American Missionaries in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s [1st ed.] 9783030512132, 9783030512149

This work explores the interaction of American Protestant missionaries with Iranians during the 1960s and 1970s. It focu

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American Missionaries in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s [1st ed.]
 9783030512132, 9783030512149

Table of contents :
Front Matter ....Pages i-xxii
Introduction (Philip O. Hopkins)....Pages 1-43
Christianity in Iran (Philip O. Hopkins)....Pages 45-76
A Brief History of Iran During the Modern Era (Philip O. Hopkins)....Pages 77-89
American Missionaries in Iran During the Last Years of the Pahlavis (Philip O. Hopkins)....Pages 91-116
Evangelistic Activities of American Missionaries (Philip O. Hopkins)....Pages 117-150
Iranian Christian Thought and the Islamic Republic (Philip O. Hopkins)....Pages 151-190
Conclusion (Philip O. Hopkins)....Pages 191-201
Back Matter ....Pages 203-272

Citation preview

American Missionaries in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s Philip O. Hopkins

American Missionaries in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s “The title, American Missionaries in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s, certainly got my attention! The author explains well the history of mainly American Missions in Iran, and their relationship with the US government, the Iranian authorities, and most of all their relationship with Iranian Christians. The author has used primary sources from these years to help clarify the understandings and reactions of Iranians to the presence and strategies of the denominational American mission agencies in the country. Is ‘Madness’ too strong a word to describe these relationships? Maybe. But for me the important goal of this book is to help mission leaders and church historians to understand and evaluate the strategies of missions in Iran so that today’s mission activity will be culturally sensitive and glorifying to God.” —David Jones, a Mission to the World missionary (Presbyterian Church of America, PCA) to Iran who has lived overseas for over 40 years “When a historian/missiologist/theologian makes the case that missionaries, through well-meaning but misguided efforts, actually thwarted expansion of the gospel—the Church must take note and reconsider its strategies. Failure to recognize how cultural overtones tint delivery of the gospel message is a common missiological problem. This book tells the story of how this happened in Iran—with both positive and negative results. More than a critique, this well-documented project charts a path forward to consider to how best to share the gospel across cultures, rather than being bound by culture of origin expectations.” —Jeff Iorg, President, Gateway Seminary, Ontario, CA “This book by Philip Hopkins has been helpful and challenging to me on several different levels. It has served to clarify my understanding of Persian history, church history in Iran and the history of Christian missions in Iran. Another benefit for me in reading American Missionaries in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s has been to see how God has used the “house church” movement in postrevolution Iran to build His church. In the face of a seeming setback for His church there, God has triumphed again. Phil’s book has personally been challenging to me as well, causing me to ask, “As I minister to Iranians, am I unconsciously imparting some of my own cultural biases?”

This book has been meticulously researched and is clearly presented. It is well worth the read for those interested in missions and particularly God’s amazing work among Iranians in recent years and how it should precede in the future. I highly recommend it.” —Chuck Phillips, The International Presbyterian Church, West London, UK “Phil Hopkins is a faithful historian, theologian and missionary, and he has served the church and the academy well with his latest book American Missionaries in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s. He is an expert on this particular topic, and readers will glean important historical and missiological insights along the way. Moever, the story illustrates a common missiological problem today, and is therefore a very relevant text for all who desire to reach the nations with the purity of the gospel, leaving behind cultural biases, overtones, or customs. I highly recommend it.” —Tony Merida, Ph.D., Pastor for Preaching and Vision, Imago Dei Church, Raleigh, NC, Director of Theological Training, Acts 29 and Dean, Grimké Seminary

Philip O. Hopkins

American Missionaries in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s

Philip O. Hopkins Associate Professor of Church History Gateway Seminary Ontario, CA, USA Professor of Christianity and Islam Russian-Armenian University Yerevan, Armenia

ISBN 978-3-030-51213-2 ISBN 978-3-030-51214-9 (eBook) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-51214-9 © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are solely and exclusively licensed by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. This Palgrave Macmillan imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Switzerland AG The registered company address is: Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 Cham, Switzerland

To My Wife, Mary Ann for her love, patience, and longsuffering. Her constant encouragement and devotion are examples of Christ’s love. I could not have written this work without her support.

Foreword by Sasan Tavassoli

I am an Iranian Christian. It was through the ministry of American missionaries that I came to faith in Christ in the mid 1980s as a Shi’ite Muslim teenager living in Europe. I am who I am because a multitude of American Christians–lay people, pastors, churches, missionaries, and theologians—have loved me, prayed for me, supported me, taught me, trained me, and nurtured me in the faith. I have always been deeply grateful for the generosity of the American Church not only for my life personally but also for the global church. No one can dispute the significant positive impact of the American Christian communities in the expansion of the Gospel in the past two centuries. However, acknowledging the overwhelming contribution of American missionaries to the global church does not mean that one cannot critique the shortcomings or the blind spots of a movement or an institution. As an American Christian theologian and mission historian, Phil Hopkins has written one of the first scholarly accounts of the activities of American missionaries in the contemporary pre-revolutionary years of Iran. I am very thankful that Phil has invested several years of his life in this meticulous and comprehensive research in order to make us aware of the many dynamics of the Iranian Church in the two decades prior to the Islamic Revolution. The current generation of Iranian Christian leaders desperately needs to know this history and learn the appropriate lessons that this book holds for us.

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Like any good historical reconstruction and reflection, this book does not shy away from making many controversial claims! Was it really the case that the American missionaries’ bias ‘toward their own culture confused their message of the gospel and added to the negative perception of Christianity among Iranians’? Was the failure to draw more Muslim converts into the church due to a lack of understanding on the part of American missionaries about the nature of popular Islamic piety? Did the missionaries intentionally pursue an inappropriate close relationship with the Pahlavi regime which became detrimental to the future of the Iranian Church? Did the common missionary focus on healthcare and education at the time, a wrong-headed approach in Iranian Society because of the limited resources of the Iranian Church? Regardless of our response to such questions about the past, this book invites us to a deeper conversation about the future of the church of Iran. A future where Iranian Christianity is more deeply in harmony with the Iranian cultural and religious context; a future where American and Iranian Christian leaders work together more as equal partners in spreading the Good News of Jesus; and a future where it is even possible to dream that Iranian theologians and missionaries contribute to the building up of the Body of Christ in other parts of the world! Thank you, Phil, for your labour of love as you have tried to help us better understand our past so we can move more effectively forward into our future. Sasan Tavassoli Senior Lecturer Pars Theological Centre London, UK

Foreword by Garnik Asatrian and Victoria Arakelova

We have known Phil and his family professionally and personally for over a dozen years. We met them when they first arrived in Armenia and saw how they endeared themselves to the Armenian and Iranian people, Christian, Muslim, and atheist alike. Phil is a person of conviction and integrity, but he does not force his views on others. He has a learner’s heart and desires to transfer what he has learned. He is timely in his responses, and when we have requested items from him—even outside his area of specialty—he has accepted and responded with grace. Phil is part of the editorial group for Iran and the Caucasus (Brill) and has contributed to our conferences in Armenia on Iran. His main focus is on Western Christian missionary movements in modern Iran and how they have interacted with the population as a whole. While Phil is a committed Christian, it has been refreshing to see him critique his own culture and faith in ways many Christian Americans fail to see. Some of his research has been published in Iran and the Caucasus; the feedback given to us has been positive. His lectures also have wrought affirmative reactions. Phil worked on his dissertation with all his devotion, having attracted numerous sources. All his works are based on excellent academic methodology and profound analysis of the subject.

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FOREWORD BY GARNIK ASATRIAN AND VICTORIA ARAKELOVA

We are sure; the proposed book American Missionaries in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s will be a serious contribution to this, in many aspects, neglected field of study and become a constant source of references. Prof., Dr. Sc. Garnik Asatrian Director Institute of Oriental Studies Russian-Armenian University Yerevan, Armenia Dr. Victoria Arakelova Professor Institute of Oriental Studies Russian-Armenian University Yerevan, Armenia

Foreword by Bruce Riley Ashford

It’s author, Dr. Philip O. Hopkins, is impeccably credentialed in both history and religion. He has a Ph.D. in Iranian History from the University of St Andrews (Scotland) and a Ph.D. in Applied Theology from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (Wake Forest, North Carolina). He is a lecturer at Russian-Armenian University (Yerevan, Armenia) and Associate Professor at Gateway Seminary (Ontario, CA), Research Associate at School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London). Further, Dr. Hopkins is the world’s foremost expert on the subject matter at hand. In addition to his archival research, he cultivated highlevel connections with Iranian political leaders, religious figures, and scholars in order to promote dialogue on substantive issues at the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. Until now, no one has researched the period of the 1960s and 1970s in Iran. Phil Hopkins’ work from the University of St Andrews concentrates on what American missionaries to Iran were doing during the later years of Iran’’s last shah. Hopkins shows that the missionaries’ amalgamation of Westernisation and Christianity hurt the cause of the gospel. Hopkins demonstrates that American missionaries, with their focus on modernisation, through education and healthcare, exported an interpretation of Christianity that was not only contrary to what many of the indigenous Iranian Christian sects believed, it was also at odds with the general population of Iran. Christianity

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was being identified as a Western religion associated with an unpopular government, and Western missionaries were regarded as its carriers. Finally, considering the explosive growth of Christianity in Iran in recent years and the ongoing political tensions between Iran and the United States, American Missionaries in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s should be of special interest both to Christians and Iranian Muslims, historians and religious scholars. I recommend American Missionaries in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s highly and without reservation. Bruce Riley Ashford Jr. Dean of the Faculty Professor of Theology and Culture Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Wake Forest, NC, USA

Preface

In 1988, the English heavy metal band Iron Maiden, came out with a song off the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son album entitled, ‘Can I Play with Madness’. While there have been various interpretations of the song’s meaning, it was ostensibly about a mentally ill student who wanted a charlatan-like teacher or prophet to tell him the future. The prophet used a crystal ball to foretell the times to come, but there was a disagreement between the student and teacher about what the crystal ball stated (if anything), which compounded the student’s worries. The scenario between student and teacher/prophet, and the resulting confusion as to what the future would bring, was analogous to what was going on in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s, between American Christian missionaries and Iranian Christians, and between the Pahlavi Government and those aligned with Ayatollah Khomeini. The situation in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s was maddening, with no one predicting what would happen in 1979. This book is about the interaction of American Protestant missionaries with Iranians during the 1960s and 1970s. It focuses on the missionary activities of four American Protestant groups: Presbyterians, Assemblies of God, International Missions, and Southern Baptists. It argues that American missionaries’ predisposition towards their own culture confused their message of the gospel and added to the negative perception of Christianity among Iranians. This bias was seen primarily in the American missionaries’ desire to modernise Iran through education and healthcare, and between

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the missionaries’ relationship with Iranian Christians. Iranian attitudes towards missionary involvement in these areas are investigated, as is the changing American missionary strategy from a traditional method where missionaries had final say on most matters related to American and Iranian Christian interaction to the beginnings of an indigenous system where a partnership developed between the missionary and the Iranian Christian. Freedoms that American missionaries were given under Mohammed Reza Shah to be overt in their evangelistic and discipleship activities, and details of the amount of Christian material propagated, are investigated. As missionaries eventually withdrew from Iran’s education and healthcare systems, more opportunities to be involved in Christian and Western activities were given to Iranian Christians. While Iranian Christians were thankful for American missionaries, they were also resentful because Iranian Christians wanted Christianity to fit better within Iranian accepted norms and practices, which began to occur after the Islamic Revolution. The state of the Iranian Church after 1979, when American missionaries were expelled from the country, is contrasted with the Iranian Church during the Pahlavi era. London, UK

Philip O. Hopkins

Acknowledgements

There are several people who deserve special recognition for helping me write this work. My wife, Mary Ann, told me that I needed a hobby and reassured me that a second Ph.D. (and then making the Ph.D. into a book) was worth doing, even after we had our first child at the beginning of the dissertation. As we were married in the middle of the first Ph.D., she knew first-hand the cost involved in time and money. Her love for Christ and her love for Iran are constant reminders that selfsacrifice and putting the interest of others before oneself are hallmarks of the Christian faith, even after close to 20 years living overseas and near 20 years of marriage. I could not have done this without her. She is my love and my joy. Similarly, our son, Sam, now seven years old, has only known his father not to be a student for one year, and that year his father was turning the dissertation into a book. He is a joyful and fun-loving extrovert whose kindness towards others does not know racial or cultural boundaries. Adults can learn from his example. I also would like to thank my mother, who was diagnosed with cancer towards the end of the dissertation. Her desire and prayers were uplifting even as she was struggling with her illness. My supervisor, Ali Ansari, needs particular acknowledgement. Driving me to think like a historian instead of a theologian was a difficult transition. His patience as well as friendship are greatly appreciated. His interest in the topic is the reason why I chose to come to the University of St Andrews and a reason why I chose to do a second Ph.D. I have learned xv

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more academically from him than anyone else. His research makes him the most important and influential historian focused on modern Iran today. He typifies the beauties of scholarship welded within the framework of academics and mentorship. Even though the Ph.D. is complete, he still offers encouragement and advice. Tim Greenwood and the late David Morgan need mentioning. Tim and David were the internal and external readers for the viva. During the viva they handled themselves with dignity and grace while asking hard questions and challenging tacit assumptions. Their expertise and scholarship as well as suggestions on how to make the Ph.D. into a monograph were welcomed and heeded. I learned from how they conducted themselves in the process. Unfortunately, six months after the viva, David passed on and he was not able to see the results of his efforts. Additional thanks to Darren Logan, my former work supervisor, and Garnik Asatrian and Victoria Arakelova of Russian-Armenian University in Yerevan, Armenia. Darren’s constant reiteration that the best strategy is often ‘asymmetrical’ and ‘non-linear’ with ‘built in redundancies’ is something I will always remember. He spurred me to be creative and to think unconventionally. He is a man of conviction and integrity. Garnik’s and Victoria’s friendship, encouragement, and scholarship over the last fifteen years have given us a greater love for Armenia and Iran. They were supportive even after we were no longer able to visit Iran; they desired to work with us nonetheless. Apart from Ali, even though I never studied under them, no one has taught me more. I also would like to thank our UK Church friends, work associates, and Iranian academic and Iranian Muslim religious leader colleagues. Our UK Church friends were a constant source of encouragement. They provided a sense of stability for our family and loved on us in the way only the church can do. Our local church exemplifies the unity of the body of Christ. Work was flexible regarding my commitments and gave me the time off needed to complete the degree and the book. Without work’s support, neither the Ph.D. or the book could have been done, especially since work paid for most of the Ph.D. Our Iranian academic and Iranian Muslim religious leader colleagues saw a need for someone to address the topic of American missionaries in Iran during the last years of Mohammed Reza Shah—especially from a committed American Christian who was willing to critique his own faith and culture. Our Iranian colleagues were the main motivation for pursuing the specific subject matter. If Iran were ever to open to the United States, American missionaries (and Americans

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in general) could learn a lot from their example. They displayed Christlike humility and hospitality that often is not exhibited in American or Western culture. Finally, I would like to recognise the late Howard F. Vos, my history professor at The King’s College. Vos, with his Ph.D.s in theology and history, was able to meld the two disciplines together in a manner that honoured both. He taught me to love history and theology for what they are. His heart for ancient history developed an incipient interest in Iran that culminated in the second Ph.D. Lord willing, one day the governments of Iran and the United States will be friendly and travel back and forth between countries will be easier. Taking nothing away from the splendors of the United States, United Kingdom, Armenia, or anywhere else, the beauties of Iran—its history, its people, its culture, its food, its way of life, its joy—make our family long for the day we can live in such a country, a country sorely misrepresented and underappreciated.

Contents

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Introduction Modernity and Faith Fewer Missionaries = More Christians? The Position of Christianity in China The Position of Babiism in Iran Sources and Methodological and Epistemological Considerations Historical Considerations Background Sources The State of the Literature Definition of Terms Ideology Modernisation, Modernity, and Westernisation Iran or Persia? Din-e Dowlat and Din-e Mellat Religious Terms Missions Agencies in Iran Anglicans Assemblies of God International Missions/Christar Presbyterians Southern Baptists Chapter Overviews

1 4 4 6 9 12 12 16 22 29 29 29 31 32 32 34 34 36 37 38 39 42

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Christianity in Iran Introduction Christianity in Iran Iran in the Bible and in Early Church History Assyrian Christianity and the Rise of Christianity in Iran Sassanid Empire (224−651) The Muslim Conquest (651–1256) The Mongol Conquest (1256–1500) The Safavid Empire-Pahlavi Dynasty (1501–1979) Armenian Christianity in Iran Before the Safavids The Safavids 1501–1796 Qajar-Pahlavi Dynasties (1796–1979) Protestant Missionaries in Iran Other Christians Groups Georgians in Iran Roman Catholic Missionaries in Iran Conclusion

45 45 49 50 53 53 57 60 61 62 62 64 66 68 73 73 74 75

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A Brief History of Iran During the Modern Era Introduction The White Revolution The Din-e Dowlat and Din-e Mellat in the 1960s and 1970s in Relation to Christianity Conclusion

77 77 80

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American Missionaries in Iran During the Last Years of the Pahlavis Introduction Two Models The Traditional Model The Indigenisation Model Education Presbyterians Southern Baptists Healthcare Conclusion

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91 91 92 92 94 97 104 107 111 116

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Evangelistic Activities of American Missionaries Introduction Overt Evangelism, Church Planting, and Interdenominational Cooperation with the Iranian Government’s Permission International Missions Assemblies of God Southern Baptists Presbyterians The Relationship Between Iranian Christians and American Missionaries Christianity and the Beginnings of the Islamic Revolution Conclusion

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Iranian Christian Thought and the Islamic Republic Introduction Iranian Christian Thought in Iran The Indigeneity or ‘Iranian-Ness’ or ‘Non-Western-Ness’ of the Iranian Church Persian Preaching, Teaching, and Writing Poetry and Song Persecution of Iranian Christians and the House Church Movement The Importance of Persecution to Indigeneity The House Church Movement The Impact of American Non-residential Missionaries on Iran and the Influence of Iranian Christians Living in the United States Following the Islamic Revolution Tours to Iran, Bible Distribution, and Informal Training The Impact of Media on Christianity in Iran Written Material, Radio, and Television in Persian The Internet Conclusion

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Conclusion Introduction Avenues for Further Research

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118 119 122 128 133 136 143 150

161 161 165 168 168 173

178 179 182 182 184 187

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American Missionaries, the Governments of the United States and Iran, and Access to the Iranian People American Missionaries’ Interactions with the Iranian Government Regarding Education and Healthcare A Way Forward

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Epilogue

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Selected Bibliography

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Index

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CHAPTER 1

Introduction

In the 1960s and 1970s, competing socio-political attitudes arose between a Western-leaning Iranian government and an educated elite that desired change. The Iranian Government was receptive to Western secular values, and therefore Westerners, including American Christian missionaries, were looked upon with suspicion by the Iranian populace. Westerners were considered to be supporters of the Shah and conveyers of a detrimental ideology. Missionaries, with their focus on modernisation, exported an interpretation of Christianity that incorporated their Western beliefs, which were not only contrary to what many of the indigenous Iranian Christian sects believed, they were also at odds with the general population of Iran. Christianity was identified as a Western religion associated with an unpopular government, and Western missionaries were regarded as its carriers. The Christian missionaries’ acceptance of Western socio-political principles caused them to believe the myth that modernisation was equated with Westernisation. While Christian missionaries improved Iranian Society in addition to proclaiming the message of Jesus Christ, the missionaries’ blend of Western infused modernisation with the gospel added to the negative perception of Christianity among Iranians and confused the message of the gospel with Western thought. As American missionary activity played a leading role in relationships with

© The Author(s) 2020 P. O. Hopkins, American Missionaries in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-51214-9_1

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peoples from the Middle East,1 the United States became the most dominant international power in Iran during the later years of the Pahlavis. Roman Catholic missions from America to Iran were largely absent; therefore, this work concentrates on Protestant groups from the United States, particularly Assemblies of God, International Missions/Christar, Presbyterians, and Southern Baptists. Western missionaries’ dissemination of their political ideology was nothing new; Christian missionary activity has been linked to the Crusades and the expansion of Roman Catholic governments into the New World. Within Protestantism, the first connection between missionaries and government was made at the beginning of the Reformation, when John Calvin sent missionaries to Brazil.2 During the eighteenth to twentieth centuries, when Protestant missions increased dramatically with the Protestant Modern Missions Movement, colonialism among Protestant nations began to increase. This rise is particularly clear in the High Imperial Era, when governmental representatives praised the work of missionaries. A painting entitled The Secret of England’s Greatness,3 which depicts Queen Victoria giving a Bible to an African tribesman, suggests the connection between government and religion. Even as late as the 1950s, the overt connection between Western missionaries and government was lauded.4 It is not a coincidence that Christian missionaries’ global influence grew with the rise of Western nations. Interactions with Roman Catholic missionaries and governmental officials, increased trade, and academic studies in Europe made Western thought intriguing, especially to the Iranian elite. By the time the first Protestant missionary arrived, influential Iranians were becoming familiar with Western thought. In the 1800s, Presbyterian missionaries came from America, and as the United States emerged as a world superpower

1 Adam H. Becker, Revival and Awakening: American Evangelical Missionaries in Iran and the Rise of Assyrian Nationalism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015), 4. 2 Amy Glassner Gordon, ‘The First Protestant Missionary Effort: Why Did It Fail?’, International Bulletin for Missionary Research vol. 8, no. 1 (January 1984): 12−14. 3 ‘The Secret of England’s Greatness’, http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/por trait/mw00071/The-Secret-of-Englands-Greatness-Queen-Victoria-presenting-a-Bible-inthe-Audience-Chamber-at-Windsor, site editor, National Portrait Gallery, accessed on 29 April 2015. 4 David J. Bosch, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in the Theology of Mission (Maryknoll: Orbis, 1991), 304, italics in original.

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following World War II its status in Iran grew, as, in turn, did that of American Christian missions agencies. With cultural superiority becoming an important doctrine in Western ideology, Western Protestant Christians combined it with an eschatological belief of Christ’s return. Missionaries believed their responsibility was to share the gospel and help inaugurate Christ’s kingdom on earth, which led them to build Western schools and hospitals and improve (Westernise and modernise) society, as well as proclaim the gospel. A little more than 20 years after World War II, additional American Protestant groups arrived in Iran, including the Southern Baptist Convention, through its missions agency, the Foreign Mission Board, and smaller missions agencies, such as International Missions and the Assemblies of God. The advancement of ‘social gospel’ among some more theologically liberal missionaries of the 1960s and 1970s, with its focus on the betterment of life, sometimes over the ‘evangelical gospel’, with its emphasis on spiritual conversion, only added to this idea. The Iranian elite, in return, absorbed the idea of progress into a nationalism that imagined the American Government, in part because of the missionaries’ activity, supporting a transformation of Iran into a freer society. Iranian Kamyar Ghaneabassiri notes: [The missionaries] labored in Persia to improve the educational, medical, and social conditions of the country, and so earned the affection and admiration of Persians for Americans and, in turn, for the United States. The image of the United States which they [the missionaries] created both explicitly … and implicitly … fostered the belief among Persians that America was sympathetic to their national aspirations for freedom and independence.5

However, as the American Government supported Pahlavi nationalism, instead of that championed by the Iranian people, Iranians became increasingly dissatisfied with the American regime and Western missionaries. The missionaries’ incorporation of Western thought into their faith further alienated the message of Christianity. Iranians were uncomfortable with a faith that supported the policies of the Pahlavis.

5 Kamyar Ghaneabassiri, ‘U.S. Foreign Policy and Persia, 1856−1921’, Iranian Studies vol. 35, no. 1 (Winter−Summer 2002): 151.

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Modernity and Faith Fewer Missionaries = More Christians? In some places, paradoxically, the expulsion of Western missionaries led to an increase in Christianity. In China, for example, there are now close to 100 million Chinese who have been Christianized. Although greater religious freedom was granted after the death of Mao Zedong, most of the Chinese converts came to Christianity with little Western missionary presence. The rapid increase of Christians in China has led to interest by secular news agencies.6 In Cambodia, too, although the parallels are not as exact, a similar pattern emerged. The Khmer Rouge, under the rule of Pol Pot, expelled Western missionaries: by 1979 fewer than 2000 Christians remained. Today, there are around 200,000.7 Incidentally, the reverse is often true. Missionary studies have illustrated that within six to twelve months after Westerners and Western missionaries return to non-Western cultures, where sizeable and rapid growth in Christianity has previously occurred, conversions significantly reduce.8 However, this is not always the case. Cuba, for example, is one country where increased Western presence has led to a rise in Protestant Christianity.9 Therefore, 6 ‘China on Course to become ‘World’s Most Christian Nation’ within 15 Years’, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/10776023/China-oncourse-to-become-worlds-most-Christian-nation-within-15-years.html, site editor, The Telegraph, 27 February 2015, accessed on 27 February 2015; ‘Crack in the Atheist Edifice’, http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21629218-rapid-spread-christianityforcing-official-rethink-religion-cracks, site editor, The Economist, 1 November 2014, accessed on 27 February 2015. 7 ‘The Christian Church in Cambodia’, http://www.cambcomm.org.uk/church.php, site editor, Cambodian Communities out of Crisis, accessed on 2 March 2015; ‘Cambodia’, http://www.cmalliance.org/field/cambodia, site editor, Christian and Missionary Alliance, 2 March 2015. 8 There are a number of missiological studies that suggest this to be true. The opening of the former Soviet Union after the Cold War to the West and its missionaries is a case in point as to the decline in the increase of conversions to Christianity. At the time of writing this paper, evidence that the growth in Christianity being reduced with the coming of the West and its missionaries is based on email correspondence with Eugene S. Atnip on 16 April 2015. Atnip is a pseudonym for a leader of the International Mission Board, who focuses on unreached people groups. 9 ‘Background Information on Cuba’s Protestant Churches’ Compiled by the (U.S. National Council of Churches’, https://www.ncccusa.org/news/cuba/protes tant.html, site editor, National Council of Churches, accessed on 28 July 2018; ‘Despite Some Tensions, Evangelical Churches Booming in Cuba’, 27 March

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the reasons for this Western presence increasing/decreasing the number of indigenous peoples converting to Christianity need to be explored. Prior to the Islamic Revolution, few Iranians were converted to Christianity. Among Muslim Iranians, there were only 200 (some suggest perhaps 500) converts by 1979.10 Today, however, with a very limited physical presence of Westerners or Western missionaries, the estimates of the numbers of Iranian Christians range from the hundreds of thousands to more than a million.11 The presence of Western missionaries in Iran was ironically detrimental to their aim of conversion. American missionaries during the years of Mohammed Reza Shah felt confused because few Iranian Muslims converted to the Christian faith. This work explores the engagement of Iranians with Western missionaries and Christian discourse. The message that missionaries intended to communicate was often misinterpreted. Instead of regarding missionaries as Christ’s messengers who desired to improve Iranian Society and culture spiritually as well as materialistically, Iranians believed missionaries to be representatives of the West who sought to impose their ideology on Iranian civilisation by not only individually converting Iranians to the missionaries’ brand of Christianity, but also by rejecting Iranian culture for a Westernised one.

2017, http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/03/27/despite-some-tensions-evangelicalchurches-booming-in-cuba.html, site editor, Fox News, accessed on 28 July 2018. 10 Mark Bradley, Too Many to Jail : The Story of Iran’s New Christians (Oxford: Monarch Books, 2014), 25, 149. 11 Alex Murasko, ‘Growth of Christianity in Iran ‘Explosive’’, http://www.christianpost.

com/news/open-doors-growth-of-christianity-in-iran-explosive-71946/, site editor, The Christian Post, accessed on 20 August 2012, provides the conservative calculation of around 300,000, while ‘Iran’, http://www.christianfreedom.org/iran/, site editor, Christian Freedom International, accessed on 20 August 2012, provides a generous estimate of over 1 million. Note: there is not a one-to-one correlation. The 100−200 people before 1979 are converts from Muslim backgrounds, while the 300,000−1 million are Christians in Iran, including ethnic Christians such as the Armenians and Assyrians. Nonetheless, the numbers indicate a dramatic increase. ‘People Group Profile’, http://joshuaproject.net/ people-profile.php, site editor, Joshua Project, accessed on 11 March 2014, states the total number of Armenians and Assyrians as around 200,000, which means, even if each Armenian and Assyrian is a Christian, there has been a significant increase of Christians in Iran since the Islamic Republic. It is also worth considering that many of the ethnic Christians in Iran (Armenians and Assyrians) have left the country because of persecution. Richard Foltz, Religions of Iran: From Prehistory to the Present (London: Oneworld, 2013), 122, suggests the number of Armenian and Assyrian Christians in Iran could currently be fewer than 55,000.

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By communicating with Western missionaries, Iranians sometimes gave the impression of interest, which, while true platonically, gave missionaries false hopes of seeing Iranians adopt a faith that, in fact, the Iranians considered contrary to their culture and own ideas about religion, sometimes even their own ideas about the historical Christian faith. To the Iranians, the fusion of Western ideology with the gospel made Christianity unpalatable. The correspondence between the lack of Western Christian missionaries and the rise of Christianity in Iran raises questions about the role of modernity and faith. To provide a means of comparison, two other religious movements in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—Christianity in China, Babiism in Iran—are reviewed. With Christianity in China, the connection between government and missionary is similar to that of Iran as the increase in the number of converts to Christianity after missionaries were expelled. With Babiism in Iran, while there are similarities in the origins between Christianity and Babiism, the Babis did not have the protection of government, and this showed in the growth and decline of the faith in Iran. By discussing these subjects the significance of the combined Western and Christian presence in Iran will become clearer.

The Position of Christianity in China A small continuous and indigenous population of Christians in both China and Iran has existed for over a thousand years. In both countries, Christianity has had intermittent periods of persecution and peace and has been affected by the West. Interestingly, Christianity in China dates to when Iranian Christian missionaries arrived in the 600s12 after being prohibited from evangelising in Iran by the new Islamic government. Persian inscriptions, Christian manuscripts, and Church of the East crosses dating to this period have been found alongside writings discussing missionary work and the influence of Iranian Christians.13 Until Mongol times, the majority of Christians were from the Church 12 Huaiyu Chen, ‘The Encounters of Nestorian Christianity with Tantric Buddhism’, in Dietmar Winkler and Tang Li, eds., Hidden Treasures and Intercultural Encounters: Studies on East Syriac Christianity in China and Central Asia (Berlin and Münster: LIT Verlag, 2009), 200. 13 Wilhelm Baum and Dietmar W. Winker, The Church in the East: A Concise History (New York: Routledge Curzon, 2003), 47−57.

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of the East, but in the late 1200s Roman Catholic missionaries arrived, and in the early 1800s Protestant missionaries came. By 1920, there were 16,000 missionaries in China equally divided between the Roman Catholics and Protestants.14 Before the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Western countries tried unsuccessfully to gain a foothold in China. With China’s strong nationalistic tendencies, the Chinese Government permitted foreigners to dwell in only two areas. However, with opium consumption rising and with the British East India Company’s cultivation of the poppy, there was an economic incentive for Britain to pursue change even after the drug was outlawed in China. This resulted in the Opium War of 1839–1842 and the Treaty of Nanking in 1842 that allowed opium to be sold in China and opened additional cities for foreigners to live. The missionaries, being bilingual, acted as translators for the treaty. In these cities, foreigners were given similar rights to those they had in their own countries. This created an avenue for the proclamation of the gospel.15 Several years later, in 1858, another treaty was signed that allowed Westerners (including missionaries) to go into the inlands of China and assured the security of Christians (missionaries as well as Chinese who converted). This second treaty allowed J. Hudson Taylor, the pioneer of the second phase of the Protestant Modern Missions Movement, to create the China Inland Mission (now Overseas Missionary Fellowship), which became for a time the largest missions agency in the world.16 The direct connection between missionaries and government left a permanent stain on Western Christianity. Frustration peaked in the Boxer Rebellion of 1900, when the Chinese Government ordered the killing of all foreigners. Because Christian missionaries were spread throughout the country, they were killed with some frequency, but it was the Chinese Christians, who were considered turncoats, who suffered the most, with tens of thousands being killed.17 Interest in Christianity increased in the ensuing period between the Boxer Rebellion and the Communist Revolution of 1949. English 14 J. Herbert Kane, A Concise History of the Christian World Mission: A Panoramic View of Missions from Pentecost to the Present (Grand Rapids, Baker, 1982), 124. 15 Stephen Neill, History of Christian Missions, 2nd ed. (London: Penguin, 1986), 238−40. 16 Ibid., 274−75, 282. 17 Ibid., 346.

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Western educational institutions were established, and the use of the schools as a strategy for missions became essential. By the 1930s, over one third of the Chinese listed in Who’s Who had attended a Christian school. Medical institutions were the same. At one point, Westerners ran over half the Chinese hospitals. By the 1920s, 90% of all registered nurses were educated in Christian schools.18 Quoting missionary John Fairbank, missions historian J. Herbert Kane tells of the schools and medical institutions’ influence on China’s modernisation: The influence of mission schools and hospitals, of missionary ideals and activities in seeking out the common man, translating Western literature, initiating women’s education, assisting in ancient tasks of charity and famine relief and in new tasks of modernization were considerable…. The missionary movement, whatever its spiritual-doctrinal results in this period, was a profound stimulus to China’s modernization.19

The Communist Revolution of 1949, with Mao Zedong’s anti-Western sentiments, closed China to the West. In some ways, this proved to be positive for Chinese Christians. One Chinese Christian reportedly stated, ‘Now we can be ourselves’; an indication that the Chinese Christians had previously felt pressured and confined by the Western identity of missionaries. Zedong allowed some churches to remain, but educational and medical institutions were taken out of the Church’s control.20 Before Western missionaries left, at most one per cent of the population was considered Christian21 ; nevertheless, by 1981, less than 40 years after the Communist Revolution and the removal of Westerners, Christianity was expanding at a rapid rate, with the number of Christians increasing fivefold.22 Today, there are close to 100 million Chinese who have been Christianised with little Western Christian presence.

18 Kane, A Concise History of the Christian World Mission, 168, 124. 19 Ibid., 133. 20 Neill, History of Christian Missions, 430−31. 21 Ibid., 285. 22 Ruth A. Tucker, From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1983), 453.

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The Position of Babiism in Iran Iran is not, nor ever has been, a monolithic religious state. Adherents to more than one religion have made, or have tried to make, Iran their home. All the main monotheistic faiths—Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Zoroastrianism—have developed indigenously in Iran. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, at a time when Iran was coming into the modern age, the Babi faith arose. Since the Babi faith developed in the period when Western and American missionaries began their efforts in Iran, it offers a comparison. Similar to Christianity, Babiism developed from another religion. As Jews considered Christianity a false faith at the beginnings of the early church—the biblical book of Acts of the Apostles details some of the persecution by Jewish leadership—Muslim authorities were not keen on the inception of Babiism. A core doctrine of both Christianity and Babiism focused on the coming of a messiah, the promised one foretold in prophecies of old. The believed fulfilment of this foretelling, as seen in Jesus Christ and the Bab in Christianity and Babiism, respectively, was considered apostasy to the main religion in that area at that time, Judaism and Islam, respectively. The Babi faith originated in 1844 from a Shia sect with messianic tendencies. Early believers held that there was an intermediary (the Bab) between the hidden imam and believers. Eventually, Babiism divided into two sects, the Azalis and the Baha’is, with the Baha’is greatly outnumbering the Azalis.23 Similar to Western missionaries in Iran, the Babis had a millennial eschatology and desired social change. Babis believed that before the hidden imam would return the world would grow progressively worse, similar to the notion of Premillennialism in Christianity. Nikki Keddie notes that there was a type of ‘Protestantism’ among the Babis. Adherents confronted ‘the corruption of the clergy, [and] claim[ed] to have the true interpretation of the scripture, new economic attitudes, strict social and individual morality, and the theocratic ideal’.24

23 Edward Browne, ‘Babiism’, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics (1909, reprint), in Moojan Momen, ed., Selections for the Writings of E. G. Browne on the Babi and Baha’i Religions (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987), 426. 24 Nikki R. Keddie, ‘Religion and Irreligion in Early Iranian Nationalism’, Comparative Studies in Society and History vol. 4, no. 3 (April 1962): 271−72.

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Unlike Christianity during this period, Babiism rapidly increased. By 1900, there were 50,000−100,000 Baha’is in Iran,25 and by 1978, there were approximately 350,000, around one per cent of the population,26 converts coming mostly from Iran’s majority population, Islam. Babiism was dispersed more widely than other religious minorities, and some (though secretly) were in governmental positions. Along with their growth and separation from Shiism, they held progressive views on religion, humanitarian and social justice, and government. The Baha’is saw no need for a clerical body and tended to be universalistic in their beliefs. They believed the Bab was the ‘fulfilment’ of the prophecies of the messiah for the Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Zoroastrians.27 Socially, they strove for an improvement in conditions for women and children,28 focused on the alleviation of poverty, and condemned slavery. Politically, they desired a representative government, lower taxes, and a smaller military budget.29 The Babis upset the status of Iranian Society. They were not content with the existing state of affairs and, early in their origin, used violent tactics and participated in revolts to support their objectives (such as the attempted assassination of Naser al-Din Shah and support for the Constitutional Revolution), though in later years the Baha’is espoused pacifism. As a result of the similarities between some of the Babis’ progressive views and those in the West, there is debate over how much influence the West had on the Babi faith.30 The Babis’ thoughts were considered radical for Iran at the time.31 Joanna de Groot notes:

25 Juan R. I. Cole, ‘Iranian Millenarianism and Democratic Thought in the 19th Century’, International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies vol. 24, no. 1 (February 1992): 1. 26 Alessandro Bausani, Religion in Iran, translated by J. M. Marchesi (New York: Bibliotheca Persica Press, 2000), 405. 27 Cole, ‘Iranian Millenarianism and Democratic Thought in the 19th Century’, 3. 28 Keddie, Qajar Iran and the Rise of Reza Khan, 26. 29 Cole, ‘Iranian Millenarianism and Democratic Thought in the 19th Century’, 7. 30 Sohrab Yazdni, ‘Heterodox Intellectuals of the Iranian Constitutional Revolution’,

in Religion and Society in Qajar Iran, ed. Robert Gleave (London: Routledge, 2005), 174−92. 31 Ibid., 22.

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The combination of a challenge to doctrinal and legal authority with the emergence of a social base for Babi-Baha’i views, and the Babi armed uprisings, fused issues of social power, right belief and political order which [the] establishment could not ignore.32

In some cases, because of the universalistic nature of their religion, Babis were not considered the most patriotic people,33 and the word ‘Babi’ became a derogatory term for heresy.34 While it is true that the Babis were not content with Iranian Society, they also, although having similar views, were not captivated with the modernism of the West, and were a bit of an enigma for Westerners to classify. Juan R. I. Cole explains: The Babi community out of which the Bahai faith mainly grew in the Middle East was made up of persons unhappy with the status quo, whether for economic, political, or religious reasons. They wanted an entirely new world order, a radical change that should fall from heaven. Neither Iranian traditions, which they saw as mired in unjust conventionality and social and economic stagnation, nor modernity, which they saw as God-denying and soulless, satisfied them.35

Sporadic persecution against the Babi faith was initiated and supported throughout the Qajar and Pahlavi administrations.36 The Bab himself was executed and many others were killed or exiled, culminating in 20,000 deaths since the founding of the faith.37 Unlike Western missionaries in Iran, while having a greater number of conversions in Qajar and Pahlavi times, the Babis did not have protection from outside governments.

32 Joanna de Groot, Religion, Culture and Politics in Iran: From the Qajars to Khomeini (London: I. B. Tauris, 2007), 91. 33 Edward G. Browne, The Persian Revolution of 1905−1909 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1910), 425. 34 de Groot, Religion, Culture and Politics in Iran, 92. 35 Juan R. I. Cole, ‘Charismatic Authority in the Bahai Faith’, in Religion and Society

in Qajar Iran, ed. Robert Gleave (London: Routledge, 2005), 340. 36 Fereydun Vahman, Yek-Sad-o Shast Sal Mobahrazeh bah Deeyahnet Bahia: Gooshah-yi az Tarikh Ejtamah’a-yi––Deeni Iran dar Dorahn Ma’ahsar [160 Years of Persecution: An Overview of the Persecution of the Baha’is of Iran] (Darmstadt, Germany: ‘Asr-i-Jadíd, 2009), provides a summary of these persecutions. 37 Bausani, Religion in Iran, 391.

