan or Ethiopia who were crucified for their faith — in the last few months.) It’s time that we do God’s will, and God’s will alone.
I once heard Richard Wurmbrand ask why, when the Supreme Court passed the law removing public prayer from our schools, American Christians chose to comply. What would have happened if we simply refused to obey? The whole thing probably would have been turned around overnight. And if it wasn’t turned around? Then at least the church, through her biblical obedience, would have been turned around!
If only we would value obedience to the Lord more highly than we value self-preservation! If only the favor of God were more meaningful to us than the opinions of people! If only we would count suffering for Jesus to be a privilege! What could stop us then? This country boasts of fifty-seventy million born-again Christians. (Of course, that figure is preposterous.) But what if just one million true believers here (just twenty thousand from each state!) decided to obey God and stand up for what is right, regardless of the cost? Our nation would be absolutely shaken. Now is the time to awake!
In 1984, after hearing K. P. Yohannan of Gospel for Asia preach a challenging message, a Christian man named Samuel gave up his good job in South India and moved with his family to the region of Karnataka. There he began preaching to unreached Hindus, known for their hostility to the gospel. The Lord blessed the work, and even a Hindu priest was born again.
This was more than the extremists could take. They burst into a meeting one Sunday and severely beat Samuel with iron rods, breaking his hand, arm, leg, and collar bone. When his seven year old son ran up and cried out, “Please don’t kill our daddy!” they struck the boy on the spine, breaking his back. Then they left, warning Samuel that if he ever preached there again, they would kill him. The beating was so severe that Samuel and his son were hospitalized for several months.
After his release, Samuel attended a workers’ meeting with K. P. Yohannan. The first night, during a time of prayer, his arm was supernaturally healed of paralysis he was suffering as a result of his beating. The next night he testified of the things he had recently experienced for the Lord.
K. P. asked Samuel, “What are you going to do now?” With a peaceful determination, the young man replied:
I am going back. Even if I am killed, my blood will be the foundation for many more churches.
He returned and has continued to preach. His son is back in school and is also doing well. And Samuel has baptized many more converts — and has been beaten again.
Would we have gone back and preached? K. P. was honest enough to admit that his own reaction might have been different. First he would have come up with lots of good scriptures to justify not going back. And then he would have used his best argument:
I’m only forty-some years old! God wants me to use my brain for His kingdom. With all the investment He has made in my life since I was sixteen, would it be right for me to be killed by some fanatics next week? Don’t be stupid! I am going to leave this place so I will have another forty years of my life to invest in and build God’s kingdom (Living in the Light of Eternity, 159-60).
Samuel thought differently. He was not out to save his life, he was out to save sinners. With such resolve how could he be defeated? His life is not his own! In past centuries, missionaries endued with the same spirit sailed off to far away lands with their belongings packed in caskets. They were making a one way trip!
A few years ago, a young evangelist moved into an area in Asia famous for its violent resistance to Jesus. The radical religious opposition immediately came to his apartment, making their intentions clear: “We’ll kill you if you stay here and preach!” The evangelist only smiled. “I came to die,” he replied. Today his church has 200 members. That is the power of the gospel of martyrdom. That is true success.
Posted in Revolution & Justice Tagged with: Dr. Michael Brown, Martyrdom, money, prosperity gospel, success, the church
Voice of Revolution posted an article several weeks ago about an Iranian law that has passed its first draft in parliament, which would mandate the death penalty for male converts from Islam, and a life prison sentence for female converts. The law is currently before a committee and may undergo some changes before it comes before the parliament to be passed into actual law. It passed in its original form with an overwhelming majority, 196 to 7, with two absent members, which makes it appear that it will almost certainly be passed, unless major international pressure is brought to bear on the situation. If this law is passed, Iran will have taken another step toward nationally legislating the Sharia laws of Islam. Up until now in Iran, the death penalty for converting from Islam has been left to judicial discretion, solely based upon the writings of Islamic law, but has not been nationalized.
This law has ramifications not only for non-Muslims and converts living in Iran, but also may affect converts to other religions internationally. One clause of the law as it stands right now states that converts from Islam living outside the borders of Iran may be tried by the Iranian courts in their absence and condemned, if they are seen to jeopardize Iranian national security. Men whose parents were Muslim and who convert to another religion as adults would be subject to immediate execution, whereas men whose parents were NOT Muslim, but who had converted initially to Islam before changing their minds would be given three days to “repent” and return to the Muslim faith. Women are given the opportunity to convert back to Islam at any point during their life imprisonment. Other sins punishable by death according to this law are witchcraft, heresy, fortune-telling, and swearing against/insulting Mohammad, Fatima, or the Shi’ite Imams.
According to an online British Newspaper called The Telegraph, very little attention has been given to the passing of this law from either media or international public figures. Here is an excerpt from the October 11th article discussing this:
David Miliband, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, stands out as one of the few politicians from any Western country who has put on record his opposition to making apostasy a crime punishable by death. The protest from the EU has been distinctly muted; meanwhile, Germany, Iran’s largest foreign trading partner, has just increased its business deals with Iran by more than half. Characteristically, the United Nations has said nothing.
