Millions of former Muslims will celebrate Easter this year. Meet one, Hormoz Shariat, the “Billy Graham of Iran.”

Hormoz Shariat, the "Billy Graham of Iran," and I discuss the Gospel on live satellite TV broadcast into the Persian speaking world.

Hormoz Shariat, the “Billy Graham of Iran,” and I discuss the Gospel — the good news of how Muslims, Jews, and all people can be forgiven and go to heaven — on live satellite TV broadcast into Iran.

(Washington, D.C.) — In 1979, there were fewer than 500 Muslim converts to Christianity in all of Iran. Today, there are over one million Iranian who love Jesus Christ, have become His followers, and are celebrating Easter.

In fact, this Easter millions of former Muslims throughout the Middle East, North Africa and central Asia are celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Whereas they once saw Jesus as merely a prophet, now they are convinced that He is God, and they have renounced Islam and chosen to follow Him no matter what it costs them.

In my 2009 non-fiction book, Inside The Revolution, I wrote several chapters about this extraordinary trend of Muslims leaving Islam and becoming Christ-followers. In the book, I described my travels from Morocco to Afghanistan, interviewing “MBBs,” Muslim Background Believers in Jesus.

One of the leaders of this movement that I profiled in the book is Dr. Hormoz Shariat. He was a Shia Muslim in Iran in 1979 shouting, “Death to America!” on the streets of Tehran with his Muslim wife. But within a few years, they were actually living in the U.S. and had both become Christians after dramatic conversion experiences. They started sharing the Gospel with friends and leading them to Christ. In time, they started planting churches of Iranian believers, and eventually founded a satellite TV ministry to broadcast the Gospel and discipleship training into Iran and the Persian speaking world.

In the book, I dubbed Hormoz “the Billy Graham of Iran,” because God has raised him up to preach the Gospel to millions in their native language of Farsi. Now, a Christian magazine has just profiled Hormoz. I was interviewed for the article and was honored to discuss my friendship and respect for him.

I commend the article to your attention and encourage you not only to read it in full, but to share it with others.

Please be praying for Hormoz and his family and team, as well as for all MBBs this Easter season. They face intense spiritual opposition, and persecution. But they have see the great hope and freedom and forgiveness and peace that comes from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and most are eager to share the good news of God’s amazing grace and love with the Muslim world, regardless of the challenges and dangers they face.

THE BILLY GRAHAM OF IRAN

By Troy Anderson, Charisma Magazine, April 2014

Not long after the Iran hostage crisis, the authorities arrested Hormoz Shariat’s 16-year-old brother, Hamraz, on a minor political charge. At the time, Hormoz was a new believer in America and was confident his brother, a political activist who had a small role with the Mujahedeen, would be released. But in 1984, after two years in jail, Shariat’s brother was executed by a firing squad.

Shocked by the news of his brother’s death, Shariat broke down crying, asking God why He let it happen. He felt anger toward God and the people who killed his brother. A few days later, Shariat told God he wanted revenge—but then he recalled the Bible’s words that say, “Vengeance is Mine” (Deut. 32:35; Rom. 12:19). Shariat told God he hated those who had killed his brother—but then he remembered Jesus said anyone who is angry with their brother has already murdered them in their heart (Matt. 5:21-22).

He says he felt the Lord saying to him in prayer, “You know who your enemy is? These people—the clergy and the leaders of Iran—are not your enemy. They are lost children. You have only one enemy. Satan has been working to bring about this injustice. If you want to hurt Satan, evangelize. It hurts him really bad when you bring people to Christ.”

As Shariat tells it, that’s when he committed himself to sharing the gospel the rest of his life.

“I had a vision that by the end of my life I could bring 1 million Muslims to know Him,” he says. “I also learned that God’s love is the greatest power we have to stop Islam and help Muslim captives be free.”

