Free Documentary Reveals Explosive Underground Church Growth in Iran
A new documentary, Sheep Among Wolves Volume II, documents the growth of Iran's house church movement, making the case that women are leading a silent Christian revolution within one of the world's most oppressive nations. Open Doors USA's World Watch List ranks Iran as the ninth-most difficult country to be a Christian, noting that it is illegal to preach the gospel and convert Muslims. House church members risk arrest and prison sentences. Yet in this harsh environment, a women-led movement is spreading. The documentary, produced by Frontier Alliance International (FAI) Studios, premiered on August 23 and is freely available on YouTube for anyone to watch.
The film's official trailer says, "Muslim-background Iranians are leading a quiet but mass exodus out of Islam and bowing their knees to the Jewish Messiah—with kindled affection toward the Jewish people. The Iranian awakening is a rapidly reproducing discipleship movement that owns no property or buildings, has no central leadership and is predominantly led by women."
In a press release, FAI Studios says sexual assault rates are significantly higher in Iran than the United States: "Almost no woman in Iran reaches adulthood without first experiencing profound abuse."
"This is why there is an awakening inside of Iran because it's a women's movement," says an anonymous woman in the trailer.
Throughout the documentary, many sources' voices are disguised in order to protect their anonymity and safety. Another anonymous source described the distinctive, women-led nature of the Iranian church: "When you look at the Triune, it's a complete picture of God and when you look at man and woman, it's a complete picture of God. And this is something that's happening in Iran is that women are rising up—apostolic women, prophetic women, teaching women."
Another source—uncredited in the documentary—went so far as to say "Islam is dead" in Iran: "What if I told you that Islam is dead? What if I told you that the mosques are empty inside of Iran? Iran—that is known as the most radical nation in the world, exporting terrorism, exporting radical Islam—but when you go inside of the country, the mosques are empty? What if I told you that no one follows Islam inside of Iran? Would you believe me? But this is exactly what's happening inside of Iran. God is moving powerfully inside of Iran."
Charisma's own J. Lee Grady has written about this trend, writing: "In places like Iran, Algeria, India and China, thousands of ordinary people are starting small churches that don't fit the traditional mold. Most of them are not affiliated with recognized denominations, so it's impossible to count them. These organic church groups meet not only in homes but in coffee shops, offices, campus dorms, hotels, apartment building lobbies, front yards or under trees. And they are multiplying rapidly."
The film's website says "All FAI Studios productions are free and free forever." Later, the website adds, "FAI Studios and film contributors, who volunteered all time and resources, will not receive any money from the film. 100% of donations will go to disciples in Iran." Sheep Among Wolves Volume I, which was released in January 2016, can also be watched for free on YouTube.
Watch the full documentary here.