Dr. Hormoz Shariat, an evangelical and the founder of Iran Alive Ministries, issued an intriguing proclamation in a recent telecast conversation with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. During the event, called “The Cry of the Martyrs: The Threat to Religious Liberty Around the World,” Shariat said that he is convinced, despite widespread crackdowns on non-Muslims that the Islamic Republic of Iran is poised to become a Christian nation.
“Iran will be a Christian country, and that’s not up to me. It’s Jeremiah 49:38 [that] promises that. We are moving in that direction fast,” he proclaimed during an FRC event on Wednesday. “There is a spiritual vacuum in Iran and people are hungry spiritually. That’s when we share the Gospel, share the Word of God through television people sit there for hours, take notes.”
The verse Shariat references reads (NIV), “‘I will set my throne in Elam and destroy her king and officials,’ declares the Lord.” Since Elam was an ancient civilization existing where Iran currently resides, the evangelical leader believes that prophesy will play itself out and that God will very literally place his “throne” in this region.
While some may dismiss Shariat and his claims, as The Christian Post notes, he is dubbed “The Billy Graham of Iran.” His television broadcast airs throughout the Muslim nation and he has experience measuring and understanding how faith is being interpreted and handled within the nation’s borders.
“Iran is so open to the Gospel. So many people are come to Christ through our ministry in the US and in Europe, but especially in Iran,” the faith leader continued, according to the Post. “As we share the Gospel through television, people come to Christ. And not just ‘easy’ believers, they have become dedicated followers of Jesus Christ.”
While his prediction is certainly bold, Shariat’s claims follow a March 2012 report from Open Doors USA, an organization that serves persecuted Christians across the globe. In it, the group reported that the growth of conversions from Islam to Christianity in the Islamic Republic is “explosive.”
“Forty years ago an estimated 200 Muslim Background Believers were living in Iran. Today the estimation is 370,000…,” the report reads. “According to Open Doors, the house church movement has triggered many secret meetings. The growth is happening in all regions, but mostly in the larger cities.”
Whether Iran will, indeed, become a Christian nation is yet to be seen. But if current regulations and crackdowns continue on Muslims and non-Muslims, alike, such a prospect seems difficult to imagine. Then again, difficult is rarely synonymous with impossibility.