It is a sign of how little interest there is in Iran’s intention to launch a campaign of religious persecution that its parliamentary vote has still not been reported in the mainstream media.
The vast majority of the information or discussions available on this law is found on Christian sites focusing on the persecuted church, or other types of religion-themed sites and blogs. The fact that the passing of the Iranian Penal Law, which infringes on the international human rights agreements Iran has officially made in the past, fails to have made widespread international news is a solemn indication of the unofficial ‘blind eye’ to the persecution of the Christian Church and other people groups in many countries across the world.
Friends, we are the Church, and many of our Iranian brothers and sisters will come under harsher persecution now than they ever have in the past! We must join with them now in prayer, that their faith would remain unshaken, and that the Kingdom of God will come in a great outpouring in Iran! Pray that the Spirit would fill the saints in Iran with power and boldness, that they would be able to proclaim the name of Messiah Jesus until He comes! Pray that God will bring swift justice for His people in Iran, work in the hearts of those in the parliament when this law comes back for a vote, and bring this issue to international public attention.
Father, let our hearts be consumed with the Spirit of prayer and love for all the saints! Let us bear the weight with our brothers and sisters in Iran, and be filled with courage to stand up for truth and manifest the Kingdom of God on the earth, as we have been called to do! Pour out Your love and strength on those who suffer for the sake of Your name, and let them abound richly in the power and the joy of the Holy Spirit! Confound the work of the enemy and let your church abound still more and more in the knowledge of the love of Christ and support those who are faithful to Your name even unto death! Praise Him!
Sources: Telegraph.co.uk, Religious Intelligence, Global Exploits Ministries
Posted in News, Persecution Tagged with: death penalty, Iran, Islam, Martyrdom, Persecution, prison, Sharia Law, the church
Reprinted from Elam Ministries :
In response to a year of persecution and the imminent passing of a law making the death sentence mandatory for all Muslim men who turn to Christ and life imprisonment for Muslim women who turn to Christ, Iranian church leaders are calling for prayer and fasting November 21 – 23rd 2008.
They know they have no influence in the courts of men – but they want to take their case to the courts of heaven.
And like Esther of old, the queen of Iran who told Mordecai to ask all the people of God to pray and fast for three days, so Iranian Christian leaders are asking the world-wide church to also set aside these three days for prayer and fasting.
If you are a prayer leader in your church, please contact other intercessors to be involved in these three days, and please approach your pastor to see if special prayers for Iran can be made at your church service on Sunday November 23rd.
2008: YEAR OF INTIMIDATION FOR CHRISTIANS IN IRAN
The growing church in Iran is under attack. Since April there have been at least fifty three arrests of people whose only crime is their faith in Jesus Christ. The arrests are not localised, but have happened in all of Iran’s major cities…Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan, Shiraz, Kerman, and elsewhere. Sometimes people have been released the same day, others spent months in prison, some still remain behind bars. Many of them have had to pay exorbitant fees for bail and face frightening court cases. Some have suffered physically while in detention and it is believed that one elderly couple died as a result of being beaten up. These are only the arrests that get reported: it is likely there have been many more.
All of this has been happening against the ominous background of legislation going through the Iranian parliament that will make the death sentence mandatory for any man who leaves Islam and chooses another faith. Women will face life imprisonment for the same ‘crime’. Click here to read more about this legislation.
Despite the persecution, the church in Iran continues to grow rapidly. The Word of God is reaching many in the country and many believers are determined to courageously share Christ with their countrymen. Christian leaders in Iran believe that the church will continue to grow very rapidly in the next five to ten years, such is the openness of Iranians to the Gospel.
Elam Ministries urges Christians, world wide to pray and fast on behalf of the church in Iran.
- Pray for all those who have been arrested and intimidated. Pray that the Lord will be their Rock, Deliverer and Shield. (Psalm 18:2)
- Pray that despite the persecution, Christians will be “encouraged to speak the Word of God more courageously and fearlessly.” (Phil 1:14)
- Pray against the law of apostasy. Pray that the severe mandatory punishments regarding apostasy in Iran’s new penal code will not enter the statute book. Pray that many millions of Muslims will see the evil of this law and will hunger for spiritual truth and salvation.
OVERVIEW OF INTIMIDATION*
April, Amol, Mazandaran: a Christian husband and his pregnant wife are arrested. The wife is released after three days, the husband not till the end of May and only when he had secured his bail with his home. He has to face charges in court.
May 11th, Shiraz: Homayon Gholamzadeh and his wife Fariba and Amir Hussein Anari, and his wife Fatemeh, were arrested at the airport and taken directly to jail. All were questioned about their faith and church involvement. The wives were released the same day, but Anari was not released till May 14th, and Gholamzadeh not till May 22nd. The same day Allaedin Hossein, his wife and three children were arrested, their home searched, and computers and books confiscated. All were released apart from the eldest son, Mujtaba Hussein, aged 21. He was kept in prison till June 3rd and then only released on $20,000 bail.
