In 1979, there were fewer than 500 known Christians from a Muslim background in Iran. Today there are at least 100,000 new believers. Church leaders believe that millions can be added to the church in the next few years–such is the spiritual hunger that exists. The religious violence that accompanied the reign of President Ahmadinejad drained its perpetrators of political and religious legitimacy, and has opened the door to other faiths.
This book sets the rapid church growth in Iran in the context of the deteriorating relationship between Iranians and their national religion. There is a major focus on the Ahmadinejad years, but the author also covers the history of the church before 1979, developing the central idea that the spark may have become buried in the ashes but has never been extinguished.
Careful, proportionate, well-informed, and accurate, Too Many to Jail is a powerful reminder of the Christian revival that the headlines ignore. The stories of faith, persecution, and encouragement will inspire every reader to see anew God’s work in the world.
This book is a fascinating look into Iran’s history and the resiliency of its people. I loved the stories of how Iranians participate in home churches and how some of them develop, by a small group (sometimes two or three) of people that courageously approach someone and ask them to pastor them. Bradley shows throughout the book that Iranians are starving for truth and light.
I found it so interesting how people in different circumstances can view gathering together to learn about God and worship. For example, sometimes church attendance in the US is viewed as something we need to do. So we go, secretly hoping it is finished well before the football games start. Compare that to secret church goers in Iran, where church services sometimes stretch on for hours, and the attendees are very thankful just to have an opportunity to go. If only our country had that intense hunger and thirst for the Word!
However, despite the rise of Christianity and home churches in Iran and the admission by one interrogator that if they arrested all the Christians there would be no room in the prisons, Iran continues to be a place where it is very dangerous to be a Christian.
Overall, I found Bradley’s book to be everything I wanted it to be. I learned a lot about the history of Iran and the present day climate for Christians. I appreciated that it offered a balanced look at life today for Christians in Iran. It is true that their numbers are growing, but they face imprisonment and death for their faith. If you are interested in learning more about Christianity in Iran, this book is a great choice!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.