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Sources and Methodological and Epistemological Considerations Historical Considerations This work argues that the missionaries’ own cultural influences caused them to confuse the message of the gospel with Western thought, thereby creating a negative impression of Christianity among Iranians, thus hindering the gospel they were trying to promote. The investigative process of this book requires giving meaning to raw data, ‘facts’, and calls for value judgements in determining how facts are organised and which facts are used. Historian Peter Munz calls the raw data and the analysis of the data ‘history’. He believes the facts of everything that has happened are history res gestae; how these facts are organised and explained is historia rerum gestarum.38 What Munz merely implies, British philosopher W. H. Walsh states plainly: there is a subjective element to the academic study of history. Walsh explains that the historian’s job is ‘[to reconstruct] the past [in a way] which is both intelligent and intelligible’.39 Paul Ricoeur references Karl Mannheim, who explains that, ‘without presuppositions no questions can be asked, and without questions no hypotheses can be formulated and hence nothing any longer can be investigated’.40 Ricoeur himself states: It is necessary to understand that all comprehension implies a precomprehension; that is to say, a certain affinity with the object and, therefore, also a whole cultural equipment. It is from the depth of a certain culture that I approach a new object of the culture. As a result pre-comprehension and prejudice are necessarily a part of comprehension. There cannot be any self-criticism by a neutral critic. And, inversely, a critic cannot be partisan.41

38 Peter Munz, ‘History and Myth’, Philosophical Quarterly vol. 6, no. 22 (January 1956): 2. 39 W. H. Walsh, Philosophy of History: An Introduction (New York: Harper & Row, 1960), 31. 40 Ricoeur, Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences, 241. 41 Mario J. Valdes, ed., A Ricouer Reader: Reflection and Imagination (Toronto:

University of Toronto Press, 1991), 446, emphasis mine.

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Iranian historian Fereydun Adamiyat and American historian Thomas M. Ricks note that while facts are important in the study of history, how the facts are organised endows them with significance: The historian who limits his work to the simple recording of evens [sic] and facts constructs a lifeless work which is of little use. He has written a handbook, not a history … meaningful history is analytical and sociological in approach. It has the goal of increasing our historical sense and of developing our historical awareness.42

There are historians, such as Leopold von Ranke, who believe the subjective element to the interpretation of history is limited by the use of primary sources. He states: ‘[the] critical study of the authentic source, impartial observation, objective representation; – this aim is the realization of the past’.43 Indeed, his methodological principles of using archival material and examining sources critically should be standard in historical research; however, some researchers hold to different presuppositions that allow for the facts, the history res gestae, to be interpreted differently. Scholars with different beliefs promote alternative systems. Ranke’s own presuppositions, it has been argued, may have obscured his own objectivity.44 Princeton historian E. Harris Harbison’s statement regarding faith and research should be true with any belief: ‘[There is] no substitute for competent scholarship…sectarian prejudice has long been an [sic] notorious obstacle in the path of historical understanding’.45 A significant part of ‘competent scholarship’ is the written historical record, but as George Orwell reportedly stated history is ‘written by

42 Fereydoun Adamiyat and Thomas M. Ricks, ‘Problems in Iranian Historiography’, Iranian Studies vol. 4, no. 4 (Autumn 1971): 143, 147. 43 Leopold von Ranke, Englische Geschichte vornehmlich im Siebzehnten Jahrhundert, 3rd ed. (Sämmtliche Werke, vol. 21) (Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, 1877), 5, in J. D. Braw, ‘Vision as Revision: Ranke and the Beginning of Modern History’, History and Theory (December 2007): 46. 44 Braw, ‘Vision as Revision: Ranke and the Beginning of Modern History’, 46 and Felix Gilbert, ‘Historiography: What Ranke Meant’, The American Scholar vol. 56, no. 3 (Summer 1987): 393−94. 45 E. Harris Harbison, ‘The Marks of a Christian Historian’, in God, History, and Historians, ed. C. T. McIntire (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977), 345.

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the winners’.46 The implications of this statement draw to focus the importance of evaluating source material for truthfulness and accuracy. Examining data against potential biases and faulty interpretations helps provide a faithful assessment of the subject studied. One must let the research ‘speak for itself’ in its own context instead of reinterpreting the data to fit one’s own prejudices. As the main components of the research of this work are the written historical records of the time, in Persian and in English, objectivity is paramount. Since researchers have their own presuppositions, a holistic and contextual approach to study is important as this method helps ensure impartiality, particularly when examining data from other cultures in different languages with diverse worldviews. As the former Dean of the Faculty of Languages at the University of Esfahan states, ‘We are all victims of our past and our circumstances. We see the world from where we stand and there is nothing else that we can do. Therefore, the West [sees] the East with a Western bias and vice versa’.47 As this book focuses on the period of the 1960s and 1970s in Iran, specifically the history of Western Christianity in Iran during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, particularly American missionary involvement during the 1960s and 1970s, both Persian and English sources from Iranian and Western authors are used, and the Iranian political and religious environment is examined. The work’s central theme that American missionaries in Iran exported an interpretation of Christianity that confused the message of the gospel with Western thought lends itself to a focus on sources that are religious in nature; less than fifteen years after the Foreign Mission Board missionaries entered Iran, a popular revolution gave rise to the Islamic Republic. The amount of resources available means that a certain level of judgement was used when selecting the material. This is one reason Anglicans (and thus British) missions to Iran are not examined in detail. While Anglican and British missionaries arguably played a greater role in Christianity in Iran and Iran in general, most of the Anglican (the largest British Christian sect) archives of the past 50 years have not yet been 46 George Orwell, ‘As I Please,’ in Tribune 4 (February 1944); in http://orwell.ru/lib rary/articles/As_I_Please/english/eaip_01, site editor, O. Dag, accessed on 20 February 2013. 47 Farhang Jahanpour, ‘Reverse Orientalism: Iranian Reactions to the West’, in Perceptions of Iran: History, Myths and Nationalism from Medieval Persia to the Islamic Republic, ed. Ali M. Ansari (London: I. B. Tauris, 2014), 78.

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catalogued.48 Only using the Anglican and British missionary sources available could distort the narrative and the accuracy of interpretation. In doing the research for this book, there was no pre-set ideological agenda. The purpose was simply to gather as much information as possible within the focused time period, study it, and have the historical record ‘speak’ for itself. To eliminate subjectivity as much as possible, sources vary in depth, language, type, and accessibility, as well as opinion and the locations from which they were retrieved. These locations include archives and/or correspondence with the World Council of Churches; European governmental organisations; archives from the Foreign (International) Mission Board, Presbyterian Historical Society, Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives, International Missions/Christar, and Assemblies of God (and personal correspondences with missionaries connected to these organisations), Public Records Offices of Britain and America, British Library, and the Library of Congress. Furthermore, the resources include works or transcripts from Iranian newspapers and online sources, Iranian leaders of both the Pahlavis and Islamic Revolution, and Iranian Christian organisations. The library at the School of Oriental and African Studies was used, as well as the library at the University of St. Andrews; both have thousands of volumes of Persian sources dating to the period studied. First-hand reflections from Western missionaries and Iranians (Christians, Muslims, and the elite) in this period are used, including the personal records, research, and diaries and papers of Anna Enayat, Mark and Gladys Bliss, James and Eloise Neely, Richard and Doreen Corley, and Dwight and Anna Grace Singer.49 Additional primary source material includes the speeches and works of Mohammed Reza Shah, Ayatollah Khomeini, Bishop H. B. Dehqani-Tafti, and other Iranian elites, though some of this material was recorded after 1979.

48 In a phone conversation with the writer in 2016, the head Anglican librarian/archivist confirmed there are records of Anglian missions to Iran dated to the 1960s and 1970s, but they have not been catalogued and will not be for some time. 49 Dwight and Anna Grace Singer are pseudonyms for a couple currently involved in the Iran work.

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Background Sources While this work is not concerned with the theological differences between Christianity and Islam (or any other faith), it does explore the transference of ideas between Western missionaries and Iranians, and those ideas include discussions in theology. The Persian responses to Henry Martyn, one of the first Western missionaries to Iran, illustrate this transmission. Mohammed Rida Hamadani’s, Irshad al mudhlin fi Ithbati Khatami al Nabiin [Guidance for the Misguided on the Proof of the Prophecy of the Seal of Prophethood]50 and Miftah al-nubuwwah [The Key to Prophethood],51 discuss the interpretation of the Greek word, paraclete. They argue that the word refers to the Prophet Mohammed, in contrast with Martyn, who believes the term means Holy Spirit. Ahmad Naraqi’s Sayf al Ummah [The Sword of the Nation]52 provides a textual comparison between the Quran and the New Testament and questions the legitimacy of Christ. Husayn Ali Shah’s work Raddi Padri [Refutations of the Priest],53 one of the most extensive refutations, reviews each part of Martyn’s work and assesses it critically using Islamic and non-Islamic sources. Reza Tabandeh, in his PhD dissertation, notes that all other critiques of Martyn are based on Ali Shah’s Raddi Padri.54 What occurred with Martyn in the Qajar period is useful for understanding the conditions in the Pahlavi and Islamic Revolution times. Haqiqati Masihiyat [The Truth of Christianity], written in 1976,55 is one of the most polemical books against Christianity in Iran, and perhaps 50 Mohammed Rida Hamadani, Irshad al-mudhlin fi Ithbati Khatami al-nabiin [Guidance for the Misguided on the Proof of the Prophecy of the Seal of Prophethood], in Tabandeh, ‘The Rise of Ni’matullahi Shi’ite Sufism in Early Nineteenth-Century Qajar Persia’, 121. 51 Mohammed Rida Hamadani, Miftah al-nubuwwah [The Key to Prophethood], in Tabandeh, ‘The Rise of Ni’matullahi Shi’ite Sufism in Early Nineteenth-Century Qajar Persia’, 121. 52 Ahmad Naraqi, Sayf al-ummah [The Sword of the Nation], in Tabandeh, ‘The Rise of Ni’matullahi Shi’ite Sufism in Early Nineteenth-Century Qajar Persia’, 123. 53 Husayn Ali Shah, Raddi Padri [Refutations of the Priest] (Tehran: Intisharati

Haqiqat, 1387/2008), 43−45, in Tabandeh, ‘The Rise of Ni’matullahi Shi’ite Sufism in Early Nineteenth-Century Qajar Persia’, 123−39. 54 Tabandeh, ‘The Rise of Ni’matullahi Shi’ite Sufism in Early Nineteenth-Century Qajar Persia’, 120. 55 Haqiqati masihiyat [The Truth of Christianity] (Qom: Muassasahyi Dar Rahi Haqq, . 1976).

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one of the most widespread.56 While written on a popular, non-academic level, the piece answers many of the questions that Protestant Christian missionaries brought against Islam and is designed as a warning to Muslims interested in converting to Christianity, as opposed to a mere academic defence. Established Islamic apologetics are used to support Islam (denial of the Trinity, rejection of the divinity of Jesus, statements regarding contradictions in the Bible, promotion of the coming of the Prophet Mohammed in Christian scriptures, etc.). Haqiqati Masihiyat, unlike some other Muslim apologetic works, is coarse in tenor. It ridicules Christians and their beliefs, condemns the brutalities of Christian actions (describing Christians’ nature as degenerate), and scorns the evil of the Christian Church. Christianity is labelled an ignorant religion without understanding. Sasan Tavassoli, in a popularised form of his PhD dissertation, quotes the conclusion of Chapter One in Haqiqati Masihiyat as an example of its tone: O Muslim brother! Do not imagine that the amazing progress of Europe is based on the religion of the Trinity. In fact, as long as people followed these childish thoughts, they lived in darkness and ignorance, but when people removed from themselves the web of the church and received help from the light of Islamic sciences, they were able to take impressive steps for the benefit of humanity.57

Not all pieces written in Persian are hostile towards Christianity. Although there is recognised disagreement between Islam and Christianity and writers tend to become uneasy when Christianity threatens the lifestyle of Iranian Society, some works take a more irenic tone. This tone is apparent in a sample of works that address Christianity, including Mohammed Ali Tajpur’s, Tarikhi du Aqalliyati Mazhabii: Yahud va Masihiyat dar Iran [On the Minorities of Judaism and Christianity in Iran],58 in which Tajpur accounts for the Jews and Christians in Iran. In the section about Christianity, the two main Iranian Christian minorities (Assyrian

56 Sasan Tavassoli, Christian Encounters with Iran: Engaging Muslim Thinkers after the Revolution (London: I. B. Tauris, 2011), 54. 57 Ibid., 55. 58 Mohammed Ali Tajpur, Tarikhi du aqalliyati mazhabii: yahud va masih¯ iyat dar Iran

[On the Minorities of Judaism and Christianity in Iran] (Tehran: Farahani, 1966).

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and Armenian) are discussed. Tajpur disagrees with the claims of Christianity and explains that the Christian faith is not one of original ideas as it supposes. Instead, Christ’s disciples developed Christianity from other religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Some of Christianity’s doctrines—for example, the doctrine of Mary the mother of Jesus—arise from these faiths. Regarding the history of Christianity in Iran, Tajpur admits that there has been sporadic persecution, not because the Iranian kings were anti-Christian, but rather because the Iranian leaders were protecting Iran’s national security. As long as Christians were not antinationalistic, they were accepted.59 Tajpur’s focus in his work, however, is not on the beliefs of Christians in Iran or their livelihood, but rather on the number of Armenians and Assyrians in Iran. He suggests that there were over 350,000 Armenian and Assyrian Christians in Iran.60 He provides their location in certain provinces and main cities. There is also information regarding additional resources. Mehrdad Nazeri’s short article, ‘Baptistha’,61 is another example of a non-antagonistic treatment of Christianity. More theological in his approach, Nazeri explains the beliefs of Baptists, with whom the Foreign Mission Board was theologically affiliated. While there are inaccuracies regarding certain points of doctrine, and Nazeri’s version of Baptist origins arising from Anabaptists can be debated (though certain Baptist scholars agree with him),62 the essential message of Baptists––salvation through faith by grace alone––and the importance of baptism by immersion (symbolic, not salvific) are identified properly. He also correctly identifies that Baptists do not baptise their children unless they convert to Christianity and understands the emphasis Baptists place on the return of Christ (which he calls the Apocalypse) and their promotion of the separation of religious institution and state. Regarding Christian missions in general, South African missiologist David J. Bosch’s seminal work, Transforming Mission, is used to place Western missionaries of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries within their context and provides this work with a hermeneutical grid. Even 59 Ibid., 260−67. 60 Ibid., 144. 61 Mehrdad Nazeri, ‘Baptistha’ [Baptists], 1 February 1970, http://maarefmags.ir/ node/1772, site editor Universal Journal of Education, accessed on 13 June 2014. 62 H. Leon McBeth, The Baptist Heritage: Four Centuries of Baptist Witness (Nashville: Broadman, 1987), 48–58.

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though the work was written in the early 1990s, it is still considered one of the standard academic pieces on missiology. While other texts on the history of missions could have been chosen,63 Bosch has been selected because he is respected across the Christian spectrum in both conservative and liberal circles and among Western and non-Western Christians. As he resided not in Europe or America, but in South Africa, he offers additional insight into Western missions. Bosch argues that certain ‘paradigms’ or ideologies in missions exist that have changed over time. He divides these ideologies into six historical categories: early church, patristic, medieval Roman Catholic, Protestant Reformation, Enlightenment, and emerging ecumenical. He believes missions paradigms change as knowledge is gained, often through conflict, and often taking hundreds of years to develop completely. As competing views become irreconcilable, proponents of each system begin answering questions from different loci, with the new paradigm eventually prevailing. Later, the process starts over again.64 Missionaries of the ninteenth and twentieth centuries began in the Enlightenment paradigm and started transitioning to the emerging ecumenical model. The Enlightenment model included dominant missionary motifs—including the certainty in progress65 —that underpinned the missionaries’ confidence in their own cultural superiority and that are important for understanding the American missiology. As this period marked the beginning of the emerging ecumenical paradigm, certain contrasts with the Enlightenment model began to develop. The ecumenical period challenged the ideas of progress and fought against the missionary/government alliance. With evangelical missionaries, this model focused on indigenisation and on reaching unreached people groups with the gospel, particularly in the 10/40 Window in areas such as Iran. The idea of changing paradigms is important because, as Adam H. Becker in Revival and Awakening: American Evangelical Missionaries in 63 Kane, A Concise History of the Christian World Mission; Neill, History of Christian

Missions; Tucker, From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya; Kenneth Scott Latourette, A History of Christianity: Beginnings to 1500, vol. 1. (New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1975); or Kenneth Scott Latourette, A History of Christianity: Reformation to the Present, vol. 2. (New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1975). 64 Bosch, Transforming Mission, 262–349. 65 Ibid.

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Iran and the Rise of Assyrian Nationalism explains, actions have unintended consequences. Becker believes that the evangelical promotion of a Protestant understanding of Christianity led the East Syrians of the Urmia and Hakkari areas to develop an ideology that formulated a unifying nationalism with secular overtones. It was the Protestant missionaries’ concept of reform, Becker argues, that provided the East Syrians with the foundation for this modernistic distinctiveness that nationalists traced to the ancient Assyrians. Assyrian nationalism, Becker explains, became a type of soteriology; one that answered questions about ‘death, salvation, community, and tradition’ in a manner that unified different groups of people.66 Becker presents a plausible reason for opposition to Western Christian missionary involvement by Iranians. Not only do evangelical missionaries advocate a change of religion and encourage intentional gospel sharing, Becker indicates that the ideology of American evangelical Protestant missionaries, intentionally or otherwise, was used to promote a nationalism that conflicted with the political Shi’ism that Ayatollah Khomeini advanced. Others have addressed missionaries and Islam in Iran during Pahlavi times. Michael Zirinsky has written several articles on Presbyterian missionaries in Iran,67 including the Presbyterians’ role in education and the Westernisation of Iran during Pahlavi times, though he focuses more on the period of Reza Shah than that of Mohammed Reza Shah.68 Linda Colleen Karimi wrote her master’s thesis on American missionaries from 1843–1941. She asserts that the missionaries’ work in education and healthcare was their greatest influence on Iranian Society. As Western culture and ideology was introduced to Iran, missionaries became one of the intermediaries; translators of Western thought into Iran. Although the Iranian Government opposed the Christianity of the missionaries, it 66 Becker, Revival and Awakening, 231. 67 Michael Zirinsky, ‘Harbingers of Change: Presbyterian Women in Iran, 1883–

1949’, American Presbyterians: Journal of Presbyterian History vol. 70, no. 3 (1992): 173–86; Michael Zirinsky, ‘Presbyterian Missionaries and American Relations with Pahlavi Iran’, The Iranian Journal of International Affairs (1989): 71–86. 68 Zirinsky, ‘A Panacea for the Ills of the Country’, 119–37; Michael Zirinsky, ‘Jordan,

Samuel Michael’, http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/jordan-samuel-martin, 15 July 2009, site editor, Encyclopedia Iranica, accessed on 19 August 2014; Michael Zirinsky, ‘Render Therefore Unto Caesar the Things Which Are Caesar’s: American Presbyterian Educators and Reza Shah’, Iranian Studies vol. 26, no. 3/4 (Summer−Autumn 1993): 337–56.

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desired the missionaries’ expertise in education and healthcare. American missionaries were regarded preferentially, as the United States had no political ambitions in Iran (in contrast to the British and Russians).69 Regarding the Foreign Missions Board’s general understanding of missions, there are three works that, taken together, provide a rounded view of the Board’s strategy: Southern Baptist historian William R. Estep’s Whole Gospel Whole World 70 ; Foreign Mission Board missionary Winston Crawley’s Global Mission 71 ; and Southern Baptist missiologist Keith E. Eitel’s Paradigm Wars.72 Estep traces the history of the Foreign Mission Board from its inception to 1995. While the work incorrectly defines certain theological terms and glosses over missiological and sectarian conflicts, especially in the Enlightenment and ecumenical models, it does provide a general overview of Foreign Mission Board life. The work places, within the greater context of the Foreign Mission Board’s mentality, the strategies and programmes the Foreign Mission Board implemented. Crawley’s work examines the situation, systems, personnel, objectives, strategies, and future of the Foreign Mission Board. Similar to Estep, it is not the most critical work, but provides insight into Foreign Mission Board thought of the period. Both Estep and Crawley mention a programme called ‘Bold Mission Thrust’, a scheme for missions, which began in 1976 and lasted to the end of the century. It is this strategy, and the events preceding it, that are key to understanding the mentality of Foreign Mission Board missionaries in the 1960s and 1970s. While Estep and Crawley are champions of Board policy, Eitel is not. Eitel develops Bosch’s thesis and provides a case study of Foreign Mission Board missionaries living in China during the High Imperial Era. He notes the tension between the competing paradigms in the Foreign Mission Board’s strategy for missions. He explains that the transition left

69 Linda Colleen Karimi, ‘Implications of American Missionary Presence in 19th and 20th Century Iran’ (MA thesis, Portland State University, 1975), 1–2, 81–83. 70 William R. Estep, Whole Gospel Whole World: The Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention 1845–1995 (Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 1994). 71 Winston Crawley, Global Mission: A Story to Tell (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1985). 72 Keith E. Eitel, Paradigm Wars: The Southern Baptist International Mission Board

Faces the Third Millennium (Eugene, OR: Wiph and Stock, 2000).

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the Foreign Mission Board ‘bi-directional’, with one focus on the Enlightenment model and another on the ecumenical one,73 and describes some of the sectarian strife during this changeover. Regarding Presbyterians, missionary John Elder’s History of the American Presbyterian Mission to Iran 74 describes the fondness that missionaries and Iranians had for one another on a personal level. Elder explains some of the hardships missionaries faced and details struggles and interpersonal conflicts as well as privations relating to wars, the Iranian Government, the Iranian people, and the ‘primitive’ conditions in which some of them lived. Elder, in praising the missionaries’ dedication, confirms that using education and healthcare as a means to share the gospel was a strategy to reach Muslim Iranians.75 The State of the Literature Few have written academically on the topic of this book. Perhaps because the time in question (the 1960s and 1970s) is recent history, access to primary sources is limited, which is why Anglican and other British missionaries to Iran are not included. However, in the last several years, this has begun to change. Missionary Mark Bradley has written two works that explore missions to Iran: Iran and Christianity: Historical Identity and Present Relevance 76 and Too Many to Jail : The Story of Iran’s New Christians.77 In Iran and Christianity, Bradley examines the underground church in Iran after 1979 and provides a history of Iranian Christianity. He explains that there is an affinity of Iranians towards the faith even though the overwhelming majority of Iranians are Muslim. Iranian poetry, Bradley believes, is one manner in which a connection can

73 Ibid., 93. 74 John Elder, History of the American Presbyterian Mission to Iran: 1834–1960 (Liter-

ature Committee of the Church Council of Iran, n.d.; revised, Kanone Ketab, 2012). Note: this work was originally written in Persian, but the author of this paper helped the Iranian translators proof their English translation, so the English translation of the work is used. 75 Ibid., 30. 76 Mark Bradley, Iran and Christianity: Historical Identity and Present Relevance

(London: Continuum, 2008). 77 Mark Bradley, Too Many to Jail : The Story of Iran’s New Christians (Oxford, UK: Monarch Books, 2014).

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be forged between Islam and Christianity. If Christianity is released from its Western cultural baggage, he believes more Iranians would convert to the faith. In Too Many to Jail , Bradley follows the line of thinking in this thesis by explaining that the persecution of Iranian Christians has led to the explosion of underground churches, which has forced or enabled the church in Iran to become indigenous. Bradley’s works are documented, but he is not an unbiased observer accounting the facts of a movement; he is a Christian who desires Iranians to convert to Christianity. His affinity for the Iranians who have been killed and hurt are clear. However, as this chapter has already cited, Ricoeur states that each researcher has his or her own biases, therefore, the question becomes whether Bradley’s theses can be substantiated. Sara Afshari examines how media has played a role in Christianity in Iran during the Islamic Revolution in her master and doctoral theses from the University of Edinburgh.78 In her master’s dissertation, she explains that globalisation in the form of media has allowed for an ‘openness’ among Iran’s intellectual community towards Christianity and enabled a ‘participative attitude’ among Iranian youth in Christianity. While her PhD dissertation is embargoed, the abstract indicates the significance of Persian Christian satellite television on Iranians, especially regarding the manner in which viewers interact and process the material seen and the reasoning behind those who have converted to Christianity through watching these channels. The indigenisation of the Church in Iran post1979 is explored. Afshari is not convinced that the Church is truly ‘Iranian’ because of the West’s continued influence, especially from the Iranian diaspora. Roman Catholic Polish theologian Marcin Rzepka explores the growth of Christianity in Iran in his work Prayer and Protest: The Protestant Communities in Revolutionary Iran.79 A publication of his PhD dissertation, his thesis comes closest to the topic of this work. Rzepka concentrates on another period (the time of the Islamic Revolution,

78 Sara Afshari, ‘An Examination of the Growth of Christianity and the Contribution of Farsi Christian Media in Contemporary Iran’ (MA thesis: University of Edinburgh, September 2013); Sara Afshari, ‘Reception of Christian Television in Contemporary Iran: An Analysis of Audience Interactions and Negotiations’ (PhD dissertation: University of Edinburgh, November 2017). 79 Marcin Rzepka, Prayer and Protest: The Protestant Communities in Revolutionary Iran (Krakow: Unum Press, 2017).

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1978–1981), addresses British missionaries, uses some different primary source material for American missionaries (but does not use any source material from International Missions/Christar or Southern Baptists), and has a thesis that states what draws Iranians to Christianity is their readiness to be martyrs for their faith, which is different from this book’s thesis. Rzepka believes the Islamic Revolution ‘redefined’ the social order for Christianity in Iran, another topic this work does not address. Nonetheless, Rzepka provides helpful information for the Church in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s and speculates about the indigeneity of the Iranian Church and the ideology of Iranian Christians. Among Iranian Christians in Iran during the Pahlavi period, many of them spoke well of the missionaries individually. They praised the missionaries’ desire and efforts to evangelise Iranians; however, at the same time, Iranian Christians criticised some of the missionaries’ methods and associations. A couple of works mention Western missionary endeavours in Iran in conjunction with the history of Christianity in Iran. Zarin Behravesh Pakizegi’s Tarikh-i Masihyan-e Irani [History of Christians in Iran]80 provides a general overview of Iranian Christianity. Pakizegi’s work, researched during the 1980s, mainly uses Iranian authors and Western missionaries to Iran who were living in Iran in the 1960s and 1970s as source material. Much of the book focuses on American Christian missionaries in Iran in the Qajar and Pahlavi periods. Although the book is a helpful short summary of the history of Christianity in Iran from an Iranian Christian who grew up in Iran during Pahlavi times, its value for this book is in its criticism of Western missionaries from an indigenous Iranian Christian perspective. Pakizegi acknowledges the benefits of Western missionary zeal, particularly Presbyterian, but decries the West’s failure to train Iranian Church leaders and keep them ministering in Iran. She notes that Presbyterians trained Iranian Church leaders outside of Iran and, upon their return, many could not readjust. He laments that there were more Iranians ministering in America than in Iran. He also records some of the missionaries’ involvement with government and includes how missionaries suffered in Iran during times when Christians were treated poorly. Dehqani-Tafti’s books and articles are the most significant works published by an Iranian Christian on this subject. The combination of 80 Zarin Behravesh Pakizegi, Tarikhi Masihyane Irani [History of Christians in Iran] (Oklahoma City: Sooner Printing, n.d.).

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being born to a Muslim father and Christian mother and being a graduate of Cambridge University seems to have given him the ability to understand Christianity in Iran from a unique viewpoint. This ability is apparent in how he contextualises the Christian message. In his threevolume work, Masihiyat Nazdi Iranian [Christ and Christianity Amongst Iranians],81 he uses popular Iranian poets’ understanding of Christianity as a bridge to the gospel, as well as other Persian writings about Christianity. He contrasts the Jesus Christ of the Bible and Christianity to the Jesus Christ of the Quran and Islam. He not only outlines Christianity in Iran in a similar manner as Pakizegi, he also employs a greater use of Western and Persian sources to verify his claims. He provides information about missions agencies in Iran and supplies an English and Persian bibliography on the history of Christianity in Iran. In Porshsha va Paskhha [Questions and Answers],82 Dehqani-Tafti answers fundamental questions about Christianity, including queries pertaining to the problem of evil, inner peace, and the purpose of life. He also differentiates historical Christianity from groups claiming to be Christian, such as Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Christian Scientists. Each of these groups, while professing to be Christian, does not accept the full divinity of Jesus, a requirement for biblical Christianity. In the second edition of his work, he includes a section on Western involvement in Iran, and states there have been two different responses from Iranians: to embrace or to escape Westernisation. He cites several Iranians who have done one or the other, even quoting Muslim thinker Jalal Al-Ahmad and his understanding of Western domination.83 Dehqani-Tafti explains that there was exploitation and colonialism of Iran and asks whether Iran has been served or disserved by the West. He states that Iranians need to return to their history dating from hundreds of years ago (pre-Islam) and not be afraid of the West, but rather to be aware of it and be able to converse with Westerners without losing Iranian identity.84 Dehqani-Tafti interacts with Shariati and Ayatollah Khomeini, which is discussed later.

81 H. B. Dehqani-Tafti, Masihiyat Nazdi Irani [Christ and Christianity Amongst Iranians], vols. 1–3 (London: Sorab Books, 1992–1994). 82 H. B. Dehqani-Tafti, Porshsha va Paskhha [Questions and Answers] (London: Sorab Books, 1990). 83 Ibid., 157. 84 Ibid., 167.

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Mohammed Reza Shah’s works serve as valuable information regarding his version of Iran and his interpretation of his own importance. Regarding the White Revolution, Mohammed Reza Shah’s Mission for My Country,85 an autobiography, and The White Revolution,86 an explanation of the changes that occurred during the White Revolution, provide an interpretation of events by the leader of Iran. While these works are arguably propaganda pieces, Mohammed Reza Shah writes of his desire to transform Iran into a great civilisation. In Mission for My Country, he provides a brief history of Iran, describes his father’s rule and his relationship with him, and explains where Iran is in relation to the international community. Mohammed Reza Shah clarifies that he desires to uphold the Constitution and keep Iran as an Islamic country. In The White Revolution, Mohammed Reza Shah states there had been a ‘social revolution’ in Iran since he wrote Mission for My Country. The White Revolution reveals that he believes he has a close ‘spiritual’ connection to his country, and this means that he has challenged the status quo to better society. Foreign aggression disguised in several forms led to unfortunate circumstances that Mohammed Reza Shah needed to combat. In desiring to build a new society, the Shah enacted land reforms, increased literacy, developed healthcare, and promoted election reform. His aim was for the international community to treat Iran equally and respectfully. While missionaries had positive relationships with Iranians, and Mohammed Reza Shah was not overly critical of the West, not all Iranians had optimistic attitudes towards Westerners or missionaries. Al-Ahmad’s Occidentosis: A Plague from the West 87 and Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islam and Revolution 88 are two examples of Iranian thinkers who were very suspicious of America and Christian missionaries (and the West generally). At least one Iranian has described Occidentosis as ‘ill-conceived’,89 85 Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, Mission to My Country: Autobiography of Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1961). 86 Mohammed Reza Pahlavi Aryamehr, The White Revolution (Tehran: Kayan Press, 1967). 87 Jalal al-Ahmad, Occidentosis: A Plague from the West, translated by R Campbell (Berkeley: Mizan Press, 1984). 88 Ruhollah Khomeini, Islam and Revolution: Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini, translated by Hamid Algar (Berkeley: Mizan Press, 1981). 89 Abbas Amanat, ‘The Study of History in Post-Revolutionary Iran: Nostalgia, Illusion, or Historical Awareness’, Iranian Studies vol. 22, no. 4 (1989): 5.

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and although it is not the most historically accurate piece, the work does provide the thoughts of an influential Iranian Muslim academic who has apprehensions about the West. Filled with emotion, Al-Ahmad equates modernisation with Westernisation; in contrast with Westerners, however, he does not believe this to be positive. Al-Ahmad explains that Muslims have been at war with Christians for over 1000 years. He equates Christianity with colonialism, and asserts that Christians are servants of government, calling missionaries the ‘vanguard of colonialism’ and colonialism the ‘equivalent of Christianity’. He uses a pejorative term, gharbzadagi, popularly translated as ‘Westoxification’, to describe Western involvement in Iran90 : America and Europe have corrupted traditional Iranian Society in the name of progress, and the Church, in part because of economic incentives, is in Iran. When Western businessmen depart, the churches that are encouraging indigenous people to attend will leave, too. The West cares nothing for Iranians, who are merely ‘objects of research in the museum or the laboratory, nothing more’.91 Islam and Revolution,92 a compilation of many of Ayatollah Khomeini’s major works, is written in a similar manner. Ayatollah Khomeini, a vocal critic of the Shah’s affiliation with the West, particularly America, condemned much of what he regarded as the Shah’s capitulation to Westernisation, which was exemplified in the Shah’s edict in 1964 that stated American Governmental officials were immune from prosecution. Although Khomeini believed imperialism and Christianity are connected, he questions whether imperialism was simply disguising itself.93 He exhorts Iranians not to allow Islam to be hidden, or people will think Islam and Christianity are similar. Regarding missionaries in Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini considers them a threat to Islam by using education as a means for evangelism, alienating Iranian children from Islamic Society, and keeping Iran undeveloped.94 American missionaries themselves during the 1960s and 1970s have much to say about their time in Iran. The diaries of Assemblies of God missionaries James and Eloise Neely and Mark and Gladys Bliss describe 90 Ibid., 13. 91 al-Ahmad, Occidentosis, 34. 92 Ibid., 32–33. 93 Khomeini, Islam and Revolution, 16, 35, 127, 151. 94 Ibid., 29, 34.

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their time in Iran, as do the diaries of International Missions/Christar Richard and Doreen Corley and Dwight and Anna Grace Singer. The Presbyterian Historical Society and Foreign Mission Board archives also provide first-hand accounts of missionaries in Iran. The majority of this information was previously confidential and required special permission to access. There are data also on Church life in Iran and how the Western-led churches in Iran reached out to the indigenous Iranian community. Of the American missionaries researched, Southern Baptist George W. Braswell, Jr.’s MA and PhD dissertations on Iran, written about Westernisation and Islam, at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill,95 along with his autobiography proved most valuable.96 Braswell’s master’s thesis investigated patterns of unity in relation to the mosque, religious schools, Shari’ah laws, and politics, addressing struggles and compromises with the ulama and its relationship with government. In the thesis, he demonstrates that the ulama’s ‘clearest function’ is as ‘custodians of tradition’. However, because of Westernisation, some compromise between the ulama and political leaders arose. Conflict was noted in Iran when the government assumed control for the ulama in legal and educational matters. Braswell’s PhD dissertation develops his master’s thesis theme of religion and politics in Iran. Braswell believes there were two representations of Shi’ism in Iran, a popular religious form known as the din-e mellat , and a civil religious form known as the din-e dowlat . These two articulations were in competition with one another; however, because of modernisation and nationalism, Braswell believes the din-e dowlat , the position advocated by the Shah, as opposed to the din-e mellat , the view promoted by the religious leaders, would gain more adherents. While this did not happen, his thoughts on the din-e dowlat and the din-e mellat are instrumental for this work, as this work adopts Braswell’s terminology. Certain contemporary works aid the overall thesis. Online Iranian news resources and websites in Persian and English demonstrate the importance and growth of Christianity in Iran, both positively and negatively from

95 George W. Braswell, ‘The Ulama in Four Socio-Cultural Contexts’ (MA thesis, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1973); George W. Braswell, ‘A Mosaic of Mullahs and Mosques: Religion and Politics in Iranian Shi’ah Islam’ (PhD Diss, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1975). 96 George W. Braswell, Crossroads of Religion and Revolution: A Personal Look at Events and Changes Throughout a Lifetime Journey Among Iranian Muslims and Southern Baptists and Global Religions with Family and Friends (Maitland, FL: Xulon Press, 2012).

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Christian and Muslim viewpoints inside and outside Iran. White papers from British and European parliamentary groups indicate the severity of persecution and growth of the Iranian Church. Two private research papers by Enayat, formerly connected to St Antony’s College, Oxford University, proved especially helpful.

Definition of Terms Ideology While not focused on ideology proper or the debate of what ideology actually is, this work gleans its understanding of the term from Ricoeur, who notes that while any subject can be ‘ideological’, including ethics, religion, and philosophy, ‘ideology’ is a ‘justification’, a rationale, or a hermeneutical grid for interpreting history.97 Or, as Ali M. Ansari states, ideology is a ‘systematic collection of ideas that serves to support and sustain a particular conception’.98 While John B. Thompson explains that the concept of ideology describes the ‘ways in which “meaning” or “ideas” affect the conceptions or activities of the individuals and groups which make up the social world’,99 he emphasises a vernacular over a political interpretation of the term, stating that ideology is part of the ‘domain of the everyday life – the home, the workplace, the school, the media’. Modernisation, Modernity, and Westernisation Despite that there are no clear dates to the ‘period of modernity’, sociologist Ron Eyerman argues the time between pre-modernity and postmodernism arose in Europe during the mid-1700s and ended in the

97 Paul Ricoeur, Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences: Essays on Language, Action, and Interpretation, translated by Paul B. Thompson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), 226. 98 Ali M. Ansari, ‘Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi and the Myth of Imperial Authority’ (PhD Diss, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London: 1998), 11. 99 John B. Thompson, Studies in the Theory of Ideology (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1984), 73, 83. See also: Michael Tager, ‘Myth and Politics in the Works of Sorel and Barthes’, Journal of the History of Ideas vol. 47, no. 4 (October–December 1986): 638; Ben Halpern, ‘Myth and Ideology in Modern Usage’, History and Theory vol. 1, no. 2 (1961): 144, 147.

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early to mid-1900s, though modernistic features are seen as early as the Renaissance and Reformation and continue today. Modernisation in its basic form is the transition of a rural and agrarian culture to an urban and developed one. Modernity wrestles with the consequences of the Industrial Revolution, increased movement into cities and property rights, and the development of democratic states and administrations. Scientific reasoning that challenges supernatural interpretation also plays an important role as does individualism over communalism, and advancement in education, mobilisation, and communication.100 The idea of progress is central to modernisation and modernity. South African missiologist David Bosch writes: [Modernist] theorists assumed that development was an inevitable, unilinear process that would operate naturally in every culture. A further premise was that the benefits of development, thus defined, would trickle down to the poorest of the poor, in the course of time giving each one a fair share in the wealth that had generated…. [A]ll problems were solvable.101

Westernisation is similar to modernisation and modernity in that it ascends from Europe and focuses on the adaptation and implementation of information. However, Westernisation concentrates on ideas covering Western cultural habits such as eating, drinking, dancing, and wearing of clothing, as well as embracement of Western literature, civilisation, and religion. If a non-Western civilisation were to welcome Westernisation, for example, that culture would accept the customs of the West. In contrast, if a (Western or non-Western) civilisation were to improve

100 Ron Eyerman, ‘Modernity and Social Movements’, in Hans Hafefkamo and Neil J. Smellser, eds., Social Change and Modernity (Berkley: University of California Press, 1992), 13, 37–38. Bosch, Transforming Mission, 349–51, equates the period of modernity with the beginning of the Enlightenment and ending with the two world wars. See also: Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, translated by Talcott Parsons (London: Routledge, 2001); Max Weber, The Sociology of Religion (Boston: Beacon Press, 1963); Max Weber, Economy and Society, vols. 1–2 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978); Jurgen Habermas, Knowledge and Human Interests (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971); and Jurgen Habermas, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity: Twelve Lectures (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1987). 101 Bosch, Transforming Mission, 265.