Visions of Jesus

In the three decades since Shariat set his resolve, this minister—dubbed “the Billy Graham of Iran” by New York Times best-selling author Joel C. Rosenberg—has not only watched that goal come to fruition, but has also been given a front-row seat to one of the most astonishing supernatural phenomenon in modern times: thousands of people in Iran and throughout the Middle East reporting visitations of Jesus in dreams and visions.

“It’s amazing,” says Shariat, who founded the satellite broadcasting ministry Iran Alive Ministries in 2001. “God is graciously appearing to people in visions, dreams and through miracles. Sometimes they have dreams or visions of Jesus, run across our satellite television broadcast, hear the gospel, and then they believe. They may have, as children, had dreams or saw visions of Jesus. The vision or dream prepares them for the gospel. Other times they watch our program, ask if this is true or not, and then they have a dream or vision that confirms what they heard.”

Shariat believes the message is clear—that God is telling Christians in the West, “You look at them as terrorists who have no hope of salvation. Are you looking at them that way? I’m not. Look at Me. I’m appearing to them. I’m doing it Myself. Would you join Me to reach out to the Muslims?”

Rosenberg wrote about this phenomenon of dreams and visions in his book Inside the Revolution. “It’s an exciting development,” he says, “and it’s consistent with the Bible prophecies found in Joel 2, in which the Lord says in the last days He will pour our His Holy Spirit and people will see dreams and visions.”

Explosion of Faith

Since the hostage crisis ended in 1981, Rosenberg says the number of Christians in Iran has increased exponentially, from 500 to a conservative estimate of 1 million. Shariat, however,  says the number may be far larger, noting that Iran—the world’s only theocracy, with 76 million residents—has the fastest-growing evangelical Christian population on the planet, according to the latest edition of Operation World’s manual. In fact, more Persians have come to Christ in the 35 years since the Islamic Revolution than in the prior 1,400 years combined—and most of these conversions have occurred in the past decade, as an estimated 62 million Iranians have gained access to the gospel message through satellite TV broadcasts….

[To read the rest of this fascinating article, please click here]

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>> Would you like to read a short explanation of the Gospel, and how you can have a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ? Please click here and read “The Four Spiritual Laws.”

>> An historic Christian awakening is under way in Iran. I discuss the inside story in this 20 minute interview with Dr. Hormoz Shariat.

>> Watch Hormoz Shariat share his story at an Epicenter Conference (YouTube)

>> Hormoz Shariat interviews Joel Rosenberg on satellite TV into Iran (YouTube)

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

New poll finds 62% don’t trust President Obama to stop Iran from building nuclear weapons.

MEME-obama-Iran(Washington, D.C.)  — As the Obama administration continues making a series of missteps in foreign policy, Americans are losing confidence in their Commander in Chief.

From Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to Syria’s use of chemical weapons to the Benghazi situation in Libya and the near-breakdown of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Americans do not see the White House and State Department  providing strong, steady, principled, bipartisan leadership. Rather, they see confusion, weakness, and vacillation.

Now a new poll finds that a significant majority of Americans are anxious that the President cannot be trusted stop Iran from building nuclear weapons, one of the most important national security issues facing the U.S., Israel and our Arab allies.

As we geared up for the release of The Auschwitz Escape, my publisher, Tyndale House, and I commissioned a national survey to help us better understand how Americans view the current geopolitical issues in light of the history of the Holocaust. 

Working with McLaughlin & Associates, a nationally respected polling firm, we asked 1,000 likely U.S. voters numerous questions. One of them was: Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: ‘As a result of President Obama drawing a red line on the use of chemical weapons in Syria, but then refusing to take military action when chemical weapons were used, I do not have confidence that when Mr. Obama says he will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon that he can be trusted to keep his word’?”

The results were sobering.

  • 62.3% of Americans agreed with the statement, saying they do not trust the President to stop Iran from building The Bomb
  • 30.5% of Americans disagreed with the statement, and do trust the President to stop Iran
  • 7.2% said they don’t know

Americans’ distrust of the President is of particular concern given that 80% of the public says they fear a “Second Holocaust” — the annihilation of the six million Jews in Israel — if Iran gets The Bomb. What’s more, 68% of Americans say they fear a “nuclear holocaust” here in the homeland if Iran is allowed to build nuclear weapons.

