From Iran to Idaho: Pastors Facing Prison
21 October 2014
What do Iran and Idaho have in common? If nothing else, in both locations Christian pastors are facing prison simply because they are followers of Yeshua (Isa, Jesus) who are trying to faithfully live out the teachings of the New Testament. It’ a small world after all!

Satan hates the ekklesia (church) of Yeshua. Because of that all-encompassing animosity, Satan is not picky as to the means he uses to attack it. He will use any and all methods which serve to corrupt mankind and destroy the ekklesia.

Satan is delighted to accomplish his purposes through the evil deeds of Islam. But he is just as happy to promote his diabolical agenda through political correctness and homosexuality. Whatever works, Satan will use it.

Recently the Islamic Republic of Iran sentenced church leaders to long prison terms. Three leaders of the country’s largest evangelical house church movement have been sentenced to six years imprisonment each, on charges linked to their Christian activities. According to Satan’s Iranian mouthpiece, they were accused of:
  • Acting against national security
  • Forming a group to overthrow the government
  • Spreading corruption on earth (mofsed-e-filarz)
  • Warring against Allah (moharebeh)
As a result of previous persecution, one of the pastors has already spent six years in prison because he is follower of Yeshua and a leader in His ekklesia. But Yeshua had already warned us ahead of time that this could be the fate of His followers (Luke 21:12-19).

American Christians are so pampered and naïve that they somehow imagine “it can’t happen here.” These ostriches had better pull their heads out of the sand and prepare themselves for persecution, suffering, and even martyrdom.

There is an interesting ideological link between Tehran and Washington. President Obama, raised as a Muslim, has proclaimed that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” The Muslim persecutors and murderers of Christians in Iran must be nodding their heads vigorously in agreement!

In addition, Obama recently said in an interview, “... the Equal Protection Clause does guarantee same-sex marriage in all fifty states.” So whether it is through Islam or “homosexual rights,” Satan has followers of Yeshua in his cross hairs.

Meanwhile, as pastors in Iran are hauled off to prison, over in Idaho Satan is pursuing a very similar agenda through somewhat different means. Less than 400 miles from where I live, a city threatens to arrest ministers who refuse to perform same-sex weddings.

Donald and Evelyn Knapp, who own the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene, were told they had to either perform same-sex weddings or face up to 180 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.

According to the above-linked article, “The Knapps are in fear that if they exercise their First Amendment rights they will be cited, prosecuted and sent to jail.” They have also filed a lawsuit in an attempt to protect their “constitutional rights.”

I hate to criticize those on the front lines, but as American Christians, we MUST get beyond fear and filing lawsuits when we are persecuted. Being a follower of Yeshua is NOT about exercising our First Amendment rights! It is about living as Yeshua lived, suffering as He suffered, and even dying as He died.

If we have fear in our hearts, it shows that we are not right with God (1 John 4:18), that we are holding onto our lives and our “rights” (Mark 8:35), and are not prepared for suffering and martyrdom (Matthew 10:28-39).

From what I can see, the Knapps have two options: They can either shut down their business, or else they can go to jail for what they believe. Performing homosexual “weddings,” fighting for their “rights” through lawsuits, and living in fear are NOT among their New Testament options.

When persecution for being a follower of Yeshua comes to YOUR life, how will you respond? If you are not prepared ahead of time, it will be very difficult to respond in a way which follows the teachings of the New Testament. The time to prepare is NOW!