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its technology sector or economy, that would be considered modernisation. Writer Tubah Shah explains the difference. While modernisation incorporates Westernisation, she maintains: Westernization is a process of imitation of western countries by nonwestern countries, whereby societies come under or adopt the western culture. In short, Westernization is about the adoption of ‘Western’ values. On the other hand, Modernization has a wider connotation. In fact, Westernization is a sub-process of Modernization …. [Modernization] involves changes not only at the institutional level but also a fundamental change at the personal level. It involves a change in modes of thinking, beliefs, opinions, attitudes, actions and also a change in the social structure from a closed conservative society to a classless, casteless society in which the individual’s status depends not on his birth but on his personal achievements.102

Iran or Persia? The terms ‘Iran’ and ‘Persia’ are used interchangeably in this work, as are the terms ‘Iranian’ and ‘Persian’. While ‘Iran’ and ‘Persia’ technically differ, they often intersect and designate the same area. The reason they are used synonymously is to avoid confusion and not to enter into ‘ideological’ debates over the country’s proper name. The terms ‘Persian’ and ‘Iranian’, unless otherwise noted in relation to people groups, follow the same pattern.103

102 Tubah Shah, ‘Understanding Modernisation and Westernization’, 25 October 2015, https://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/op-ed/understanding-modernisation-andwesternization/199883.html, site editor, Greater Kashmir, accessed 27 November 2018. 103 See: Ehsan Yarshater, ‘When ‘Persia’ became ‘Iran’’, Iranian Studies vol. XXII, no. 1 (1989); in http://www.iranchamber.com/geography/articles/persia_became_iran.php, site editor, Iran Chamber Society, accessed on 8 March 2013; Djalal Khaleghi-Motlagh, ‘Ferdowsi, Abu’l-Q¯asem I. Life’, http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/ferdowsi-i, site editor, Encyclopedia Iranica, accessed on 8 March 2013; Gherardo Gnoli, The Idea of Iran (Rome, 1989); in Richard N. Frye, ‘Iranian Identity in Ancient Times’, Iranian Studies vol. 26, no. 1/2 (Winter−Spring 1993): 144; K. E. Eduljee, ‘Iran and Persia: Are they the Same’, http://www.heritageinstitute.com/zoroastrianism/iranpersia/index.htm, site editor, Zoroastrian Heritage, accessed on 8 March 2013; and Wilhelm Eilers, ‘Iran and Mesopotamia’, in The Cambridge History of Iran: The Seleucid, Parthian and Sasanian Periods vol. 3, no. 1, ed. Ehsan Yarhshater and W. B. Fisher (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), 481.

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Din-e Dowlat and Din-e Mellat The terms ‘din-e dowlat ’ and ‘din-e mellat ’ are taken from George W. Braswell, Jr.’s 1975 PhD dissertation on religion and politics in Iran, written at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.104 The terms are not meant to be binary, which would be too rigid and too restrictive for the period in question, one where alliances and interests were fluid. Rather, they serve as representations of Shi’ism in Iran—two ends of competing Islamic political forces in Iran—during the time of Mohammed Reza Shah. The popular religious form was labelled as the din-e mellat , and the civil religious form was labelled as the din-e dowlat. While Braswell was incorrect that the din-e dowlat (the position advocated by the Shah) would gain more adherents as opposed to the din-e mellat (the view promoted by religious leaders associated with Ayatollah Khomeini), the terminology is used to clarify and not to pigeonhole the state of affairs in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s. Religious Terms The terms ‘mission’ and ‘missions’ in the context of Christianity have related but different meanings. There is debate in missiological circles as to their use.105 Often, mission is considered the work of God (i.e. God’s mission). Missions is the work of God’s people in fulfilling God’s mission. Additionally, there is a difference between the words ‘evangelism’ and ‘missions’. Evangelism is sharing the gospel in one’s own culture by proselytising; missions is fulfilling God’s mission by sharing the gospel in a culture different from one’s own via a number of methods, including evangelism and humanitarian efforts, especially those in education and healthcare. This work uses the term missions when referring to the activity of Christian missionaries. Similarly, the term ‘missiology’, is the academic and scientific study of missions that combines theology, philosophy, the

104 George W. Braswell, ‘A Mosaic of Mullahs and Mosques: Religion and Politics in Iranian Shi’ah Islam’ (PhD Diss, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1975). See also: George W. Braswell, ‘The Ulama in Four Socio-Cultural Contexts’ (MA thesis, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1973). 105 David Cross, ‘Mission vs. Missions’, 18 June 2018, https://missionexus.org/ mission-vs-missions/, site editor, Missio Nexus, accessed on 24 July 2018; Bosch, Transforming Mission, 10, 391.

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social sciences, and missions strategy.106 Scottish missionary Alexander Duff is considered to be the first person to develop the idea at the University of Edinburgh in the mid-1800s,107 but it was German theologian Gustav Warneck at the University of Halle in the late-1800s that is counted as the discipline’s founder.108 The terms ‘Christianity’ or ‘Christian’ are often misunderstood and misused.109 For the purposes of this book, a Christian is a person who personally believes in the teachings of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Bible, while Christianity is the faith of Christians. While there is more to Christians and Christianity than this simple statement, the terms are used in the widest sense. Distinctions, theological or otherwise, are addressed when necessary. The term ‘Christian missionaries’, similar to Christianity, is used broadly. Christian missionaries are Christians who share the message of Christianity in a culture not their own; Christian missions refers to this act of sharing. The word ‘gospel’, originally of Greek derivation, means ‘good news’. When referred to by Christians in this work, the gospel is the good news (of the full divinity and full humanity) of Jesus Christ as found in the Bible—his life, death, burial, and resurrection—which states that Jesus pays the penalty for sin (death and separation from God for eternity) for all those who confess their sins and place their faith in him. Without this proclamation, there is no Christian gospel. In combination with this declaration, the gospel refers to helping the poor and healing the sick. As described in this thesis, it is the Western missionaries’ interpretation of the second part of this definition that became the metaphorical tails of the ideological heads of missionaries who were confusing Westernisation and modernisation with the good news of Jesus Christ.

106 Johannes Verkuyl, Contemporary Missiology: An Introduction (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978), 5. 107 Andrew F. Walls, ‘Alexander Duff’, in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed. Gerald H. Anderson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999), 187−88. 108 Hans Kasdorf, ‘Gustav Warneck, 1834−1910: Founder of the Scholarly Study of Missions’, in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed. Gerald H. Anderson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999), 373−82. 109 The BBC, for example, in ‘Profile: Anders Behring Breivik’, http://www.bbc.co. uk/news/world-europe-14259989, 12 April 2012, site editor, BBC News, accessed on 19 February 2014, cites Breivik’s Facebook page, on which he calls himself a Christian.

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An ‘unreached people group’ is a large ethno-linguistic community (people group) in which less than two percent of the population comprises evangelical Christians and the local Christians do not have the people and means to evangelise their own population (unreached).110 At the very least, there are 1200 people groups that have no evangelical Christian missionaries or evangelical indigenous church.111 Within Iran, the Joshua Project, an evangelical missions organisation that tracks the spread of the gospel throughout the world, states that, of Iran’s 93 people groups, 85 of them are considered unreached.112

Missions Agencies in Iran Whatever results that Western missionaries had in Iran were in large part due to the Assyrians and Armenians who by the early 1970s accounted for almost three-quarters of the Evangelical Church in Iran.113 Four main American missions agencies in Iran serve as representations of American missionary activity: Assemblies of God, International Missions, Presbyterians, and Southern Baptists. Styles and doctrinal affinities differed, but they all desired to convert the peoples of Iran to their type of Christianity. First, however, the United Kingdom’s Anglicans are discussed. Anglicans were the largest British missions group in Iran and interaction with American missionaries occurred regularly. Anglicans The Anglican Church has had much influence in Iran and is one of the largest Western Protestant denominations in the world, with over 110 Philip O. Hopkins, ‘Mission to Unreached People Groups’, in The Mission of God, ed. Bruce Ashford (Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 2011), 174−75. 111 John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad! The Supremacy of God in Missions, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003), 188; Patrick Johnstone, ‘Unreached Peoples: How Many Are There?’ International Journal of Frontier Missions vol. 13, no. 2 (April 1996): 60. 112 ‘People Group Listings’, http://joshuaproject.net/listings/Population/desc/250/ IR/allcon/allreg?#list, site editor, Joshua Project, accessed on 14 March 2014. Of the eight reached people groups in Iran, only three historically are from that area, the Armenians, Assyrians, and Georgians. The other five, the British, Russians, French, Koreans, and Italians, are expatriate ethnic groups living, perhaps temporarily, in Iran. 113 Betty Jane Bailey and J. Martin Bailey, Who Are the Christians in the Middle East? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), 117–18.

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70 million members in 161 countries.114 Many of the Iranians who converted to Western Christianity were associated with them. In tracing their history to the early Church, certain streams of thought can be seen to have merged to form an English Church in 664. Between the mid-600s and the Reformation, the Church went through a series of transformations, sometimes being absorbed by Catholicism and sometimes rebelling against it. In the 1600s, an English civil war arose because of controversies associated with the Church. In 1689, the Toleration Act was instituted, which recognised the Church of England as the state church and gave other Protestant faiths some measure of acceptance. Eventually, other faiths or people of no faith at all were given civil and religious liberties. From the 1700s onwards, the Anglican Church incorporated three main theological branches within its structure: Evangelical, Catholic, and Liberal.115 The mission agency associated with the Church of England, the Church Missionary Society, began in 1799 and was founded by evangelicals such as Henry Thornton and William Wilberforce. The original three goals of the Society were the elimination of slave trade, social reform, and evangelism. As convents and religious orders were no longer used, the Society eventually became a means for the Church of England to send its missionaries, and, before international conflicts, some European denominations also used the Society to send out missionaries. The first missionaries sent from the Society were German.116 While the first Protestant missionary to Iran of British origin arrived much earlier, the Society began work in Iran in 1869.117 Currently, the Society has partners in

114 ‘Short History of Anglicanism’, https://www.churchofengland.org/our-faith/beingan-anglican/anglican.aspx, site editor, Church of England, accessed on 8 June 2015. 115 ‘Detailed History’, https://www.churchofengland.org/about-us/history/detailedhistory.aspx, site editor, Church of England, accessed on 8 June 2015. 116 ‘A Brief History of the CMS’, https://www.cmsuk.org/Whoweare/Historyandne tworks/CMShistoryarticles/TabId/808/ArtMID/4108/ArticleID/3183/A-brief-historyof-CMS.aspx, site editor, Church Missionary Society, accessed on 9 June 2015. 117 ‘Some Landmarks in the History of the CMS’, http://www.cmsuk.org/Who weare/History/Timeline/tabid/184/Default.aspx, site editor, Church Missionary Society, accessed on 9 June 2015.

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Africa, Asia, and New Zealand and is involved in other missions’ fraternities.118 As of 2013–2014, the Church Missionary Society had a yearly budget of almost £8 million. Assemblies of God Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, Benny Hinn, and Sarah Palin are (or were) recognised as some of the most celebrated Assemblies of God members. The sect has over 12,000 churches, close to two million members (three million adherents) in the United States,119 and over 360,000 churches and 67 million constituents globally.120 The Assemblies of God arose from the Pentecostal Revival in America during the early 1900s. The revival on Azusa St at the Apostolic Faith Mission in Los Angeles during 1906 is traditionally considered the breakthrough of the Pentecostal movement. Different from many other Christian sects of the time, Pentecostals focused on ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit’ as evidenced by speaking in tongues. By 1914, the Assemblies of God defined itself, and was officially established in Arkansas with 300 members. This group crossed socio-economic and racial lines and considered women to be equal to men in all aspects of church life, including the pastor/priest position, a status usually reserved for males.121 Missions became the centrepiece of the Assemblies of God’s agenda. Using a holistic approach to missions, evangelism was combined with helping the poor’s physical needs and eventually training indigenous peoples for leadership. While its first missionary to Iran was not until

118 ‘CMS History and Networks Today’, https://www.cmsuk.org/Whoweare/Histor yandnetworks/tabid/181/language/en-GB/Default.aspx, site editor, Church Missionary Society, accessed on 9 June 2015. 119 ‘AG USA Churches, Membership, Adherents, and Ministers 1960−2015’, http:// agchurches.org/Sitefiles/Default/RSS/AG.org%20TOP/AG%20Statistical%20Reports/ 2016%20(2015%20reports)/ChurMM%202015.pdf?, site editor, Assemblies of God, accessed on 18 August 2016. 120 ‘AGWM Vital Stats’, http://agwm.com/assets/agwmvitalstats2.pdf, site editor, Assemblies of God, accessed on 18 August 2016. 121 ‘The Assemblies of God: Our Heritage in Perspective’, https://ifphc.org/index.cfm? fuseaction=history.main, site editor, Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center, accessed on 18 August 2016.

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1965,122 almost from the beginning of the Assemblies of God’s inception, missionaries were sent across the world. Assemblies of God World Missions missionaries raise their own support; giving was over $200 million in 2015 and its missionaries were in more than 200 countries.123 Of the organisations studied in this work, none have increased as much as the Assemblies of God in terms of membership percentage. In twenty years, from 1960 to 1980, Assemblies of God churches increased from a little over 8200 to close to 9800, with adherents rising over 300% from 508,000 to 1.73 million.124 The Assemblies of God’s attention on Iran began with a focus on ethnic Iranian Christians, the Armenians and Assyrians, and gradually transferred to Iranians of Muslim backgrounds. It is because the Assemblies of God’s main influence in Iran lies during the Islamic Republic period (1979–present) that they are addressed in this book—many Christians in Iran subscribe to their beliefs; they have been one of the most successful missions in converting Iranians from Muslim backgrounds to Christianity. International Missions/Christar International Missions/Christar is an interdenominational missions agency. Protestant evangelical doctrinally, International Missions/Christar traces its roots to 1909, with a focus on China, but its current form dates from when three separate entities in China, India, and Iran combined (they began in 1909, 1930, and 1950, respectively). The India mission changed its name to International Missions in 1953; the China and Iran agencies merged with International Missions in 1967 and 1955, respectively. In 1999, International Missions changed its name to Christar. The focus of International Missions/Christar is on peoples from the Hindu-, Buddhist-, and Muslim-dominated areas.125 Currently, Christar

122 Gary B. McGee, This Gospel Shall Be Preached (Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1989), 91−92. 123 ‘AGWM Vital Stats’. 124 ‘Assemblies of God’, http://www.thearda.com/Denoms/D_1021.asp, site editor,

The Association of Religion Data Archives, accessed on 9 September 2016. 125 ‘Heritage’, https://www.christar.org/explore/about/heritage/, site editor, Christar, accessed on 18 August 2016.

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has missionaries in 30 countries126 with a 2015 budget of approximately $14 million and 292 missionaries.127 International Missions uses a holistic approach to missions strategy with a focus on church planting. Contextualisation has been a key element. Although International Missions was not as large as the other agencies cited, which have thousands of missionaries, its workers were influential in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s. Regarding Iran, in 1950, the Iranian Interior Mission organised under medical doctor Charles Feiberg. Feiberg began working with orphans in Faraman, a village approximately 30 miles outside of Kermanshah, which had its earliest connections with Presbyterian missionary Francis Morely Stead in the early 1920s. Along with taking care of the orphans, Feiberg practised medicine, farmed, and helped with the local church in the area. By 1955, the Iranian Interior Mission merged with International Missions.128 Presbyterians The Presbyterians trace their origin to reformer John Calvin. Arriving in America in the early 1600s, they set up their first presbytery in Philadelphia in 1706 and organised the first synod a few years later. Their doctrinal statement, the Westminster Confession of Faith of 1647, espouses Calvinistic theology and Presbyterian Church governance. Involved in American colonial life, many Presbyterians immersed themselves in government. Around the beginnings of the twentieth century, theological disputes led to the group splintering into various factions. Currently, the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America, the main branch of the Presbyterians, has 1.8 million members, 10,000 churches, and 20,000 ordained ministers.129

126 ‘Explore Christar’s Work Around the World’, http://www.christar.org/wp-content/ uploads/Explore.pdf, site editor, Christar, accessed on 18 August 2016. 127 ‘Christar’, http://www.ecfa.org/MemberProfile.aspx?ID=8349, site editor, Evangel-

ical Council for Financial Accountability, accessed on 18 August 2016. 128 Margaret Chamberlin, Reaching Asians Internationally: A History of International Missions (Wayne, IN: International Missions, 1984), 34−37. 129 ‘History of the Church’, http://www.history.pcusa.org/history-online/presbyterianhistory/history-church, site editor, Presbyterian Historical Society: The National Archives of the PC(USA), accessed on 5 June 2015.

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Presbyterian missionaries have focused on Iran longer than other American missionaries and were the most influential. They sent their first missionary to Iran in 1834. Originally, Presbyterians participated in a variety of missions agencies, many of which were independent. They eventually cooperated with the Congregationalists and placed their missionaries in the interdenominational American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. However, because of conflict within Presbyterian leadership regarding the nature of a missions society, the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America formed the Board of Foreign Missions in 1837, with the Board sending missionaries to fifteen countries.130 Currently, the Presbyterian Church of the United States missions are in over 100 countries, with workers in over 50 of them.131 The annual missions budget approaches $80 million,132 with more money raised by the missionaries themselves. Southern Baptists Perhaps the best-known and most popular Southern Baptist was evangelist Billy Graham. Furthermore, United States Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton at times considered themselves to be Southern Baptists. The Southern Baptist Convention is one of the largest Christian sects in America, consisting at one time of 45,000 churches with 16 million members.133 Baptist origin is debated; some believe the Baptist tradition dates in unbroken succession to New Testament times with John

130 Frederick J. Heuser, Jr., A Guide to Foreign Missionary Manuscripts in the Presbyterian Historical Society (Presbyterian Historical Society, 1988); in ‘Presbyterians in Mission: An Historical Overview’, http://www.gale.cengage.com/pdf/scguides/presbyterian/bfm intro.pdf, site editor, Gale Cengage Learning, accessed on 8 June 2015. 131 ‘Involvement of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Countries Around the World’, http://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/global/, site editor Presbyterian Church of the United States of America, 8 June 2015. 132 ‘Minutes of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board of the Presbyterian Church (U. S.A.)’, 17−19 September 2014, http://www.presbyterianmission.org/site_media/media/ uploads/presbyterian_mission_agency/pdf/minutes_2014/2014_september_board_min utes_-_approved_4-16-15.pdf, site editor, Presbyterian Church of the United States of America, accessed on 8 June 2015. 133 ‘About Us’, http://www.sbc.net/aboutus/default.asp, site editor, Southern Baptist Convention, accessed on 16 August 2012.

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the Baptist.134 The Baptist tradition in America can be traced more easily to England in the 1600s, when English Baptists Roger Williams and John Clarke travelled to New England.135 Initially, most of the Baptist churches in the United States were small, and, from the outset, Baptists wanted unity with each other, especially when it came to the proclamation of the gospel overseas. The first Baptist association was created in Philadelphia in 1707, and the second was created in Charleston, North Carolina in 1751. A national Baptist organisation was created in 1814, which focused on foreign missions. As a result of a meeting in 1814, the Southern Baptist Convention was formed in 1845.136 Missions were one of the major reasons for its formation.137 The Foreign Mission Board, the missions branch of the Southern Baptist Convention, was created the same year.138 The Foreign Mission Board sent its first missionary to China in 1845,139 but did not send

134 Bruce Gourley, ‘A Very Brief Introduction to Baptist History, Then and Now’, http://yellowstone.net/baptist/overview.htm, site editor, The Baptist Observer, accessed on 4 February 2013. Gourley, Executive Director of the Baptist History & Heritage Society, presents four historical views of Baptist origins: (1) Baptists grew out of English Separatism; (2) Baptists arose from the Anabaptist tradition; (3) Baptist practices, while in a direct line of succession from the New Testament onward, can be traced in earlier times from the New Testament until now; and (4) there has been a direct line of succession of Baptists from New Testament times until now. 135 Robert A. Baker, ‘Southern Baptist Beginnings’, http://www.baptisthistory.org/ sbaptistbeginnings.htm, site editor, Baptist History & Heritage Society, accessed on 4 February 2013. 136 Ibid. 137 Another major reason was slavery. The Baptists of the south believed that a slave owner could be a missionary, while Baptists in the north disagreed. See: ‘Our History’, http://www.imb.org/main/page.asp?StoryID=4487&LanguageID=1709, site editor, International Mission Board, accessed on 16 August 2012. 138 Ibid. 139 ‘International Mission Board Timeline’, http://media1.mediasuite.org/files/86/ 8656/8656-47289.pdf, 28 October 2004, site editor, Archives and Records Management, accessed on 5 February 2013.

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its first missionary to Iran until 1967.140 The Southern Baptist Convention, in conjunction with the Foreign/International Mission Board,141 currently spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year to bring its understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ to many different people groups and ethnicities around the world. From its existence, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, the main fundraiser solely dedicated towards international missions efforts, has raised over $3 billion.142 The Cooperative Program, the method that Southern Baptist churches use to raise funds for the Convention, has raised over $14 billion since its inception.143 Currently, the International Mission Board receives half of the Cooperative Program funds and has an annual budget of approximately $300 million.144 In 1965, before Southern Baptists from the Foreign Mission Board entered Iran, the denomination had approximately 33,000 churches with 10 million members.145 During the 1960s and 1970s, the Foreign Mission Board had thousands of its missionaries overseas, with an annual budget in the tens to hundreds of millions of dollars in 60 countries.146

140 Mike Fry, ‘Interview with Dr. George W. Braswell, Jr.’, Southeastern SBC Historical Missiology Oral History Program: Oral History Interview, 28 November 2005, http://www.sebts.edu/cgcs/images/Braswell-Interview.pdf, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, accessed on 16 August 2012. 141 The name ‘Foreign Mission Board’ changed to ‘International Mission Board’ in

1997. 142 ‘Fast Facts’, http://www.imb.org/main/give/page.asp?StoryID=5523&Langua geID=1709, site editor, International Mission Board, accessed on 16 August 2012. 143 ‘History of the Division of Cooperative Program Funds Between all State Conventions and the SBC’, http://www.cpmissions.net/2003/pdf/20092010HistoryCPDistrib ution.pdf, site editor, Southern Baptist Convention, accessed on 16 August 2012. 144 ‘Cooperative Program’, http://www.imb.org/Giving/coop.asp, site editor, International Mission Board, accessed on 16 August 2012; ‘Fast Facts’, http://www.imb.org/ main/give/page.asp?StoryID=5523&LanguageID=1709, site editor, International Mission Board, accessed on 16 August 2012. 145 J. D. Hughey to H. Motamedi, 10 January 1966, transcript of a typed written letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 146 J. D. Hughey to Iranian Ambassador, 13 December 1965, transcript of a typed written letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA.

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Chapter Overviews Since this book focuses on the missionaries’ amalgamation of Westernisation and modernisation with Christianity, much of the beginning chapters focus on the emergence of missionary societies in the context of Western history and, therefore, uses English sources. Towards the middle and later chapters, Persian sources are used because the ideology of the Iranian state during Pahlavi and Islamic times are contrasted with the concerns of the Iranian elite, missionaries, Westernisation, and foreign control. question Chapter 2 provides the historical context for the work with a focus on the history of Protestant missions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It acknowledges the connections between Christian missionary activity and Western government action and probes the relationship between imperialism and colonialism with missions efforts. The chapter then provides an overview of the history of Christianity in Iran with specific concentrations on the Assyrians and Armenians concluding that Christianity and Iran have a common story. Chapter 3 offers an overview of Iranian history during the time of the Qajars and Pahlavis. It concentrates on the reforms of the ‘White Revolution’ and the relationship between the din-e dowlat and din-e mellat during this time. The din-e dowlat and the din-e mellat during the latter years of the Pahlavis in relation to Westernization and Western Christianity is then reviewed noting the connection was not a rigid as one might imagine. Chapter 4 describes the changes happening in American missiological strategy, a transition from a traditional approach to an indigenous one. The traditional missiology placed a priority on modernising and Westernising Iran, especially through education and healthcare in addition to evangelism and discipleship. This practice placed control over all these items with the missionaries. The indigenous missiology focused on sharing the gospel with Iranians and discipling converts. The goal for the indigenous plan was for the missionaries and local Iranian Christians to work in partnership, with the Iranian Christians largely determining strategy. Chapter 5 examines the overt evangelistic and discipleship undertakings by American missions agencies in Iran. The din-e dowlat approved of the missionaries’ actions, while the din-e mellat struggled with them. Primary sources from missionary diaries and other archival material never before used for formal academic research were accessed to obtain a greater

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understanding of the missionaries’ direct proselytisation activities. Interaction between the American missionaries and the Iranian Christians is also described. Iranian Christians did not always agree missiologically with their American counterparts and, while respecting them, wished their affinities for the United States, and the cultural differences that came with it, were lessened. Chapter 6 focuses on Christian thought in Iran during the period studied. It emphasises the importance of H. B. Dehqani-Tafti, the first Anglican bishop of Persian origin, who developed the ideology of Iranian Christianity and could be considered its founder. One centrepiece of this ideology is a focus on the Persian language. For Iranian Christians, using Persian helps to strip Christianity of its Western culture, to make it more Iranian. Persecution of Iranian Christians and the resulting house church movement in Iran are described also. This assessment indicates that restrictions placed on Christians in Iran have helped grow the Church. With American (and Western) missionaries no longer living in Iran, and with Christianity increasing dramatically in the process, the impact of American non-residential missionaries and expatriate Iranians on Christianity in Iran is examined. Chapter 7 concludes the book. It summarises Chapters 1−6, highlighting areas of significance. Chapter 7 states that the American missions organisations were connected to the American and the Iranian governments in the 1960s and 1970s, but that this relationship was oblique—the administrations, while indirectly influencing the missions, did not have direct rule over them. Avenues for further research are addressed. Some of these avenues include the idea of a unified governmental system, the example of Iranian academics and religious leaders, and the indigeneity of the Iranian Church. Finally, Chapter 7 proposes areas related to this study that requires further research. These areas include the persecution and protection of Iran’s ethnic Christians, influences that cause the growth or decline of Christianity, the effects of media on the Iranian people, and Dehqani-Tafti’s importance to Iranian thought.

CHAPTER 2

Christianity in Iran

Introduction To provide clarity to the greater historical context of Christianity in Iran in the 1960s and 1970s, the history of Protestant missions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is summarised. The account of Protestant missions connected British and American missions activities and provided an explanation as to the focus on Protestant missions as the period of the modern Iranian state coincided with the time Protestant missionaries entered Iran. The record of Iran indicated the country was going through changes that eventually would lead to a lessening of Western influence. Britain and America were directly linked during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. While the American colonies had separated from Britain in the eighteenth century to form a new country, strong ties between Britain and America remained. Many Americans either were born in Britain or, before the American Revolutionary War, had British citizenship. Others had been educated at some of the United Kingdom’s finest universities—Benjamin Franklin, for example, graduated from the University of St Andrews—or travelled back and forth. It should come as no surprise that thoughts flowed between the nations. As the War of 1812 indicated, there remained a close (though at times contentious) relationship between the countries at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The continuity of thought between Britain and America contributed to the rise of Protestant missions, manifested in the rise of evangelicals in © The Author(s) 2020 P. O. Hopkins, American Missionaries in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-51214-9_2

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the First and Second Great Awakenings, the emphasis on the emotionalism of Romanticism over the rationalism of the Enlightenment, and the advancement of secularism. Coupled with the economic downturn of Roman Catholics (due in part to the French Revolution), these factors helped foster the belief among Protestants that the promotion of religion was not the responsibility of the state. With the rise of colonialism and industrialisation, governmental officials, businessmen, and missionaries, often side by side, were able to travel across the globe promoting Westernisation in the form of politics, business, and culture (religion).1 While Roman Catholic missions efforts had been active for hundreds of years, it was not until 1792, with Englishman William Carey, considered the father of the Protestant Modern Missions Movement, that Protestant missions advanced and missions agencies grew rapidly.2 The above reasons led to voluntary missions societies forming, which provided Protestants with an avenue of interdenominational cooperation to share Christ crossculturally and translate the Bible into the vernacular.3 From the time of Carey until today, the goal of converting non-Christians in other countries to Christianity has played a prominent role within the Protestant tradition. To help distinguish the different types of efforts, church growth expert Ralph Winter proposed that the Protestant Modern Missions Movement be divided into three eras with two transition periods: Era One: 1792– 1910 (Transition One: 1865–1910); Era Two: 1865–1980 (Transition Two: 1934–1980); and Era Three: 1934–present day.4 The formation of each period centred on a different missions strategy or ideology. The first era of the Protestant Modern Missions Movement is considered the ‘Great Century’ for Protestant Christian missions. Mainly focused on the coastlands of Africa and Asia, Christianity spread to 1 Kane, A Concise History of the Christian World Mission, 93. 2 Ibid., 42, states that, because of Carey’s effort, the mission societies that started

included: the London Missionary Society, Scottish and Glasgow Missionary Society, Church Missionary Society, British and Foreign Bible Society, American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, American Baptist Missionary Union, and the American Bible Society. 3 Tucker, From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya, 109−12. 4 Ralph Winter, ‘The Concept of a Third Era in Missions’, Evangelical Missions Quar-

terly vol. 17, no. 2 (April 1981): 72. See also: Ralph Winter, ‘3 Men, 3 Eras: The Flow of Missions’, Mission Frontiers vol. 3, no. 2 (February 1981): 1, 4–7; and Ralph Winter, ‘Four Men, Three Eras’, Mission Frontiers 19 (November 1997): 11–12, 18.

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more places and to more people than at any other time in all previous centuries combined.5 Eighty per cent of Protestant missions from this era came from English-speaking countries, mostly from the United States and the United Kingdom.6 The development of educational institutions and medical facilities as means to share the gospel began in this period. In addition to their importance to Christianity, these advancements helped to expand Western values. Ironically, they also aided in the rise of non-Western states. As the connection between Western missionaries and governmental officials developed, and the advancement of Western powers into nonWestern areas increased, a second missions strategy began. Missionaries began to focus their efforts on the inlands of countries,7 with new mission agencies formed that centred on engaging the unreached in the inlands of Asia and Africa.8 In China, for example, missionaries began living in almost every province.9 Churches, schools, hospitals, and other missionary undertakings developed within a relatively short period and the targeted countries began to modernise. Partially fuelled by the Student Volunteer Missions Movement, which sent more than 20,000 missionaries overseas within 50 years,10 missionaries took ministry positions originally intended for local believers. At the same time, Western countries were expanding their influence, and, by the early 1900s, every Western Protestant government had missionaries serving abroad.11 Missionaries were partially responsible for creating the false impression that Western governments were sympathetic towards the indigenous peoples’ goals.

5 Justice Anderson, ‘The Great Century and Beyond, 1792–1910’, in Missiology: An Introduction to the Foundations, History, and Strategy of World Missions, eds. John Mark Terry, Ebbie Smith, and Justice Anderson (Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 1998), 200. 6 Neill, History of Christian Missions, 222. 7 J. Herbert Kane, ‘My Pilgrimage in Mission’, International Bulletin of Missionary

Research vol. 11, no. 3 (July 1987): 130. 8 Alan Johnson, ‘Analyzing the Frontier Mission Movement and Unreached People Group Thinking. Part One: The Frontier Mission Movement’s Understanding of the Modern Mission Era’, International Journal of Frontier Missions vol. 18, no. 2 (Summer 2001): 82. 9 Neill, History of Christian Missions, 283. 10 Kane, A Concise History of the Christian World Mission, 103. 11 Ibid., 93.

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As Christian missions expanded alongside the colonialism and imperialism of the West, Westerners, including Christian missionaries, were regarded with increasing suspicion. The ensuing world wars, combined with the increase in liberal theology, a decline in mainline denominations, and the rise of Marxism compromised Western Christianity. It could no longer be stated that Western countries, or their religion, Christianity, had the answers to the world’s problems. Around this time, a third missions model emerged with evangelical missionaries who focused on taking the gospel to previously unreached people groups. Most of the unreached groups were located in the 10/40 Window (10° N latitude to 40° N latitude), home to many of the world’s largest religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam,12 in countries largely antagonistic towards the West. Time Magazine noted that the 10/40 Window was also the area where the fewest missionaries were located.13 Throughout the Protestant Modern Missions Movement, Western culture and ideology were being promoted in non-Western societies. While the influence that colonialism had on missions (or vice versa) can be debated, missionaries became associated with imperialism. Ironically, the use of education and medicine hindered long-term imperialistic efforts. The ‘sustained effort to assimilate a country or region to the political, economic or cultural system of another power’, as historian John Darwin defines imperialism, while associated with evangelical Christianity, was not always harmonious with it.14 Winter notes that missions ‘led the way in establishing all around the world the democratic apparatus of government, the schools, the hospitals, the universities and political foundations for new nations’15 ; in other words, the antithesis of imperialism. 12 ‘The

Turko-Persian World’, http://centralasia.imb.org/explore/map.html, site editor, International Mission Board, accessed on 10 March 2009, states that the largest unreached affinity group (percentage wise) is the Turko-Persian World, with 0.016% of Turkic and Persian peoples Christian, about one Christian for every 6800 people and one church made up of Muslim background believers for every 364,000 people. 13 Dick van Biema, ‘Missionaries Undercover: Growing Numbers of Evangelicals are Trying to Spread Christianity in Muslim Lands’, Time Magazine vol. 161, no. 26 (30 June 2003): 36–44. 14 John Darwin, ‘Imperialism and the Victorians: The Dynamics of Territorial Expansion’, The English Historical Review vol. 112, no. 447 (June 1997): 614, 627. 15 Ralph D. Winter, ‘The Kingdom Strikes Back: The Ten Epochs of Redemptive History’, in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, A Reader, eds. Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne (Pasadena, William Carey Library, 1992), B-20.

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With that stated, often, while missionaries encouraged emancipation and literacy, they also were xenophobic. Missions historian Stephen Neill states that missionaries had a ‘colonial complex…only western man was man in the full sense of the word; he was wise and good, and members of other races so far as they became westernized, might share in this wisdom and goodness. But western man was the leader’.16 Although missionaries were people of their age, it would be inaccurate to suggest that all missionaries held this view—Hudson Taylor of China Inland Mission was an obvious exception—it was the mentality of Western cultural superiority that non-Westerners resented. Regarding the British Empire, arguably the greatest empire of the modern age, and its beneficiary, the American ‘Empire’, Historian Niall Ferguson explained: [N]o organisation in history has done more to promote the free movement of goods, capital and labour than the British Empire in the 19th and early 20th centuries…For much (though certainly not all) of its history, the British Empire acted as an agency for relatively incorrupt government. Prima facie, there therefore seems a plausible case that empire enhanced global welfare - in other words, [the British Empire] was a Good Thing…. [The] heir of Britain’s global power was not one of the evil empires of the East, but Britain’s most successful former colony [the United States of America].17

Christianity in Iran While Protestant missionary activity did not begin until the late 1700s, the idea that Christianity was foreign to Iran until this time is a misconception. Christians have lived and often thrived in Iran. Peoples from almost every major Christian sect have made, or have tried to make, Iran their home. To a degree, these sects have cross-pollinated, but they have maintained their own identities. After mentioning Iran in the Old Testament and early church history to provide an overview of the country’s connection with all of Christianity, this section focuses on the Christianity

16 Neill, History of Christian Missions, 220. 17 Niall Ferguson, ‘Why We Ruled the World’, 1 May 2003, http://www.niallferguson.

com/journalism/history/why-we-ruled-the-world, site editor, Niall Ferguson, accessed 16 October 2018.

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of the Assyrians18 and Armenians of Iran, the two main Christian groups that left a marked impact on the country and the area in general. The account of Assyrian and Armenian Christianity19 in Iran centres on their beginnings to the modern period when the Protestant Modern Missions Movement began.

Iran in the Bible and in Early Church History Eleven books in the Old Testament directly reference the lands or peoples of greater Iran.20 Iran’s current Islamic government displays Bibles in museums that date back hundreds of years and promotes the idea that the tombs of well-known Old Testament figures such as Daniel, Esther, and Mordecai are located within its borders as are the tombs of Cyrus the Great, Darius the Great, Xerxes, and Artaxerxes. In many Old Testament books, the peoples of Iran play a prominent and positive role in God’s plan for the nations, particularly Israel. Cyrus, for example, is used as a typology of Christ and is called a ‘servant’, a term used for Davidic kings. Even more significant is the designation of Cyrus as the Lord’s ‘messiah’ or ‘anointed one’ in Isa 45:1. In certain ways, the policies of the Achaemenid Empire (550–330 BC) molded post-exilic Judaism; the 18 The Iranian Assyrians are not the same Assyrians mentioned in the Bible. Adam H. Becker, Revival and Awakening: American Evangelical Missionaries in Iran and the Rise of Assyrian Nationalism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015), 231, 337, argues that the term ‘Assyrian’ accurately is used for Assyrian Iranians soteriologically, dealing with ‘death, salvation, community, and tradition’, but not racially or ethnically. Becker notes ‘Assyrianizing’ ‘imaginatively’ connects racially and historically the ancient Assyrians with the modern Assyrians. 19 There are other names given to Assyrian Christianity such as the Nestorian Church, the Church of the East, the Antiochene Church, and the Eastern Syriac Church, but they all are associated largely with the same branch of the faith. In this paper, the names are used interchangeably, although the term ‘Nestorian’ is avoided because as Wilhelm Baum and Dietmar W. Winker, The Church in the East: A Concise History (NY: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003), 21−24, state, some Assyrians today do not like being called Nestorians and feel the term is derogatory and inaccurate. Similarly, Armenian Christianity at times has been confused with Orthodoxy. Armenian Christianity differs with the Orthodox Church in theology (Council of Chalcedon) and practice (Armenian Christianity does not submit to the same church leadership). Also, note the difference between Armenian Christianity and Arminian Christianity, the former focused on an ethnic people (the Armenians) while the later related to soteriological issues. 20 Some specific references include: Gen 10:22, Ezek 34:24, 2 Chr 36:22−23, Isa 44:38, Jer 51:11, Dan 5:31, Esth 1, Ezra 4:7−24, Neh 2, Hag 1:1, and Zech 1:1.

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Achaemenids allowed the Jews to return to their homeland and enabled them to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and to construct the second temple. Contrasted with other non-Jewish nations, the Old Testament characterisation of Persians is affirming. Theologian Walter Brueggemann notes: Compared to the complicated and vexed story of Yahweh with the Egyptians, the Assyrians, and the Babylonians, the story of Yahweh with the Persians lacks drama. On the horizon of this testimony, the Persians are not recalcitrant vassals of Yahweh, need not be broken by Yahweh, and so need no Yahwistic recovery. In this modeling of nations as partners, Persia is the exemplar of a positive, responsive partner.21

Iran as a ‘responsive partner’ with the Judeo-Christian God continues as the history of Christianity begins deep in the heart of the Parthian Empire (227 BC–224 AD). Some believe the Magi, the famed ‘Three Wise Men’, who followed the celebrated star to Christ’s home told about in Matt 2:1–11 were from Iran and possibly Zoroastrian priests,22 though Edwin M. Yamauchi disputes this claim.23 Church father John Chrysostom mentions Persia as the origin of the wise men: ‘they [the Jews] learn from a Persian tongue first of all, what they would not submit to learn from the prophets… when they saw that wise men [sic], at the sight of a single star, had received this same, and had worshipped Him who was made manifest’.24 Another account by the fourth-century historian Eusebius states that the king of Edessa, Abgar, and Jesus Christ corresponded with one another (Eusebius, Church History I. 12), though this report is probably more fable than fact.25 During Pentecost, the first 21 Walter Brueggemann, Theology of the Old Testament: Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012), 518. 22 Peter Clark, Zoroastrianism: An Introduction to an Ancient Faith (Portland, OR: Sussex Academic Press, 2001), 155. 23 Edwin M. Yamauchi, Persia and the Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1990),

481. 24 John Chrysostom, The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, 80; in Philip Shaff, ed., Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. X George Prevost (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1888), in http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf110.toc.html, site editor, Christian Classics Ethereal Library. 25 Edwin M. Yamauchi, Pre-Christian Gnosticism (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1973), 84−85.

