The Iranian government is tightening control on a Farsi-speaking Church, says a report from Compass Direct News.
Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs USA says he's met with members of the Assemblies of God (AOG) Central Church of Tehran before. He notes that the AOG church holds two Sunday services, both conducted in Farsi. In fact, since 2009, it has been the only church remaining in Tehran that offers Farsi-language worship on Sundays in a dedicated building.
Recently, church leaders told their congregation that authorities have demanded a list of names and identification numbers of church members--a major risk to converts from Islam.
Nettleton explains, "The Armenians: [the government] considers to be ethnically Christian. Persians: they consider to be ethnically Muslim. [The government is] very concerned to see Farsi speakers who they would consider to be Muslims coming to Jesus Christ and worshipping together in this church."
If Farsi-speakers are considered ethnically Muslim, then their participation or conversion to Christianity would fall under the country's apostasy law, says Nettleton. "That really is the concern of the church leaders here. If we start turning over names and ID numbers, they can start tracking who these people are, what their background is, and they could come under the fire of that apostasy law."
However, in an effort to circumvent force, church leaders took an unconventional approach. Nettleton urges prayer for them. "One of the things we can really pray for is the wisdom of the church leaders. They announced in the services, 'The government is asking for your name and your ID number. If you want to volunteer that information, we will give it to the government.'"
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SOURCE: Mission Network News