By Stefan J. Bos Chief International Correspondent
TEHRAN, IRAN (BosNewsLife)– The leader of one of Iran’s largest Protestant movements who faces imminent execution for abandoning Islam says he remains faithful to Christ, despite pressure from Iranian authorities to change his mind, according to a message from prison seen by BosNewsLife Saturday, October 30.
Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani wrote to his fellow believers not to fear persecution in the strict Islamic nation, saying Jesus Christ gives him strength. “As we’ve heard He has said: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
Nadarkhani is detained in a security prison in Lakan, Iran, just south of his hometown of Rasht. He was convicted last month on charges of apostasy, or leaving Islam, which carries the death sentence in Iran, an official of the pastor’s Church of Iran movement confirmed to BosNewsLife, speaking on condition of anonymity. Iranian Christians say the pastor was singled-out by authorities “for helping Muslims turn to Christ”.
He was eventually arrested last October after protesting against the enforced reading of the Koran, viewed as a holy book by Muslims, to Christian children. His wife Fatemeh Passandideh has been released October 11 by a court in Gilan province, after she was detained on similar apostasy charges, Christians said.
EXECUTION THIS WEEKEND?
Christians closely following the case said Pastor Nadarkhani may face the death penalty as early as this weekend, but there was no immediate independent confirmation. Authorities had reportedly already scheduled his execution for October 24.
Iranian Christians said officials were delaying carrying out the death penalty to put more pressure on the pastor “to turn away from Christ”. Under Iranian law, once the written verdict is delivered, there will be 20 days to appeal to the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Court, trial observers said.
In a last effort, the pastor’s attorney was reportedly trying to appeal the death sentence after he found “serious procedural flaws” in the case.
Nadarhani asked his supporters for prayers. “In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I am continuously seeking grace and mercy to you, that you remember me and those who are bearing efforts for his name in your prayers. Your loyalty to God is the cause of my strength and encouragement,” he wrote in translated comments.
COUPLE HAS CHILDREN
Christians have expressed concerns about the case as the couple has two young sons and say it underscores growing pressure on the Church of Iran movement, which includes several underground house churches.
The Church of Iran said earlier that it has been “the subject of a campaign of persecution, unprecedented since the advent of the [Islamic] revolution” in 1979, which saw the overthrow of Iran’s monarchy and its replacement with an Islamic republic under revolution leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
“Several members of the movement have been arrested since October 2009 among them [also] pastor Behrouz Khandjani, who is still in isolation in the sinister ‘plate 100’ [prison] of Shiraz [area].” Christian observers say the “elimination of religious minorities” has become a national priority with Christians reportedly being detained across the country.
Despite reported persecution there are at least 100,000 believers in the nation, most of them former Muslims, according to Elam Ministries, a mission group of Iranian church leaders. There were only less than 500 known Christians from a Muslim background in Iran in 1979, according to Elam Ministries’ estimates. (With reporting by BosNewsLife’s Special Correspondent Joseph C. DeCaro).
Let us pray together for this brother with such a strong faith in Christ.
This is a false news . Yusef Nadarkhani did not lead largest Protestant Communities in Iran .
He is only leader of a small cult group in a small city of Iran .
At best they are Jesus Only but also followers of William Branham self proclaimed Jesus at his latter years. The article was greatly helpful to warn new Christians in Iran not to entrapped by false doctrine.
This was NOT FALSE news. We have said that he is the leader of “one of the largest” Protestant communities, not the largest, although that may well be the case. However even if he was the leader of a tiny house church, that would not make any difference. As far as the doctrine…If he has any doctrine, it’s clearly not false. In fact, he quoted directly from Matthew 5:10-12 (New International Version) when he spoke about persecution. Unlike you, I publish my full name.
Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife
Dear brother & sister in Christ , please let me tell you I am concern about Mr. Nadarkhan as well . He must be free & I pray for his freedom as a human . But also it is a tru statement that he is a member of an Iranian cult group who they believe to false docterine of William Branham .Please do not introduce him as a Pastor or leader of Iranian Protestant communities , because it is not right .By promoted him as a christian leader , you help the wrong teaching of Christanity in young Irananian Churches . Open your eyes and help us by this way . Blessing .
Dear brothers & sisters in Christ , please let me tell you I am concern about Mr. Nadarkhani as well . He must be free & I pray for his freedom as a human . But also it is a true statement that he is a member of an Iranian cult group who they believe to false docterine of William Branham .Please do not introduce him as a Pastor or leader of Iranian Protestant communities , because it is not right .By promote him as a christian leader , you help the wrong teaching of Christanity in young Irananian Churches . Open your eyes and help us by this way . Blessing .
Once again we see Islam and the Muslim’s true character. Islam is not a religiion of peace as they claim, but rather one of lies, hate and violence! If Islam and the Koran is absolute truth as they claim, then why do they have to defend it with such hatred and violence? Truth stands by itself; It needs no defence!
