This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
A jaw-dropping report is confirming that in recent years, there have been a million new Christians in the repressive regime of Iran, which is owned, managed, and operated by Islamic extremists.
The details come from Lela Gilbert, a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and a fellow at Hudson' Institute's Center for Religious Freedom.
She has written at the Washington Stand that most, when "Iran" appears in the headlines, remember the regime's "relentless efforts to develop a nuclear weapon, while their government-sponsored mobs chant, 'Death to America!' and 'Death to Israel!'"
Others might recall its "relentless military aggression in the Middle East and assassination squads elsewhere."
For years, she noted, it has been listed as one of the 10 worst persecutors of Christians around the globe.
The other story, however, is that the number of those converting to Christianity in Iran is exploding.
"I first became aware of this surprisingly good news when I lived in Israel — it was talked about among groups who were focused on Middle East evangelism. Then after I returned to the U.S., I read an unexpected report by Daniel Pipes, a Jewish researcher and author and friend of mine who wrote about it for Newsweek," she explained.
He cited the "astonishing" turn of events that have Christianity "flourishing."
He wrote, "Consider some testimonials: David Yeghnazar of Elam Ministries stated in 2018 that ‘Iranians have become the most open people to the gospel.’ The Christian Broadcasting Network found, also in 2018, that ‘Christianity is growing faster in the Islamic Republic of Iran than in any other country.’
"This trend results from the extreme form of Shi’ite Islam imposed by the theocratic regime. An Iranian church leader explained in 2019: ‘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 Ayatollah Khomeini [founder of the Islamic Republic]?'"
The report said the change is being confirmed by a survey in 2020 from a secular Netherlands-based research organization that confirmed "there are far greater numbers of Christian believers in Iran than ever before — more than a million. In fact, those involved with the 'house church' movement in Iran are convinced that there are likely several million Christian believers there," she wrote.
The growth mostly is through one-to-one conversations among house church attendees, who largely remain under the radar of the repressive government.
This is just as various groups, including the Vatican and several Protestant groups, are reporting that Iran's war against Christians is surging, with surveillance, arrests, and imprisonment of house church leaders.
She said, "Today when we see 'Iran' in the headlines, we are wise to be concerned. … Let’s also remember our little-known but rapidly growing Christian family inside Iran’s borders."