“This is an Islamic country!”
Over the past few days, news and social media have been flooded with reports of unrest in Iran. The images we see involve thousands taking to the streets in protest at their government, whilst thousands more march in support.
Billy Graham wrote a short excerpt about Iran in his book, Just as I am.
On our return to the United States, we had a stopover in Tehran, the capital of Iran, where I visited the shah. As I stepped out of the car at the hotel afterward, I was surrounded by an angry group of students. Why, they wondered, had I, a well-known Christian, gone to see the shah? I did not know much about religion in Iran; I did know, though, that in addition to Islam there were still some Nestorians in the country, survivors of an ancient form of Christianity dating back many centuries.
“This is an Islamic country and we are going to make this an Islamic state,” they shouted. “The shah is standing in our way, and America is behind the shah.”
I told them that the shah had been kind enough to invite me to visit him if ever I was in Iran. I did not get into an argument with them. I really didn’t know enough of their political situation to get into even a discussion. I did manage to tell them of Persia in biblical times, especially of Queen Esther. They quieted down eventually and finally left the hotel. But they made me aware for the first time of dissent in that country. And I was reminded once again of how difficult it was for a visitor to grasp the politics of a country other than his own”.
A desire to know more about Jesus
Now in his 100th year of life, Billy Graham continues his ministry through prayer at his Montreat, North Carolina, home. His work is also being carried out by multiple BGEA ministries.
One of those, Internet Evangelism, has seen 11 million salvations since it’s launch in 2014. Many of these come from countries where it’s difficult to receive the Gospel, like Iran. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of Iranians have visited the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s PeaceWithGod.org.uk website—an interactive site that explains the Gospel—and more than 47,000 have indicated decisions for Jesus Christ. Additionally, Elam, a Christian ministry focused on Iran, has attempted to track in-country statistics. The site states that in 1979, less than 500 Christians were known in the area. Today that number eclipses 350,000. There is a desire to know more about Jesus.
You can talk to him anytime
A Muslim man from Tehran came to PeaceWithGod wanting to know more about Christianity. “I am scared if what I want is not what my God wants and then I lose my faith in him,” he shared with a live chat coach. “I sometimes really feel like I need to talk to him, but it’s not something within our power.”
The coach responded that the God of Christianity will never let someone go; it doesn’t depend on what the person does or doesn’t do, but on what Jesus has done already. “The God of creation is only a prayer away. You can talk to Him anytime,” the coach added.
The coach had read the Quran and understood the points the man brought up about his faith. He shared how his god sent multiple prophets into the world so people could know him. “There were prophets throughout our history as well,” the coach shared. “They spoke of the coming of a Saviour.”
The coach shared more about Jesus and His forgiveness as the man asked questions about Christianity, saying it’s not fair for people who have done bad things to go to heaven the same as people who have done nothing wrong. The two continued to share more about their faiths in a respectful way. “You know, it was so interesting for me to know more about Christianity!” the man said at the end. “I really enjoyed that talk.”