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grand spiritual awakening for Christians, the author of the biblical book of Acts of the Apostles mentions that Jews from the Parthians, Medes, and Elamites—all tribes in Iran—as those who were converted to Christianity when they heard Peter the Apostle’s sermon (Acts 2.9). Church tradition indicates that a number of Christ’s first twelve apostles had contact with this area, including Matthew, Jude, Simon the Zealot, Bartholomew, and Thomas. While some of these accounts may be considered legend, generally historians agree that there has been a constant, albeit complicated Christian existence in Iran since the early days of the faith. These explanations, even if not completely accurate, probably were based on actual historical details as they were accepted by the people of the day.26 Primary sources of the earliest forms of Christianity in Persia are scant, but there is a shared consensus on the basic history of the period. Christians were in the area by the 100 s AD.27 Tatian, an Assyrian Gnostic (100–80), is one of the first to give a definitive historical account of the church in Iran.28 It is also known that the metropolitan areas of Edessa (150 miles northeast of Antioch in Syria) and Arbela (N. Iraq) are where Christianity into Iran began, and Christianity eventually progressed to Nisibis (140 miles east of Edessa in northern Mesopotamia), a place where Iranian Christianity deepened when it was ceded to Iran in 363.29 Historians Wilhelm Baum and Dietmar W. Winker speculate that the Jews of the area, many of whom were merchants, brought Christianity to the East.30 With the Parthian Empire being one of relative tolerance, Christians practised their faith with little persecution. Christians fled the Roman Empire to Parthian controlled areas during times of oppression. By the early 200s, Christians became numerous enough for the state to be 26 J. P. Asmussen, ‘Christians in Iran,’ in The Cambridge History of Iran: The Seleucid, Parthian and Sasanian Periods vol. 3, no. 1 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983): 927. 27 Richard C. Foltz, Spirituality in the Land of the Noble: How Iran Shaped the World’s Religions (Oxford: Oneworld, 2004), 80; Mark Bradley, Iran and Christianity: Historical Identity and Present Relevance (London: Continuum, 2008), 2008, 138; and Ian Gillman and Hans-Joachim Klimkeit, Christians in Asia before 1500 (Richmond, UK: Curzon, 1999), 109. 28 Aziz S. Atiya, A History of Eastern Christianity (London: Methuen, 1968), 247. 29 Anthony O’Mahony and Emma Loosley, eds., Eastern Christianity in the Modern

Middle East (London: Routledge, 2010), 249. 30 Baum and Winker, The Church in the East, 8−9.

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concerned with security.31 It is reported by some historians that on the island of Kharg in the Persian Gulf sixty Christian tombs were found where there are also the remains of a Christian Church. At Bishapur, on the border of the empire, there are remains of a church with a baptistery.32 According to a Syrian Gnostic, Bardaisan, who died in 222 AD, there were Christians in the provinces of Pars, Medea, Kashan, and Parthia.33 By the end of the empire, there were twenty bishoprics in Parthian areas.34 The expansion of the church in Iran was considerable.

Assyrian Christianity and the Rise of Christianity in Iran Sassanid Empire (224−651) Theological Considerations As Christianity grew, certain forms of the faith began to arise. Aside from Christians fleeing from Roman to Parthian ruled regions, Christians from the Roman Empire were brought into the area as captives during Sassanian times. A Greek Church and an Aramaic and Syriac Church emerged, each with its own religious allegiances, though eventually, they developed some unity. As time progressed, two competing schools of thought arose in Iran (and Christendom in general), Alexandrian and Antiochean. The Alexandrian school was not as accepted in Iran and eventually became associated with Western Christianity, while the Antiochene school became known as Eastern Christianity and developed its own divisions. Two noted sects of the Antiochean school related to Iran were Assyrian and Armenian, theologically related to Nestorianism and Monophysitism, respectively. Both Western and Eastern Christians ascribed to the Council of Nicaea of 325 and the Council of Constantinople of 381. In 410, Christians

31 Asmussen, ‘Christians in Iran,’ 928. 32 W. Stewart McCullough, A Short History of Syriac Christianity to the Rise of Islam

(Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1982), 112. 33 H. W. J. Drijvers, Bardaisan (Assen: van Gorcum, 1966), 188. 34 Chronicle of Arbela, translated by Timothy Kroll (Lovanii: Aedibus E Peeters, 1985),

16, www.humanities.uci.edu/sasanika/pdf/ChronicleofArbela.pdf, site editor, University of California Irvine.

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in Iran began to become more independent from their Roman counterparts. It is in 410 when the Church of the East in Persia formed its own seat of authority at Seleucia-Ctesiphon (located in Iraq)35 and in 424 Iranian Christianity began to create a national church. Several years later as the church was following more closely to the teachings of Theodore of Mopsuestia, the mentor of Nestorius, division sharpened. Nestorianism was condemned at the Council of Ephesus 431, and both Nestorianism and Monophysitism were deemed heretical at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. The main difference with those who ascribe to the Council of Chalcedon and those who do not centres on the nature of Christ. The Council of Chalcedon stated that Christ was both fully divine and fully human: ‘in two natures [God and man], without confusion, without change, without division, without separation’.36 This is known as the ‘hypostatic union’. By 486 the Eastern Church separated itself completely from the Western Church.37 Eventually, the Assyrian Church became the one of note in Iran. Expansion and Persecution The exact number of Christians in greater Iran is debatable, but according to the ninth-century ‘Chronicle of Seert’, an Iranian king placed Christians in many cities he established and promoted tolerance among faiths, though Samuel H. Moffett argues persecution of Christians in Iran during the Sassanid Empire was severe with close to 200,000 Persian Christians dying—more than in Rome. However, there were fewer retractions of the faith from those in the West, ‘a remarkable tribute to the steady courage of Asia’s early Christians’.38 While Armenian Christians kept their faith largely to themselves, Assyrian Christians did not. Assyrian Christianity in Iran expanded and its missions and evangelism focus among the peoples of Persia, and eventually became the leading form of Christianity in the

35 ‘Chronological Order of the Catholicos/Maphriyono’s of the East’, http://www.cat holicose.org/PauloseII/Catholicate.htm, site editor, Malankara Syriac Christian Resources. 36 ‘Council of Chalcedon,’ http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03555a.htm, site editor, Catholic Encyclopedia. 37 Waterfield, Christians in Persia, 23. 38 Samuel H. Moffett argues, A History of Christianity in Asia I: Beginnings to 1500

(San Francisco: Harper, 1992), 145.

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kingdom.39 Not much is known about the everyday Christian in Iran,40 but higher Christian academic and theological centres were established, indigenous leaders developed, bishoprics created, and churches multiplied. One writer estimates there were over 100 bishoprics in the empire. Eighteen of the twenty-five provinces of the empire were evangelised or had some type of Christian witness.41 It is reported that one Persian king supposedly had two Christian wives and another king allegedly had a Christian burial.42 Historian Richard C. Foltz maintains that by the end of the seventh century the Western part of Iran was largely Christian, and many of the Christians in this period were well educated and known as ‘transmitters of culture’.43 Ian Gillman and Hans-Joachim Klimkeit are emphatic on the progression of Christianity in the empire when they write, ‘[There was] exceptional success of Christianity in the western frontier of the Sassanian Empire from the estuary of the Euphrates and Tigris up to Armenia and the Caucasus…. By the time of the Muslim conquest, these districts, with the exception of a few Jewish colonies, became purely Christian’.44 The adherents of Zoroastrianism, the majority religion of the time, opposed Christianity in Iran with good reason. Some prominent Iranian Christian leaders arose during this period that at least potentially threatened (or perceived to threaten) their livelihood and faith, many from the Zoroastrian priestly class. Even when Christians were at peace with the government, the Zoroastrian priests, the Magi, treated them disdainfully, particularly influential former Zoroastrians. Aside from martyrdom, other forms of hardship were placed on Christians. Sometimes Christians were double taxed, some of their churches destroyed, and their overall livelihood affronted. Narsai (c399–c501), who was not from Zoroastrian heritage, is the first known ethnically Persian Christian leader of the church in Iran. Known 39 R. N. Frye, ‘The Political History of Iran under the Sasanians,’ in The Cambridge History of Iran: The Seleucid, Parthian and Sasanian Periods vol. 3, no. 2, eds. Ehsam Yarhshater and W. B. Fisher (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983): 149. 40 Robin E. Waterfield, Christians in Persia: Assyrians, Armenians, Roman Catholics and Protestants (London: George Allen, 1973), 30. 41 Bradley, Iran and Christianity, 139−41. 42 Foltz, Spirituality in the Land of the Noble, 83. 43 Ibid., 83, 89. 44 Gillman and Klimkeit, Christians in Asia before 1500, 115.

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as the ‘Harp of the Holy Spirit’, for his poetic abilities, he taught at the school in Edessa (eventually becoming its head), restored the school of Nisibis, which had been in a state of disrepair (he was the school’s head for 50 years),45 and incorporated theology into his sonnets.46 Mar Aba, a former Zoroastrian, and influential Iranian Christian leader, was the Patriarch of the Church of the East in Seleucia-Ctesiphon (c540– 52) and a teacher at the school of Nisibis. He published many academic works, including commentaries on Old Testament and New Testament books,47 and was an evangelist, governmental official, and friend of the king of Persia. He helped mediate arguments within the local Assyrian churches, promoted Christian (opposed to Zoroastrian) marriage, and encouraged the ordinary believer to study the Bible.48 Mar Aba was exiled and imprisoned for his faith, which led to his death.49 The Sassanids were not supportive of Zoroastrianism completely; some Christians attained high rank in government. When the Sassanid Empire was strong, there was less need for Zoroastrian support. Persecution tended to increase when the empire was weak. The Sassanid rulers appeared to seek the Zoroastrians’ approval by harassing Christians.50 After Constantine legalised Christianity, Christianity was seen as the religion of Rome, and during times of war wholesale discrimination occurred with greater frequency. Fighting against Rome and oppressing Christians became part of the same battle. Thousands of Christians died in a major

45 ‘Our Patron Saint––Mar Narsai’, http://www.mnac.nsw.edu.au/Marnarsai.html, site editor, Mar Narsai Assyrian College. See also: Sebastian P. Brock, ‘A Guide to Narsai’s Homilies’, Journal of Syriac Studies 12: 1 (Beth Mardutho: The Syriac Institute and Gorgia Press, 2009); in http://syrcom.cua.edu/Hugoye/Vol12No1/HV12N1Brock.pdf, site editor, Beth Mardutho: The Syriac Institute. 46 Narsai, Homilies of Mar Narsai, vol. 1 (San Francisco: Patriarchal Press), 128; in Father Dr Khoshaba Gewargis, ‘Dialogue Poem by Mar Narsai Harp of the Holy Spirit’, http://www.karozota.com/2009/sidor/marnarsaipoem090718.html, site editor, Ancient Church of the East. Narsai, Homily 62, in Frederick G. McLeod, ‘Man as the Image of God: Its Meaning and Theological Significance’, in Narsai, 461, http://www.ts.mu.edu/ readers/content/pdf/42/42.3/42.3.6.pdf, site editor, Theological Studies. 47 Authur Vööbus, History of the School of Nisibis (Louvain: Secrétariat du Corpus, 1965), 161–70. 48 Jacob Neusner, A History of the Jews in Babylonia: Later Sasanian Times, vol. 5 (Leiden: Brill, 1970), 92. 49 Vööbus, History of the School of Nisibis, 170. 50 Ibid., 39, 45.

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persecution in Iran. A few years later, Christians again were persecuted with many more martyred. There were also attempts by Zoroastrians to convert Armenian Christians. At times Christians gave the Sassanids reasons to persecute them. Christians burned a Zoroastrian fire temple51 and developed inaccurate and untruthful polemics against Zoroastrians. Sometimes the perception that Iranian Christians were allied with the Roman Empire was true. The desire for a Christian leader occasionally influenced the actions of Christians in Iran towards the opposing regime. At least one author argues that Constantine, with tacit approval of the Persian bishop52 was thinking about invading Persia, seeing himself as a ‘liberator’ of Christians in Persia.53 Ironically perhaps, Christians were in service for the Sassanid government as diplomats to the Roman Empire during times of peace.54 The Muslim Conquest (651–1256) By the time Islam arrived in Iran, Christianity in Iran was not considered orthodox by Rome. Appealing to Western Christians for help was not the wisest of options for Roman persecution was just as severe, if not more intense. Prior to the Islamic conquest, it is reported the Persian Patriarch asked Islam’s prophet and founder, Mohammed, for protection against the Sassanids. Toleration, to varying degrees, marked the beginnings of Islam towards Christianity. Toleration meant compromise for Christians, usually in the form of acceptance and allegiance to the Islamic Government. While in some ways challenging, many were relieved that Muslims were now their rulers. The threats of persecution and corruption gave Iranian Christians reasons to accommodate their new sovereigns with greater ease. One Assyrian Patriarch reportedly noted the affinity with Muslims and commented on the similarities between the faiths: ‘The Arabs, to whom God has given the authority of the world at this time, are with us, as you know, and are not only not opposed to Christianity, but 51 Waterfield, Christians in Persia, 22. 52 Stephanie K. Skoyles Jarkins, ‘Aphrahat the Persian Sage and the Temple of God:

A Study of Early Syriac Theological Anthropology’ (PhD. Diss, Marquette University, 2005), 1–10. 53 T. D. Barnes, ‘Constantine and the Christians of Persia’, The Journal of Roman Studies vol. 75 (1985): 126–36. 54 Baum and Winker, The Church in the East, 14.

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they praise our faith and honor the priests and saints of Our Lord and aid the churches and monasteries’.55 Foltz cites Persian monk John of Phenek of the late seventh century. Phenek remarked positively to the Islamic conquest when he stated, ‘We should not think of their [the Muslims] advent as something ordinary, but as due to divine working. Before calling them, God had prepared them beforehand to hold Christians in honor; thus they had a special commandment from God concerning our monastic station, that they should hold it in honor’.56 For the first couple centuries of Islamic rule, Muslims were the minority in Iran. As Islamic dominance increased, a policy known as the Shurut Umar became the modus operandi, a regulation that imposed limitations on non-Muslims. Many of these restrictions, historian Milka Levy-Rubin argues, were influenced by the Byzantine and Sassanian cultures that predated Islam. The Sassanian influence on the Shurut Umar lay largely with the ghiyar, the main part of the Shurut Umar. LevyRubin argues that the formation of the ghiyar arose from a Zoroastrian hierarchal, class-based philosophy that advanced a clear differentiation between believer and nonbeliever. Muslims adapted this principle and placed non-Muslims in the lowest class and regulated aspects of life directly tied to religion (non-Muslims could not speak unfavourably about Islam or Mohammed, could not marry Muslim women, evangelise Muslims, display religious symbols [in the case of Christianity, the cross], etc.,57 ) similar to the Zoroastrians before them.58 It is also clear that non-religious aspects of life were controlled. Non-Muslims paid twice as much in taxes, had less legal rights, and could hold no public office. While there was much incentive for Christians to convert to Islam there was no systematic or widespread violence against them, though at times monasteries were sacked, graves were razed, and special clothes were required to be worn.59 Effectively, the treatment of Iranian Christians was

55 William Ambrose Shedd, Islam and the Oriental Churches (New York: Young People’s Missionary Movement, 1908), 99. 56 Foltz, Spirituality in the Land of the Noble, 90. 57 O’Mahony and Loosley, Eastern Christianity in the Modern Middle East, 269. 58 Milka Levy-Rubin, Non-Muslims in the Early Islamic Empire: From Surrender to

Coexistence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 163. 59 Bradley, Iran and Christianity, 143.

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similar under Muslims as it was under the Sassanids: some prohibition and persecution, but no widespread or sustained effort to exterminate.60 Under the Muslims as opposed to the Sassanids, Christianity in Iran declined in number. Nonetheless, depending on one’s interpretation, Christianity also thrived. There was kind-heartedness towards Christianity in Iranian poetry. Sonnets of the major Iranian poets of this period and the next, including Ferdowsi, Khayyam, Rumi, Hafez, and Saadi, extend beyond the Islamic context to connect positively with the Christian faith.61 Educational and cultural centres of Iranian Christianity grew. The graduates of some of the educational and medical schools taught Muslim leaders. Influential Christians were prominent in government. They were sought-after administrators, translators, and physicians. Most every Iranian shah up until the thirteenth century had a Christian for a doctor, until the eleventh century, the majority of translators were Christian, and until the tenth century the bulk of philosophers were Christian.62 Assyrian Christians in Iran also were able to commission their missionaries.63 The Assyrian Church expanded into parts of Asia, including India, China, Tibet, and Sri Lanka. They were in China as early as the 600s.64 They were in India by the 800s.65 Among other things, the 60 Aubrey R. Vine, The Nestorian Churches: A Concise History of Nestorian Christianity in Asia from the Persia Schism to the Modern Assyrians (London: The Independent Press, 1937), 99–100, notes that a Muslim lawyer, Mawardi, provided a summary of prohibitions against Christians in the poll tax contract, which non-Muslims were required to obey. It has two sections with six points, the former being mandatory, the latter being suggested. Mandatory: (1) honor the Qur’an; (2) honor Mohammed; (3) honor Islam; (4) do not marry Muslim women; (5) do not convert Muslims; and 6) do not help the enemies of Islam. Suggested: (1) wear different clothing than Muslims; (2) buildings cannot be higher than Muslim buildings; (3) no church bells; (4) no alcohol consumption in public; (5) be discrete in burying the dead; and (6) no riding of horses. 61 Bradley, Iran and Christianity, 32. 62 Aptin Khanbaghi, The Fire, the Star and the Cross: Minority Religions in Medieval

and Early Modern Iran (London: I. B. Tauris, 2006), 45, 48, 49. 63 Atiya, A History of Eastern Christianity (London: Methuen, 1968), 253–71. 64 Huaiyu Chen, ‘The Encounters of Nestorian Christianity with Tantric Buddhism’, in

Dietmar W. Winkler and Tang Li, eds., Hidden Treasures and Intercultural Encounters: Studies on East Syriac Christianity in China and Central Asia (Berlin and Münster: LIT Verlag, 2009), 200. 65 Kallie Szczepanski, ‘History of Nestorian Christianity: The Church of The East’, http://asianhistory.about.com/od/centralasia/a/History-of-Nestorian-Christianity. htm, site editor, About.com.

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Patriarch Timothy increased missionary efforts. He sent missionaries to the Daylamites, the peoples of Gilan in Iran, and encouraged Christian leaders to occupy places of leadership in churches of Iran as well as sending missionaries to other parts of Asia. Timothy was able to appoint a bishop in Yemen as well as in Tibet. Persian inscriptions, Christian manuscripts, and Nestorian crosses dating to these periods were found in these areas. Some of the inscriptions discuss missionary work and the influence of Christians. In one group of manuscripts, translations of Christian material (including parts of the Bible) into Chinese were done with the help of a Persian monk.66 The Mongol Conquest (1256–1500) Muslims did not extinguish Christianity in Iran; the Mongols did. By the time of Genghis Khan’s death in 1227, the Mongols had moved into Iran. By 1258, all of Iran was under Mongol control. The Mongol conquest was severe for all the peoples of Iran. CIA intelligence analyst Steven R. Ward notes that in the Iranian Plateau, Mongols could have killed 10–15 million people, the vast majority Muslim. The devastation to the population in Iran was thorough; it did not reach pre-Mongol levels until the 1900s.67 The beginnings of Mongol rule seemed encouraging for Iranian Christians as they promoted a policy of religious non-interference. Because of the Church of the East’s missions efforts, Mongols were familiar with Christians in other parts of Asia. In fact, certain Mongol tribes professed Christianity,68 one of the early khans mothers and primary wife confessed Christianity, and five of the first six Mongol kings were connected with Christianity. Mongols lifted many of the restrictions placed on Iranian Christians by their Muslim predecessors and, as with Iran’s former sovereigns, Christians were able to attain influential positions within the government as physicians and other occupations of prominence. An Armenian king in particular helped with the initial

66 Baum and Winker, The Church in the East, 47–57. 67 Steven R. Ward, Immortal: A Military History of Iran and Its Armed Forces

(Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 2009), 39. 68 Edward Browne, A Literary History of Persia: From Firdawsi to Sa‘di (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1906), 440–41.

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success of the Christians in Mongol rule. During this period, Christians abused their freedom and maltreated Muslims, including drinking alcohol openly during Ramazan69 and spilling it on mosques and Muslim clothes.70 Early on, it is reported that even the poet Saadi noted the influence of Christians against Muslims: ‘Eye kerme key ahz khazahnehyeh a’yeb; doostan ro kojah kani mehroom; gabr va tarsa vazeefeyh khor dahri; tow key bah dashmanahn nazr dahri’.71 The Mongols’ attitude changed against Christianity during the Crusades. Muslims were making gains, and with the majority of Iran’s population adhering to Islam, the Mongols began to reconsider their policy of religious tolerance. With the rise of the Mongol king Ghazan, and his profession of faith to Islam, many Mongols converted to Islam in 1295. Ghazan became discriminatory towards other faiths, which eventually led to concentrated and wholesale persecution of Christianity. With the reign of Tamerlane less than one hundred years later, the situation worsened. Tamerlane murdered thousands of Christians (and other nonMuslims), destroyed churches, monasteries, and schools. Outside of a few conclaves in the Western part of the country in the Kurdistan areas, Assyrian Christianity ceased in Iran. Gillman and Klimkeit argue that the downfall of the Church of the East was more of a ‘coup de grace’ than a ‘destruction of the church at its prime’. The Assyrian Church depended too much on secular powers, which left it susceptible to regime change. The church became negligent in its own spirituality resulting in its ruin.72 The Safavid Empire-Pahlavi Dynasty (1501–1979) By the fifteenth century, what was left of the Assyrian community was divided between the Persians and the Ottomans. In the Urmiyah area where there was the largest concentration of Assyrians in Iran, there

69 Ramazan is the English transliteration of the Persian term most know as Ramadhan. 70 Vine, The Nestorian Churches, 45–46. 71 Sa‘di, Gulestani Sa‘di, ed. Iranparast (Tehran: Fanous, 1977), 3; in Khanbaghi, The Fire, the Star and the Cross, 180 in footnote 351, gives the translation: ‘O beautiful One, who from thy invisible treasury, You provide subsistence from the Gabr [pagan] and the Christian, How could’st thou deprive your friends, Whilst having regard for enemies?’ 72 Gillman and Hans-Joachim Klimkeit, Christians in Asia before 1500, 151.

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were five bishops’ seats in 1562. Within these there was disagreement on authority, and three converted to Roman Catholicism.73 The ‘Chaldean Catholic Church’ eventually developed with a distinct liturgy under Roman Catholic jurisdiction and numbered more than the Assyrian Christians in Mesopotamia.74 In later years, other powers such as the Russians arrived. Missionaries from the Western Church tried to convert the Assyrians to their understanding of Christianity. Assyrians eventually experienced a small revitalisation. By the 1960s, 40,000 Assyrians lived in Iran, most of them (25,000) located in Urmiyah.75 However, the Assyrian community thus far has not regained its standing as a significant Christian sect in Iran.

Armenian Christianity in Iran Before the Safavids While Armenia has its own celebrated history distinct from other nations or peoples, its boundaries have varied across the centuries with it being much larger than its current borders; various sovereigns in Europe and Asia have fought over Armenia’s territory. Within a milieu of multicultural influence, Armenian Christianity arose, a Christianity that allowed Armenia to gain a unique identity. In short, Armenians believe that the apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew brought Christianity to them. Arriving possibly through Edessa,76 the community where Assyrian Christianity thrived, and/or through Cappadocia, where a Greco-Roman form of the faith was dominant,77 Armenians adopted Christianity in 301 AD, the first nation to make Christianity a state religion. Armenians call their church the ‘Armenian Apostolic Church’ because they believe it descends directly from the Apostles’ teachings. Sometimes confused 73 Baum and Winker, The Church in the East, 112. 74 For more information see: Anthony O’Mahony, ‘The Chaldean Catholic Church:

The Politics of Church-State Relations in Modern Iraq’, Heythrop Journal vol. 45, no. 4 (October 2004): 435–50; Suha Rassam, Christianity in Iraq (Leominster, England: Gracewing, 2010). 75 Baum and Winker, The Church in the East, 112. 76 Cyril Toumanoff, ‘Christian Caucasia between Byzantium and Iran: New Light from

Old Sources’, Traditio vol. 10 (1954): 126. 77 Simon Payaslian, The History of Armenia: From the Origins to the Present (NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 35.

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with Orthodoxy, the Armenian Apostolic Church forms a separate and independent branch within Eastern Christianity.78 In 432, an Armenian synod endorsed the Council of Ephesus of 431 where Nestorianism was condemned, and in 435, the Armenian Church criticised the writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia. About a hundred years later, Armenian Christians officially adopted monophysite theology, formally breaking fellowship with the Roman Church. Within Iran, Armenians have a shared history—Armenian connections date to Darius the Great79 and Armenians are identified with the third delegation on the eastern stairway of Darius’ Apadana at Takht-e-Jamshid (Persepolis)—and Armenian Christianity has held a distinct place in Iran, though much of it is after 1500. Throughout the time before the Safavids, Armenian Christians, similar to Assyrians, impacted Christian centres such as Edessa, translated scientific and philosophical works,80 and were advisors in the court of Iranian rulers. In certain cases, the Armenian Church supported non-Iranian, non-Christian kings.81 In other cases, Armenian officials helped the Iranian government militarily.82 One writer calls the Iranian empire the ‘midwife which helped it [the Armenian Church] at [her] birth’.83

78 George A. Bournoutian, A Concise History of the Armenian People: From Ancient Times to the Present (Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda: 1980), 49; Robert W. Thomson, ‘Mission, Conversion, and Christianization: The Armenian Example’, Harvard Ukrainian Studies vols. 12/13 (1988–1989): 32, argue for a later date, sometime after 311 and the Edict of Milan. 79 Allyn Huntzinger, Persians and the Bible (Woodstock, GA: Global Commission, 2004), 26; Ronolad Grigir Suny, ed., Transcaucasia, Nationalism, and Social Change: Essays in the History of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1996), 10. 80 Nigel Allan, ‘Christian Mesopotamia and Greek Medicine’, Hermathena, no. 145 (Winter 1988): 52. 81 Payaslian, The History of Armenia, 134. 82 Angus Stewart, ‘The Assassination of King Het‘um: The Conversion of the Ilkhans

and the Armenians’, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society vol. 15, no. 1 (April 2005): 45–61. 83 Toumanoff, “Christian Caucasia between Byzantium and Iran,” 147, 185.

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The Safavids 1501–1796 For a thousand years, the Assyrian Church was the most influential Christian sect in Iran, but its demise left a void. While these years have been named the ‘years of darkness’ of the Armenian Church,84 Armenians unwittingly filled the vacuum left by Assyrians. Doctrinally and ethnically distinct from Assyrians, the Armenian population in Iran was small, less than the Jews and Zoroastrians,85 but with a new government, changes occurred in Iran’s territory. Parts of Mesopotamia and Iraq, areas where Christianity historically had a presence, were not under Safavid rule, and conflicts in the northwest with the Ottomans led to some drastic changes. Beginning in 1530, the Safavids started to transport Armenians in Armenia proper and Nakhchevan to Iran. Not much is known about this deportation, source material is scant, but it began a period of transferences of Armenians to Iran that lasted about 100 years. There is more evidence around the second major deportation that started in 1603 and lasted until 1629. This one was motivated by military and economics. Shah Abbas I was warring against the Ottomans and did not want to lose the Caucasus to them, so he attacked Armenia. The Shah used a scorched earth policy in the Araxes Valley (in Nakhchevan) and destroyed the area. He killed the Muslims in the area, but spared the Armenians, known for their skilled artisanship, negotiating skills, and dislike for Ottomans.86 Instead of killing them, he deported them to Iran. Many died during the transfer and the climate killed others. Armenians were placed in many areas all over the country. In total, the number of Armenians taken with deportations starting in 1603 was around 60,000 families or 300,000 people.87 From the 1603 deportation on, Armenians became the largest Christian sect in Iran.88

84 Samuel Hugh Moffett, A History of Christianity in Asia: 1500–1800, vol. 2 (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2005), 200. 85 Khanbaghi, The Fire, the Star and the Cross, 111. 86 The Armenians went to Cilicia in southwest Turkey in the High Middle Ages

when Armenian refugees fled the Seljuk invasion. See: Kenneth M. Setton, Robert Lee Wolff, Harry W. Hazard, eds., A History of the Crusades: The Later Crusades 1189–1311, vol. 2 (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1969), 630–59. 87 Vartan Gregorian, ‘Minorities of Isfahan: The Armenian Community of Isfahan 1587– 1722,’ Iranian Studies vol. 7, no. 3/4 (Summer–Autumn 1974): 664. 88 Khanbaghi, The Fire, the Star and the Cross, 94–96, 111–13.

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One group of Armenians fared better than the rest, the Armenians in Julfa, Nakhchevan. They were an influential group of economically secure Armenians that Shah Abbas I moved to Esfahan, the capital of Safavid Iran. They were defended by the Shah’s guards, had their own courts, their own mayor, and schools that taught in the Armenian language. The Shah even visited homes of some of the most important Armenians. While Armenians in other areas had similar privileges, New Julfa was almost a state within a state. By 1630, there were around 80,000 Armenians in this area. New Julfa became the religious and cultural centre of the Armenians in Persia. Religious freedoms were provided such as the consumption of alcohol, ringing of church bells, and building of churches. Armenians could hold their own processions and restrictions on clothing were removed. They established the first printing press in Iran,89 the first book printed being the Old Testament book of Psalms. They produced other religious literature. Missions historian Kenneth Scott Latourette called New Julfa the ‘center of religious devotion and learning’ for the Armenian people in Iran.90 The Shah’s interest in protecting Armenians lie not in that he was a benevolent leader or that he had interest in converting to Christianity— the coming of the Safavid Empire established Twelver Shi’ism as Iran’s state religion,91 a period not the kindest to other faiths—the Shah was interested in economic and political gain. Iran overtook China as Europe’s silk provider, and the Shah needed trusted, competent partners. The Armenians became this community. The Shah considered Muslim Iranians from the Turkmen aristocracy, the ones that had the majority of silk trade, a threat to his rule and incompetent traders; Europeans preferred to trade with Christians; and Ottomans refused trade with Muslim Iranians. 89 Gregorian, ‘Minorities of Isfahan’, 665–69. 90 Kenneth Scott Latourette, A History of Christianity: Reformation to the Present,

Volume II —1500–1975 (New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1975), 235–36. 91 Similar to Protestant Christianity, there are different ‘denominations’ in Shi’ism. Twelver, Sevener, and Fiver (and divisions within these denominations). The distinctions centered on the succession of imams. For a simple yet helpful explanation of the differences see: ‘Shia Diversity: Twelver, Fivers, and Sevener’, http://faroutliers.wordpress. com/2006/10/12/shia-diversity-twelvers-fivers-seveners/, site editor, Far Outliers, which is taken from Vali Nasr, The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future (New York: Norton, 2007), 75. For a more detailed explanation see: Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabatabai, Shi’ite Islam, translated by Seyyed Hossein Nasr (Albany: State University of New York Press: 1975), 75–84.

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Armenians were exceptional business people, and had trade connections with the Europeans and the Ottomans. The Shah gave the Armenians a monopoly on silk because of their business acumen and their relationships, which provided a land bridge from Iran to Europe, rendering maritime routes controlled by competing European nations superfluous. The Armenians in return gave the Shah a percentage of the revenue, which provided him an additional source of income and ruined the Turkmen’s business.92 Armenians’ skills were multifaceted. Aside from trading silk, Armenians collected precious stones and introduced novelties into Iran such as tennis, bowling, cards, and watches. They also had connections with Russia, strengthened ties with Europe, and were attached to the Safavid court. However, in the late 1600s, the government’s position on Armenians changed. Many of their privileges were revoked and by the end of the century, there was little difference between the Armenians and other religious minorities.93 Nonetheless, their significance remained. Few converted to Islam; the Armenians became another reminder of the compatibility of Christianity in Iran. Robin Waterfield notes their influence, ‘The incorporation of a large body of Christians into the very heartland of Persia and their continuing presence in the country was to have a very considerable effect on the future of Persia. From now on they [Iranians] were always confronted with a body of devoted Christians, who inspite of many attempts to induce them to abandon their faith and adopt Islam very rarely did so’.94 Qajar-Pahlavi Dynasties (1796–1979) As will be seen in the next section, missionaries from Western Protestant organisations dominated Christianity in Iran during much of this time, but a few words concerning Armenians are warranted. Armenians were still involved in international trade and attained influential positions in government.95 During the Constitutional period, they were involved in

92 Gregorian, ‘Minorities of Isfahan’, 669–70. 93 Khanbaghi, The Fire, the Star and the Cross, 117–20, 128–29. 94 Waterfield, Christians in Persia, 63. 95 Hamid Algar, ‘Religious Forces in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Iran’, The Cambridge History of Iran: From the Nadir Shah to the Islamic Republic, vol. 7, eds. Peter

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its defence.96 Armenians were given representation in Parliament and the tax on non-Muslims was also abolished during Qajar times.97 Armenians were respected and admired in Iranian culture. Here, a word needs to be mentioned about the Armenian Genocide that occurred in and around World War I. While the Turkish government denies there was a systematic and intentional killing of Armenians and that the Armenians that died were part of wartime activities, around 1.5 million Armenians were killed through a variety of means by the Ottomans.98 The Armenians of Iran were affected by this, so much so there is an Armenian genocide memorial structure located in Esfahan. Shireen Hunter explains: The Armenian encounter with the Ottoman Turks has left an especially deep imprint on their collective psyche. By contrast, Iranian-Armenian relations have historically been mostly, although not always, cordial. Certainly, the Armenians have no harsh memories of Iran, and consequently most Armenians have positive feelings toward Iran. These experiences still affect the region’s peoples related to their immediate surroundings and the rest of the world.99

Avery, Gavin Hambly, and Charles Melville (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 730. 96 H. E. Chehabi and Vanessa Martin, Iran’s Constitutional Revolution: Popular Politics, Cultural Transformations and Transnational Connections (London: I. B. Tauris, 2010), 21, 39. 97 Daniel Tsadik, ‘The Legal Status of Religious Minorities: Imami Shi’i Law and Iran’s Constitutional Revolution’, Islamic Law and Society vol. 10, no. 3 (2003): 406–07. 98 For a helpful summary see: ‘Q&A: Armenian Genocide Dispute’, 2 June 2016, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-16352745, site editor, British Broadcasting Network. Assyrians were also killed during the same war by the Ottomans. Ronald G. Roberson, The Eastern Christian Churches (Rome: Edizioni, 1993), 8, states: ‘During World War I, the Assyrians suffered massive deportations and massacres at the hands of the Turks…. About one third of the Assyrian population perished’. 99 Shireen T. Hunter, ‘Conflict in the Caucasus and the Black Sea Region: Causes and Prospects for Resolution’, Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (1997), 5– 6, in Julien Zarifian, ‘Christian Armenia, Islamic Iran: Two (Not so) Strange Companions Geopolitical Stakes and Significance of a Special Relationship’, Iran and the Caucasus vol. 12, no. 1 (2008): 130.

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Indeed, former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami even laid a wreath at the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan during a 2004 commemoration.100 Armenians also played a role in modern Protestant missions with some Armenians becoming evangelistic during the time of Mohammed Reza Shah. By the 1970s, there were evangelical Armenians pastoring churches in Iran. According to some Assemblies of God missionaries, one Armenian pastor, Haik Hovsepian-Mehr, was able to preach to several million Muslims as at least one sermon was televised.101 Presently, Armenians have respected positions in the current Islamic Republic’s government, although several Armenians have died for proselytising their faith.102 Protestant Missionaries in Iran During the Qajar period Iran became a focal point for Western Protestant missions. While Roman Catholic missionaries had been in Iran earlier, soon Protestants overtook them in number and influence, with Protestant missionaries mostly arising from among Anglicans in the United Kingdom and Presbyterians in the United States. From the beginning of Protestant missionary activity in Iran, there was impetus for relations, if not cooperation, between Western governmental officials and Western missionaries. Cooperation between Western bureaucrats and Western missionaries, in turn, provided missionaries with connections with Iranian governmental representatives. English missionary Henry Martyn, considered the first Protestant missionary to Iran in the Qajar era (though the first Protestant missionaries to Iran actually arrived before the start of the Protestant Modern Missions Movement in 1747),103 is an example of this cooperation. Martyn arrived in Iran in 1811 under the protection of both the British and Iranian governments. As a result, Martyn was able to debate with Iranian Muslim religious leaders, write a polemical treatise against Islam, and translate the New Testament into Persian. While 100 Ibid., 131. 101 Mark and Gladys Bliss to Friends in Christ, March 1973, transcript of type-written

letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO. 102 Faith J. H. McDonnell, ‘Iran’s Decades of Christian Persecution’, 2 February 2011, http://www.aina.org/news/20110204114914.htm. 103 Robin E. Waterfield, Christians in Persia: Assyrians, Armenians, Roman Catholics and Protestants (London: George Allen, 1973), 89.

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Iranian Muslim religious leaders wrote responses to his tract, which gave rise to a new religious genre among Shias in Iran,104 Martyn’s contact with the British Government allowed him to have one of the British envoys present Fath Ali Shah with his translation of the New Testament. The Shah received the New Testament, but Iranians began to consider Western Christianity political instead of apolitical, ‘identified with a foreign government’,105 instead of culturally neutral. The Qajar period provides information that helps contextualise the interaction between Iranians and non-Iranians, and Muslims and nonMuslims. Abbas Amanat and Fakhreddin Azimi note that the Qajar and Pahlavi eras provide more Persian primary source material than other periods, although there is unevenness in scholarship, as evidenced in how the material was preserved and used.106 As the Qajar period was a time when multiple ideological considerations were developing, including dialogue and interaction between faiths, a polemical treatise against Islam entitled, Mizan al-Haqq [Truth and Facts] was written. The treatise is divided into three sections that attempts to defend the Christian faith to Iranians. It discusses Muslim beliefs regarding the Bible and addresses the Prophet Mohammed, the Quran, and the history of the spread of Islam. It compares and contrasts Islam with Christianity, calling the former a ‘religion of war’ and the latter a ‘religion of peace’ and asserts that the Quran is inconsistent and contains errors. Although abrasive in his approach, its message specifically is for the Iranian people and uses Persian sources to corroborate his claims. The Islamic theologian Mohammed Masum Shirazi, who lived in the area near where Martyn evangelised, in his three-volume work, called Martyn a ‘hakimi nasrani’ [Nazarene or Christian sage], out of respect for Martyn’s intelligence and comprehension of

104 Reza Tabandeh, ‘The Rise of Ni’matullahi Shi’ite Sufism in Early NineteenthCentury Qajar Persia: Husayn Ali Shah Majdub Ali Shah, Mast Ali Shah and their Battle with Islamic Fundamentalism’ (PhD Diss, Exeter University, 2013), 120. 105 A. Christian van Gorder, Christianity in Persia and the Status of Non-Muslims in Iran (Plymouth, UK: Lexington Books, 2010), 124. 106 Abbas Amanat, ‘Legend, Legitimacy and Making a National Narrative in the Histo-

riography of Qajar Iran’, in Persian Historiography ed. Charles Melville (London: I. B. Tauris, 2012), 294, 364; Fakhreddin Azimi, ‘Historiography in the Pahlavi Era’, in Persian Historiography ed. Charles Melville (London: I. B. Tauris, 2012), 431. Adamiyat, ‘Problems in Iranian Historiography’, 136, remarks that the Pahlavi period is when Persian historiography began to include more objective interpretations.

