The news cycle is loud, but we need to hear those who can’t shout
The new documentary Sheep Among Wolves Vol. II describes mass conversions of Muslims to Christ inside Iran. The film relates this good news amid some production foibles and controversial missiology, yet rightly challenges viewers to self-examination and prayer for the persecuted church.
Successful evangelization among Muslims “flips the script,” the filmmakers say, on Western methods. Instead of winning converts then discipling them, Christians teach nonbelievers how to worship, pray, and read the Bible. Muslims learn they owe submission to Jesus, not Allah. Conversions follow, often reported in connection with visions of Christ. The disciple-making movement (DMM) has thrived in cultures where a strong sense of obedience to the divine already exists. (For more on DMM, read Jerry Trousdale’s Miraculous Movements. Radius International has published a thoughtful critique.)
“Mosques are empty” in Iran, the film proclaims, as Islam’s second-class citizens—women (and blacks in East Africa, I’ve seen firsthand)—are fleeing Islam. Hardship that turns “millions” to Jesus is better than democracy; “spiritual sleepiness” in the West is worse than persecution. The film touts both the decentralized nature of the underground Iranian church and the fact that the “majority” of its leaders are women.
A few minor peeves: subtitle typos, excessive acoustic guitar performances, and little video from inside Iran. Largely, Westerners share information from meetings they’ve held with Iranian church leaders in Indonesia, where much of the film is shot. But a number of Iranians with face and voice disguised do give powerful accounts of coming to Christ. (The unrated film discusses rape and suicide.)
The film (streaming on YouTube) also explores Iran’s relationship with Israel. Iranian Christians are “falling in love” with the Jewish people as well as the Messiah. But there comes an apocalyptic plot twist: God is “raising up a resistance church in the Middle East” that will prevent another attempted extermination of the Jews and provoke them to repentance.
Perhaps. God ways aren’t Western ways.