Church of Iran

Youcef NadarkhaniThe Church of Iran is a network of non-Trinitarian house churches that follow the teachings of William Branham, the American “Jesus Only” Pentecostal preacher of the 20th century. The group is based in Rasht in northern Iran but has followers in Karaj, Shiraz and Isfahan, and its members are continuously arrested by information and intelligence security officers. Church of Iran congregations reportedly do not have any connections with other churches in Iran.

Youcef Nadarkhani (pictured), a well-known pastor in the network, is serving a six-year prison sentence for his house church activities (his sentence was originally ten years but was reduced following a retrial in May 2020). He previously spent three years under sentence of death for apostasy until his acquittal in 2012.

“Jesus Only” or “Oneness” churches reject the Trinitarian belief that God is three persons. Instead, they believe that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three modes of a singular God and that the name “Jesus” is the revelatory name of God. They teach that speaking in tongues is the main sign of salvation and they put great emphasis on modesty and holiness.

The Iranian Christian news agency Mohabat News has reported that members of the Church of Iran believe in baptismal regeneration and salvation by works, but the organisation Present Truth Ministries, which supports pastors and evangelists in the Church of Iran, has said that members of the Church of Iran believe salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ and that they preach the Gospel. In the opinion of Present Truth Ministries, the Church of Iran rejects the teaching of baptismal regeneration and of tongues being the necessary evidence of the Holy Spirit.