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Islam.107 For example, when Martyn proposes that the Prophet cannot know God properly or as intimately as Christians, he quotes Iranian Muhammad Taqqi, a religious leader in Kashan to substantiate his claims: shenakhtan zaht vahjeb oloojude jel shahneyeh meal ast… monlughrah bah khalgh va momken rah bah vahjeb rah be ghadeem vah fahneera bah baghe heech goneh moahsebati neest keeyeh tonad zaht ahnrah shenakht – vah ahzeen jehet ast keeyeh pieghambare mah taam keey ahfzel azh hameh pieghambaran ast farmoodeh – mah ‘afonale hagh mooreftele.108

Martyn’s critical examination of Islam led to 28 tracts being written in response.109 Western Christianity being connected to foreign administrations continued throughout the Qajar and Pahlavi eras. As a result of the missionaries’ relationship with the Iranian Government, they were permitted to build schools and medical institutions, which helped develop the country. While literacy rates increased and healthcare advanced, the missionaries’ motives were not entirely humanitarian. They used educational and medical professions as an evangelistic strategy. Open evangelism itself began with non-Muslim, often Christianised Assyrian or Armenian peoples with the goal of having these converts evangelise their Muslim counterparts. Eventually, missionaries shared the gospel directly with Iranian Muslims. Nevertheless, few Iranian Muslims converted. Indeed, the weight of American Protestant missionaries in Iran was undeniable. For example, in the 1940s, 40% of Iranian Christians lived in villages, 40% dwelt in provincial cities, and 20% resided in Tehran. Twenty years later, during the White Revolution, the demographics had changed. By the 1960s, 18% of Iranian Christians lived in villages with

107 Muhammad Masum Shirazi, Taraiq al-Haqaiq [Truth and Facts], vol. 3 (Tehran: . Sanai Publications, 1966). Shirazi’s work, originally written in the 1800s but reprinted in the 1960s, is one of the more comprehensive defenses of Islam composed by an Iranian in the modern era. It was used in both Qajar and Pahavi eras (and is still used today). 108 Ibid., 300. The English translation: ‘Between the created and the Creator, the Conditioned and the Absolute, the recent and the Ancient, the temporal and the Eternal, there is no kind of resemblance, so that it should be possible to know His Nature. And it is on the account that our Prophet who is superior to all the prophets has said, “We have not known Thee with due knowledge of Thee”’. 109 Tabandeh, ‘The Rise of Ni’matullahi Shi’ite Sufism in Early Nineteenth-Century Qajar Persia’, 120.

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21 and 61% residing in provincial cities and in Tehran, respectively.110 During this transition from rural to urban, Presbyterian missionary Cady Allen understood the influence that American missionaries had on Iranian Society, particularly in healthcare and education. He quoted an Iranian governmental officer regarding Presbyterian influence: The foundation of Iran–American relations and friendship was laid as early as the beginning of the 19th century, when a group of dedicated American missionaries established medical and educational institutions at Rezaiyeh in the province of Azerbaijan, and later on in other main centers, such as Teheran, Tabriz, Hamadan, Meshed and Rasht. These Presbyterian missionaries built churches and schools, hospitals and dispensaries, and devoted their life and energy to public welfare, charitable work, and to the advancement of the common good. They developed a keen appreciation of Persian culture and tradition and cultivated deep and enduring personal friendships. The high quality of loyal and selfless service rendered by American missionaries in Iran paved the way for a better understanding of the American way of life and democratic ideas. Many of the younger generations in Iran, who graduated from American Mission schools were imbued with a new sense of purpose and social responsibility and many parents were impressed with the benefactions of American education and social order.111

Reza Shah earlier had promoted a similar idea of Iranian racial makeup,112 which was continued under his son Mohammed Reza Shah. With the crowning of Mohammed Reza Shah, Iran’s Government allowed Western missionaries additional freedoms to practise their faith. Mohammed Reza Shah’s personal experience with Western Christianity— his sister converted to Roman Catholicism in the 1940s113 —enabled him to be more open towards the faith. Evangelistic crusades, baptisms, and other overt Christian endeavours became more prevalent. It was during

110 William H. Hooper Jr., Charles F. Stratton, Kenneth J. Thomas, ‘Report of the Training team to Synod, 1965’, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 111 Allen, ‘Muslim Responses to the Christian Witness in Iran’. 112 See Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, The Shah’s Story, for additional information. 113 Fakhreddin Azimi, The Quest for Democracy in Iran: A Century of Struggle against

Authoritarian Rule (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008), 237.

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the tenure of Mohammed Reza Shah that American missions in Iran reached a high point. One missions organisation, the Foreign Mission Board, held an Area General Meeting in Tehran for its missionaries serving in Iran and other countries because of the security Iran offered.114 The idea of closeness with the West encouraged nationalism and brought praise for American missions. In a paper presented for the Bicentennial Celebrations of American Independence at Pahlavi University in Shiraz, Iran, politician Ali Pasha Saleh praised American missionaries and called the United States the hero of freedom in Iran. Saleh connected the Constitutional Revolution with the American Revolution and described missionary Howard Baskerville as a missionary who died fighting for Iranian freedom during the Constitutional Revolution, the ‘Lafayette of Iran’.115 Dehqani-Tafti delivered a sermon that highlighted the contributions of Cyrus the Great to the development of the Church and how the Church played a role in the formation of the Iranian nation.116 Freedom came with a price, however; as long as the missionaries supported the Shah, they had liberty to operate. This favourable treatment, compared with the Shah’s brutality towards his own people and the deep social pressures that arose with rapid modernisation, meant that Iranian resentment towards the Shah and his ideology grew, which affected those connected with him, particularly Westerners, including American missionaries. Muslim leaders arose who defended Islam as part of Iran’s national identity, and many Iranians opposed the Shah on patriotic grounds. The connection between Protestant missionaries, their governments, and the Iranian state did not cease until the Islamic Revolution.

114 ‘Tehran Conference’ (Richmond, VA: International Mission Board Archives, 1969,

photocopied). 115 Ali Pasha Saleh, ‘Cultural Ties Between Iran and the United States’, 15−16 September 1975, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 116 Durwood Busse, ‘1971 Annual Narrative Report’, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA.

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Other Christians Groups Georgians in Iran Georgians, similar to Armenians, have their own Christian history apart from being in Iran. Around the fourth century, they adopted the Christianity with St Nino, a women evangelist, bringing the faith into the country. Around the sixth century, Georgian Christianity became more solidified in its Orthodox beliefs with the ‘Thirteen Fathers’, though some argue Georgian Christianity has an ‘unbroken line’ of Orthodox doctrine dating to the patriarchs.117 Also similar to Armenians, Georgians were moved to Iran around the same time,118 from the Safavid to Qajar periods, sometime forced, sometimes at their own volition. Around 225,00 Georgians came to Iran during the first two centuries of Safavid rule, with the main migration occur in seventeenth century; 5000 families arrived during Afsharid rule; and 15,000 people migrated during the Qajar era.119 During the migration initiated by Shah Abbas I, who also moved the Armenians, Georgia lost two-thirds of its population.120 While the Armenians were known for their artisanship, Georgians were known for their military skill, especially during Safavid times.121 The Shah’s personal guard included 12,000 Georgians, and they formed the foundation of the Iranian army, with 25,000 cavalry members.122 Their aptitude prompted one person to write in 1619 that ‘the strength of the Persian army [was] the Georgian soldiers’. Georgians assimilated into Iranian culture; however, unlike the Armenians, throughout their 117 Emma Loosley Leeming, Architecture and Asceticism: Cultural Interaction Between Syria and Georgia in Late Antiquity (Leiden: Brill, 2018), 9−11. 118 Rudi Matthee, ‘Was Safavid Iran an Empire?’, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient vol. 53, no. 1 (2010): 245. 119 Babak Rezvani, ‘Iranian Georgians: Prerequisites for a Research’, Iran and the Caucasus vol. 13, no. 1 (2009): 197. The author points out that this is according to Georgian sources. According to Iranian data the numbers are: 245,000, 30,000, and 22,000 people respectively. 120 Nino Chikhladze, ‘Reflections of Georgian-Iranian Cultural Interrelations in Seventeenth-Century Georgian Fine Art’, Iran and the Caucasus vol. 7, no. 1 (2003): 184. 121 Vartan Gregorian, ‘Minorities of Isfahan: The Armenian Community of Isfahan 1587−1722’, Iranian Studies vol. 7, no. 3/4 (Summer-Autumn 1974): 665. 122 Ibid., 525.

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history in Iran, they often adopted the Islamic faith (this was a prerequisite for going the military),123 and therefore are only briefly mentioned. Currently, there are about 61,000124 −65,000 Georgians in Iran.125 Roman Catholic Missionaries in Iran While the book focuses on Protestants and not Catholic missions to Iran, Roman Catholic missionaries need a brief mention. Roman Catholic missionaries arrived soon after the Portuguese capture of Hormuz Island in the 1500s. The missionaries served a dual purpose: to the church and to the state. Often these responsibilities were blurred. To the church, evangelism was a priority. To the state, governmental responsibilities were paramount. To Safavid leadership, missionaries acted as intermediaries between Iranian and European leadership; evangelistic activities were tolerated to varying degrees. The Europeans saw the Safavids as a potential helper in their war against the Turks. When Shah Abbas I began his rule, he welcomed Catholic missionaries and gave them freedom to operate. He allowed several European Christian communities to build churches in Esfahan, the capital.126 The spiritual success of Catholic missions among Iran’s majority population was rather small. Few Muslims converted. Eventually, this led missionaries to concentrate on non-Catholic Iranians and expatriate Europeans. With the recently passed missives of the Council of Trent (1545–1563) that focused on the union of the Eastern Church with Rome, the Armenians of Iran, the largest Christian sect in Iran, became a priority. Historian Rudi Matthee cites experts of the times who state that unifying the Armenians with the Catholics would have gone a long way towards the Papacy’s goal of

123 D. M. Lang, ‘Georgia and the Fall of the Safavi Dynasty’, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies vol. 13, no. 3 (1952): 523−26. 124 Babak Rezvani, ‘Iranian Georgians: Prerequisites for a Research’, Iran and the

Caucasus vol. 13, no. 1 (2009): 197. 125 ‘Georgians in Iran’, https://joshuaproject.net/people_groups/11865/IR, site editor, The Joshua Project, accessed 18 March 2020. 126 ‘The Dominican House in Isfahan 1657’, http://www.irandoms.org/Isfahan.htm, site editor, Saint Abraham’s Church, Tehran and The Dominicans in Iran, accessed 8 October 2013.

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having a ‘New Rome’, a ‘self governing city of Oriental and Latin Christians’.127 Currently, there are few (if any) Roman Catholic missionaries in Iran, although there are a number of Roman Catholic churches across the country.

Conclusion Christianity and Iran have a shared history. From the Old Testament to the present day there has been some type of witness in Iran. Two prominent sects, the ethnic Assyrians and Armenians, played a role in this record. Overall, both Assyrian and Armenian Christianity largely fell under the same conditions (intermittent persecution and increased taxation interspersed with toleration and autonomy), except that Assyrians became the leading form of Christianity through the Mongol period and Armenians became the leading form of the faith from Safavid times to the Islamic Republic numbering around 500,000 in 1980.128 Assyrians often were evangelistic in their faith spreading eastward to Central Asia and China. In modern times, during the formation of Iraq, Christian minorities were protected through the period of Saddam Hussein, though now many have fled because of persecution suffered under the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The Assyrian counterparts, the Armenians, usually did not try to evangelise the peoples of Iran or the surrounding

127 Rudi Matthee, ‘The Politics of Protection: Iberian Missionaries in Safavid Iran under Shah Abbas I (1587−1629)’, Contact and Controversies between Muslims, Jews and Christians in the Ottoman Empire and Pre-Modern Iran, eds. Camilla Adang and Sabine Schmidtke (Baden, Germany, Ergon Verlag Wurzburg, 2010), 257−64. 128 ‘The Status of Iran’s Non-Muslim Minorities’, 30 July 1980, https://www.cia.gov/ library/readingroom/document/cia-rdp85t00287r000101800001-3, site editor, Central Intelligence Agency. Richard Foltz, Religions of Iran: From Prehistory to Present (London: Oneworld, 2013), 122, suggests the number of Armenian and Assyrian Christians in Iran currently could be less than 55,000. However, ‘People Group Profile’, http://joshuapro ject.net/people-profile.php, states the total number of Armenian and Assyrians numbers around 200,000.

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cultures129 ; instead, Armenians integrated into Persian Society.130 Armenians eventually lived in every major city in Iran, left a positive impression on Iranians, showed that Iran had Christian roots, reminded Iranians of global Christianity, demonstrated to Iranians that one can be simultaneously Christian and Iranian, and showed that the Christian faith can be integrated into Iranian culture.131 Other Christian groups such as the Georgians in Iran and Roman Catholic missionaries in Iran, while having a presence and impact, were not the focus of this study and/or did not rise to the same influence as the aforementioned groups.

129 Hagop A. Chakmakjian, Armenian Christology and Evangelization of Islam: A Survey of the Relevance of the Christology of the Armenian Apostolic Church to Armenian Relations with Its Muslim Environment (Leiden: Brill, 1965), 62, argues that nationalism along with ceremonialism of the Armenian Church and sacredotalism of the Armenian hierarchy were the main reasons for lack of evangelism. 130 S. H. Taqizadeh, ‘The Iranian Festivals Adopted by the Christians and Condemned by the Jews’, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies vol. 10, no. 3 (1940): 653. 131 Bradley, Iran and Christianity, 147.

CHAPTER 3

A Brief History of Iran During the Modern Era

Introduction Coinciding with the beginnings of the Protestant Modern Missions Movement in the West was the rise of the Qajars in Iran. Beginning in 1796 and ending in 1921, the Qajars regained much of Iran’s lost geographic territory during previous ages, cultivated meaningful connections with the West, and oversaw a development of intellectual and cultural life. As Keddie notes, this was an evolutionary phase in Iran’s history from pre-modernity to modernity.1 It was a time when different ideas were expressed, and certain notions uncommon in Iran until this point were promoted. Iran was beginning to experience incipient forms of modernisation, though it would not take hold until the rise of the Pahlavis.2 This period witnessed uprisings also, external and internal, due to Western encroachment and lack of governmental reform. Russia and Britain, the two main powers vying for influence in Iran, partitioned Iran into spheres of influence, with Russia in control of the north and Britain in control of the south. Iran vacillated in its patronage towards Russia

1 Nikki R. Keddie, Qajar Iran and the Rise of Reza Khan, 1796−1925 (Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda, 1999), 1, 14−19. 2 Homa Katouzian, The Persians: Ancient, Mediaeval and Modern Iran (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009), 141.

© The Author(s) 2020 P. O. Hopkins, American Missionaries in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-51214-9_3

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and Britain, sometimes supporting one over the other. Western infiltration into Iranian Society occurred in many ways, with loans, goods, and Western schools and medical institutions being established and advanced. Travel abroad to places such as Istanbul and India exposed Iranians to Western ideas about society and culture. The combination of these factors led Iranians to become gradually suspicious of foreigners and to become frustrated with a government that seemingly did little to inspire change.3 Among Iran’s elite, both religious and secular, nationalism arose. While not homogenous in their understanding of nationalism,4 the elite were unified in their growing discontentment with the administration, and they realised that reform was needed. The nationalism of the Iranian elite gave rise to the Constitutional Revolution, a movement that altered Iran’s governmental structure.5 While the Constitutional Revolution itself was a failure, as many of the reforms were not completely enacted—in part because of the lack of popular support—it led to a constitution and parliament being established and paved the way for modernisation. According to Stephanie Cronin, the revolution helped transform Iranian culture as it created important institutions and developed a means for popular politics.6 Merchants began to become their own class, representative politics started with limited suffrage, and municipalities and civic responsibilities grew. Accountability in the public sphere led to the enactment of the first Freedom of the Press Law in 1908, which afforded some protection to the media and allowed it to criticise governmental actions.7 The Constitutional Revolution focused also on the defence of both human rights and

3 Keddie, Qajar Iran and the Rise of Reza Khan, 36, 44, 45. 4 Ali M. Ansari, Modern Iran Since 1921: The Pahlavis and After (London: Pearson,

2003), 4. 5 Much of this paragraph is gleaned from Philip O. Hopkins, ‘Review of H. E. Chehabi and Vanessa Martin, eds. Iran’s Constitutional Revolution: Popular Politics, Cultural Transformations and Transnational Connections (London: I. B. Tauris, 2010)’, in Iran and the Caucasus vol. 15, no. 1 (2011): 337−41. 6 Stephanie Cronin, ‘The Constitutional Revolution, Popular Politics, and StateBuilding’, in Iran’s Constitutional Revolution: Popular Politics, Cultural Transformations and Transnational Connections (London: I. B. Tauris, 2010), ed. H. E. Chehabi and Vanessa Martin, 83. 7 Pardis Minuchehr, ‘Writing in Tehran: The First Freedom of the Press Law’, in Iran’s Constitutional Revolution: Popular Politics, Cultural Transformations and Transnational Connections (London: I. B. Tauris, 2010), ed. H. E. Chehabi and Vanessa Martin, 237−38.

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the rights of the state over foreign governments.8 Other countries in this era, such as Turkey with the Young Ottomans and Egypt with the Urabi movement, were experiencing similar leanings, the revolution seemed to be ‘an Iranian manifestation of an international trend’.9 During the period between the end of the Constitutional Revolution and World War I, Britain came to assume greater authority in Iran with the discovery of oil, coupled with the Bolshevik Revolution that refocused Russia’s attention. Soon after the war, in part because Iranians desired a strong central government and a national identity separate from foreign control, the Pahlavis took power from the Qajars. The embryonic ideas of modernisation that arose with the Constitutional Revolution came to fruition with the new Pahlavi leader, Reza Khan, known as Reza Shah. Reza Shah could very well be considered the father of modernity in Iran and, as Homa Katouzian remarks, nationalism under Reza Shah became inspired by ‘a sense of anger and shame because of cultural decline, economic backwardness, and political impotence, and propelled by the real and imagined achievements of ancient Persia…romantically proud of Cyrus and “the Aryan race”’.10 With modernisation came Westernisation, the two often being equated,11 and with Westernisation came continued Western involvement and increased secularisation. The West’s commitment to Iran was a source of creative tension: Iran desired the modern advances of the West but did not want the Western cultural baggage that came with it. While secularisation proved unpopular among certain Iranians, including some of Iran’s academics and religious leaders, Keddie notes the substantial progress that occurred under Pahlavi rule: ‘Virtually all the significant modern elements in Iran – public education, industry, tariff autonomy, and health services – were built up in the half century between 1925 and 1976’.12 8 Ali Gheissari, ‘Constitutional Rights and the Development of Civil Laws in Iran, 1907– 1941’, in Iran’s Constitutional Revolution: Popular Politics, Cultural Transformations and Transnational Connections (London: I. B. Tauris, 2010), ed. H. E. Chehabi and Vanessa Martin, 72. 9 Cronin, ‘The Constitutional Revolution, Popular Politics, and State-Building’, 97. 10 Homa Katouzian, State and Society in Iran: The Eclipse of the Qajars and the

Emergence of the Pahlavis (London: I. B. Tauris, 2006), 324−25. 11 Shireen Mahdavi, ‘Shahs, Doctors, Diplomats and Missionaries 19th Century Iran’, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies vol. 32, no. 2 (November 2005): 170. 12 Keddie, Qajar Iran and the Rise of Reza Khan, 89.

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With the abdication of Reza Shah and the crowning of his son Mohammed Reza Shah, the American Government became the leading foreign power in Iran. Prior to World War II, the United States was not as involved in Iran’s affairs as other countries13 —in certain ways Americans were appealing to Iranians as Iranians considered them impartial outsiders, friends of the Iranians who did not meddle in internal affairs. Most American governmental involvement prior to this time came as a result of Presbyterian missionary requests.14 Nevertheless, with the onset of the Cold War and a socialist movement beginning in Iran, the threat of communism increased anxiety over American involvement. As the democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq appeared to have affinities with the communist party, the United States succumbed to British requests and overthrew Mosaddeq’s government, which solidified Mohammed Reza Shah’s domestic autonomy and the United States’ influence over Iran’s foreign affairs.

The White Revolution During the 1960s, Mohammed Reza Shah began a series of reforms he called the ‘White Revolution’, which ostensibly helped to modernise Iran. With the White Revolution, Mohammed Reza Shah centralised a bureaucratic system under his authority. While the White Revolution was more of a political and nationalist movement designed by the Shah’s government to consolidate Pahlavi power, the policies advanced were supposed to provide food, housing, clothing, healthcare, and education for everyone,15 not just those in urban areas or those with wealth. The White Revolution helped to develop the country, but it also conflicted with the customs and practices of the Islamic clergy, bazaaris, and others who tended to uphold conservative ideals. Critics argued that the policies of the Pahlavis, and the corresponding Westernisation that came with

13 Michael P. Zirinsky, ‘Render Therefore unto Caesar the Things Which are Caesar’s American Presbyterian Educators and Reza Shah’, Iranian Studies vol. 26, no. 3/4 (Summer/Fall 1993): 338. 14 Michael P. Zirinsky, ‘A Panacea for the Ills of the Country: American Presbyterian Education in Inter-War Iran’, Iranian Studies vol. 26, no. 1/2 (Winter/Spring 1993): 121. 15 Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, The Shah’s Story, translated by Teresa Waugh (London: Michael Joseph, 1980), 71−73.

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them, eroded long-held Iranian values. There was a disconnect between the Shah and the Iranian people in part because the poor no longer had an economic safety net with the landowners, in many ways the mediators of society, whose political power was curtailed with land reform. The ulama, the clerical administrative body, and the merchants were becoming dissatisfied with the Shah’s treatment of them. The discontentment of students—thousands of whom were educated abroad and were influenced by student uprisings in France—combined with the (incorrect)16 belief that the Shah’s rule was being dominated by the West, caused a number of divergent interests to become aligned, leading to considerable and recurrent protests. Mohammed Reza Shah suppressed opposition with the use of the SAVAK, the Iranian secret police, to persecute and violate the human rights of dissenters, furthered undermined his reign and added to the growing unpopularity of his rule.17 Dissatisfaction increased as those loyal to the Pahlavis, including Christian missionaries, were given preferential treatment. The Shah recognised the ideals of the White Revolution relied on Western technology and management. Westernisation was a ‘welcome ordeal’18 that ‘moulded my [the Shah’s] character to an extent that was second only to my father’s influence’.19 Mohammed Reza Shah also believed Iran had a ‘completely independent foreign policy’ from the West.20 While not entirely correct, the diaries of Asadollah Alam, minister of the royal court and Prime Minister from 1964 to 1966, confirm that Mohammed Reza Shah did not acquiesce to every wish of the United States. Mohammed Reza Shah regarded the United States and Iran as ‘equals’.21 When it came to President Jimmy Carter, Alam believed it was the Iranians who had superior intellect, calling Carter ‘an ignorant peasant boy’ and a ‘bloody demagogue’.22 In certain cases, Iran diverged from

16 Katouzian, State and Society in Iran, 266. 17 Ansari, Modern Iran Since 1921, 193−94. 18 Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, Mission to My Country, 140. 19 Ibid., 52 20 Mohammed Reza Pahlavi Aryamehr, The White Revolution, 151. 21 Asadollah Alam, The Shah and I: The Confidential Diaries of Iran’s Royal Court,

1968−1977 , translated by Alinaghi Alikhani and Nicholas (London: I. B. Tauris, 2008), 438. 22 Ibid., 500, 519.

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America’s wishes, perhaps because Mohammed Reza Shah desired that the United States respect Iranian autonomy. The Shah is quoted as saying: ‘America must be made to realize that we are an independent sovereign power and will make way for no one’.23 The Shah believed Iran could be the country to bridge the divide between Western and non-Western civilisations,24 as opposed to Saudi Arabia, which was called an ‘American colony’.25 The Shah became increasingly despotic and eschewed a constitutional and democratic system for an autocratic one that advanced the idea of a charismatic leader/saviour who would act as a benevolent ruler in the manner of Cyrus the Great. The Shah believed he had an esoteric divine right; he supposed he was guided by God to supersede the laws of government and to maintain authority for the greater good of the country. The Shah thought his ‘calling’ was similar to that of religious leaders,26 a conviction that God divinely inspired him to look after his country. With the Religious Corps, an initiative of the White Revolution that comprised Islamic scholars from the din-e dowlat , the Shah believed the White Revolution’s principles organically were Iranian and Muslim, almost, as Braswell states, an ‘Iranian national symbol … under the auspices of the “Prophet” and his followers’.27 As the disagreements between the Islam that the Pahlavis promoted and the Islam that those who opposed the regime advanced have been documented by others, here it is sufficient to state that Mohammed Reza Shah had become a polarising figure with the continued rapid modernisation that began under his father—the changes led to a breakdown in the traditional power system. While the Shah and the din-e dowlat may have presented itself as pro-Western, and while Ayatollah Khomeini and the din-e mellat may have represented itself as anti-Western, this is not entirely accurate, as both assumed Islam as their religion, used an epistemological grid grounded in Western Enlightenment thought,28 and, as has recently been revealed, both parties were connected to the 23 Ibid., 46. 24 Mohammed Reza Pahlavi Aryamehr, The White Revolution, 151. 25 Alam, The Shah and I , 364. 26 Braswell, ‘A Mosaic of Mullahs and Mosques’, 189. 27 Ibid., 236−38. 28 Ansari, The Politics of Nationalism in Modern Iran, 1−34.

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United States. A newly declassified Central Intelligence Agency document reveals that Ayatollah Khomeini himself understood the need for American involvement in Iran as early as 1963.29 It is important also to note that while both factions believed in the greatness of Iran and the importance of the Persian language to society—vital points that are addressed later—both grappled with integrating the advances of modernisation—its intended and unintended consequences—with an increasingly outdated Iranian infrastructure. Perhaps more justified is that the din-e dowlat and din-e mellat differed regarding the interpretation of Islam, with the former emphasising the modernisation of Iran over time-honoured values and the latter stressing tradition over innovation. In short, the din-e dowlat and the din-e mellat disagreed on what it meant to be Iranian. Regarding American missionaries and Western missionaries in general, the din-e dowlat and din-e mellat’s differences displayed an increasingly polarised elite that questioned the Christian workers’ position in Iranian Society. To many Iranians, while they enjoyed the din-e dowlat’s civil religion, which allowed for greater separation of the state from Islam, they perceived America’s support for the Shah as a hindrance to the ideals they espoused.30 While America backed the ideas of the White Revolution because it seemed to deter Communism31 and gave Americans opportunities in Iran for employment and to influence policy, not all Iranians agreed with the Shah. However innocent and noble the blueprint appeared, the implementation of the White Revolution betrayed an ideology that destabilised the Shah’s opponents and solidified his authority.32 The effects of land reform in particular, arguably the most important and controversial principle, curbed the upper class’ influence and hurt the ulama’s financial 29 ‘Islam in Iran’, 31 August 1979, https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/ CIA-RDP81B00401R000400110013-5.pdf, 67, site editor, Central Intelligence Agency, accessed on 14 August 2017. Note: the section specifically related to this has now been blacked out in the CIA. For the quotation see: Kambiz Fattahi, ‘Two Weeks in January: America’s Secret Engagement with Khomeini’, BBC News, 3 June 2016, accessed on 3 January 2018, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-36431160. 30 George Braswell, To Ride a Magic Carpet: How One American’s Fascination with Old Persia Leads to Genuine Communication with Modern Muslims (Nashville, TN: Broadman, 1977), 128−29. 31 Mohsen M. Milani, The Making of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, 2nd ed. (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1988), 45. 32 Braswell, ‘A Mosaic of Mullahs and Mosques’, 195.

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resources.33 Regarding land reform, the Shah’s scheme required proprietors who owned a large amount of property to sell a percentage to the Government, who would then give it to those who worked the ground. The stated objective of land reform was to end traditional ‘feudalism’ and provide working-class Iranians with an opportunity to own land and, thus, help develop Iran into a more progressive society.34 The din-e mellat appeared, at least in the beginning, willing to compromise. In 1959, before the plan was enacted, the highest-ranking Iranian theologian, Ayatollah Hossein Borujerdi, stated that although he disagreed with the Shah’s proposal—as he believed it was against shari’a law—land not being used could be given to those who needed it,35 thus maintaining the traditional balance of power while at the same time providing for those in poverty. In particular, with land reform, Ansari notes that the land owners and ulama highlighted three fundamental flaws: (1) they disagreed that the current structure was feudalist; (2) they did not believe the Shah’s plan represented progress; and (3) they thought it was immoral (it violated Islamic law) and illegal (it was unconstitutional). Furthermore, Ansari notes that the juxtaposition between the two parties continued throughout the rest of the Shah’s tenure as leader of Iran.36 Borujerdi’s suggestion was not accepted.37 Overheated rhetoric led to uprisings,38 with Ayatollah Khomeini starting an ‘open war’ with the Shah.39 Ayatollah Khomeini’s students submitted a ten-point proposal that asked for the implementation of the Constitution of 1906, especially Article Two, which gave the ulama veto power over the majles, the national legislative body.40 Many of the religious leaders who opposed

33 Milani, The Making of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, 47. 34 Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, The Shah’s Story, 71−73. 35 Shahrough Akhavi, Religion and Politics in Contemporary Iran: Clergy-State Relations in the Pahlavi Period (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1980), 91−94. 36 Ali M. Ansari, ‘The Myth of the White Revolution: Mohammed Reza Shah, “Modernization” and the Consultation of Power’, Middle Eastern Studies vol. 37, no. 3 (July 2001): 9−11. 37 Milani, The Making of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, xx. 38 Braswell, ‘A Mosaic of Mullahs and Mosques’, 195. 39 Milani, The Making of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, xx. 40 Braswell, ‘A Mosaic of Mullahs and Mosques’, 195.

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the Shah believed Mohammed Reza Shah was overstepping his responsibility. Reportedly, Ayatollah Mohammed Hadi Milani condemned the Shah, stating, ‘It is not you [the Shah] who decides what is right, it is I and the “Ulama”’. Ayatollah Khomeini concurred. Instead of the Shah determining the laws, Ayatollah Khomeini believed it should be an Islamic Government under the authority of Allah. He explained: In that type of government, the rulers are empowered over the property and persons of those they rule and may dispose of them entirely as they wish. Islam has not the slightest connection with this form and method of government. For this reason we find that in [an] Islamic government, unlike monarchical and imperial regimes, there is not the slightest trace of vast palaces, opulent buildings, servants and retainers, private equerries, adjutants to the heir apparent, and all the other appurtenances of monarchy that consume as much as half of the national budget.41

The riots in Qom in 1963 and the legal immunity given to American governmental officials in 1964 only strengthened the belief the din-e mellat had regarding the negative effects of Western involvement in Iran’s affairs. The Shah’s dependency on the ‘imperialist West’42 appeared obvious because of his seemingly weak political leadership,43 which was only increased by President Carter’s ‘colonial interventions’.44 One writer notes that the Shah only incorporated the worst aspects of Western civilisation into Iranian Society, an indication of the Shah’s own misunderstandings of the benefits the West could offer.45 The White Revolution encapsulated many of the contrasts between the din-e dowlat and din-e mellat , particularly regarding nationalism; it provided a picture of two different visions for Iran. Essentially, the din-e mellat questioned the need for the White Revolution, its lack

41 Ruh Allah Kumayni, Islam and Revolution, translated and introduction by Hamid Algar (Berkeley: Mizan Press, 1981), 57. 42 Ihsan Tabari, Barkhi Masaili Hadi Inqilabi Iran [Some Acute Problems of the Iranian Revolution] (Hizbi Tudahi Iran, 1979), 86. 43 Daryush Humayun, Diruz va Farda: Sih Guftar dar Barahi Irani Inqilabi [Yesterday and Tomorrow: Three Speeches on Revolutionary Iran] (n.p., 1981), 111. 44 M. R. Trajumahi, Inqilabi Iran: Birahbariyi Imam Khumayni [The Revolution of Iran: The Leadership of Imam Khomeini] (n.p., 1979), 11. 45 Humayun, Diruz va Farda, 52.

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of freedoms, corruption,46 and the Westernisation that accompanied it. Although Ayatollah Khomeini critiqued both Eastern and Western influence, calling on intellectuals ‘to give up their fascination with Westernisation or Easternisation and follow the straight path of Islam and nationalism’47 —Westernisation was ‘Iran’s last enemy’.48 According to the din-e mellat, the modernisation of Iran by the West was fuelled by impure motives—the West wanted to transform Iran in a Western manner and was unwilling to indigenise its approach. Modernisation ‘contained many erroneous elements and much veiled domination’ states one academic; the ‘values of freedom, democracy and justice that the West appeared willing to establish everywhere have [been]… used in the West’s interests with a resultant gradual separation between the notion of modernisation and the notion of Westernisation’.49 Al-Ahmad is a little more poignant: ‘Parties in a Western democratic society are forums to satisfy the melancholia of unbalanced and mentally ill persons who through daily regimentation before the machine, rising punctually and arriving on time, not missing the train, have lost the chance to express any sort of will of their own’.50 The ideology of the din-e mellat became increasingly popular in Iran.

The Din-e Dowlat and Din-e Mellat in the 1960s and 1970s in Relation to Christianity Partially as a result of the Shah’s brutality towards his own people— one writer estimates that during Mohammed Reza Shah’s tenure over 500,000 Iranians were arrested51 —the deep societal pressures that arose with rapid modernisation, and the Government’s suppression of the values promoted by the din-e mellat , Iranian resentment towards the Shah and

46 See: Mehdi Shadmehr, ‘Khomeini’s Theory of Islamic State and the Makings of the Iranian Revolution’ (16 September 2017), 30. 47 Ruhollah Khomeini, ‘We Shall Confront the World with Our Ideology’, in Middle East Research and Information Project Reports no. 88 (June 1980): 22. 48 Fakhreddin Shaddman Valavi in Milani, The Making of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, 79. 49 Eshan Naraghi, Iran’s Cultural Identity and the Present Day World Dariyoush Hotel,

Persepolis (Shiraz), Iran 15−19 September 1975, 8. 50 Al-Ahmad, Occidentosis, 125. 51 Eric Rouleau, ‘Khomeini’s Iran’, Foreign Affairs vol. 59, no. 1 (Fall: 1980): 4.

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his politics grew. The disagreements between the din-e dowlat and din-e mellat during the 1960s and 1970s provided advancement opportunities for those who supported the Shah. There seems to have been an intentional move by the Pahlavi Government to grant selected liberties to Christianity and other minority religions; however, to say there was religious freedom in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s is a fallacy. Certain expressions of Shia Islam, the majority faith in Iran, were curtailed. Often, there was a correlation between allegiance to the Shah and the expression of beliefs. Mohammed Reza Shah’s personal experience with Western Christianity enabled him to be more open towards that faith; however, freedom was costly because the missionaries’ support of the Shah was required. To state that there was complete animosity towards American missionaries by the din-e mellat is inaccurate as well. Ali Shariati, a leading Muslim Iranian intellectual associated with Marxism, who died in the United Kingdom before the Islamic Revolution, called Protestantism the ‘creator of modern Western civilisation’52 that transformed Europe, and stated that a ‘revivalist’ Islam should have its own form of Protestantism, which included selected people in the ulama.53 At the same time, he connected Iranian nationalism with Shia Islam and disparaged Christianity and the West. Regarding the poor searching for significance, Shariati explains: In [the poor man’s] flight from the oppression of the powerful and the slave-masters, he turned to the great religions and followed to the prophets, and so endured struggle and martyrdoms only to be captured by the Magi, Caliphs, Brahmans, and, most terrible of all, the dark and deadly tumult of the Medieval Church, in the midst of which the Pope, as representative of the celestial God, ruled the earth like some imperious Jehovah, holding the reins of politics, property, and faith, and making servants of intellect and science…54

52 Ali Shariati, ‘Man and Islam: Extraction and Refinement of Cultural Resources’,

http://www.shariati.com/english/culture.html, site editor, Shariati.com, accessed on 7 January 2018. 53 Ali Shariati, ‘Where Shall We Begin?’, http://www.shariati.com/english/begin/beg in7.html, site editor, Shariati.com, accessed on 4 January 2018. 54 Ali Shariati, Marxism and other Western Fallacies, translated by R. Campbell (Islamic Foundation Press, n.d.), 52.

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[Rather,] Islam is a realist religion and loves nature, power, beauty, wealth, affluence, progress, and the fulfillment of human needs … [instead of being] concerned with metaphysics and death, [it] speaks about nature, life, the world, society, and history.55

The din-e mellat openly shared its suspicions towards missionaries and Western Christianity in general. While ethnic Christians were sometimes praised, such as the Church of the East in Turkey, Western missionaries were equated with imperialism. The ‘vanguard of colonialism’ was the Christian missionary, al-Ahmad states. In comparison with Christianity and its wars, which included the Spanish Inquisition, invasions in South and Central America, Africa, and South East Asia, Islam is the ‘most pacific’ religion in the world.56 Ayatollah Khomeini, taking a different approach, stated that Christian religious scholars knew that the Qur’an praises Jesus, Mary, the Christian saints and academics, and defends them when they are unreasonably indicted.57 Christ did not discount social troubles, Ayatollah Khomeini recounts, according to Kazem Ghazi Zadeh,58 and as time drew closer to the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini asked Christians to pray for Iranians because they were being persecuted under the Shah. He asked Christians to speak to the rulers of Christian countries so they would stop aiding the Pahlavi Government.59 When this did not seem to work, he denounced Christians for their hypocrisy in supporting the Shah. He exhorted the Pope to condemn President Carter’s support of the Shah on Christian grounds: The same love of humanity that inspired Jesus Christ now impels our nation to demand an investigation of the Shah’s crimes, with a particular view to discovering who it was that encouraged him in the commission 55 Ali Shariati, What is to Be Done?, ed. and annotated by Farhang Rajaee (Houston, TX: The Institute for Research and Islamic Studies, 1986), 43−44. 56 al-Ahmad, Occidentosis, 40−49. 57 Kumanyni, Islam and Revolution, 281. 58 For more information see: Kazem Ghazi Zadeh, General Principles of Imam

Khomeini’s Political Thought, translated by A. N. Baqirshahi, site editor, Ahlul Bayt World Assembly, https://www.al-islam.org/message-thaqalayn/vol2-n2-3/general-principlesimam-khumaynis-political-thought-kazem-ghazi-zadeh/general#f_e254ab03_7, accessed on 21 December 2017. 59 Pope John Paul II and Ruhallah Ibn Mustafa Khumayni, Imam Khomeini, Pope and Christianity (Tehran: Islamic Propagation Organization, 1984), 7−8.

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of his crimes … The Pope should realize that certain people claim to be Christians while acting in a manner contrary to the precepts of Jesus Christ, and they succeed in deceiving some of their own people. The Pope should show some concern for the honor of Christendom; if the policies of those individuals are carried out in the name of Christ and Christianity, the name of Christianity will be tarnished. The Pope should show some concern for all the oppressed people and their view of Christianity, and he should proclaim to all Christendom the crimes that Carter has committed and reveal his true identity to the world, just as we did with Muhammad Riza.60

While the worst faith to Ayatollah Khomeini was no faith or indifference, he did not want his followers to act like nominal Christians and hide their beliefs. If Islam were properly explained, he states, more people would convert.61

Conclusion The din-e dowlat and din-e mellat differed on how to integrate modernisation with Islam in Iran and had various opinions on Western Christianity. The din-e dowlat tended to be more progressive in their views of modernisation and Islam, but did not object to violating the rights of those who opposed them. The din-e mellat tended to be more conservative on their views of modernisation and Islam, but were not opposed to asking the West or the West’s religion, Christianity, for help. When help did not come in the manner they liked, the din-e mellat believed in the insincerity of the ideals the West and Christians upheld. As will be seen in the next chapter, the methodology of American missionaries to Iran in the 1960s and 1970s vacillated between a traditional, more imperialistic model and an indigenous model with not so clearly defined lines of delineation. The traditional paradigm developed in Era 2 of the Protestant Modern Missions Movement, while the indigenous method began during the transition between Era 2 and Era 3. Consequently, in addition to competition for influence between various political factions loyal to the din-e dowlat and the din-e mellat , a battle for control intensified between the Iranian Church and the American (and Western) missionaries with roles and expectations confused. 60 Kumanyni, Islam and Revolution, 29, 282. 61 Ibid., 34, 127.

CHAPTER 4

American Missionaries in Iran During the Last Years of the Pahlavis

Introduction Around the time of the White Revolution, American Protestant groups from International Missions, Assemblies of God, and Southern Baptists arrived alongside Presbyterians who had been in Iran since the mid-1800s. While these four organisations were not the only American missions in Iran, they served as representations of American missionary activity. The styles and doctrinal affinities of these organisations differed, but they all desired to convert the peoples of Iran to their type of Christianity. Like Iran itself, these entities were in transition; they paralleled the changes in their denominations. The Assemblies of God, because of the charismatic and Pentecostal movements of the 1960s and 1970s, became the largest growing American denomination by the early 1980s.1 The Southern Baptist Convention between 1942 and 1972 more than doubled its membership and grew by another 23% between 1970 and 1985.2 International Missions, a conservative, fundamentalist Protestant evangelical group with no denominational affiliation, grew in membership also, although the increase was not as extreme. The Presbyterians—although

1 James A. Heretta, Rebecca Edwards, and Robert O. Self, America: A Concise History, Volume Two: Since 1865 (Boston, MA: Bedford, 2012), 908. 2 Arthur Emery Farnsley II, Southern Baptist Politics: Authority and Power in the Restructuring of an American Denomination (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994), 15; Heretta, America: A Concise History, 908.