I will provide more analysis of this in the days ahead.

Meanwhile, here are some of the other results of the poll we have released so far:

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>> Read the column I recently wrote for CNN.com with fmr. Senator Rick Santorum — “Lessons of history: Americans fear ‘second Holocaust’ if Iran gets the bomb”

>> Read the attack on our column by an Iranian government official — Iranian official attacks oped I wrote with Senator Santorum as “ludicrous, counterproductive and unfortunate.”

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

Report on my meeting with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to discuss the Holocaust & the rising Iran nuclear threat.

Meeting with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor at the Capitol.

Meeting with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor at the Capitol.

(Washington, D.C.) — Yesterday — on the 70th anniversary of the escape from Auschwitz by Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler – I had the opportunity to meet privately with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor at his office in the Capitol.

I gave him a copy of The Auschwitz Escape and shared with him  some of the true stories that inspired the novel.

We discussed how Vrba and Wetzler got out, and why their report, “The Auschwitz Protocol,” was so important in telling the world the truth about what the Nazis were really doing to the Jews. I also shared with him the remarkable heroism of the evangelical Christians of Le Chambon, France, who risked their lives to rescue more than 5,000 people from the Nazis, including more than 3,000 Jews.

We also discussed the growing Iran nuclear threat, and how best to stop Iran before they can attempt to perpetrate a Second Holocaust.

Rep. Cantor is Jewish and a fellow Virginian. As I reported in this column, he recently made his first visit the Auschwitz death camp in southern Poland with a group of Israeli Members of Knesset in January.

The following month, Cantor delivered a major speech speaking of the lessons of the Holocaust and warning of the dangers of the isolationism.

It was interesting to hear him share his impressions of his time at Auschwitz, and to discuss the latest developments with the Iranian nuclear threat.

I did not ask the Majority Leader for anything. I wasn’t there to lobby him in any way. Rather, I simply wanted to share with him some of these true stories, thank him for going to Auschwitz, and encourage him to keep reminding Americans how important it is to act decisively to stop evil early, before it can metastasize.

Please keep Leader Cantor in your prayers, and pray that he will be a positive influence on the rest of the House of Representatives on these vital issues.

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>> Read the column I recently wrote for CNN.com with fmr. Senator Rick Santorum — “Lessons of history: Americans fear ‘second Holocaust’ if Iran gets the bomb”

>> Read the attack on our column by an Iranian government official — Iranian official attacks oped I wrote with Senator Santorum as “ludicrous, counterproductive and unfortunate.”

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

Responding to Iran: Americans are not fooled by Khamenei’s lies. But what troubles us most is President Obama’s “feckless” policy towards Iran. He is presiding over the systemic collapse of American credibility around the globe.

MEME-SecondHolocaust-small(New York City, New York) — An Iranian official this week attacked an op-ed I recently wrote with Senator Santorum for CNN.com as “ludicrous, counterproductive and unfortunate.”

You can read our original op-ed here, and the Iranian official’s op-ed here.

Here is Senator Santorum’s and my response:

The American people are not fooled by the lies of Ayatollah Khamenei and his regime. Americans understand that Iran’s illegal nuclear program poses a grave danger to U.S. national security, to Israel, to NATO, and to our Arab allies in the Middle East.  

As we stated in our column, a new poll shows that 80% of Americans fear a “Second Holocaust” if the world allows Iran to build nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. Given that the Khamenei regime is one of the world’s worst state sponsors of terror, Americans are right to be so deeply concerned.

 

The regime’s response to our column would be laughable if its intent wasn’t so diabolical. Tehran is trying to use Hitler-esque spin as part of its charm offense. The mullahs are saying they just want peace and are hoping the West will surrender and ease off — or dismantle — the sanctions, even as they steadily develop the ability to annihilate their enemies.

