Mohabat News – Basically, house churches are groups of young people with their families that are formed spontaneously. Unfortunately, because these fast growing groups are widely spread across the country, it is almost impossible to estimate their number.
Those who convert to Christianity from other religions are not allowed to go to official churches in Iran. On the other hand, since official churches are tightly watched by the government, newly converted Christians prefer to gather in small groups in their homes to worship and study the Bible. They call their homes "house churches", where they gather to worship God with no political purpose.
- House churches' relationship with foreign Christian ministries
House church members' relationship with foreign churches and ministries, may be summed up in Christian teaching matters. The primary reason for such a relationship is that Christians do not have access to theological resources and are not allowed to print and distribute Christian books that are certified by their churches. Thus, Iranian Christians have no way to access these resources except through satellite channels and the internet.
- House churches, a threat to the Islamic regime?!
Most Iranian security authorities consider these gatherings (house churches) as a threat to the Islamic regime and thus identify and attack them. They arrest attendees and charge them with serious security offenses. Also, by making anti-Christian remarks, pro-regime Ayatollahs try to prevent young Iranians and their families from converting to Christianity and to stop the increasing growth of house churches. Ayatollahs see their existence in the continued existence of the Islamic regime. Therefore, they make unfounded remarks whenever they find an opportunity and use it as a means to provoke government and security authorities to pressure Christian converts.
As we promised at the end of the article "Two Ayatollahs Make Anti-Christian Remarks to Provoke Authorities against Christians", we will include here names of some pro-regime Ayatollahs and their anti-Christian position.
- Ayatollahs' warning against establishment of house churches!
- Ayatollah Jafar Sobhani
Qom based Ayatollah Sobhani, whose remarks are always strongly reflected by pro-regime news services affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard, like Fars news service, warned against the growth of house churches in society and called on Islamic seminaries to be alert in this respect. He also said that house churches attract ungodly youth who have gone astray and try to induce them to accept their faith. Prior to this, he had also warned that "enemies of the Islamic regime of Iran are investing money and providing means to make the people turn their back on Shi'ite Islam." He added, people should be alert to not let some groups form house churches. Warning against house churches, Ayatollah Sobhani, who is also a seminary teacher in Qom, acknowledged that 600 people had become Christians in Neyshabour.
- Ayatollah Vahid Khorasani
He is one of the highest profile Shia experts in Iran. In his public remarks, he has warned against Christianity many times. His remarks were taken so seriously that they led to a wave of pressure, threat, arrest and even torture of some Christians and Christian converts by security and judicial authorities.
Some time ago, Ayatollah Khorasani criticized the spread of Christianity. He addressed high-profile authorities and said, "People are becoming Christian and they (authorities) are after their chairmanship." He added, "there is no one saying to these organizations what it means to see misleading Christian evangelism even in Qom? Christian evangelism should be eliminated or I will dishonor those who are neglecting to do so."
- Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi
Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, who is very well known for his extreme and fundamental views in Mahdaviat (an Islamic view that emphasizes preparing for the coming of the twelfth Shi'ite Imam), concerning endeavors to stop the growth of Christianity acknowledged that, "Things that have been done and investments that have been made (by government authorities) by now have not yielded any results." He said that it is due to disorganized work and lack of supervision.
- Ayatollah Hadi Jahangosha
Ayatollah Jahangosha, who is considered to be an expert in religious affairs, uses the expression "distorted Christianity" a lot. He, as well as others, has warned against Christianity many times. Ayatollah Jahangosha, feeling sorry about the spread of Christianity among the youth, said, "Islam approves Christianity as it was introduced in Quran, however, it is unfortunate to see the Christianity that Christians believe in today being spread among the youth." He referred to Ayatollah Khamenei's warning against house churches and noted, "the Supreme Leader's warning demonstrates the significance of the matter."
- Hojatol-Eslam Seyyed Mohammad Saeedi
Hojatol-Eslam Seyed Mohammad Saeedi, who is the Friday prayer Imam in Qom and visiting leader and managers of the Organization of Islamic Propaganda in the religious city of Qom, warned against "the enemy's efforts" to establish "house-churches" and called on cultural authorities, especially those at the Organization of Islamic Propaganda, to be pioneers in promoting religious teachings. Saying "some families are vulnerable", the Islamic cleric called for the implementation of publicity programs for Iranian families.
- Hojatol-Eslam Alireza Tarashion
Following the thirty-three year old habit of the Islamic regime authorities to make unfounded statements, Mr. Tarashion, General Director of comparative religious studies at the Propaganda Department of the Islamic Seminary claimed that enemies of Islam had made huge investments to achieve their goals. He did not mention who these enemies were. He said, "They give approximately 50,000 dollars a year to some house churches which often do not have more than 15-20 members!"
These illusions of mullahs in the Islamic Republic are being formed while the Islamic Republic is actively involved in Islamic propaganda and spending Iranian people's wealth on Shias in Lebanon, in African countries, and in some Sunni Muslim countries in the Persian Gulf region, in order to promote "Shi'ite Islam" there. Also, a huge amount of money is spent in European countries to build mosques and support Islamic missionaries, which is never reported in the media. However, no Christian is allowed to evangelize or plant churches in any Islamic country, Iran being one of them.
- Hojatol-Eslam Mohsen Alizadeh
Mohsen Alizadeh is called an outstanding scholar and professor in denomination studies by Fars news service. Making surprising remarks on house churches and evangelism in Iran, he claimed, "Evangelical Christianity is the most horrifying intelligence organization in the world!" he continued, "They tell the youth that God is wrathful and horrible in Islam but is love in Christianity. Also, Christian preachers answer the questions and doubts of youth in their own interest and try to attract them."
He also suggested that government authorities dedicate a place in university to explain real Islam. He neglected to mention what kind of Islam was introduced and practiced in the thirty three years since the Islamic revolution, so that now they want to show the true face of Islam, especially to the youth!
- Hojatol-Eslam Heydar Moslehi
In a meeting held in Feizieh Seminary in Qom, Heydar Moslehi, the Iranian Intelligence Minister, stated that house churches are a threat to Iranian youth. He also outlined ways to deal with the growth of Christianity and house churches in Iran. Speaking of "dangers of evangelical Christianity", he added, "Evangelical Christianity has seriously harmed the Regime to varying degrees through 20 satellite TV channels, thousands of websites and tens of mission organizations."
Also, the Minister of Intelligence voiced his concern in October over corrupt sects, Christendom and proselytization and called it the "soft war" of arrogance. In this connection, he called on seminaries and seminarians to step in and lead the youth to the correct path!
In the thirty three years since Islamic Revolution in Iran, Ayatollahs and the regime authorities have always sought to provoke security and government authorities to act against Christians by making unfounded remarks and unrealistic claims about them.