© The Author(s) 2020 P. O. Hopkins, American Missionaries in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-51214-9_4

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a couple of their larger sects united to form the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America in 19583 (the largest Presbyterian denomination in the United States)—splintered in the 1960s and 1970s, with membership dropping by over 500,000 from 1960 to 1975.4 Theologically conservative Presbyterians left to form the Presbyterian Church of America, an evangelical branch in contrast with the ecumenical Presbyterian Church of the United States. The changes in these Protestant groups eventually led to a worldwide decline in Presbyterian influence, with International Missions, Assemblies of God World Missions, and the Foreign Mission Board in Iran gaining in importance. As this work argues that the American missionaries’ Westernisation and modernisation of Iranian culture added to the negative perception of Christianity among Iranians and confused the message of the gospel with Western thought, this chapter examines the competing approaches of the din-e dowlat and din-e mellat and the transitioning principles of American missionaries in the 1960s and 1970s. Following an examination of these beliefs, two areas in which these viewpoints manifested practically in Iranian Society are addressed, namely education and healthcare. This chapter establishes that, by working in education and healthcare, American missionaries had an influence on Iranian Society that connected them with the Pahlavi Government, an administration that, while focused on modernising the country, became increasingly unpopular.

Two Models The Traditional Model The prevailing methodology of American missionaries is clear in the early 1960s, when a traditional model of American missions was prevalent, a model that emphasised the missionary as a paternal figure, as the one who knew best. This model had racist overtones, but it was both in support of and in conflict with Iran’s modernisation. Since Westerners

3 Hunter Brewer, ‘A History of Presbyterians in America’, Reformed Perspectives Magazine vol. 7, no. 20 (15−21 May 2005): 7. 4 ‘PCUSA Membership 1960−2012’, http://www.layman.org/wp-content/uploads/ 2013/06/pcusa-membership-1960-20121.pdf, site editor, Presbyterian Lay Committee, accessed on 9 September 2016.

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believed Iranians were ethnically European and close to them racially, Americans believed Iranians could be reached with the gospel easier than other Muslim peoples; therefore, they were willing to help with Iran’s infrastructure. On 20–21 November 1959, Presbyterian missionary Allen presented in Princeton, New Jersey, a paper entitled ‘Muslim Responses to Christian Witness in Iran’, which summarised what many American missionaries to Iran believed. Allen supposed that Iranians would convert to Christianity because their Aryan heritage enabled them to have closer connections with missionaries. According to Allen’s understanding, he believed Persians were of Indo-European origin and that Iranians desired to purge Arabic words from their language; the outflow of increased nationalism would weaken Islam in Iran and lead educated Iranians to wander from the religion of their forefathers.5 In 1964, when Foreign Mission Board leaders visited Iran to explore reaching Iranians with the gospel, they witnessed what seemed to be an openness that was at least in part due to the Pahlavi Government’s policies of modernisation. The report stated the following about the potential in Iran: The ancient land of Persia, now known as Iran impressed us as being forward-looking and progressive. When we shared this impression with a young taxi driver [in Iran during our trip] he seemed pleased but declared that his country is not progressing as fast as Japan and Israel … However, the process of secularization has gone far, and many of the better educated people are without religious faith … Religion is not entered on birth certificates, and Muslims can become Christians. However, social pressure makes the change difficult … [F]urther investigation may reveal that it is one of the most promising mission fields in the Middle East.6

In this traditional model, there was a separation between the American missionary organisations and the Iranian Church. Missionaries controlled the capital and dictated how engagement with Iranians occurred, often to the resentment of Iranians, including Iranians working with the missionaries. Presbyterians, for example, had at one time upwards of 80−100

5 Cady H. Allen, ‘Muslim Responses to the Christian Witness in Iran’, 20−21 November 1959, transcript of typewritten paper, Special Collections, Dwight Singer, Raleigh, NC. 6 ‘Board of Trustee Minutes’, 9 December 1965, transcript of typewritten minutes, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA.

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missionaries assigned to Iran.7 As late as the early 1960s, Presbyterians owned several medical and educational properties (such as the Community School, Alborz Foundation, Iran Bethel College, Mehr and Gohar Schools, and Social Evangelistic Center in Tehran and hospitals in Rasht, Hamadan, Mashhad, and Tabriz in addition to the recently closed hospital [1959] in Kermanshah). Their need for partnership with Iranians (and other missionary organisations) was not apparent. The Indigenisation Model As the idea of Iranian closeness with the West progressed, a model of indigenisation in Western missions emerged that altered how this concept was applied. The transition between models is clearest with the Presbyterians because of their longevity. Popularised by John Nevius, a Presbyterian missionary to China in the late 1800s/early 1900s, the ‘Nevius Method’ focused on non-Western churches being ‘self-supporting, selfpropagating, and self-governing’ in a similar manner as Western churches. Presbyterian missionaries in Iran began to adopt this principle in the early 1960s, perhaps out of necessity. Not all the Presbyterian schools were preforming well,8 their hospitals were understaffed,9 a noticeable amount of waste was occurring,10 lack of funding for at least one establishment was beginning to become an issue,11 and, later, one of their schools was 7 Frederick R. Wilson, ‘Mission Secretary’s Report’, 1 July 1959−1930 June 1960, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA; R. Park Johnson, ‘Report of the Commission Representative to Iran Mission Annual Meeting’, August 1964, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 8 ‘Iran’, 21 January−3 February 1960, transcript of type-written report, Special Collec-

tions, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA; Ashton T. Stewart to Rodney A. Sundberg, 9 June 1960, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 9 Robert Dalton to Drs Sundberg, Romig, Stevenson, and Oochran, 12 January 1960, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA; Frank L. Bird, ‘Annual Report of Tabriz Hospital’, June 1960, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA; and Estelle Chambers, ‘Nursing Committee Report’, 30 June 1960, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 10 Ashton T. Stewart to Rodney A. Sundberg, 16 October 1960, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 11 Bird, ‘Annual Report of Tabriz Hospital’.

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using a Peace Corp worker, which aligned Presbyterian missions directly with the American Government.12 Presbyterians in Iran did not have the financial resources to continue operating in the manner they had in the past. By 1964, they had to cut $10,000 from their budget, and an additional $20,000 the year after.13 Abolishing the traditional model that separated Presbyterian missions’ activities from the Iranian Church, Presbyterian missionary leader R. Park Johnson wrote that this would ‘unif[y] the basic missionary responsibility in Iran with the church itself’. Missionaries working with Church-related ventures would come only at the invitation of the Iranian Church.14 The goal was to transfer much of the Presbyterian ministry to the Iranian evangelical Church by 1 September 1961,15 even though Church membership numbered fewer than 3000 and had only eight ordained pastors and 16 parishes. Presbyterian leader Rodney Sundberg believed the Iranian Church needed to spearhead efforts to bring their own people to Christ, rather than rely completely on the missionaries. Sundberg quoted an Iranian proverb, ‘bah nah barakat; beh khodah barakat’, loosely translated as ‘God helps those who help themselves’. Sundberg assumed the reallocation of the Presbyterian Church-related missions’ ministries to the Iranian evangelical Church would help Iranians begin the process of indigenisation.16 By August 1964, the reorganisation had yet to be completed. The revised goal was to transfer operations by the end of that year.17 (The

12 Rodney A. Sundberg to R. Park Johnson, 24 September 1964, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 13 Rodney A. Sundberg to R. Park Johnson, Douglas H. Decherd and Willis A. McGill, 31 January 1964, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 14 Johnson, ‘Iran Mission Annual Narrative Report 1960’. 15 R. Park Johnson, ‘Iran Mission Annual Narrative Report 1960’, 1960, transcript of

typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 16 ‘Report of Mission Medical Secretary Covering Period from July 1st 1963 to June 30th 1964’, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 17 R. Park Johnson, ‘Office of the Commission Representative’, August 1964, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA.

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official transfer happened on 31 December 1964.)18 Johnson, in his ‘Report of the Commission Representative to Iran Mission Annual Meeting’, stated that administrative oversight was needed in this process.19 He suggested a newly established ‘Christian Service Board’, comprising Presbyterian missionaries, to assume responsibility of the Presbyterians’ non-Church undertakings.20 Church-related activities would fall under the evangelical Iranian Church synod. The Presbyterians’ four main areas of involvement—evangelism, discipleship, healthcare, and education— were to be categorised into Church-related activities (evangelism and discipleship) and supporting endeavours (healthcare and education) with Iranians overseeing (and assuming financial responsibility for) the Church interests and Presbyterians supervising the subsidiary ones. Indigenisation was met with both support and opposition. Missionary Mark Irwin believed field personnel did not believe indigenisation was beneficial, nor was it desired.21 Long-tenured missionaries, Irwin wrote, provided credibility.22 Questions were raised about the role of the missionaries and the notion that the Iranian Church could be selfsupporting.23 While the Presbyterian leadership believed the traditional method of missions gave too much influence to missionaries, integration of the Presbyterian missions into the Iranian Church proved

18 R. Park Johnson, ‘Office of the Commission Representative’, 9 January 1965, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 19 Ibid. 20 ‘Agreement of Cooperation Between the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Iran

and the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.’, 18 December 1964, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 21 Mark Irwin to Rodney Sundberg, 10 February 1960, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 22 J. Mark Irwin to John C. Smith, 2 August 1962, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. Note: J. Mark Irwin was occasionally addressed with his first initial ‘J’. 23 The idea of indigenous churches being self-supporting arose from the Nevius Method, or the ‘Three-Self Plan’, which was promoted in a series of messages John Nevius gave to Korean missionaries in 1890. Many believe this method led to the rapid increase of the Korean Church. See: John Nevius, The Planting and Development of Missionary Churches, 3rd ed. (New York, NY: Foreign Missionary Library, 1899).

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burdensome also. One person argued that the missionaries in their incorporation ‘overshadow[ed] the essential Iranian character and tone of the Church’.24 By 15 February 1967, Johnson wrote to Sundberg that a ‘mutiny’ was happening among the missionaries.25 By 1 January 1968, the Christian Service Board was dissolved and replaced with the Commission on Ecumenical Mission and Relations. Among the changes, the Commission provided clearer means for the Iranian evangelical Christians and Presbyterian missionaries to cooperate with each other and afforded both with greater independence.26 By 1972, the Commission was seeking to determine what relationship Presbyterian missionaries would have with the Iranian Church.27 Presbyterians, even with their decreasing numbers, were ingrained in Iranian Society, so much so that there was a proposed collaboration between the Presbyterians and the United Nations Developmental Program that would allow Presbyterians to find experts for venues and provide missionaries with opportunities to help with specific projects.28 However, according to Southern Baptist records, by 1978, Presbyterians only had four American missionary families remaining in Iran.29

Education The competition for influence between the din-e dowlat and din-e mellat and the transition of focus in American missions was exhibited in the 24 R. Park Johnson to Jonathan Marzeki, 10 May 1966, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 25 Rodney A. Sundberg to R. Park Johnson, 15 February 1967, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 26 ‘Preliminary Draft: Report of Ad Hoc Committee of the C. S. B. for the Review of the Administrative Structure for the Christian Service Institution in Iran’, n.d., transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 27 Kenneth J. Thomas, ‘COEMAR Personnel in Iran not Assigned in the E.C.I.’, 29

May 1972, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 28 Kenneth J. Thomas to Douglas Brian, 29 April 1974, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 29 ‘1978 Missions Minutes’, 7 September 1978, transcript of typewritten minutes, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA.

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education of the Iranian populace. Christian educational centres had a long history in greater Iran, and missionaries themselves were involved heavily in educating Iranians. During the Protestant Modern Missions Movement, often, it was the missionaries who provided the best education. This was cause for concern for many Iranians as missionaries were considered outsiders who advocated a foreign faith and policies that sometimes were not aligned with the Government. Reza Shah, in the early 1900s, closed many of the missionary schools, which by that time numbered around 2600.30 Nonetheless, American Presbyterian missionary Samuel M. Jordan is considered by at least one Iranian as the father of modern education in Iran.31 It was not until 1910 that mandatory schooling was established,32 and this was limited in its enforcement until the time of Mohammed Reza Shah. As one principle of the White Revolution was free and adequate education for all Iranians,33 the Shah desired that every Iranian be able to read and write, including those in villages, where illiteracy was the highest. He believed education was a means to continue the modernisation of Iran, and politically he thought that strengthening Iran’s educational system would reinforce his place in Iranian Society and reduce the influence of his opponents. Ansari quotes Mohammed Reza Shah: ‘The more the people of Iran become educated… the weaker and less effective these thoughts [of the traditionalists] become… The more progressive a country and the more educated a people, the easier it would be to enforce laws …’34 This meant changing the traditional schooling structure, which fell under the Islamic clergy’s remit; before 1963, 85% of Iranians were illiterate. The Shah’s programme consisted of free education for the first eight years. Additional free education was provided to those willing to serve the state; for each year after the first eight years, one would serve the state for the same amount of time. Those who served under the state 30 Marcin Rzepka, Prayer and Protest: The Protestant Communities in Revolutionary Iran (Krakow: Unum Press, 2017), 75. 31 Ghaneabassiri, ‘U.S. Foreign Policy and Persia, 1856−1921’, 151. 32 ‘Iran’s White Revolution’, 10 June 1966, https://www.cia.gov/library/readin

groom/docs/CIA-RDP79-00927A005300060002-8.pdf, site editor, Central Intelligence Agency, accessed on 14 August 2017. 33 Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, The Shah’s Story, 71. 34 FO 371 149755 EP 1015/12, 26 Jan 1960, in Ansari, ‘The Myth of the White

Revolution’, 14.

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were part of the ‘Education Corps’. Similar to conscription and an alternative to mandatory military service, the Education Corps workers were paid a small stipend and lived where the Government determined. The goal was to send teachers to areas close to the conscripts’ homes and only send them after a request was made by the local government. The teachers’ main duties were to educate children in the morning and adults in the evening, with there being one teacher for every 20–25 students.35 The Shah touted his educational initiatives. Education increased in rural areas by 692%. While the overall illiteracy rate decreased percentage wise between 1956 and 66, the numbers of illiterate people increased by two million.36 In the first five years of the programme, between 1963 and 68, 520,000 boys, 128,000 girls, 250,000 men, and 12,000 women attended classes in the villages. By 1978, over seven million Iranians were in some form of school,37 and between 1966 and 76 teachers doubled and college professors tripled.38 However, in 1972, the Central Intelligence Agency reported that the educated in urban settings were not too keen on the Shah’s programme.39 Combined with the ulama, the ‘custodians of tradition’40 or the religious ruling class, who were not satisfied with the Shah’s changes either, a group of unlikely allies emerged to oppose Mohammed Reza Shah. Prior to the Shah’s edict, the religious leaders were the educators; a good deal of their influence came through the madrasases and the conventional schools. Combined with the influence of a Western style of education, many were opposed to the Shah’s reforms. Some acquiesced to the Shah under threat of persecution,41 while others did not. Al-Ahmad, for example,

35 The Revolution of the Shah and the People: The Literacy Corps (London: Transorient, 1967), 15–19. 36 ‘Iran: National Intelligence Survey’, May 1973, https://www.cia.gov/library/readin groom/docs/CIA-RDP01-00707R000200070038-7.pdf, site editor, Central Intelligence Agency, accessed on 14 August 2017. 37 Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, The Shah’s Story, 85, 101. 38 Milani, The Making of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, 62. 39 ‘Iran: Royal Revolution Revisited’, 27 July 1972, https://www.cia.gov/library/rea dingroom/document/cia-rdp79r00967a000500020011-6, 67, site editor, Central Intelligence Agency, accessed on 14 August 2017. 40 Braswell, ‘The Ulama in Four Socio-Cultural Contexts’, 55. 41 Ibid., 26.

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believed the Pahlavi Government was using education to ‘foster occidentosis’, calling some of the specialised schools ‘repairmen, start-up men, or operators of Western machinery’ not able to think critically.42 Ironically, perhaps, Central Intelligence Agency analysts agreed with part of al-Ahmad’s belief; at least at the university level, instruction was insufficient. A paper written by the Central Intelligence Agency in 1973 stated that Iran’s universities were deficient and claimed that this was the result of European, particularly French, influence with too much concentration on memory and repetition over creativity.43 Ayatollah Khomeini’s pedagogical concerns did not separate Europe from the West. He did not believe there should be a division into Islamic and non-Islamic education; rather, he desired Iran’s education to be holistically Islamic. The indoctrination of a Western style of education contrasted the ‘Islamic morality’ of the din-e mellat and led the din-e mellat to assert that their views were misrepresented. Ayatollah Khomeini was concerned that Iranians were not learning or growing to be independent; instead, they were being brainwashed. Iran’s educational structure aided Westerners more than Iranians. He is quoted at length below: [We] demand fundamental changes in our university system so that the universities come to serve the nation and its needs instead of serving foreigners. Many of our schoolteachers and university professors are now effectively serving the West by brainwashing and [miseducating] our youth. We are not rejecting modern science, nor are we saying that each science exists in two varieties, one Islamic and the other non-Islamic; this notion is attributed to us by some people out of malice or ignorance. Our universities lack Islamic morality and fail to impart an Islamic education; if this were not so, our universities would not have been transformed into a battlefield for ideologies harmful to the nation. If Islamic morality existed in the universities, these shameful clashes would not occur. They reflect a lack of Islamic education and true understanding of Islam. The universities, then, must change fundamentally. They must be reconstructed in such a way that our young people will receive a correct Islamic education side-byside with their acquisition of formal learning, not a Western education … To Islamize the universities means to make them autonomous, independent

42 al-Ahmad, Occidentosis, 112, 115. 43 ‘Iran: National Intelligence Survey’.

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of the West and independent of the East, so that we have an independent country with an independent university system and an independent culture.44

Additionally, in a speech during Noruz, Ayatollah Khomeini stated that academics in universities needed to reform their thoughts and actions to make them align with proper Islam that is devoid of both Western and Eastern influence. The scholars at the universities were responsible for Iran being a stunted country. He explained: Revolution should come about in all the universities throughout Iran, so that the professors who are in contact with the East or the West will be purged, and so that the universities may become healthy places for the study of higher Islamic teachings. The false teachings of the former regime should be abruptly stopped in universities throughout Iran because all the misery of the Iranian society during the reign of this father and son was due to these false teachings. If we had a proper set-up in our universities, we would have never had a university-educated intelligentsia who during Iran’s most critical period are engaged in conflict and schism among themselves and are cut off from the people and are so negligent of what happens to the people, as though they do not live in Iran. All of our backwardness is due to the lack of proper understanding by most of the university intellectuals of the Islamic society of Iran. Unfortunately, the same thing is still true. Most of the deadly blows which have been delivered to this society have been due to the majority of these university-educated intellectuals who have always regarded – and still regard – themselves as being great and have always said things – and still continue to say things – which only their other intellectual friends can understand, regardless of whether the people understand them or not. Because the public is of no significance to them and all that is important to them is themselves. This is due to the fact that false university education during the reign of the Shah so trained university-educated intellectuals that they attached no value whatsoever to the oppressed masses. Unfortunately, even now it is the same. Committed and responsible intellectuals, you should set aside dissension and schism and should think of the people and you should free yourselves from the evil of the ‘isms’ and ‘ists’ of the East or the West, for the sake of the salvation of the people, who have given martyrs. You should stand on your own feet and should refrain from relying on foreigners. The students of religious teaching and university students should carefully study 44 Kumanyni, Islam and Revolution, 107–08.

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Islamic principles and should set aside the slogans of deviant groups and should replace all deviationist thinking with beloved and genuine Islam. Religion students and university students should know that Islam is itself a rich school, which is never in need of grafting any other ideologies to it. All you should know that mixed thinking is a betrayal of Islam and the Muslims and the bitter results of such thinking will become apparent in future years.45

As missionaries were involved in teaching and were aligned with the din-e dowlat , they also were criticised. Ayatollah Khomeini stated that, before the Islamic Revolution, the foreign-run schools ‘alienated’ students from an Islamic ethos. In addition to the Western secular establishments, the educational institutions operated by missionaries made Iranians ‘suffer under American imperialism’, even though missionaries claimed to be Christian.46 Ayatollah Khomeini explains: The preachers they planted in the religious teaching institution, the agents they employed in the universities, government educational institutions, and publishing houses, and the orientalists who work in the service of the imperialist states – all these people have pooled their energies in an effort to distort the principles of Islam. As a result, many persons, particularly the educated, have formed misguided and incorrect notions of Islam … The servants of imperialism have presented Islam in a totally different light. They have created in men’s minds a false notion of Islam. The defective version of Islam, which they have presented in the religious teaching institution, is intended to deprive Islam of its vital, revolutionary aspect and to prevent Muslims from arousing themselves in order to gain their freedom, fulfill the ordinances of Islam, and create a government that will secure their happiness and allow them to live lives worthy of human beings.47

At least in one way, Ayatollah Khomeini was correct; there seemed to be a correlation between increased literacy and the sale of Christian material, including Bibles. Roman Catholic theologian Marcin Rzepka notes: ‘[Mohammed Reza Shah’s] social reforms to diminish illiteracy among the Iranians … facilitated Christian efforts to sell Christian literature in 45 Khomeini, ‘We Shall Confront the World with Our Ideology’, 24–25. 46 Kumanyni, Islam and Revolution, 35. 47 Imam Khomeini, Islamic Government, translated by Hamid Algar (Tehran: The Institute for Compilation and Publication of Imam Khomeini’s Works, n.d.), 7.

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the Persian language’.48 In addition to the Christian connection and universities promoting a more Western style of education that advocated the policies of the din-e dowlat , the din-e mellat were concerned that students were not learning, teachers were not attracting talent, and increasing numbers of graduates were unemployed. Poor training meant poor industrial development, which hurt the economy and other social and cultural activities. One author argued that the protests of 1976– 1977, at least in part, were a result of a lack of jobs among Iran’s recent graduates; instead of working they became more involved in politics.49 Ironically and perhaps unknowingly, American missionaries, particularly Presbyterians and Southern Baptists, in their process of indigenisation agreed with the din-e mellat . Missionaries saw the need for Iranians to have a better education and more responsibility in teaching themselves with less outside interference, especially within higher education. The missionaries’ motives, however, did not seem to align with the din-e mellat . As Iranians grew more literate, missionaries supposed they could read the Bible. Christian bookstores in larger cities (discussed in the following chapter) became a point of emphasis, where issues important to Iranians could be addressed from a Christian bias. As focus on schooling increased, a suggestion was made to train Iranians in vocational work, similar to USAID, as the Iranian Government considered this a need.50 One Iranian noted that American missionaries working with USAID would be an effective strategy to publicise their understanding of Christianity; costs would be minimal, and evangelisation could occur, especially among the youth.51 While this suggestion was tabled, it was representative and foretelling of the direction of partnering with the Iranian Government regarding education. With Iran’s Ministry of Labour categorising work-permit requirements in education for non-Iranians into three categories, missionaries at some educational centres were concerned

48 Rzepka, Prayer and Protest, 59. 49 Daryush Humayun, Diruz va Farda: Sih Guftar dar Barahi Irani Inqilabi [Yesterday

and Tomorrow: Three Speeches on Revolutionary Iran] (n.p., 1981), 20–22. 50 Frank Woodard to Friends, 3 May 1965, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 51 Sam Ehteshami to Board of Education, Etedadieh of Evangelical Churches of Iran, 6 February 1965, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA.

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that their visas would not be renewed.52 Armaghan Institute (eventually known as Alborz College), for example, considered to be the best place to learn English in Iran,53 did not fall under any of the groupings; there were also concerns related to Iran Bethel College and other schools in Tehran and Hamadan.54 Presbyterians The educational facilities had additional concerns. Questions arose regarding whether Alborz College and the Community School should continue to be affiliated with the Presbyterian Commission on Ecumenical Mission and Relations.55 Alborz College, in addition to having too many short-term workers, which upset continuity,56 ceased to use the teaching of English as an evangelistic tool or to conduct chapel services. Regarding the Community School, while Iran’s Minister of Education was pleased with the instruction it provided and, by 1967, the Iranian Government recognised the diploma,57 conflicts arose when the Presbyterians decided to reassign the head of the school.58 By the summer of 1972, official partnership with both schools ceased; however,

52 Durwood A. Busse to John G. Lorimer, 20 March 1968, transcript of typewritten

letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 53 Stanley G. Hollingsworth to Fritz Hull, 11 May 1965, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 54 Busse to Lorimer. 55 Durwood Busse to Charles W. Arbuthnot, 15 December 1970, transcript of

typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 56 Hollingsworth to Hull. 57 Robert C. Lodwick to Norman E. Bobel, 16 July 1970, transcript of typewritten

letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 58 Durwood A. Busse to Charles W. Arbuthnot, 10 June 1972, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA; R. Park Johnson to Rodney A. Sundberg, 31 March 1967, transcript of type-written letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA; and R. Park Johnson, ‘Report of Interview with Iranian Minister of Education about Community School’, 18 January 1967, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA.

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Presbyterians remained invested,59 and some missionaries were associated with the schools. Iran Bethel College, a two-year women’s college in Tehran, faced similar issues. In December 1967, Robert Lodwick, Secretary for Education of the Commission on Ecumenical Mission and Relations, asked for a study to be conducted on the college regarding its future within the life of the Church and the nation. The study revealed that over 8,000 Iranians attended higher education schools in America, that less than 50% of the 61,000 high school students in Tehran were male, and that 25% of the university students in Iran were female. The study further found that Iran Bethel College had a good reputation among Iranians in Tehran, with many alumni having prominent roles in government or women’s organisations. The study’s recommendation was to transition Iran Bethel College into a four-year school with a sizeable donation from the Presbyterians.60 Iran’s Minister of Higher Education supported Iran Bethel College becoming a recognised college,61 and, by the summer of 1971, Iran Bethel College graduated its final class after 55 years, changed its name to Damavand College, and became independent.62 Damavand College becoming a four-year school was significant. Queen Farah Pahlavi attended the opening63 and Prime Minister Amir-Abbas Hoveyda spoke at the commencement ceremony.64 In addition to these traditional schools that the Presbyterians started, working within the Iranian university system gave Presbyterians access to Iranians. On more than one occasion, missionary Paul Seto had contact with Iranian faculty administrators who desired qualified Americans to

59 Commission Office, ‘Unpublished Report’, 19 October 1972, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 60 Wada Jeha and Harold H. Viehman, ‘Report on Study and Evaluation: Iran Bethel College’, 1–10 April 1968, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 61 Woody Busse to Robert Lodwick, 13 September 1968, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 62 Office of Commission Reprehensive, 14 June 1971, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 63 Office of Commission Reprehensive, 16 November 1971, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 64 Durwood A. Busse to Donald Black and Charles Arbuthnot, 19 June 1972, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA.

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teach at their schools and participate in dialogue. For example, the University of Tehran was working with the Armaghan Institute, and the topic ‘The Problem of Loneliness in Modern Life’ was addressed, which led to an hour-long talk with Ayatollah Mohammed Tabatabai of Qom.65 Another time, the Chancellor of the University of Mashhad wrote to Seto stating that he would be interested in employing American high school teachers,66 and when missionaries and Iranian Christians had a Bible Translators Conference, the University of Mashhad acted as the host, with several professors addressing the forum.67 As the Ministers of Science and Higher Education were concerned that too many Iranians were going overseas for their post-secondary education, there were plans to develop a ‘Youth Palace’, considered to be a ‘student-union and leadership training enterprise’. The Youth Palace began in 1966 with centres in Tehran, Rezaiyeh, Tabriz, Kerman, and Rasht. The Youth Palace Board asked the Commission on Ecumenical Mission and Relations to provide a person with some experience with youth to conduct a feasibility study.68 While there was engagement between the Youth Palace and the Presbyterians, there was also some concern. One of the potential workers the Presbyterians were vetting was a former Central Intelligence Agency agent. While this person was upfront about his involvement in the Central Intelligence Agency,69 it caused an uproar. One person stated: I consider the operations of the CIA, and therefore of the people who have worked for them as one of the prime manifestations of the demonic in our time. What is our ethical responsibility to an agency and to a person who has worked for this agency which violated all forms of ethics in its dealings 65 Paul Seto, ‘Unpublished Letter’, 21 September 1968, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 66 Mohsen Ziai to Paul Seto, 22 May 1969, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 67 ‘News from Other Churches and Agencies’, 11 July 1970, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 68 Durwood A. Busse to Fely Carino, 24 November 1970, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA; ‘Youth Palace Language and Orientation Program for University Students’, 3 April 1971, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 69 Feliciano V. Carino to Ray Feeman, 14 December 1970, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA.

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with men and nations, and intervenes itself in devious ways not only upon the lives of individuals, but of total societies as well in the most blatant and often inhuman way?70

A concern was that this person could still be part of the Central Intelligence Agency.71 Southern Baptists As Southern Baptists were developing a strategy to reach Iran, using the medical profession as a means for missions was considered. An Iranian wrote a letter to the Foreign Mission Board requesting its missionaries to work in Iranian Kurdistan. This Iranian was willing to help with expenses.72 Another letter written to Board leadership confirmed discussions about this idea, but with the realisation that the Board did not have the personnel to fulfil this request.73 A year later, when the United Presbyterian hospital came up for sale, the idea was approached again, especially as the Iranian Ministry of Health wanted to ensure medical services at the hospital would continue.74 George Braswell was excited over the possibility75 ; nonetheless, the Foreign Mission Board passed on purchasing the hospital and work in the area of healthcare; costs were too high for an organisation focused on church planting. Instead, the Foreign Mission Board began to focus its effort in the field of education. The Braswells, the first Foreign Mission Board missionaries to Iran, were involved in Iranian higher education. With the Presbyterians’ help, the Braswells secured visas to Iran, first as language students, and then

70 Feliciano V. Carino to Ray Feeman, 21 December 1970, transcript of typewritten

letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 71 Ibid. 72 Dani Bigvand to Ralph West, 15 January 1973, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 73 Franklin T. Fowler to J. D. Hughey, 4 May 1968, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 74 United Presbyterian Church of USA to J. D. Hughey. 75 United Presbyterian Church of USA to J. D. Hughey, 25 June 1969, transcript of

typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA.

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with George Braswell becoming Associate Director of Armaghan Institute (he taught English as a foreign language to Iranians) and teacher of sociology at Damavand College, and finally as a professor of English and comparative religions at the Faculty of Islamic Theology of the University of Tehran, a government-run university that trained religious leaders and wanted students to wear Western-style clothing.76 According to George Braswell, he was the only non-Muslim and the only non-Iranian on its teaching faculty.77 Regarding using education as a means for evangelism, Braswell saw an opportunity to send missionaries as teachers into government universities. As long as he did his job without openly proselytising, the Government was unconcerned about his Christian faith or Church backing. Iranians, including the Muslim religious leaders, seemed willing to have him. He comments: Once the Iranians gave me the work permit to teach, they wanted me to teach comparative religions. That meant I could teach Christianity. Now they wanted me to do the history of Christianity. They didn’t expect me to come there and be an evangelist on the faculty. I would last maybe what, two minutes? Then I’m out the door right? And that’s understandable. So I was there to be a professor of comparative religions. They knew that I was a Christian. They knew that a church agency had sent me, but they were willing to take the risk.78

By 1970, Braswell was asking the Foreign Mission Board to send missionaries to work with Iranian Muslims. While he himself helped start a Persian-speaking church in Iran, in a written correspondence to the Board, Braswell stated, ‘The door is wide open to place numerous personnel in the universities … [the Chancellor of Mashhad] University told us he would put our personnel both in the University and the high schools. We could easily place several in the faculties of Teheran University’. Braswell wondered, ‘Could missionaries or missionary Journeymen receive such assignments? Could we in some way encourage qualified Baptist teachers to seek employment in Iranian universities?’79 He noted 76 Braswell, To Ride a Magic Carpet, 69. 77 Ibid., 26–27. 78 Fry, ‘Interview with Dr. George W. Braswell’, 6–7, 9–10. 79 ‘Board of Trustee Minutes’, 9 January 1969, transcript of typewritten minutes, Special

Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA.

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that he could find work for 10–12 Journeymen80 in the university system, but Braswell’s requests seem to have gone unheeded,81 even though longtime Presbyterian missionary Seto told J. D. Hughey, one of the strategy leaders concerning the Middle East for the Foreign Mission Board, of the journeymen’s potential.82 In an interview some years later, Braswell recalled his feelings: We prayed, we cajoled, we sent letters – ‘please send missionaries, please send journeymen’. The missionary journeymen program was just beginning. We had tremendous openings – we could have placed 30-50 missionary journeymen teaching English as a second language. Iranian young people in college were crying out to learn English. Joanne and I were helping the Presbyterians who had been there long before we Baptists had got there … I think it is a critical analysis that basically speaking, in the 60s, we [Southern Baptists] did not really have a heart for missions … We did not have a heart for missions to Muslims in a real dramatic deep way.83

Being on the University of Tehran’s faculty was not without challenges. Often, religious leaders would try to convert Braswell to Islam. Since he engaged with traditional Muslims and went to conservative mosques associated with the din-e mellat to listen to and talk with religious leaders, he was told of the SAVAK’s concern: the SAVAK thought that some of his activities could be seditious, and others thought he was a Central Intelligence Agency agent. While he never feared for his life, Braswell was unsure of the repercussions of his actions and notes that one of his students, after a conversation with him, was never heard from again.84 The Braswells used education to develop a strategy that focused on the majority population (Muslim Iranians), they lived among the locals in average accommodation, and placed their children in a community school mixed with students from several cultures, instead of the nearby

80 The term ‘Journeymen’ was a designation used by the Foreign Mission Board for a short-term missionary appointment (usually two to three years). 81 Braswell, Crossroads of Religion and Revolution, 80. 82 Rebecca Sisk to J. D. Hughey, 17 February 1969, transcript of typewritten letter,

Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 83 Fry, ‘Interview with Dr. George W. Braswell’, 6–7, 9–10. 84 Braswell, Crossroads, 77–100.

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more elite American school.85 However, the Braswells were outliers in the Foreign Mission Board’s strategy. While Board leadership permitted them to continue their work, their superiors focused on transmitting the gospel to Christian expatriates, Jews, and the indigenous ethnic Christian sects, the Armenians and Assyrians, in the hope that these groups would evangelise Iran’s Muslim population. This policy led to additional Foreign Mission Board missionaries arriving as volunteers, retired pastors, and doctors; at least one person went to Iran after retiring from the military. Few of these missionaries learned Persian well. By the time the Islamic Revolution occurred, the Southern Baptist and Presbyterian presence was minimal. Henry and Helen Turlington, who went to Iran several years after the Braswells and resigned just before the change in government, taught at Damavand College, as well as Henry Turlington being pastor of Tehran Baptist Church. Their time teaching in Iran was short lived. The 1978–1979 academic year proved to be one of turmoil. According to Helen Turlington, members of the Englishspeaking schools, including the ones at Damavand College, did not meet at times during the fall of 1978 for safety reasons.86 With the new Islamic Government undefined, as late as 20 April 1979, the Turlingtons sought employment (and visas) through Damavand College and the University of Tehran. It was suggested that Henry Turlington write a letter stating his interest in remaining in Iran; however, questions arose because of his relationship with the Foreign Mission Board, which resulted in him not being able to secure a position.87 Eventually, the Community School and Damavand College properties were seized by the new Iranian administration, even though Damavand College was in the process of being sold, with funds being transferred under the old administration. (No legal action was taken against the Government for fear of what might happen to the Iranian Christians.)88 Initially, it was thought that Damavand College would continue and American teachers would be able to 85 Ibid., 68–73. 86 Helen Turlington, ‘Tehran, 1977–1978’, diary of Helen Turlington, Special Collec-

tions of Lynn Gardam (daughter of Helen Turlington), Raleigh, NC, 29. 87 Henry Turlington to J. D. Hughey, 9 May 1979 transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 88 Executive Committee, ‘Ad Hoc Committee on Iran: Fiduciary Issues’, 20–21 November 1981, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA.

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stay, as the wife of the spokesman for the Iranian Government wanted to attend the school, but this hope was short lived89 and many of the faculty sued the Presbyterians for not being paid. By 1985, the Damavand College Foundation still had $400,000 in savings and was waiting to restart.90

Healthcare The contrasting positions of the din-e dowlat and din-e mellat and the relationship between those and the transitioning missiology in American missions is not only apparent in education, but also in the healthcare of the Iranian populace. Traditionally, in years past, Christians were one of the main suppliers of healthcare.91 When Western missionaries arrived, during the Protestant Modern Missions Movement, they continued to be involved in medicine and healthcare as a means to evangelise. Missions historian John Elder describes the trust Iranians had in missionaries regarding health: As I [the missionary doctor] have witnessed the relief of hitherto helpless sufferings and seen men’s grateful attempts to kiss my feet and my very shoes at the door, both of which they would literally bathe with tears; as I have seen the haughty mullah thanking God that I did not refuse medicine to a Muslim, and others saying that in every prayer they thanked God for my coming, I have felt that even before I could teach my religion, I was doing something to recommend it and to break down prejudice.92

It was not until the 1950s that the Iranian Government began to focus on healthcare in a meaningful way, and that was with help from the United States and the United Nations (among others). Ironically, it was in this aspect that the interests of the din-e dowlat and din-e mellat seemed to align. Pierre Furter, in a UNESCO-authorised piece, quotes Ayatollah 89 Carolyn D. Spatta to Mr. Russell, 29 March 1979, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 90 Report of Treasurer, ‘Damavand College Foundation’, 15 October 1985, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 91 Aptin Khanbaghi, The Fire, the Star and the Cross: Minority Religions in Medieval and Early Modern Iran (London: I. B. Tauris, 2006), 45, 48–49. 92 Elder, History of the American Presbyterian Movement to Iran, 30.

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Borujerdi, who stated that education must serve additional ends.93 As the Shah created the Hygiene Corps on 21 January 1964, one of those ends became the development of robust medical facilities that served the general public. The Hygiene Corps consisted of conscripted medical and dental students who gave of their time to develop and modernise healthcare in Iran, similar to that of the Education Corps. Instead of entering the military, conscripts advanced public health by treating the ill, preventing disease, and keeping conditions sanitary, as well as caring for mothers and their children, teaching about nutrition and diet, and educating people on how to be more hygienic.94 As the Shah’s plan was enacted, access to medical facilities increased. In 1962, for example, only one million of the 23 million Iranians had access to health services, but by 1974 that number had increased to eight million95 out of a population of 32 million. Between 1962 and 1971, the number of health clinics more than doubled.96 By 1966, up to four million Iranians were treated medically,97 and by 1974, eight million people had access to some form of health facility.98 Between 1960 and 1973, due to better vaccinations and anti-malaria vaccinations that decreased mortality rates in babies and children; life expectancy rose from 49 years to 55.1 years for males and 56.3 years for females99 ; and between 1966 and 1976, the number of hospital beds increased from fewer than 30,000 to approximately 50,000.100 The Shah’s programme was so successful that by 1974 all medical and sanitary services were transferred to the Hygiene Corps.101

93 Hossein Borujerdi, in Pierre Furter, Possibilities and Limitations of Functional Literacy: The Iranian Experiment (Paris: UNESCO, 1973), 27. 94 Iran: National Intelligence Survey, May 1973. 95 Ibid. 96 Ibid. 97 Mohammed Reza Pahlavi Aryamehr, The White Revolution, 126–32. 98 Iran: National Intelligence Survey, May 1973. 99 Mohmood Messkoub, ‘Social Policy in Iran in the Twentieth Century’, Iranian Studies vol. 39, no. 2 (June 2006): 233. 100 Akbar Aghajanian, ‘Population Change in Iran, 1966–1986: A Stalled Demographic Transition?’ Population and Development Review vol. 17, no. 4 (December 1991): 710. 101 Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, The Shah’s Story, 87.