That is why the Bible needs no defence; it IS absolute Truth! Jesus Christ needs no defence; He also IS absolute Truth and Christianity needs no defence; for it too IS Truth! Only the LIE needs to be defended such as Muhammad, Islam and the Koran! It can not stand along side the Truth such as Jesus Christ, Christianity and the Bible! Therefore, Islam must do away with anything and everything that disagrees with it, such as The Bible, Jesus Christ and Christianity, for the LIE Can Not Stand Along Side The TRUTH!
As an Iranian Christian , I know about Mr. Nadarkhani and his friends such as Mr. Khanjani & Mr. Irani situation . They are not official Pastor or leader of any Protestant community . They believe William Branham docterine . For this reason the main body of Church in Iran have no relation with them . Just the limited followers of Branham accept them as leaders . Unfortunately the Islamic Republic Intelligent Services misuse this point for more persure to Iranian Churche leaders and make dispersion . I think on one hand we must pray for release these men from prison & on the other hand we must pray for opening their mind & their heart for better understanding of God words . If Bos News Life or Mr. Stefan J.bos accepted William Branham docterine as a right Christian teaching let me know . Maybe Most of Iranian Christian think in a wrong way . Please make clear it . God bless .
If Bos News Life or Mr. Stefan J.bos accepted William Branham docterine as a right Christian teaching let me know . Maybe Most of Iranian Christian think in a wrong way . Please make clear it . God bless .
i agree with brother omidvar …
I find this discussion about doctrine a bit strange at a time when a Christian pastor is facing execution. As I have said if he has any doctrine, it’s clearly not false. In fact, he quoted directly from Matthew 5:10-12 (New International Version) when he spoke about persecution.
Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife
We did not report on a doctrine, but on a Christian pastor facing execution because he left Islam. That’s all. Let’s stay focus on the issue here. I personally do not accept any doctrine. God’s Word, the Bible, is all I need.
Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife
Dear brother Stefan,
May the Lord bless and keep you
It is interesting that some Christians are working hard to judge people and put them into good and bad groups.
You are good if you accept their doctrine and bad if not. This is what the Islamic regime does. According to the Iranian regime you can have only two statuses, friend or enemy.
The bible does not tell us that brother Ali, Hamid, Omidvar or anyone else decides about your belief. Jesus did not tell that if Brother Ali dose not confirm you then I also will not confirm you.
Iranian church is suffering from two sides. On one side the Islamic regime and on the other side Christians such as brother Ali.
Brothers Ali and Omidvar: we would like to ask you to go back to the most vital but basic Christianity principles, which are Love, faithfulness and acceptance.
Our brothers and sisters are under a huge amount of repress by the Islamic government.
We all should pray for them.
God bless you
Church of Iran
From Canada…I pray that justice will be in the name of our lord Jesus-Christ.May God bless all Iranian christians!!
Hello Everyone. I totally agree with “Church of Iran” and “Rev. M. A. Divine”. We are not here on a doctrine debate, but on the support of a brother, whatever his beliefs are, arrested and on the verge to be executed! And at my sense, what makes the difference between us christians and muslims, is this faculty of loving and supporting EVEN our enemies (that’s WHAT Jesus taught us!!!), assist those in affliction (christians or not) and ALWAYS respond by love to ANY kind of offense! I strongly believe that “Truth”, real one, does NOT need any human to protect and defend it, especially with violence!!! And that’s what the Bible teaches! Today all christians, all together should be praying and supporting this pastor in affliction, and if you are one, dear Ali, you won’t put differences of beliefs such in your forehead while a part of the body, our body, is persecuted. But didn’t Jesus announce it? They shall persecute us. And we will respond ONLY with love. And regarding pastor Youcef’s doctrine, I agree with Stefan J. Bos when he says, he finds NOTHING wrong with what he preaches! Here’s what he confesses: http://www.eglisediran.org/?page_id=8 (french and english down) and for what the Bible says, i find NOTHING wrong in it!!! Would you???? Besides, i read some of the preachings of the said William Branham; he’s been a pastor, and except the fact he claimed being a prophet sent by God (which none except God himself can judge!), he ONLY preached Jesus and NEVER presented himself as HIM. In many occasions, he repeatedly said he was NOT Jesus, but a sent messenger for a Message of preparation for the Bride of Christ. Many confused people after seeing some of the miracles he was doing (in Jesus’ name), started taking him for Jesus, which he STRONGLY and loudly blamed at each occasion. We might not agree with some of his “revealed” interpretations of the Bible, but we CANNOT say he was antichrist, cause he preached ONLY Christ. So dear brother Ali (and Omidvar also), please before judging, take the time to be more informed by YOURSELF, not taking any other one’s opinion, and quick condemnation. Anyhow, doctrine or not, we are NOT, us christians, entitled or called to judge, but ONLY Jesus and when He comes. Our ONLY duty is to love each other and support the afflicted ones, from which Bro Youcef is, and which is what Brother Stefan does, at my sense very well. That’s what we are called christians for. God bless u all!