May 13th, Shiraz: Mahmood Matin and Arash Bandari, were arrested while walking in a park. Both were kept in solitary confinement till July 15th, when they were placed in a cell together.
May 31st, Tehran: Police arrest forty four year old Mohsen Namvar and confiscated his computer. Mohsen was in prison in 2007 when he was beaten so badly he could hardly walk. No reason was given for this second arrest. He was released on June 27th with high fever and shaking hands. He refuses to talk to his wife about his treatment. The family had to pay the security forces $43,000 for bail – and received no receipt. In early July they fled Iran as refugees.
June 3rd, Tehran: Christian couple, Tina Rad and Makan Arya were arrested and interrogated for holding Bible studies with Muslims. During their four day ordeal both were badly beaten up and the authorities threatened to put their four year old daughter into an institution. They had to raise a total of $50,000 to be released on bail.
July 12th, Tehran:. Mohsen Radfar arrested travelling to the city.
July 12th, Kerman: Twelve Christians are arrested at the airport on their way to a conference. While being questioned their homes are searched. They are released the same day.
July 17th, Isfahan: Sixteen Christians, including six women and two minors, arrested during a service. The elderly hosts of the meeting, Abbas Amiri and Sakineh Rahnama were so badly beaten that both later died: Abbas on July 30th, his wife on August 3rd.
Early August, Shiraz: Mahmood Matin Azad and Arash Basirat, imprisoned in Shiraz since May 13th, are formally charged with apostasy, which carries the death sentence.
August 8th, Kerman: A Christian couple, Dariush and Shireen, are arrested.
August 12th, Arak: Shahin Zanboori is arrested and suffered beatings while in prison as authorities attempted to find out the names of other believers. He was released on August 31st, but faces a court case.
Mid August, Mashad: A Christian, Iman Rashidi, is arrested.
August 21st, Mashad: Ramtin Soodmand, minister of the Evangelical Church, is imprisoned. Ramtin is the son of martyred Revd Hossein Soodmand who was hanged in 1990 for being an apostate from Islam. Ramtin’s mother is blind.
September 22nd, Urumieh: Assyrian Evangelical Minister, Revd. S. Yadegar and another Christian man are arrested and held in prison charged with evangelizing.
September 23rd, Shiraz: All the charges against Mahmood Matin Azad and Arash Basirat are dropped and they are released.
September 28th, Urumieh: A Christian man, Sobhan, is arrested.
October 20th, Mashad: Fereshteh Dibaj and her husband Amir Montazami, who were arrested and held last year, are threatened again by the court that they could be imprisoned. Fereshteh Dibaj is the daughter of Mehdi Dibaj who was imprisoned for nine years for his Christian faith. He was sentenced to death for apostasy in 1993, but was released after international pressure, only to be murdered in the summer of 1994.
October 22nd, Mashad: Ramtin Soodmand freed.
* Main sources: Compass Direct, FCNN
NEW PENAL CODE – MANDATORY DEATH FOR CONVERTS
This intimidation of Christians has been happening while parliament has been revising Iran’s penal code whereby death for male converts will be mandatory. Articles 225-8 of the new code bluntly states that punishment for a male apostate is ‘death’ and for a female it is life imprisonment – unless she re-cants. In a similar way that Nazis argued over the definition of a Jew, so this code has special clauses for ‘parental’ and ‘innate’ apostates. The former have three days to recant; the latter none. Such details do nothing to hide the fundamental injustice of a law that seeks to ferociously punish its citizens for choosing their own religion.
Up to now the death sentence has been available as a punishment for apostasy from Islam in Iran, but individual judges could use their discretion. However the word used in this new legislation is ‘hadd’ which means this is a fixed punishment that cannot be changed, reduced, or annulled.
This proposed bill also introduces a new crime into Iran’s statute book – ‘establishing weblogs and sites promoting corruption, prostitution and apostasy’ Those found guilty could be punished with death or the amputation of their arms and legs.
The new Penal Code was approved by the Iranian parliament by 196 – 7 votes on September 9th and is now being reviewed before it is sent back to parliament for another vote, and then to the Guardian Council for its final consent. It will then become law.
From the human perspective it is inevitable that this new penal code will become law, so threatening the lives not just of thousands of Christians from Muslim backgrounds, but any believer who wants to witness to the fact that Jesus Christ is the only Saviour, for this is ‘promoting apostasy’.
As in the days of the early church, when Peter was put in prison, there can still be a but…
So Peter was put in prison, but the church was earnestly praying…
Please start praying now, and put November 21st – 23rd in your diaries for praying and fasting.
Posted in News, Persecution Tagged with: Iran, Islam, Martyrdom, Muslims, Persecution