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The advances of healthcare in Iran during this period should not be underestimated, especially in countryside areas. Early in the process, according to a Central Intelligence Agency document, the Hygiene Corps in rural areas of Iran was accepted.102 In villages, where health clinics were founded, many residents willingly paid expenditures amounting to around $13,000 for services provided.103 By 1976, the Hygiene Corps had over 1400 centres with more than 1200 doctors and 400 laboratories in countryside areas. Mohammed Reza Shah proclaimed that the Hygiene Corps provided those living in rural areas with ‘confidence in “official” medicine’.104 Another writer notes that the Hygiene Corps made ‘the results of the studies and medical practices of the universities and urban areas available to the masses, especially in the distant and unfrequented parts of the country where the need was the greatest’.105 The effectiveness of the Hygiene Corps in areas outside the city was strong enough for it to become known as the Organisation of the Hygiene Corps for Rural Hygiene Centres.106 Not all was perfect. In 1968, many of the hospitals were in city areas— with almost half in Tehran.107 In 1973, there were still only 14,000 doctors in all of Iran, with half of them living in Tehran.108 By 1974, only 45−50% of the rural population had access to medical facilities.109 Hossain A. Ronaghy and Steven L. Solter of the Department of Medicine at Pahlavi University in Shiraz claimed a lesser percentage (36%) and stated that only 20,000 of the 55,000 villages in Iran had access to the

102 ‘Iran’s White Revolution’. 103 Roger M. Savory, ‘The Principle of Homeostasis Considered in Relation to Political

Events in Iran in the 1960s’, International Journal of Middle East Studies vol. 3, no. 3 (July 1972): 299. 104 Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, The Shah’s Story, 86. 105 Ramesh Sanghvi, Clifford German, David Missen eds. The Revolution of the Shah

and the People: The Health and Development Corps (London: Transorient, 1967), 5–7. 106 Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, The Shah’s Story, 87. 107 Iran: National Intelligence Survey, May 1973, https://www.cia.gov/library/readin

groom/docs/CIA-RDP01-00707R000200070038-7.pdf, site editor, Central Intelligence Agency, accessed on 14 August 2017. 108 Harris, A Social Revolution, 130. 109 Iran: National Intelligence Survey, May 1973.

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Health Corps since 1964,110 and even this number, according to Harris, seems to be inflated.111 In the late 1970s, Iran averaged only 1.5 hospital beds per 1000 people. While in Tehran this figure was better—3.1 beds per 1000 people—it was below the international standard of 4 beds per 1000 people. The infant mortality rate was high, at 100 deaths per 1000 births, and there were gender disparities as well as disproportions regarding healthcare in rural/urban areas.112 However, the development of Iran’s healthcare system was one area on which the din-e dowlat and din-e mellat could agree; its improvement lessened the need for Western involvement. Ayatollah Khomeini lamented that before this time Iran had for ‘a hundred years … universities, but no doctors’.113 In effect, the reforms in healthcare achieved what al-Ahmad desired: it used Western help and contextualised it for Iranian culture, thereby lessening the need for Westerners––it employed Western assistance to foster an Iranian identity. Al-Ahmad understood the progress made by the Razi Institute, where vaccines were produced, and the Pasteur Institute, which focused on treating diseases. He did not even mind the School of Medicine at the University of Tehran, a school he disparaged. He states, ‘I am thus positive that a medical student in Tehran, Shiraz, or any other Iranian city comes out much more experienced and practiced in dissection and surgery than his counterpart in Europe or America, and this is a point of strength of Iranian medical students’.114 Perhaps the din-e mellat acknowledged the healthcare initiatives of the White Revolution because the healthcare initiatives focused on training doctors with specialisations over primary healthcare workers,115 which led to a decrease in missionary effectiveness. Indeed, as costs at healthcare establishments increased, and as Presbyterians failed to secure the proper personnel (including the specialists needed), partnering with the Iranian 110 Hossain A. Ronaghy and Steven L. Solter, ‘The Auxiliary Health Worker in Iran’, The Lancet 301 (18 August 1973), 428. 111 Harris, A Social Revolution, 71. 112 Messkoub, ‘Social Policy in Iran in the Twentieth Century’, 236–51. 113 Ruhollah Khomeini, Sahifeh-ye Imam: An Anthology of Imam Khomeini’s Speeches,

Messages, Decrees, Religious Permissions, and Letters, vol. 1 (Tehran: The Institute for Compilation and Publication of Imam Khomeini’s Works, 2008), 115. 114 al-Ahmad, Occidentosis, 115. 115 Harris, A Social Revolution, 71.

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administration became essential. Collaboration helped alleviate some financial difficulties, but, at times, Presbyterians considered governmental policies and expectations inexact.116 Even with monetary assistance, properties were being sold117 and closed.118 By 1969, operating costs became prohibitive; annual expenses reached over $100,000 and $50,000 for the hospitals in Tabriz and Mashhad, respectively.119 With rapid social change in Iran, stagnation and failure in long-term planning by the missionaries led to additional reorganisation. With newer and more efficient hospitals run by the Government, and a lack of specialised Presbyterian doctors, the Presbyterian medical facilities could no longer compete,120 even though some of their costs were subsidised and debts forgiven by the Government. As opposed to previous years, when missions’ hospitals filled a need, the Iranian Government’s care of its peoples’ health needs began to make the Presbyterian hospitals redundant.121 By the summer of 1970, the Tabriz and Mashhad hospitals had closed. A few years later, Presbyterians had left the medical profession in Iran altogether.

116 ‘Report of Mission Medical Secretary Covering Period from July 1st 1963 to June

30th 1964’; Theodore D. Stevenson to R. Park Johnson, 18 March 1965, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA; and Frances L. Zoeckler, ‘Annual Report of Meshed Christian Hospital’, 1966, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 117 ‘Staff Council Ad Interim Minutes’, 23 January 1967, transcript of typewritten

report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 118 R. Park Johnson to Alan R. Norrish, 5 December 1966, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA; R. Park Johnson to James E. Leasling, 31 January 1967, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 119 Charles W. Arbuthnot to Frederick Scovel, 12 November 1969, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 120 Donald Black to Morton S. Taylor, 30 April 1970, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 121 J. H. Helberg, ‘Evaluation of the Present Presbyterian Medical Work in Iran and

Discussion about Future Expression for the Healing Ministry of the Church in that Country’, 8–14 January 1970, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA; ‘Report on the Recent Events at Mashed Christian Hospital’, 26 October 1969, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA.

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Conclusion While Western missionaries benefited from the ethnic Christian witness in Iran, the nationalistic predispositions of the din-e dowlat tended to align with the American missionaries’ interests, and the traditional model of missions evolved into an indigenous one that encouraged greater Iranian involvement. Within both education and healthcare, American missions gradually waned and Iranians paid greater attention to how to best provide for their people. Iranians became partners instead of subordinates, and eventually became leaders. In the field of healthcare, the considerations of the din-e dowlat and din-e mellat seemed to conjoin, but in the sphere of education they were divided, with the din-e mellat desiring to take an active role in returning Iran to a traditional and Islamic state as opposed to a Westernised and secularised one. Nonetheless, American missionaries were integrated into Iranian Society. When Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran at the beginning of the Islamic Revolution, he challenged the Shah’s understanding. Ayatollah Khomeini’s nationalism and the nationalism of the din-e mellat did not accept that Iranians were close to Europeans ethnically or there being a connection between Cyrus the Great and Christianity; rather, the din-e mellat’s nationalism was fixated on Islam. The next chapter focuses on the evangelistic witness American missionaries had in Iran.

CHAPTER 5

Evangelistic Activities of American Missionaries

Introduction In Pahlavi times, Iran was considered a safe place for Americans to promote Christianity. During the time of Mohammed Reza Shah, American missions in Iran reached a high point. Not only were Englishspeaking churches welcomed, the Pahlavi Government allowed Christians to practise their religion in a form that permitted proselytisation. This type of interaction supported religious leaders of the din-e dowlat to speak at Christian conferences and permitted missionaries to speak at mosques. As American missionaries gradually moved from the traditional fields of healthcare and education and transitioned to a contextual ideology, the missionaries’ policy of indigenisation was supposed to encourage and equip Iranian Christians to share the gospel with their countrymen; however, it did not prevent American missionaries from directly proselytising Iranians, nor did it impede missionaries from seeking governmental approval for overt evangelistic activities. Evangelical crusades, baptisms, and other explicit Christian endeavours escalated under the Shah. Thousands of pages of material written in Persian that advanced Christianity were distributed widely without much reprisal. Radio broadcasts in Persian that explained the necessity of the gospel were frequent. Church meetings and Christian conferences became commonplace. As interdenominational collaboration occurred, and, as indigenisation seemingly emboldened American missions agencies to encourage direct evangelistic and discipleship efforts that led Iranians to convert to the © The Author(s) 2020 P. O. Hopkins, American Missionaries in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-51214-9_5

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missionaries’ understanding of Christianity, tensions between the din-e dowlat and the din-e mellat intensified. To the din-e mellat, the Shah was succumbing to the demands of the West and damaging an Iranian identity that the din-e mellat considered grounded in Shia Islam and the traditional values its supporters espoused. To the din-e dowlat , the Shah was using the West to advance and modernise Iran; compromising and working with the West did not mean capitulating to the West’s pressures if progress towards ‘making Iran great again’ was made. The connection between American missionaries, their Government, and the Iranian state did not cease until the Islamic Revolution. As this work argues that the American missionaries’ Westernisation and modernisation of Iranian culture in addition to the proclamation of the gospel added to the negative perception of Christianity among Iranians and confused the message of the gospel with Western thought, this chapter examines the overt evangelistic and discipleship activities of American missionaries. These activities and the missionaries’ cooperation with each other and with Iranian and American expatriate Christians revealed that the lack of governmental obstruction gave Christians tacit approval and freedoms that normally would not be expected in a Muslim country. There is then an examination of the interaction between Iranian Christians and American missionaries and Western missionaries in general. Finally, this chapter details the experiences American missionaries had during the beginnings of the Islamic Revolution.

Overt Evangelism, Church Planting, and Interdenominational Cooperation with the Iranian Government’s Permission International Missions, Assemblies of God World Missions, the Foreign Mission Board, and Presbyterians each had their spheres of influence and areas of specialisation regarding missionary activities in Iran. Often, missionaries would remain within their own sect, but as time progressed and more Westerners came to Iran, collaborative efforts arose that placed these groups in closer context. Sometimes, cooperation was from necessity as financial support declined or unexpected situations arose; other times, working together resulted from a desire to display unity to Iranian Christians. Whatever the reasons, American missionary activity was thriving late

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into the 1970s. The idea of a change in government that would curtail their work was not at the forefront of many missionaries’ minds. International Missions International Missions began as an organisation focused on orphanages and the foster care of Iranian children, but evangelism, church planting, radio transmissions, the distribution of Christian literature, and correspondence courses on basic Christian theology became its main ministries. The organisation concentrated on open evangelism and discipleship. International Missions missionaries Richard and Doreen Corley, who arrived in Iran in 1955 and stayed through the Islamic Revolution, were involved in most of these activities. The Corleys developed a Bible correspondence school called ‘Good News Ministries’. This school became a strategic and non-confrontational way for International Missions missionaries to engage interested Iranians with Christianity.1 The school had a tutorial for seekers and new believers as the aim was to share Christ as widely as possible. From 1964 to 1970, 30,000 Iranians requested lessons, 17,000 returned after the first lesson, and 8000 finished all the lessons.2 From 1973 to 1977, annually, there were 3000–4250 new applications, 840–2940 courses completed, and 7500–22,800 letters of interest.3 Furthermore, the Corleys began a Persian radio ministry (with Trans World Radio).4 The radio work, discontinued in the early 1960s, was re-established in 1966. Although the Lutherans had the first shortwave radio station to Iran (1963–1977), based in Ethiopia, which almost solely broadcast Christian programmes from churches and their associations,5 the first radio programmes for the Voice of Christ were broadcast once a week for 15 minutes, in Persian, from the Seychelles and Cyprus.

1 Chamberlin, Reaching Asians Internationally, 34−43. 2 Joel Slaughter, ‘Iran Interview’, Eastern Challenge vol. 6, no. 4 (1970), Special

Collections, Richard and Doreen Corley, Lexington, SC. 3 Good News Ministries in Iran, ‘Financial Report’, 1977, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Richard and Doreen Corley, Lexington, SC. 4 Mickey Walker, ‘End of the Year Report’, September 1978, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Christar Archives, Richardson, TX. 5 Hansjörg Biener, ‘The Arrival of Radio Farda: International Broadcasting to Iran at a Crossroads’, Middle East Review of International Affairs vol. 7, no. 1 (2003), 15.

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While the radio transmissions could reach villagers in remote places6 and could potentially reach over a million people in rural areas, they were expensive—costing $45,000 a year for air time as programming budgets increased—but effective, as illiteracy was high.7 The dissemination of Christian literature was another main ministry of International Missions. This was carried out in Tehran, Tabriz, Bandar Abbas, and other cities. In a three-year period, annually, 11,000–17,000 gospel tracts, 8000–18,000 small booklets, 20,000–30,000 copies of the Gospel of Luke, and 6000–11,000 copies of the full Bible were dispersed. As late as 1978, International Missions’ ‘book rooms’—mini-libraries for Christians and non-Christians to read material on Christianity— regularly had 25–45 Persians gathering to learn about Christ and the Bible.8 Direct, one-to-one evangelism was tried also. Early in their career, missionaries Ed and Belle Jaeger practised this approach in one rural area in Iran until they were forced to leave; their blatant style offended the townspeople. Ed Jaeger worked also on a Persian translation of the Bible, which was completed in the early 1970s. The translation was based on the style of Sadegh Hedayat, an Iranian author and intellectual whose writing technique was clear and in everyday Persian.9 A translation of the Bible was made in the 1970s, with Iranian and former Muslim Mehdi Dibaj, who was martyred for his faith in the 1990s, and others, called the Living Bible translation, though it is unclear whether this translation is the same as Jaeger’s or another one.10 International Missions’ cooperation with other missions organisations was unbalanced, because Bob Jones University, a fundamentalist Christian college in America that provided substantial support to International Missions missionaries, gave the ultimatum to all International Missions missionaries to sign a declaration that stated International Missions missionaries agreed not to have any connections with theological liberals 6 Chamberlin, Reaching Asians Internationally, 42. 7 ‘Radio Voice of Christ in Iran’, January 1976, original pamphlet, Special Collections,

Richard and Doreen Corley, Lexington, SC; ‘Radio Voice of Christ in Iran’, Summer 1977, original pamphlet, Special Collections, Richard and Doreen Corley, Lexington, SC. 8 Richard Corley, ‘Rezaiyeh Report’, July 1979, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Richard and Doreen Corley, Lexington, SC. 9 ‘The Jaeger/Glass Adventures’ (accessed on 16 March 2016), transcript of typed booklet, Special Collections, Christar Archives, Richardson, TX, 50–81. 10 Rzepka, Prayer and Protest, 37.

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or Pentecostals, or anyone who might be under their umbrella. Corley, for example, could not or would not speak at a Presbyterian event because his strict doctrinal commitment differed from that of the organisers.11 Nonetheless, when International Missions received Iranian Government recognition in 1969, which allowed them to secure work visas, International Missions allowed missions organisations to second their missionaries to them. There are no separate records for these missionaries’ work found in International Missions archives as they were few in number, but some of these organisations included: Worldwide Evangelistic Crusade, the Evangelical Alliance Mission, Bible Baptist Fellowship, the American Messianic Fellowship, Christian Missions to Many Lands, Campus Crusade, and Child Evangelism Fellowship.12 Another influential missionary couple, Dwight and Anna Grace Singer, who initially focused on believers of Iranian Muslim backgrounds but eventually on all Persian-speaking peoples, which included Armenians and Assyrians, were important because of their research. In a paper entitled ‘Church Planting among Muslims of Iran’, written in 1977, Dwight Singer noted some trends. He remarked that International Missions had started English services or churches in Rezaiyeh, Tehran, Kermanshah, and Esfahan; that over half of the Bible correspondence classes were taken by Armenians and Assyrians; that Presbyterian missionaries were decreasing their efforts with Iranians from Muslim backgrounds; and that the Anglican Church in Iran was not self-supporting. While Anglicans trained Iranian pastors in India and Presbyterians trained Iranian pastors in America, often many of these Church leaders did not return. Regarding proselytising Iranian Muslims, he explained that, legally, Muslims could change their religion and missionaries could preach openly. Even in the late 1970s, the tensions between the traditional and indigenous models are seen in his conclusions. Singer states that missionaries should: (1) pray that Christ would plant churches among Iranians with Muslim backgrounds; (2) pray that God would convert Iranian Muslims and provide people to work with them; (3) establish schools to train pastors for Iran;

11 R. Park Johnson to Rodney A. Sundburg, 4 March 1964, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 12 Chamberlin, Reaching Asians Internationally, 47.

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(4) help guide research projects regarding Iran missions under Dallas Theological Seminary; and (5) know Persian better.13 Singer, before leaving Iran, surveyed 55 Iranian Christians from Rezaiyeh, Tabriz, Mashhad, Shiraz, Abadan, Esfahan, Tehran, and Kermanshah regarding the factors leading to conversion. As most of those assessed were pastors, the study provides insights into the psyche of Iranian Church leaders immediately before the Islamic Revolution. Half of those surveyed stated that reading or studying Bible/tracts/booklets was a major reason for them becoming a Christian. The testimonies indicated that the believers realised the superiority of Christ’s teachings and many were overwhelmed by Christ’s love. Upon first hearing about Christ, there were four main ways (decreasing in significance) that led to conversion, confirming the Islamic Government’s suspicion of Western Christianity: (1) direct evangelism; (2) individual Christians sharing with them; (3) Christian literature; and (4) Christian educational institutions.14 Assemblies of God Similar to International Missions, the Assemblies of God focused on evangelism and church planting among Iranians. The Assemblies of God consider their work in Iran to be indigenous, started and led by Iranians with only a few outside missionaries contributing. In 1959, two Iranian (ethnically Armenian) brothers began a charismatic15 Christian group in Tehran that they called the Philadelphia Assembly. The Philadelphia Assembly’s stated goal was to convert Muslims to Christianity.16 Another event occurred also: a prayer meeting, founded around 1960, with Seth Yeghnazar (an Armenian Christian) and his family in his home. This prayer meeting led the Yeghnazars to have a charismatic experience, or a ‘filling of the Spirit’, which allowed for a connection with the Assemblies 13 Dwight Singer, ‘A Survey of Muslim Converts in Iran’, Spring 1980, Special Collections, Dwight Singer, Raleigh, NC, 15. 14 Ibid., 14. 15 According to a personal conversation with Sam Yeghnazar, head of Elam Ministries

and the son of Seth Yeghnazar, one reason for focusing on the charismatic sect was because the brothers had met with some missionaries in Western Iran and not because of any theological conviction. 16 Rzepka, Prayer and Protest, 35.

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of God to be made. For five years, Iranian Christians met consistently with Yeghnazar, praying that God would awaken Iran towards Christianity. While information for the period between 1960 and 1969 is limited, what is known is that the time between 1960 and 1965 led them to consider what might be needed to awaken their country spiritually for the gospel. (Many of the Assemblies of God Church leaders trace the beginning of their ministry to this prayer meeting.) Rzepka notes that, with the Assemblies of God, Persian was the language of instruction, though Armenian and Assyrian were used when needed when addressing some of the ethnic Christian populations.17 In 1965, at the Iranians’ wish, Mark and Gladys Bliss were sent to Iran by the Assemblies of God World Missions to help Yeghnazar launch a Bible school.18 Different from other American missions organisations, the Assemblies of God did not arrive in Iran until Iranians requested their help. Although primary resources between 1965 and 1969 are inadequate, what is known is that on the evening of 24 October 1969, while travelling to the Gorgan region of Iran for a pastors’ conference with Armenian-Iranian pastor Haik Hovsepian-Mehr and family, the Blisses were involved in a car accident that killed all three of their children and the only child of the Hovsepian-Mehrs; the children were aged from 13 years to six months old. Mark Bliss, the driver, was charged with manslaughter. The trial did not occur until three years later.19 When the trial began in 1972, there was a concern that if Mark Bliss were found guilty he could be jailed because the accident caused death; he did not have the same liberties as American dignitaries, who had immunity from Iranian law. The judges, in addition, were Muslim, and converting Muslims to Christianity was Bliss’ focus.20 The judges found him guilty of causing the accident; however, they were lenient in their sentence: 10 months imprisonment suspended as long as no law was broken in the

17 Ibid., 36. 18 ‘Tragic Deaths not in Vain’, https://www.elam.com/article/tragic-deaths-not-vain,

site editor, Elam Ministries, accessed on 16 September 2016. 19 Ibid. 20 Ibid.

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two years following; no driving for five years if another serious accident were to be caused by him in the next two years; and a fine of $130.21 During the period between the accident and trial, the Assemblies of God ministry continued. A church funded by American money was built in Gorgan in 1970 and pastored by Hovsepian-Mehr. The church became a place of emphasis for the Assemblies of God, and HovsepianMehr concentrated on converting Muslims. Over 100 Muslims and Armenians attended its dedication, which led to questioning by the authorities.22 Christian services devoted to Persia’s 2500-year anniversary were conducted. By the end of the trial in 1972, the church was gaining a reputation for being pro-government and had opportunities to expand beyond its boundaries. Hovsepian-Mehr preached a sermon broadcast over the radio honouring the Shah and Iran’s 2500th anniversary. In addition to the police chief, mayor, and other important individuals, a special governmental representative in charge of the province attended the service. Hovsepian-Mehr focused on how exceptional Cyrus the Great was in the Bible.23 This ideology that Hovsepian-Mehr espoused in his sermon aligned closely with the din-e dowlat . Muslim youth began to attend Sunday School by 197324 ; and, by 1974, five Muslim families converted.25 For the January 1975 New Year, Hovsepian-Mehr broadcast a radio show that was heard up to 60 miles away26 ; at Easter of that year, he preached another sermon over the radio, which praised the Shah. By this time, the church could minister to a small group of Muslimbackground Christians living in villages outside of Gorgan.27 By the end of the year, the church was hosting a youth camp and 11 more Muslims

21 Mark and Gladys Bliss to Friends in Christ, 24 October 1972, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO. 22 Mark and Gladys Bliss to Friends in Christ, June 1970, transcript of typewritten

letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO. 23 Bliss to Friends in Christ, November 1972. 24 Mark and Gladys Bliss to Friends in Christ, November 1973, transcript of typewritten

letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO. 25 Mark and Gladys Bliss to Friends in Christ, April 1974, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO. 26 Mark and Gladys Bliss to Friends in Christ, January 1975, transcript of type written letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO. 27 Mark and Gladys Bliss to Friends in Christ, April 1975, transcript of type written letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO.

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converted, resulting in a total of 20 Muslim converts; furthermore, 13 Armenians, six Russians, two Greeks, and one Turkomen also changed their faith.28 By 1976, the Gorgan Church was hosting an English service that had 65–70 people in attendance,29 and by 1977, Hovsepian-Mehr was able to preach to several million Muslims as he was now being seen on television.30 The combination of being pro-Shah and intentionally sharing the gospel with Muslims without much reprisal (although vandalism seemed to increase by being aligned with the Pahlavis) led to resentment among some Iranians, particularly those affiliated with the din-e mellat . There is more regarding Hovsepian-Mehr in the next chapter, but, as Rzepka notes, in addition to the Gorgan Church, Hovsepian-Mehr was illustrative of the upcoming Iranian Church leaders who desired to make Christianity more indigenous and, thus, more culturally acceptable than in previous years.31 The church in Gorgan was not the only ministry of the Assemblies of God, nor were the Blisses the only American Assemblies of God missionaries. Outside of Gorgan, Assemblies of God World Missions supported a number of works in Tehran, Rezaiyeh, Esfahan, and Kermanshah. Other Assemblies of God missionaries, such as James and Eloise Neely, arrived in 197032 and remained until the Islamic Revolution.33 By April 1972, the Assemblies of God had 11 churches, an evangelistic centre, a summer training programme, and was connected to a Bible school34 ; a couple of

28 Mark and Gladys Bliss to Friends in Christ, October 1975, transcript of type written letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO. 29 Mark and Gladys Bliss to Friends in Christ, March 1976, transcript of type written

letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO. 30 Mark and Gladys Bliss to Friends in Christ, March 1977, transcript of type written letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO. 31 Rzepka, Prayer and Protest, 4. 32 James and Eloise Neely to Friends, March 1971, transcript of type written letter,

Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO. 33 James and Eloise Neely to Friends, August 1979, transcript of type written letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO. 34 Mark and Gladys Bliss to Friends in Christ, April 1972, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO.

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years later, a youth camp outside of Tehran was purchased.35 The denomination became officially registered with the Iranian Government.36 Of the 11 churches, one was built near the University of Tehran that seated 400– 450 people.37 The evangelistic centre, also located in Tehran, became a centrepiece for their efforts: over 500 people attended its dedication, including Persians, Armenians, and Assyrians.38 Not all events were held in Persian or English; sometimes, non-American, non-Iranian Christians gave lectures. When a Lebanese evangelist preached, for instance, the singing was conducted in Arabic. There is at least one documented occasion when a Muslim cleric attended training sessions39 and other cases when Muslim Iranians attended meetings.40 As early as 1973, Iranians from the centre donated money to support Christian missions’ efforts in Afghanistan.41 The proliferation of Christianity into Iranian culture occurred not only through ministries but through propagation. Evangelistic crusades and Bible correspondence courses were advertised on television, radio, and in newspapers,42 sometimes reaching 200,000 people.43 Creative methods of integrating the gospel into culture were used as well, including the sponsoring of gospel musicals (in English44 and Persian45 ), using drama 35 Bliss to Friends in Christ, October 1975; Bliss notes that Muslims were legally allowed to change their religion at 18 years old, indicating what they were doing with children was potentially illegal. 36 Bliss to Friends in Christ, April 1972. 37 Mark and Gladys Bliss to Friends in Christ, June 1970. 38 Mark and Gladys Bliss to Friends in Christ, July 1971, transcript of typewritten letter,

Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO. 39 Bliss to Friends in Christ, April 1972. 40 Mark and Gladys Bliss to Friends in Christ, November 1972, transcript of typewritten

letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO. 41 Mark and Gladys Bliss to Friends in Christ, April 1973, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO. 42 Mark and Gladys Bliss to Friends in Christ, February 1972, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO. 43 Mark and Gladys Bliss to Friends in Christ, September 1972, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO. 44 Mark and Gladys Bliss to Friends in Christ, June 1972, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO. 45 Mark and Gladys Bliss to Friends in Christ, June 1977, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO.

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and film,46 and bringing in well-known/respected foreigners to speak.47 The dissemination of Christian material into society was significant, too. Cassette tapes with sermons and musicals (in Persian or English) were either sold or distributed in the thousands.48 At one point, over 40,000 gospel tracts were delivered to Iranians, and people from churches could go into Muslim schools to share Christ.49 Ten thousand fliers were mailed telling the story of Christmas.50 The Assemblies of God ministered to non-Muslim Iranians, expatriates in Iran, and others who desired to see Iranians convert to Christianity, including Southern Baptist evangelist Billy Graham, who was in Iran briefly to determine whether he could hold a crusade. Reportedly, Graham had a conversation with President Richard Nixon, who put him in contact with the Shah.51 The Blisses played a role in many of these activities.52 The Neelys helped in these efforts and used other methods to propagate their understanding of Christianity in Iranian Society. The Neelys advertised in one of the largest Persian newspapers for crusades,53 participated in summer Bible school programmes54 and children’s camps,55 and visited various cities where churches affiliated with Assemblies of God were located.56

46 Bliss to Friends in Christ, March 1976. 47 Bliss to Friends in Christ, April 1972; Mark and Gladys Bliss to Friends in Christ,

Sept 1976, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO. 48 Bliss to Friends in Christ, June 1977. 49 Bliss to Friends in Christ, June 1972. 50 Mark and Gladys Bliss to Friends in Christ, February 1973, transcript of typewritten

letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO. 51 Ibid. 52 ‘Tragic Deaths not in Vain’. 53 James and Eloise Neely to Friends, April 1972, transcript of typewritten letter, Special

Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO. 54 James and Eloise Neely to Friends, October 1972, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO. 55 James and Eloise Neely to Friends, August 1973, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO. 56 Ibid.; James and Eloise Neely to Friends, February 1974, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO.

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Engaging the English-speaking community became a priority for the Neelys. As early as 1972, they began a series of English-speaking services in Tehran57 and, by 1974, they had a church of 40 people,58 reaching 175 people at its peak.59 In 1973, Eloise Neely began an English Bible study for wives of Iranians,60 and, as more English speakers went to Iran, the Bible study (and church) transitioned into multi-ethnic gatherings.61 The Neelys were involved also in Filipino women’s outreach meetings on Sundays, as opposed to Fridays (the normal day of worship) since Friday was the Filipino ladies’ day off. As Filipino women were the caretakers of Iranian children, the Neelys believed that teaching them about Jesus could lead to the Filipino ladies teaching Iranian children about Christ, something that was difficult for Americans to do.62 Southern Baptists As a strategy of indigenisation was developing in Iran, Southern Baptists believed their most effective approach was to concentrate on the English expatriate population and the Iranian ethnic Christian/Jewish populations instead of the Muslim Iranians. This strategy was in contrast to the Braswells’ approach of focusing on Muslim Iranians, but because it was easier for the Foreign Mission Board missionaries to enter Iran and because the Foreign Mission Board’s constituency placed pressure on them. By the 1960s, Southern Baptists were one of the largest Protestant denominations in the United States and they had people living in Iran who were in the military or working as businessmen or as oilmen. The Foreign Mission Board deemed it more important to assign missionaries to look after the needs of the comparatively small English expatriate population and convert ethnic Iranian Christian/Jewish peoples to their interpretation of Christianity than to focus on directly evangelising Iran’s 57 Neely to Friends, April 1972. 58 Neely to Friends, February 1974. 59 James Neely in Rzepka, Prayer and Protest, 104. 60 James and Eloise Neely to Friends, May 1973, transcript of typewritten letter, Special

Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO. 61 James and Eloise Neely to Friends, April 1977, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO. 62 James and Eloise Neely to Friends, July 1978, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO.

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majority population. The Foreign Mission Board’s stated objective was to use Iran’s ethnic Christians to evangelise Iran’s Muslim population. This strategy did not sit well with Dehqani-Tafti. There was more than one heated discussion between Dehqani-Tafti and another Foreign Mission Board missionary regarding the merits of this approach. Nonetheless, by 1971, a Baptist-leaning English-speaking church had been founded in Tehran that ministered to expatriates, mainly Americans. A series of letters between Leslie W. Batson, a Southern Baptist expatriate in the military, and the Foreign Mission Board leadership indicates Batson’s resolve to secure the Foreign Mission Board’s help to make the church solely Baptist,63 contrary to the older, more ecumenical Community Church that was operated by Presbyterians and attended by the United States Ambassador.64 Batson complained that the Board’s missionaries were not doing enough to meet his family’s needs. He wanted the Baptist Church in Iran to be ‘fully sanctioned’ by the Southern Baptist Convention,65 even though the Braswells, while friendly, were not interested in belonging to it.66 The Foreign Mission Board’s leadership desired to partner with this church and understood that if one of its missionaries were its pastor, it could serve its goal of reaching expatriates and ethnic Christians who would then reach the majority population.67 By this time, the church had found a permanent place to meet in the grounds of the Persian Evangelical Church, a congregation whose services were in Persian.68 The Iranian Government was cooperating with the Foreign Mission Board. In a letter from Foreign Mission Board missionaries Dwight and Emma Baker to their supporters, they mention Dwight Baker being the provisional pastor of Tehran Baptist Church, with the Iranian Muslim Government being 63 Leslie W. Batson to J. D. Hughey, 31 January 1971, transcript of typewritten letter,

Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 64 J. D. Hughey to Edgar E. Martin, 31 May 1966, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 65 Leslie W. Batson to J. D. Hughey, 30 June 1972, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 66 J. D. Hughey to Leslie W. Baton, 15 January 1971 transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 67 Ibid. 68 Roger Coley to J. D. Hughey, 17 December 1972, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA.

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helpful in providing them with visas. They state that there was religious freedom in Iran like no other place in the Middle East.69 This statement is corroborated by a letter that Hughey sent to the Iranian Government thanking them for granting James Kirkendall, the Foreign Mission Board supervisor over those living in Iran, a work permit, knowing that Kirkendall would be travelling to other countries (India, Bangladesh) to work with missionaries.70 By 1973, retired Baptist minister George McClelland had become the pastor of Tehran Baptist Church.71 The church was in good standing with the Iranian administration because its leaders promised not to focus on Iranian nationals and only on expatriates, though Iranians did attend the services. The strategy of reaching expatriates was successful in the minds of the Foreign Mission Board’s leadership. Members of Tehran Baptist Church befriended and shared the gospel with Muslim Iranians, so much so that the Muslim leaders from a nearby mosque requested books on Christian theology and Christian history to distribute to their students. McClelland himself befriended and shared the gospel with the Minister of the Interior.72 Layman James A. McCraw, who attended Tehran Baptist Church, wrote a document explaining the need for the Foreign Mission Board to support non-vocational expatriate missionaries in Iran.73 McCraw stated that expatriate Christians could develop the infrastructure of Iran, an area in which Iran desired foreigners. As there were approximately 20,000 Americans in Iran, with Iranians considering them all Christians, the witness Christians could have in Iran was significant, even if only 10% of them were true believers. With the realisation that Iran would become a developed nation shortly, there was a belief that the time for sharing the

69 Emma and Dwight Baker to Friends, New Year 1973, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 70 J. D. Hughey to Moshen Darvani, 27 May 1973, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 71 Ibid. 72 George D. McClelland to J. D. Hughey, 15 October 1973, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 73 James A. McCraw, ‘Self-Supporting Witness––A Layman’s Point of View’, 17 October 1974, transcript of typed document, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA.

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gospel was short. Using the ‘business as mission’ model and paying attention to expatriate Christians not on the payroll of the Foreign Mission Board was, therefore, imperative, especially as Iran was open to American businesses. McCraw suggested that the Board help educate the local Church in the United States about these opportunities; provide information about jobs in Iran; train theologically and missiologically those going overseas; develop an organisation to help laymen become selfsupporting; and determine whether Baptist state papers would provide free advertisements.74 By the end of 1974, Tehran Baptist Church was thriving and not in need of financial support; at that time, it was the only Baptist Church in Iran. The church was able to pay its pastor’s salary and rent to the Persian Evangelical Church. Tehran Baptist Church was interested in a couple more missionaries to be associate pastors, though not necessarily in Tehran75 ; the idea was to expand to other parts of the country. Indeed, the church was considered by the Foreign Mission Board as one of the most important English-speaking churches overseas,76 as it eventually helped support other missions, including the Iranian Bible Society and Indian evangelism in Iran.77 A report to the Foreign Mission Board leadership revealed that Loren C. Turage and Kirkendall (and families) visited major population centres in Iran to determine where additional English-speaking churches were needed. The report explains that little research had gone into reaching expatriates for Christ in Iran and that the studies on evangelising Muslims were not useful—mass evangelism would get them in trouble, medical missions were being conducted, and the Braswells’ work with students was a failure as there were few conversions78 (although the strategy was still being considered as the head of the chemistry department at the University of Tehran had teaching 74 Ibid. 75 J. D. Hughey to Mrs. Ali Masari, 17 December 1974, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 76 J. D. Hughey to John Brooks, 13 May 1975, transcript of typewritten letter, Special

Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 77 ‘1977 Missions Minutes’, transcript of typed minutes, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 78 Loren C. Turage, ‘Mission Planning for Evangelism and Church Development’, April 27, 1975 transcript of typewritten speech, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA.

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and research positions available, including a research position at Iran’s nuclear centre).79 The idea of using tourism as a means for evangelism also proved difficult. Turage and Kirkendall’s recommended strategy was that Christian celebrities visit Iran so that the gospel could be shared.80 By the spring of 1974, three missions had begun, one each in Esfahan, Shiraz, and Ahvaz. The idea was to use Western programmes and shortterm personnel and laypeople to reach the expatriate population. As the three above missions’ focus was on mixed Iranian-Western marriages, the plan was to establish more churches in the Iranian language when expatriates learned more Persian.81 As turnover among the ministers was high, the use of Southern Baptist teaching material from America seemed to be the only constant. The three missions employed the same Southern Baptist programmes and groups, such as Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and the Women’s Missionary Union. As Journeyman Bruce Alan Clark noted, the only difference he saw between the Baptist Church in Tehran and those in the United States was that the church in Iran used rented facilities, which meant if any changes to the normal schedule were to be made, it needed to be approved by the Iranian leadership, which he commented could take a significant amount of time.82 Along with two copies of Braswell’s book To Ride a Magic Carpet (about his time in Iran) being mailed to President and Mrs Jimmy Carter by the publisher, with one of the copies potentially going to Mohammed Reza Shah as a gift, the timing of the Foreign Mission Board targeting Iran appeared right.83 The Presbyterians were in decline and the Anglicans had only around 500 members in their churches across Iran.84 From 1976 to 1978, the total membership of the Foreign Mission Board sponsored churches increased from 233 to 367, baptisms increased from 6 to 37, annual giving from the four churches rose from $56,000 to 79 Henry Turlington to Muerner S. Harvey, 3 October 1975, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 80 Turage, ‘Mission Planning for Evangelism and Church Development.’ 81 Henry Turlington to James Kirkendall, 28 May 1975, transcript of typewritten letter,

Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 82 Bruce Alan Clark, ‘June 1977 Newsletter’, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 83 J. D. Hughey to James Kirkendall, 15 November 1977, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 84 ‘1978 Missions Minutes’.

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$150,000, and average weekly Sunday School attendance increased from 410 people to 650 people. By 1978, Tehran Baptist Church was the only self-supporting church in the region.85 By July 1978, Kenneth Glenn, the pastor at the church in Ahvaz, had over 120 people in his congregation.86 Tehran Baptist Church, while only six years old, with 90% of the membership being American87 (most of the Iranians who did attend were married to expatriates88 ) and a 40% yearly turnover, already had 250 members,89 and a new pastor, Henry Turlington, had just arrived. Presbyterians For Presbyterians—the largest, longest-tenured, and most effective American missions organisation in Iran—outside of radio, collaboration with other missions organisations was not a high priority in the beginning of the period under study. While Presbyterians participated in the 1962– 1963 earthquake relief, donating $400,000 to help those affected,90 and were involved with other missions groups, as in the case of the pioneer work of International Missions not reaching the high classes of Iranian Society, or the withdrawal of International Missions from certain areas because of hostility to the gospel,91 it was not until 1964 that Presbyterians increased their cooperation. Radio programming was one area of

85 Henry Turlington, ‘Significant Events in 1978’, 11 October 1978, transcript, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA; Henry Turlington, ‘Statistical Report on Iran for 1 October 1976−30 September 1977’, 13 November 1977, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 86 Kenneth Glenn to Friends, July 1978, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 87 Helen Turlington, ‘Tehran, 1977−1978’. 88 Henry Turlington, ‘Textual Material for Annual Report Iran Mission: January

1−December 31, 1977’, 11 October 1987, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 89 ‘1977 Missions Minutes’. 90 ‘Report of Earthquake Relief Committee––1962–1963’, n.d., transcript of typewritten

report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 91 Joseph P. Cochran to Ashton Stewart, 11 August 1961, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA; Ashton T. Stewart to Members of the Iran Mission Executive Committee, 21 July 1961, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA.