 

What troubles us most, however, is the feckless, rudderless foreign policy of President Obama. Do our enemies fear him? Do our friends trust him? To the contrary, Mr. Obama is presiding over the systematic collapse of American credibility around the globe, from the Middle East to Russia to Asia. This vacuum of leadership is creating a very dangerous global environment and must be corrected quickly.

 

We believe in a bipartisan approach to American foreign policy. The challenges we face are serious but manageable if we unite as a country around a policy of peace through strength. That said, we also believe in the important role of a loyal opposition that warns the government when it is heading in the wrong direction.

 

In the 1930s, Winston Churchill warned the world that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis represented a gathering storm that had to be stopped early and decisively lest disaster ensue. A new gathering storm is brewing, as dangerous as the last, if not more so. We need an honest, strong, principled American foreign policy now more than ever, especially when it comes to the Iranian nuclear threat.

The stakes are too high for miscalculation.

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

With rumors of Israeli strike on Iran in 2014 rising, Santorum & Rosenberg write oped for CNN: Could there be a “Second Holocaust”? Lessons from Nazi Germany & modern Iran.

CNN-logo>> Please join me on April 1st for a book tour event with an Orthodox Rabbi at a Synagogue in Manhattan. RSVP today. We’d love to have you join us.

(Netanya, Israel) — Greetings from Israel. I’m here doing media interviews for The Auschwitz Escape, having various meetings, and trying to get a better sense of how Israeli citizens and leaders are viewing the crisis in Ukraine and the rising Iranian nuclear threat.

Rumors are swirling in the media here about a possible Israeli preemptive strike on Iran this year. Israeli officials at the highest level — including the Defense Minister — are reportedly coming to the reluctant belief that they cannot count on President Obama to take decisive action to neutralize the Iranian threat before it is too late.

Here are several recent headlines worth noting:

In this context, CNN.com has just published an op-ed that former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum and I have written. It examines parallels he and I find sobering between the history of Adolf Hitler and the current regime in Tehran. In the column, we also cite the exclusive new poll showing 80% of Americans fear a “Second Holocaust” if Iran is allowed to build nuclear warheads.

I hope you’ll take a moment to read the full column. Then please post your comments on the “Epicenter Team” page on Facebook, and share this column with friends and get their reaction, as well.

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Lessons of history: Americans fear ‘second Holocaust’ if Iran gets the bomb

By Rick Santorum and Joel C. Rosenberg

(CNN) — Hillary Clinton raised eyebrows this month when she compared Vladimir Putin’s tactics in Ukraine to those of the Nazis.

She was right, but there is an even more ominous similarity between the actions of Iran and those of pre-war Germany.

On May 21, 1935, Adolf Hitler delivered his infamous “peace” speech. In his masterful history of Nazi Germany, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” William L. Shirer quotes the Fuhrer’s remarks at length:

  • “Germany needs peace and desires peace.”
  • “Germany has solemnly recognized and guaranteed France her frontiers.”
  • “Germany has concluded a non-aggression pact with Poland.”

Shirer, a CBS Radio correspondent, called the address “one of the cleverest and most misleading of his Reichstag orations this writer, who sat through most of them, ever heard him make.” He observed the West seemed beguiled by the speech, noting the Times of London welcomed Hitler’s words “with almost hysterical joy.”

“The speech turns out to be reasonable, straightforward, and comprehensive,” stated the Times editorial. “No one who reads it with an impartial mind can doubt that the points of policy laid down by Herr Hitler may fairly constitute the basis of a complete settlement with Germany.”

Yet Hitler was lying to buy time. He would not bring peace, but a horrific war, annexing Austria, invading France and Poland, and ordering the extermination of six million Jews.

Indeed, Hitler’s lies were apparent less than a year after the speech. On March 7, 1936, the Nazis marched into the Rhineland, the demilitarized zone between Germany and France, in violation of the Treaty of Versailles.

If the West had confronted Hitler then, it could have forced him out of the Rhineland with a limited application of military force.

Such history is worth noting in today’s showdown with Iran. Many in the West seem beguiled by the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani. But are they….

[To read the full column, please click here.]

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog