What comes to your mind when you think about spies? I mean beyond the movies, novels and games meant to entertain. Do you think about press releases about innocent people who have been incarcerated on the charge of espionage because that is a convenient charge? Do you think about folks who have been highly trained to carry out operations to get secret information? Each country has an intelligence service, both for defensive and offensive purposes. They can be called moles, confusion agents, sleeper agents…but have you ever heard them called pseudo pastors?
Persian Ministry works in a country in the Persian Speaking World that has a college dedicated entirely for training men to become spies to infiltrate the network of house churches. By the time they graduate, these men know the Bible and Christian traditions better than most Christians.
In this country it is illegal to convert to Christianity and yet many of its citizens have become disillusioned with the “State Religion” and have become Christians. They meet in illegal gatherings to study the Bible, worship God and have fellowship. The gatherings are labeled “Underground Churches,” “House Churches,” or “Home Fellowships.”
These gatherings are a bane to the authorities. They already closed all the evangelical churches. They frequently perform raids on and close the house churches that have sprung up all over the country. They torture and imprison the Christian leaders and even some members.
Besides using informers and torturing Christians for information, the authorities have pseudo pastors. These men talk the talk. They befriend Christians. They work at gaining their trust. Over time they are invited to participate in the Christian gatherings. They are accepted as Christian leaders and get to know other Christian leaders. Suddenly, a bust is made. The pseudo pastor may even be arrested and imprisoned briefly to keep up pretenses so the spying can continue.
How do we know this is happening? We learned this in our meeting with a highly sophisticated former pseudo pastor. We heard this firsthand from house church leaders and members as well as from the spy whom God miraculously transformed as he did Saul on the road to Damascus.
Should believers isolate themselves?
What should be our response to this phenomena? As you can imagine this has brought about an even greater distrust among Christians. Should house churches there cease to exist? Should all Christian events be canceled? Should Christians in this country depend solely on personal Bible study, Christian radio and TV programs and social media and never get together? God forbid!
What did Jesus do when Nicodemus came to him with questions under the cover of darkness? Nicodemus was a member of the Pharisees, the group that wanted Jesus crucified. Jesus met with him and answered his questions. Of course we can not know what is in an individual’s heart as Jesus can, but we do have the guidance of the Holy Spirit. May He give discernment to the Christians in the Persian Speaking World! May He make them as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves! (Matthew 10:16)
Pray for Holy Spirit to guide the believers, as well as to convict the spy college students and pseudo pastors and bring them to faith in the Living Lord Jesus!