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Hormoz Shariat: Iran’s Great Awakening

Hormoz Shariat, Iran’s Great Awakening: How God is Using A Muslim Convert to Spark Revival (Melissa, TX: Iran Alive Ministries, 2020), 272 pages, ISBN 9781733749046.

Dr. Hormoz Shariat is from Iran. He was a Muslim who became a believer in Jesus. This transformation took place in the United States. Becoming a Christian radically changed the course of his life. Not only did he become a new creation in Christ, his new found faith also changed his career. This volume contains a number of different types of information. Some of what the author has written is personal, some of it is biblical, and some of it is historical. He provides the reader with a glimpse into what God is doing among Iranian Muslims.

The book is divided into three parts. Part I is “My Journey Out of Islam,” Part II is “Iran Will Be a Christian Nation,” and Part III is “Iran is Just the Beginning.” In addition to the main text, in the back of the book readers will find “Questions For Reflection.” These are designed to help the reader engage with the material that was covered in the chapters.

Could the astounding revival that is taking place transform Iran into a Christian nation?

Part I of the book is autobiographical. In this section the author shares information about his pre-Christian life, how he came to faith in Jesus, and the ministries he has been involved in since then. Before he became a believer he was having problems in his marriage and was generally unhappy with life. He thought his unhappiness was because he had left his faith, Islam, behind (page 12). He reexamined his Muslim faith but still felt empty (page 13). He started reading the Bible. He expected to find Jesus the prophet but he found that Jesus “seemed to be more than a prophet” (page 14). He accepted Jesus into his life (page 16). Dr. Shariat and his wife became believers in Jesus within a couple of weeks of each other (page 16). In this section he also shares some of the joys and struggles he experienced in his life after he came to Jesus. Even though he became a Christian in the United States he admits that he struggled to share his faith. However, he overcame that struggle. He planted a number of house churches in California, though he says they did not last long (page 21), served as a radio announcer for a Christian program (page 21), and eventually started Iran Alive Ministries, through which he hopes to reach one million Muslims for Christ (page 27). That all sounds very good, and it is, but he did not have an easy road. There were some painful experiences along the way and things that, at times, looked like setbacks.

God cannot be thwarted, He can build His church even in hostile circumstances: and He is!

Part II focuses on some prophetic passages in the Old Testament. The one he draws most heavily from is Jeremiah 49:34-39. He also gives some attention to Ezekiel 38. The reason for his focus on these texts is because they refer to Iran. He gives considerable space to examining what they say. Based on these texts he describes what will take place in Iran in the future, as well as possible ways in which what Scripture says will be carried out. In this section he lays out the scriptural reasons why Iran will become a Christian nation.

Part III deals with some of the things that are happening among Muslims in Iran in contemporary times. One thing that is happening is that the Lord is appearing to Muslims in dreams and visions (page 178). Dr. Shariat says that the miraculous is taking place so frequently that it is considered normal (page 178). In this section he also says that in the future Iran is going to become a missionary sending nation (page 187)

There are things in this book that may surprise some readers. One is the growth rate of the church in Iran. Citing Operation World, the author points out that Iran has the most rapid rate of evangelical growth in the world (page 133). This is taking place even though there are very few church buildings open in Iran (page 137). And the languages used in the churches that are open cannot be understood by Iranians (page 137). There are underground churches but there are not many of them and they are dangerous to attend (page 137). Another surprising thing is that though the media shows videos of Iranians shouting “Death of America,” the average Iranian loves Americans (page 175). Dr. Shariat shares some interesting examples of this (pages 176-177).

If you are interested in Global Christianity, missions, the gospel in the Muslim world or similar topics I think you will enjoy this book. It is interesting to hear the author’s testimony and what God is doing in Iran. Dr. Shariat’s ministry, Iran Alive, is playing an important part in the sharing of the gospel in Iran and the strengthening of the faith of the believers there. Many Muslims are coming to faith in Christ. This is truly amazing because they are becoming believers in a land where the stakes are very high for being a Christian. God cannot be thwarted, He can build His church even in hostile circumstances: and He is!

Reviewed by John Lathrop

 

Preview Iran’s Great Awakening: https://www.google.com/books/edition/Iran_s_Great_Awakening/1uAMEAAAQBAJ

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Category: Church History, Fall 2020

About the Author: John P. Lathrop is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. He has written for a number of publications and is the author of four books Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers Then and Now (Xulon Press, 2008), The Power and Practice of the Church: God, Discipleship, and Ministry (J. Timothy King, 2010), Answer the Prayer of Jesus: A Call for Biblical Unity (Wipf & Stock, 2011) and Dreams & Visions: Divine Interventions in Human Experience (J. Timothy King, 2012). He also served as co-editor of the book Creative Ways to Build Christian Community (Wipf & Stock, 2013). Amazon Author page. Facebook

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