Dear Saints,.. our church and many churches, no matter what their dogmas or church doctrines are holding up bro. Youcef and the other brothers and sisters in prayer and with fastings. There are some truly wonderful and spiritually mature comments on here,.. and a few,.. though well intended, but off base for sure,.. yet they do show a concern for our brothers and sisters as well. Thank you! It is very important that all judgmental attitudes be laid aside in regards to these afflicted soldiers of the Cross. Their lives are at stake and there families welfare as well as those they shepherd. We must always approach God as little children and with humility or God will not regard our prayers and they are greatly needed at this time for our brother Youcef and others. I to am a ‘Message’ believer in the US and have many friends from other church groups who highly respect our christian lives in Christ and our daily conduct. They may not see our teachings clearly but the LIFE is there and its unmistakable. Now think of brother Youcef and others who are bearing that LIFE to the highest degree. God bless you all and I trust that this is a help and an encouragement regarding this very serious issue. Thanks!………………………….Bro. Nate Baugh
I am very saddened to see the spirit of division. I mean the differences I see in Islam has now come to the Christians too. It’s like a Shia who do not care about the loss of a Sunni. when talking about the doctrine of the brother Youcef please visit his website http://www.eglisediran.org/?page_id=8 sure. I find nothing wrong in his belief. Please forget the small differences we have. We are brothers by blood of Jesus Christ. I am in Africa in an Islamic country. I believe God sent a prophet William Branham to prepare a people for His second coming. He preached the Bible and God to confirm his message. see this link http://branham.org/content/AboutUs/williambranham_pg2.aspx. I said well he is a prophet. Jesus is our Lord and to him worship. Excuse me dear brothers, if my words can hurt, but returning to ourselves because a member of our spirit body is suffering. Thank you
It bothers me a lot when people refuse to study and understand what William Branham stood for and instead choose to rely on what his oponents say. Never in his entire life did he ever suggest that he was even equal to Jesus, yet it is repeatedly claimed by some in order to discourage others from studying what he stood for. To me this is the same spirit that is driving those who want to execute our brother Yousef. Please, give us a break! Right now the entire christian community needs to unite and cry out for the release of Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani and other Christians being persecuted in Iran. Nothing else.
I agree with Victor. All what is needed is united prayer for the release of Pastor Yousef and for persecution of Christians to be stopped in Iran.
Whatever happens to Bro. Yousef now imprisoned in Iran is in God’s hands, and
we know that all things work for good to them that love Him. (Romans 8:28)
It’s always good to go to the original source to see what is true and not true. I was
told negative things about William Branham many years ago, but when I read his
sermons, I knew he was a man sent from God. Those sermons changed my life for the good!
Denominational church leaders that are trying to discredit Bro. Yousef’s Christian beliefs are actually drawing attention to Bro. Yousef’s beliefs. Perhaps this imprisonment was meant to happen, to draw attention world-wide to who and what was the ministry of Rev. William Branham, through more than 1,100 sermons now available on mp3, cd’s and books, and are free to hear at Branham.com
(BosNewsLife strongly disagrees with this comment. He has made clear he is a personal believer in Jesus Christ. We think there is no better place than quoting God’s Word, the Bible).
The doctrine this pastor preaches is false. He is a follower of the late William Branham. Branham is considered to be a heretic of the Christian faith. Those who believe Branham’s teachings in doing so have placed themselves outside the boundaries of the Christian faith.
You owe it to yourself and to your readers to get this straight. Else what’s next? Do you consider Mormons to be Christians merely because they quote the Bible and use the name of Jesus?
OlÁ. Uma testemunha de cristo sendo perseguida por sua fé! Seria hora de todos orarmos por nosso irmão no Irã. É tão lamentavel que pessoas se chamem de cristãs e ainda julguem uma pessoa pelo seu ministério,quando nosso ir No Irã acredita em William Branham, sendo que toda a vida deste homem foi anunciar Jesus Cristo como o mesmo ontem, hoje e eternamente. Quem deposita sua fé em Jesus Cristo será perseguido por incrédulos, assim também como por falsos irmãos.
Oremos por nossos irmaõs no Irã, todos aqueles que creêm em Jesus Cristo!
WILLIAM BRANHAM IS A PROPHET OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST,HE PREACHED THE PURE UNADULTERATED WORD OF GOD.Leroi,Durban.
Y. Nadarkhani is being attacked from the front and behind! This is not new, the denominations (as at the time of Jesus) set up unwritten rules and concepts to help “understand” the Word of God (theology), but the Word of God is not studied in prestigious schools otherwise Peter (who was a fisherman) would be ignorant about this and the I Corinthians 1:21 would have been written in vain. Again the concept of trinity is an ancient pagan concept that Romans tried to “christianize” and introduce it but it is mentioned nowhere in the Bible and the first Christians (from whom we got the Gospel) never knew this! So if you are arguing that Y. Nadarkhani is not a christian because he believes like Paul and Peter and baptize like them (Acts 2:38; Acts 19:5) then I’m not surprised because Jesus as well was attacked by religious dignitaries of his time (Pharisees, …) and the Roman administrators!
God bless you all
Facebook: Udahemuka Claud
It sounds to me like Bro Youcef is being persecuted by some of the other Christians as well as by the Muslims authorities.
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