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collaboration, and although radio began in 1962 in Tehran, it was not until 1964 that 30-minute Christian programmes in Persian began. As Rzepka notes, the Voice of the Gospel helped to develop intimacy among its audience by sending out Christmas cards and other correspondence, which allowed for some interaction. This interaction helped to determine which programmes were run and gauge how they were perceived.92 Perhaps due in part to dwindling resources, the Presbyterians were willing to consider working with Southern Baptists93 and lamented International Missions’ stringent doctrinal commitments that did not allow for collaboration.94 The Presbyterians participated in a conference on Christian unity that acknowledged one Church in Iran with denominational affiliations expressed in cooperative activities.95 Regarding Southern Baptists, the Presbyterians had a good relationship with the Braswells. When the Southern Baptists were thinking about establishing an office in Tehran, the Presbyterians debated whether to support it, but as the Southern Baptists were not trying to compete with other Christian sects, there seemed to be acceptance.96 By 1966, the Presbyterians were cooperating with the Anglicans to plant a church in Khuzestan.97 The Anglicans and Presbyterians began working also on strategies regarding Iranian youth, literature, and radio, 92 Rzepka, Prayer and Protest, 89. 93 ‘Board of Trustee Minutes’, 16 July 1964, transcript of typed minutes, Special

Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 94 R. Park Johnson to Rodney A. Sundberg, 4 March––January 1964, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 95 ‘Report on Discussion Seminar on “The Study of Christian Unity” at the Interchurch Summer Conference––Isfahan––June 29––July 10 1964’, n.d., transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 96 Durwood Busse to Charles Arbuthnot, 20 February 1969, transcript of typewritten

letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA; Benjamin M. Weir to Kenneth Thomas, 19 May 1973, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA; Durwood A. Busse to John G. Lorimer, 11 March 1968, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA; and Durwood A. Busse to J. D. Hughey, 24 February 1969, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 97 R. Park Johnson to Walter A. Groves, 22 October 1966, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA; Durwood A. Busse to John G. Lorimer, 16 March 1968, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA.

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and they were both on the Khuzestan Church Committee and the Iranian Council of Churches.98 By 1972, there was talk of combining the Episcopal (Anglican) and evangelical churches in Iran.99 Another avenue of cooperation was the Garden of Evangelism, the former home of some of the Presbyterians’ longest-tenured missionaries, William and Isabelle Miller.100 There were plans to have the home converted into an ‘allweather site for training’.101 In 1973, the facility was used for 92 days by 275 people; Persian, Armenian, and Assyrian language churches used it, as well as Anglicans and the Assemblies of God.102 In 1974, Voice of the Gospel held its third annual conference there. A children’s camp, an English language camp, and a Persian language camp used the facilities also.103 Eventually, The Garden of Evangelism was sold to the Iranian Council of Churches as it became too expensive to operate.104 Even with this type of cooperation, the question regarding the relationship between the Presbyterian missions and the Iranian Christians remained, especially since Presbyterian missionaries contributed much time and money. Given the increasingly limited resources and internal conflicts, the idea of leaving Iran completely was proposed. Questions regarding the number of people, job assignments, and priorities needed to be answered. The Iranians needed to not rely on missionaries, take leadership roles, and provide a sense of direction.105 By 1974, only 10 98 Durwood A. Busse to Raymond Kearns, 28 August 1968, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 99 ‘Newsletter’, 29 February 1972, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 100 Kenneth J. Thomas to Nerses Khachadourian, 16 November 1974, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 101 William H. Hopper to Rodney A. Sundberg, 27 February 1964, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 102 Kenneth J. Thomas to Charles W. Arbuthnot, 10 January 1973, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 103 ‘Newsletter’, 19 October 1974, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 104 Benjamin M. Weir to Samuel Ishaq, 29 October 1974, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 105 ‘Meeting of Fraternal Workers in Tehran on April 18 1974’, n.d., transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA; Judson W. Allen to Kenneth Thomas, 19 March 1974, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA.

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missionary units (15 adult missionaries) were being paid by the Presbyterian office in the United States.106 The number of ‘communicant’ members in the evangelical church of Iran was 3000, with one third of them at the Assyrian Evangelical Church in Tehran.107 The reduction in the number of Presbyterian missions and missionaries engaged in non-church-related activities led to questions regarding the missionaries’ roles in relation to the Iranian Church and how missionaries could best strengthen it. Increasing numbers of missionaries were now arriving in Iran from other organisations, complicating matters. Missionaries from other bodies did not have the same leadership structure or strategy, and most missionaries worked in isolation. Such missionaries were connecting with Western expatriates who did not share the same values; it became difficult to distinguish between the missionary and the expatriate. Many missionaries remained within the Englishspeaking population, and learning Persian was no longer emphasised. When missionaries needed spiritual guidance, the Iranian Church failed to help; the Church was focused on its own people.108

The Relationship Between Iranian Christians and American Missionaries In 1969, the Foreign Mission Board held its first and only Area General Meeting in Tehran for their missionaries in Iran and the countries of Israel, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, Spain, Libya, Lebanon, Yemen, and Morocco as Iran was considered a safe and stable country. NonSouthern Baptist Iranian Christian leaders and prominent Western Christian missionaries in Iran (as well as Southern Baptist missionaries) were invited to speak on the theme of ‘Christian Missions Among Muslims’.109 Not only did this Area General Meeting display the freedoms missionaries 106 Judson W. Allen to L. Vernelle Blair, 9 October 1974, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 107 Kenneth J. Thomas, ‘Confidential Report on the State of the Church in Iran’, 17

April 1974, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 108 ‘Missionary-Church Relations in Iran’, 11 January 1975, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 109 ‘1969 Tehran Conference’, 18 July 1969, transcript of typed minutes, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA.

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were allowed, it typified the advice Iranian Christian leaders were giving missionaries as early as a decade before the Islamic Revolution. At this conference, the pastor of Tehran Evangelical Church, and former Iranian governmental official, Mehdi Abhari, stated in a lecture that missionaries should move away from traditional methods of evangelism—principally the idea of using hospitals and schools as evangelistic tools. Particularly when it came to healthcare, he explained that using it to share Christ breaks the Iranian community into pieces and has the opposite effect than the desired one of true conversion. Few people who convert to Christianity in this way stay faithful, and taking Iranians out of their community and baptising them proves harmful. Abhari believed that because of Mohammed Reza Shah’s leadership Christians and Muslims were increasing their cooperation; additional emphasis on dialogue and less stress on apologetics were needed as persecution towards Christians, including Muslims who converted to Christianity, was diminishing. Even a few years prior, when Abhari was a child, Iranians ridiculed him for his faith and the faith of his parents, but now Iranians seemed indifferent towards religion in general, seeing it as a means of disunity, which was evidenced by him having a job in government. Those Iranians committed to Islam believed one should not change faiths because Islam had been given to them just as a wife or child; a person should not change religions because a religion was prettier or more gifted. If missionaries changed their methodology, did not use traditional means for evangelism, and did not promote the exclusivist claim that Christianity was the only way to salvation, missionaries would have additional bridges into the Muslim community.110 In the same meeting, an Iranian USAID worker, who also pastored the Assyrian Pentecostal Church in Kermanshah and the Philadelphia Church in Tehran, warned Foreign Mission Board missionaries not to Westernise Iranians, think of themselves as superior to Iranians, or to engage in unfruitful arguments. Understanding the difficulty of missions to Muslims should not change the focus in reaching them for Christ, he commented. He reminded the missionaries that Muslims, too, believe that they worship the only true God and that Muslims understand Islam (as opposed to Christianity) as the final authority; for Muslims, Christianity 110 Mehdi Abhari, 1969, ‘My View of Christian Missions Among Muslims’, transcript of typed speech, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA.

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is outdated and simplistic. The pastor understood that some Muslims quietly convert to Christianity and have been baptised in secret. He advised missionaries to stop being excessively Western, overcome their disappointment in their lack of results, not to preach about a religion but Christ, and not to give money to Iranian believers so that dependence does not develop.111 Another Iranian at the meeting, an Anglican minister who was originally Jewish, Iradj Mottahedeh, explained that his church actively seeks Muslims and reads from the Qur’an, believing that the use of the Qur’an as a means to accessing the gospel is a fine evangelistic endeavour. He suggested that missionaries have Muslims teach the Qur’an, even to their children, with the intention of providing an accurate view of Islam. While the gospel should not be compromised, including controversial doctrines, bonds must be forged with the Islamic world. Therefore, missionaries ought to be creative. He had harsh words for some of the current methods being used: The church uses oppression for the spreading of the good news and in ministering the compassion of Christ to Muslims has assumed an offensive mood toward them. She has followed the policy of denouncing the Islamic faith and order of life without reckoning its spiritual [and] cultural wealth. The church, specially in her Western form and expression, has examined the Muslim belief and practices and concluded that they are wholly wrong and superfluous if not dangerous. She has believed that Islam advocated are [sic] beyond hope of restoration.112

Dehqani-Tafti echoed those assertions at the Area General Meeting. He warned Foreign Mission Board missionaries of certain incorrect perceptions. He noted the impressions of Muslims about Western Christians are that they have affiliations with their respective governments, which was often true. While American Christians could not and should not separate themselves artificially from their nation, not distancing themselves from American economic, political, and military forces, and/or relying on the 111 Dave Thomas, 1969, ‘My View of Christian Missions Among Muslims’, transcript of typed speech, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 112 Iradj Mottahedeh, 1969, ‘Critical Problems and Creative Opportunities’, transcript of typed speech, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA.

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United States administration gave the impression of governmental cooperation. If American Christians depended on their state, Dehqani-Tafti asks, how does the message of the love of Christ translate? Trusting in government then becomes a poor Christian witness.113 Dehqani-Tafti explained the negative stigma Christian denominations had in Iran. He stated that Iran was beginning to become a unified nation where there was less of a distinction between Persians, Armenians, Assyrians, Jews, etc.; whatever the people or racial group, one was first an Iranian. ‘Identities or rights or boundaries or land or associations or organizations’ were no matter, he followed; instead Christians should have the ‘spirit of Christ – the spirit of the cross’ wherever they are. Isolation into ‘Christian ghettos’ was not an option.114 While Rzpeka’s indication that this yearning for oneness in the Iranian Church betrayed an incipient form of Iranian Christian nationalism is somewhat of an overstatement,115 the desire Iranian Christians had for an indigenous Iranian Church operated by Iranians resonated within the community. As the missionaries’ reliance on government added to the incompatibility of Christianity in Iran, making it seem foreign and at odds with the majority Muslim population, Dehqani-Tafti is strong in his condemnation of Western Christian missions: Unfortunately not always have missionaries been able, even consciously, to completely separate themselves from the economic and political and sometimes military force of their own government. And this is sometimes almost impossible to do – because if you separate yourself artificially you become a hypocrite. You see, with the Western expansion went the missionary; or with the missionary went the Western expansion – either way you like to call it – and you know, there’s a book printed widely, I believe in Iran, translated; called ‘Missionary and Colonialism’ or ‘Imperialism.’ But in the mind of the people, this is one? But the message of Christianity is meekness and humility; it’s giving your life for your enemy; if this is the core of the Christian message – and

113 H. B. Dehqani-Tafti, 1969, ‘My View of Christian Missions Among Muslims’, transcript of typed speech, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 114 Ibid. 115 Rzepka, Prayer and Protest, 84–85.

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I believe it is – now how on earth can you present this in the shape of power? and influence? and money? and grandeur? This is the dilemma. So Christianity ought not to be packages of denominations or groups in a corner; it ought to be dissolved into society. We are part and parcel of our nation, it doesn’t matter if we have identities or rights or boundaries or land or associations or organizations; what matters is whether Christian individuals have the spirit of Christ – the spirit of the cross – in them wherever they are.116

It seems there was some validity in the warning Dehqani-Tafti provided Foreign Mission Board missionaries at their 1969 Area General Meeting. While the Braswells followed Dehqani-Tafti’s advice, developing a strategy contrary to the common ones of the period, they were unlike many of the Southern Baptist missionaries who came after them. The Braswells used a platform (a profession that helps one to be identified as something besides a missionary) to enter Iran; they focused on the majority population (Muslim Iranians), learned Persian, lived among the locals in average accommodation (not in a missionary compound), and placed their children in a community school mixed with students from several cultures instead of the nearby American school.117 They trusted Iran’s medical staff also; one child was born in Tehran and two surgeries were performed, one on a broken arm of one of their children and another on the back of Joanne Braswell.118 Most Southern Baptist missionaries, as discussed earlier, focused on minority populations in Iran. When Kirkendall met with Dehqani-Tafti, Kirkendall stated that Dehqani-Tafti encouraged Baptist churches to be planted in Iran that centred on expatriates, but was hoping that Foreign Mission Board missionaries would also focus on Iranians,119 including those Iranians who spoke only Persian. A job description regarding learning Persian was created, but the first person did not enquire about it until years later.120

116 Dehqani-Tafti, ‘My View of Christian Missions Among Muslims’. 117 Braswell, Crossroads of Religion and Revolution, 68−73. 118 Ibid., 69, 100. 119 J. D. Hughey to James Kirkendall, 14 November 1973, transcript of typewritten

letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 120 James Kirkendall to David Leon Womack, 30 January 1978, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA.

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The Braswells were not the only missionaries who adhered to this pattern. Even before Dehqani-Tafti’s speech, missionaries from each of the American missions groups tried to be as indigenous as they knew how. With Presbyterians, for example, there were people such as Ashton Stewart, a medical missionary, who saw the need for the Iranian Church to be less Western. During the Presbyterian missionaries’ transition to an indigenous approach, there was concern among some missionaries regarding the Iranian Church’s ability to take more responsibility.121 Since few Iranians were considered qualified to be church leaders and Presbyterian funding was lacking, the worry was that missionaries would maintain de facto control over the Iranian Church’s affairs. Stewart feared this lack would result in the Iranian Church mimicking Western Christianity.122 He believed the transition that the Presbyterians were developing with the Christian Service Board needed development.123 Another worker explained that the Iranian Church would exist in the ‘shadow of foreign dominance’.124 Among Iranian Christians, the concept that Iranian churches could self-regulate without missionary interference was welcomed, but it also caused confusion and resentment because it was applied unevenly. Indeed, both Iranian Christians and Presbyterian missionaries were frustrated with the new ‘hands off’ directive. Many missionaries either caused trouble, resigned, retired, or asked to be reassigned.125 Ironically, the Presbyterians’ missions organisation contributed adversely to its desire for indigenisation by participating and financing projects no longer under its control.126 Around $20,000 was given to 121 Patti Former to Rodney Sundberg, 24 September 1965, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 122 Ashton T. Stewart to Members of the Iran Mission Executive Committee, 21 June 1961, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 123 Ashton T. Stewart, ‘Personal Report’, 1962−1963, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 124 Johnson to Marzeki. 125 Donald P. Smith and Mae Ross Taylor to Rodney A. Sundberg, 12 January

1965, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA; Woodard to Friends; Zoeckler, ‘Annual Report of Meshed Christian Hospital’; Donald Black to Jonathan Marzeki, 22 June 1972, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 126 Sherman B. Fung to Jonathan Marzaki, 27 September 1967, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA; St.

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St. Thomas Evangelical Church of Tehran for a building project, and $12,000 was given to maintain the clinic at Esmatabad, where the 1962 earthquake took place.127 Capital requests in 1966 amounted to almost $75,000.128 In healthcare and education, rarely did Presbyterians charge the actual cost of the services provided.129 When the Iranian Church could not afford retirement benefits for its workers, the Presbyterians agreed to provide emergency assistance.130 Dehqani-Tafti struggled to understand why American Presbyterians functioned independently from Iranian Presbyterians in Iran. This was different from the Anglicans— the largest United Kingdom denomination—who operated one diocese in Iran.131 Years later, Dehqani-Tafti best articulated the position many Iranian Christians held of the Western missionary: It was out of these missionary activities that there grew the beginnings of an indigenous Iranian church. But right from the start that church had the stigma of ‘foreign-ness’ …. Thus, ironically, the greatest obstacle in the way of the growth of the Church in Iran lay in the very cause of its existence …132 [but] for all the [missionary movement’s] many defects and faults, [it] has done more good to mankind than any other single movement in history.133

Thomas Presbyterian Church Session to R. Park Johnson, 3 October 1967 transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 127 ‘Staff Council Ad Interim Minutes’, 11 February 1965, transcript of typewritten minutes, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 128 ‘Synod Capital Needs Requests for 1966’, 18 January 1966, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 129 Kenneth J. Thomas, ‘Garden of Evangelism Committee’, 16 April 1974, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 130 R. Park Johnson to Rodney A. Sundberg, 30 November 1966, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 131 Busse to Kearns. 132 H. B. Dehqani-Tafti, The Hard Awakening (London: Triangle, 1981), 16−17. 133 Ibid., 17.

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Christianity and the Beginnings of the Islamic Revolution Change in the Iranian Government from secular to Islam was not something the missionaries predicted. By 1977, the diversity of Protestant churches was strong. The Iranian Church was growing and ostensibly becoming unified. This is perhaps most apparent in how radio broadcasts seemed to unify the Iranian Protestant Christian community, as Rzepka notes: Radio created a kind of community of listeners, activating them by organising meetings and conferences. In spite of some problems, in 1977 the annual conference was organised on 11 July with 50 non-Christian participants in attendance. This was possible thanks to the common effort of many Protestant churches and institutions. Among them were: the Council of the Evangelical Church of Iran, the Evangelical Church of Tehran on Qavam-Sultaneh Avenue, the Evangelical Church of Tehran on Pahlavi Ave., the Armenian Evangelical Church (St. John’s), the Assyrian Evangelical Church (St. Thomas’), the Episcopal Church of Tehran (St. Paul’s), the American Community Church of Tehran, the German Lutheran Church of Tehran, the French Protestant Church of Tehran, the Ahwaz Church, and the Action Chrétienne en Orient. Radio and, more generally, technology symbolised the changes occurring among the Protestant communities in Iran, indicating new forms of activity as well as new waves of cooperation. The Protestant communities listed above also gave an idea of how diverse the Protestant communities in Iran were.134

Ministry was going so well that, as late as 1978, few missionaries were thinking about an Islamic revolution. Although protests were occurring, Assemblies of God missionary James Neely, in October 1978, explained that no one could be sure the final outcome of the increasing instability.135 Foreign Mission Board missionary Henry Turlington and another missionary, Kenneth Glenn, are notable for discussing what an Islamic Republic could mean before the revolt occurred,136 but as the Islamic Revolution unfolded, Foreign Mission Board missionaries 134 Rzepka, Prayer and Protest, 115. 135 James Neely in Rzepka, Prayer and Protest, 115. 136 ‘Iran’, 1977, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, International

Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA.

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believed that Marxist elements were behind the uprisings and Islam was losing its hold.137 Christians, who at this point accounted for approximately 3% of the population, were feeling threatened,138 especially as some were being identified with the American military. However, in a letter written by Henry Turlington to Hughey in November 1978, Turlington states that he believes Mohammed Reza Shah would remain in power,139 even with the anti-foreign sentiment and some Foreign Mission Board missionaries being evacuated.140 When Ayatollah Khomeini returned from exile and became Supreme Leader, initially, missionaries thought they would have a presence, albeit a muted one. Despite its significantly smaller membership, Tehran Baptist Church remained active.141 The final service at the church building on 9 February was attended by 26 people (14 people attended the final service held at the Turlingtons’ apartment a week later).142 The church’s Lottie Moon Christmas Offering was $2200,143 and witnessing opportunities arose.144 The Assemblies of God churches were also healthy. Assemblies of God missionaries believed spiritual awakening was happening145 and

137 James Kirkendall to J. D. Hughey, 15 September 1978, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 138 James Kirkendall to Friends, 19 September 1978, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 139 J. D. Hughey to Henry Turlington, 19 November 1978, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 140 Kenneth Glenn to J. D. Hughey, 9 November 1978, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 141 Henry Turlington to J. D. Hughey, 11 February 1979, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 142 Henry Turlington, ‘Cable to the Foreign Mission Board’, 26 February 1979, transcript of typed report, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 143 J. D. Hughey to Henry Turlington, 27 December 1978, transcript of typewritten

letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 144 Henry and Helen Turlington to Elise Bridges, 2 January 1979, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 145 Mark and Gladys Bliss to Friends in Christ, June 1979, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO.

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increased their evangelism. Seventeen people were baptised from Armenian, Assyrian, and Muslim backgrounds.146 A few months later, the Blisses mentioned that the churches had a revivalist spirit. Some Christians even thought that the revolution was good because it gave them a renewed focus on sharing the gospel. Many Christians gave away Bibles more after the revolution than before. New work was being developed in another city, seven more people converted, and 13 additional people were baptised.147 Corley reported that an additional Iranian pastor had 25 people prepared for baptism.148 While the Community Church was damaged (and the pastor Bob Pryor went into hiding), and Ayatollah Khomeini’s supporters desecrated the building, urinated on crosses, and stole cars and food, a Muslim leader who was friends with Christians stated that this happened over a miscommunication. Ayatollah Khomeini’s followers believed the church was connected to the American military and not with Christians as the church was near an army base and next to barracks of the Imperial Guard. The Persian Evangelical Church pastor’s prayer for the Shah at the service on 9 February further fuelled anger.149 Iranian Christians from Muslim backgrounds were being harassed, and a pastor in Shiraz was killed with others threatened, but International Missions missionaries mention that Assyrian and Armenian Christians were not being persecuted and that there was not a completely negative reaction towards the Jews.150 This optimistic view helped some missionaries stay or return to Iran for a short period following the revolution. The Huntzingers and Corleys returned to Iran, and the Corleys had a work permit to remain for six months following the revolution.151 Other missionaries were in Iran also, including Pryor, James Neely, and Seto, and the Presbyterians

146 James and Eloise Neely to Friends, May 1979, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO. 147 Mark and Gladys Bliss to Friends in Christ, December 1979, transcript of type written letter, Special Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO. 148 Corley, ‘Rezaiyeh Report’. 149 Turlington to Hughey, 11 February 1979; Turlington, ‘Cable to the Foreign

Mission Board’. 150 Allyn Huntzinger to Fellow Missionaries from Iran, 15 May 1979, transcript of type written letter, Special Collections, Christar, Richardson, TX. 151 Chamberlin, Reaching Asians Internationally, 47.

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were thinking about sending one of their most experienced missionaries, Stewart, who grew up in Tabriz, to Iran to see if work could be continued.152 In July 1979, Richard Corley reported that an Iranian governmental official told him that they had nothing against Americans but had issues with the American Government.153 The correspondence schools of Assemblies of God and International Missions continued to operate in this post-revolution period: the International Missions radio ministry was active, the Assemblies of God’s evangelistic services were full,154 and the Neelys’ Iranian Christian friends could minister to some of the American hostages.155 Henry and Helen Turlington were the last Foreign Mission Board missionaries to leave Iran.156 Although martial law was declared before they left, not all Iranians were anti-American. The Turlingtons saw signs at the United States Embassy that stated, ‘Yankee, Go Home – and take me with you’.157 Henry Turlington describes first-hand the beginnings of the Islamic Revolution on 11 February in a letter to Hughey, and on 26 February in a cable to Foreign Mission Board leadership upon the Turlingtons’ arrival in India. As well as mentioning the decrease in church membership, he offers his thoughts on his final week in Iran. The tipping point of the revolution came on Saturday and Sunday, 10–11 February. During the few days before and after the uprisings, Henry Turlington only went out of his house a couple of times: once to help a student, an Ayatollah Khomeini supporter, secure a student visa to the United States because it was denied for improper paperwork.158 A second time was to get a piano. The third time was on that Sunday, 11 February. He went to fetch food that some evacuated Americans had given him. This time, Henry’s landlord, an Ayatollah Khomeini devotee, insisted on coming with him. His landlord took his own car and hid Turlington in

152 Huntzinger to Fellow Missionaries from Iran. 153 Corley, ‘Rezaiyeh Report’. 154 Bliss to Friends in Christ, December 1979. 155 James and Eloise Neely to Friends, May 1980, transcript of typewritten letter, Special

Collections, Assemblies of God Archives, Springfield, MO. 156 Henry Turlington to Friends, 3 December 1978, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 157 Turlington, ‘Tehran, 1977–1978’, 31. 158 Upon completion and correction of the visa application, the visa was granted.

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the back. Turlington recounts that his landlord believed the Shah and the Pahlavi regime were corrupt; the landlord wanted an Islamic Republic, but he was not sure exactly what that meant, only that the Government would be less dishonest than the current one. His landlord wanted most Americans to leave, but not all of them. Henry Turlington recounts what his landlord said to him: ‘Good religious people like Helen and myself, the Christian pastor and his wife’ were welcome to stay. Henry Turlington notes that Ayatollah Khomeini’s people distributed 300,000 automatic weapons (rifles and machine guns) indiscriminately to people revolting. Guns were firing all over the city, though most of Ayatollah Khomeini’s people controlled themselves; however, left-wing groups were very aggressive. Turlington discovered later that Ayatollah Khomeini’s supporters were trying to take the main television station in Tehran. When Ayatollah Khomeini called for guns to be returned only 10,000 were handed in.159 After the Turlingtons left, they returned for two short periods. The first time, they found a dozen people still at the church. The Community Church was meeting also, but only with a few members. The Thursday before Easter, the remaining members of the two churches combined to meet for supper and Communion. Twenty-three people were present.160 With the Iranian Government still undefined, by 20 April, the Turlingtons realised that having a functioning expatriate Church was not going to happen anytime soon.161 By 26 May, most of the Foreign Mission Board’s assets were sold.162 The American Embassy helped the Foreign Mission Board move their money out of Iran, ‘somewhat exceeding certain restrictions placed upon it’, an indication that the Embassy may have broken Iranian law to help the missionaries.163 On the Turlingtons’ second return to Iran, they discussed how things looked after the revolution and all seemed well. Chadors were no more prevalent than before, access to 159 Turlington, ‘Cable to the Foreign Mission Board’. 160 Everett L. Deane to Col. Lynwood Bryant, 26 March 1979, transcript of typewritten

letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 161 J. D. Hughey to Henry Turlington, 20 April 1979, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 162 Henry and Helen Turlington to Friends, 26 May 1979, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 163 Helen Turlington to Dan Whorton, 7 June 1979, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA.

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food was normal, and the English-speaking Church was satisfactory and becoming more international. The Persian Evangelical Church was still meeting, too. They did not notice much difference except for some names of streets being changed and it being more difficult to move around. The Turlingtons permanently left Iran on 27 October 1979. At the end of Henry Turlington’s report, he states that he hopes that he and his family could return to Iran to minister. His main concern is for Christianity in Iran. They are not sure whether Ayatollah Khomeini would grant religious freedoms to minorities.164 It took some time before American missionaries realised that the widespread anti-American sentiment required all of them to leave Iran. The Los Angeles Times quoted Presbyterian missionary Stewart regarding the situation in Iran, in which he tries to remain positive: It looks like the end of all Christian missions here, certainly for the foreseeable future … but we’re not indispensable …The church in Iran may turn out to be like the church in China – the institutions may crumble, but God will keep the community together … Iran simply was never a fertile ground for anyone concerned mainly with conversions.165

Eventually, by 1980, there seemed to be a reflective attitude towards the work in Iran, even with closeness regarding the American hostage situation. Reporter Harriet Vrba quotes Richard Corley, who stated, ‘Americans need to understand the problem and situation instead of condemning [Iranians for the hostage situation] … America has been accused of imperialism in the past, and of this we are guilty … Iran has many internal problems, but it is a great moral country’.166 As discussed in the following chapter, Iranians themselves (both Christian and Muslim), at times, perceived the missionaries’ work differently than the missionaries, and were concerned about the missionaries’ methods and connections with government.

164 Henry Turlington to J. D. Hughey, 11 February 1979. 165 Doyle McManus, ‘Iran Brings Missionary Era to Close after 700 Years’, 13 August

1980, Los Angeles Times, transcript of typewritten article, Special Collections, Richard and Doreen Corley, Lexington, SC. 166 Harriet Vrba, ‘Minister Tells Story of Family’s Life in Iran’, 17 September 1980, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Richard and Doreen Corley, Lexington, SC.

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Regarding missions work to Iran from outside the country, there was discussion about using radio transmissions to broadcast the gospel into Iran.167 Trans World Radio was interested in this approach as there was only a couple of Persian programmes broadcast every week that were produced by International Missions.168 Hughey believed it was a good idea that any radio broadcasts should not be connected to America, but there was a need to find a way to follow-up with them.169 Corley was broadcasting in Persian from the Seychelles, but there was no adequate way to track interest and he needed decent publications in Persian.170 Some Iranian Christians remained in Iran and promoted Christianity from inside the country as they believed the Islamic Revolution could benefit Christianity. Dehqani-Tafti and Mottahedeh, for example, welcomed Ayatollah Khomeini. Dehqani-Tafti considered the Shah’s SAVAK persecution of Iranian Christians as something that would cease under the new administration and hoped the Islamic Republic would provide more rights for Christians. Eventually, many Iranian Christian leaders who remained were jailed, tortured, and/or killed. Other Iranian Christian clergymen were able to leave Iran immediately before or after the Islamic Revolution. These clergymen used their influence to evangelise and recruit Iranians from outside the country. As discussed in the following chapter, while Iranian Christians during the period before the Islamic Revolution were few in number, especially those who converted from Islam, these Christians were the ones who laid the groundwork for Iran’s current explosion of Christianity.

167 Henry Turlington to Baker James Cauthen, 24 August 1979, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA; J. D. Hughey to C. G. Schrader, 4 October 1979, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA; J. D. Hughey to C. G. Schrader, 17 September 1979, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA; Betty Schrader to J. D. Hughey, 26 September 1979 transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 168 Wes Miller to J. D. Hughey, 21 August 1979, transcript of typewritten letter, Special

Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 169 J. D. Hughey to Henry and Helen Turlington, 7 December 1979, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 170 J. D. Hughey to Henry Turlington, 20 April 1979, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, International Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA.

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Conclusion American missionaries transitioned to an indigenous missiology that sought to provide Iranian Christians with ownership over their own affairs. However, the shift in missions strategy was not smooth and left both missionaries and Iranian Christians confused. Southern Baptist missions professor Keith Eitel’s theory that competing paradigms in missions strategy left the Foreign Mission Board ‘bi-directional’ seemed to apply to other American missions agencies as well.171 Iranian Christians appeared both emboldened and offended at the same time. American missionaries provided Iranian Christians with more control over education, healthcare, and ministries and instead concentrated on evangelistic and discipleship efforts with the mass and rapid duplication of religious tracts, papers, and books (including Bibles), radio broadcasts, and with correspondence courses taking more of a role. Even with these additional freedoms, Christianity in Iran continued to be impacted more by missionaries than by Iranians, and few Iranians converted to the missionaries’ brand of the faith. Effectively, American missionaries spread themselves too thin for too long by focusing on modernising and Westernising Iran. With the missionaries’ dependence on governmental support, Iranians, including Christian Iranians, continued in their mixed perception of the faith of American missionaries. The next chapter examines the positive impact of the Islamic Revolution regarding spreading Christianity in Iran in contrast to the American missionaries of the 1960s and 1970s attempted Westernising of the country.

171 Eitel, Paradigm Wars, 93.

CHAPTER 6

Iranian Christian Thought and the Islamic Republic

Introduction Christianity in Iran was largely limited to certain ethnic groups, mainly the Armenians and Assyrians, until the Islamic Revolution.1 The Christianity that American missionaries brought to Iran during the 1960s and 1970s was foreign to Iranians. That Christianity was laden with a mistaken belief that modernisation in the form of Westernisation would lead to more openness towards the Western Christian faith. Since the administration of the United States and the American missionaries had friendly relations with the Pahlavi Government, missionaries were not only involved in Iran’s education and healthcare and helped to Westernise and modernise the country, but were also permitted to be aggressive in their evangelising activities. However, few Iranians changed their faith, and those who converted to Christianity were often reliant on missionaries financially, especially regarding church-related activities. The process of American missionaries transitioning to an indigenous strategy instead of a traditional one led Christian Iranians to begin to take ownership of their faith. The transition, however, was often disorganised and created frustration as Iranian Christians desired autonomy but failed to understand the responsibilities that came with it. The tension between sovereignty and dependency endured until the Islamic Revolution and, to a degree, 1 Betty Jane Bailey and J. Martin Bailey, Who Are the Christians in the Middle East? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), 117−18.

© The Author(s) 2020 P. O. Hopkins, American Missionaries in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-51214-9_6

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continues, as missionaries living outside Iran impact Iranian Christianity inside the country, although the influence is significantly decreased. This book argues that the American missionaries’ Westernisation and modernisation of Iranian culture, in addition to the proclamation of the gospel, added to the negative perception of Christianity among Iranians and confused the message of the gospel with Western thought. Therefore, this chapter examines Christianity in Iran following the Islamic Revolution, when American missionaries were no longer physically present, in comparison with the 1960s and 1970s, when there was an abundance of American missionaries. When Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran and formed a new government, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Westerners, including American missionaries, either left voluntarily or were expelled. Although laws regarding the practice of Christianity became stricter, and although there has been an upsurge in the persecution of the faith since 1979, Christianity in Iran has dramatically increased without American (and Western) missionaries. Racial and cultural divides remain; however, since 1979, with the decline of Armenians and Assyrians in Iran,2 converts to Christianity from Muslim backgrounds have expanded exponentially, in the hundreds of thousands. The Islamic Republic has done what the Christian missionaries in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s attempted to do themselves: begin to extricate Western cultural baggage from the Christian faith. Judging by the increase in the number of Iranian Christians from Muslim backgrounds, the Islamic Republic has aided the growth of Iranian Christianity more than all the American and Western Christian missionaries combined. To survive and thrive, Iranian Christianity has become more culturally acceptable; the Islamic Republic has forced Iranian Christians to make their faith indigenous and has compelled them to adopt an Iranian Christian ideology in which the Persian language is prominent. This chapter begins by examining the idea of indigeneity among Iranian Christians. For Iranian Christians, being ‘Iranian’, as opposed to being Western, does not conform to either the din-e mellat or the din-e dowlat’s beliefs. Instead, their Iranian Christian identity has its own set of presuppositions that both critiques and employs portions of the ideologies of the din-e mellat and the din-e dowlat and combines

2 Foltz, Religions of Iran: From Prehistory to the Present, 122.

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them within a Christian framework. This chapter then describes the ‘nonWestern-ness’ of the Iranian Church post-1979 and how the Islamic Republic impacted Christianity in Iran. The importance of the Persian language, persecution, and the house church movement are themes that are addressed also. Finally, this chapter considers the impact of the American non-residential missionary movement to Iran following the Islamic Revolution, in addition to expatriate Iranian Christians living in the United States who assist the Church inside Iran. A number of organisations are listed and described, including the only seminary with American-accredited programmes in Persian in the United States. The impact of non-residential missions has lessened the sense of dependency among Iranian Christians in Iran but has still allowed American missionaries and expatriate Iranian Christians to influence Iranian Christians inside the country. This is something that American missionaries to Iran during the 1960s and 1970s found difficult to balance. Before beginning, a word needs to be stated about some of the sources, particularly for the later sections of this chapter. Certain assessments made are slightly removed from the actual developments on the ground. This is done purposely. Persecution of all Iranians, not just Christians, but other minorities, academics, and those critical of the Islamic Republic are not uncommon.3 To protect Iranians in Iran, some of the information is secondary and draws on interpretations of Iran from Iranians and Westerners who no longer live in the country.

Iranian Christian Thought in Iran Ansari notes the similarities in the ideologies of Mohammed Reza Shah and Ayatollah Khomeini. Although the base from which each operated was at odds with each other, as one embraced pre-Islamic culture and the other supported Islamic civilisation, they were alike in their understanding of a just ruler under God, a ‘guardian and protector of the “nation” with

3 An example of such harassment is apparent with the case of Mohammedreza Jalaeipour, a Muslim PhD student from Oxford University who has influential family members in Iran and was involved in the 2009 protests. He was recently arrested on his return to Iran. See: ‘Oxford PhD Student Denied Legal Counsel 40 Days after Being Arrested in Iran’, 1 June 2018, https://www.iranhumanrights.org/2018/06/oxford-phd-studentdenied-legal-counsel-40-days-after-arrest-in-iran/, site editor, Center for Human Rights in Iran, accessed on 5 June 2018.

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a divine mandate and access to esoteric knowledge’.4 While the notion of ‘Iranian-ness’ or ‘being Iranian’ has taken numerous forms,5 Iranians regard themselves as having a unique and sustained history, a common trait in identifying as Iranian as opposed to being Western or Eastern. Ansari remarks that Iranians regard people, places, and events in ancient Iran as central to their distinctiveness, including the famed Cyrus the Great, Darius the Great, and Xerxes, all of whom are mentioned in the Old Testament. Ferdowsi’s epic poem, Shahnameh, and the monotheistic religion of Zoroastrianism, while less known to Westerners, are equally important. All play a prominent role in shaping Iranian-ness.6 Abdolkarim Soroush, in Reason, Freedom and Democracy in Islam, argues that Iranian identity arises from ‘national, religious, and Western origins’. He explains: ‘While steeped in an ancient national culture, we [Iranians] are also immersed in our religious culture, and we are at the same time awash in successive waves coming from the Western shores’.7 The continuity of the theme of Iranian identity—however defined— helps to provide Iranian Christians with a place to form their own distinctive traits. In Revival and Awakening, Becker, professor of religious studies and classics at New York University, describes an incipient form of Iranian Christian nationalist thought in the Urmia and Hakkari areas that arose after American missionaries promoted an evangelical Protestant understanding of Christianity during the Nineteenth and earlyTwentyth centuries.8 However, it was not until the mid-twentieth century that Iranian Christians developed a separate Iranian Christian identity. That Iranian Christian identity harmonised the notion of a just ruler with the belief that the Iranian Church needed to be indigenous. Indigeneity is the main component of the Iranian Christian identity.

4 Ansari, The Politics of Nationalism, 195. 5 Aside from Ansari’s work, Abbas Amanat and Farzin Vejdani, eds., Iran Facing Others:

Identity Boundaries in a Historical Perspective (New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2012); Nasrin Rahimieh, Iranian Culture: Representation and Identity (Oxon, UK: Routledge, 2016) are pieces that discuss Iranian identity. 6 Ansari, The Politics of Nationalism, 8−18. 7 Abdolkarim Soroush, Reason, Freedom and Democracy in Islam (Oxford, 2000), 156. 8 Becker, Revival and Awakening, 97−98.

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While ‘it was out of these missionary activities that there grew the beginnings of an indigenous Iranian church’,9 it was Dehqani-Tafti who led and personified modern Iranian Christianity. Dehqani-Tafti, while Anglican, transcends the denominational boundaries of American and Western missions organisations. Born to a Muslim father and Christian mother near Yazd, Iran, he converted to Christianity before adulthood, received his education at Cambridge University, and wrote numerous pieces in both Persian and English. Most notably, he was the first Anglican Bishop of Persian origin in Iran, serving in that position from 1960 to 1986, with the last several years in exile because of the Islamic Revolution. He desired to see Iranian Muslims convert to Christianity and to make Christianity in Iran more Iranian. His education and interaction in the West and work with several Western Christian organisations helped him utilise Western ideas and make them more culturally acceptable to Iran. He is widely respected in all Christian circles in Iran, ethnic and indigenous, theologically conservative and theologically liberal, Western missionary and Iranian Christian.10 Dehqani-Tafti stressed the importance of the compatibility of Iranian Christianity and the context of Persian culture.11 If one uses Richard Niebuhr’s classic Christ and Culture arrangement as a guide12 DehqaniTafti fits within the ‘Christ Above Culture’ classification; he sought to assimilate Christ within Iranian Society while keeping the biblical message of Christianity. Or, to use another more contemporary example, in the C1 to C6 models of contextualization, Dehqani-Tafti fits within the C3 or C4 paradigms that allow for neutral forms and practices of the host culture to be used in the church.13 For Dehqani-Tafti, the compatibility of Christianity with culture was personal. He recalled feeling like 9 H. B. Dehqani-Tafti, The Hard Awakening: A Courageous Personal Testament of Love that Outlives Violence and Death (London, Triangle, 1981), 15. 10 Dehqani-Tafti’s, The Hard Awakening is an autobiography explaining his thought throughout the work, as does H. B. Dehqani-Tafti, The Unfolding Design of My World (Norwich: Canterbury Pres, 2000). 11 Dehqani-Tafti, The Unfolding Design of My World, 267 n. 1, uses the terms ‘Persia’

and ‘Iran’ interchangeably. 12 Helmut Richard Niebuhr, Christ and Culture (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1956). 13 John Travis, ‘The C1 to C6 Spectrum: A Practical Tool for Defining Six Types of ‘Christ-centered Communities’ (‘C’) Found in the Muslim Context’, Evangelical Missions Quarterly (October 1998): 407−408.

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a foreigner following his conversion to Christianity from Islam. He struggled with what being Persian meant, and how being Iranian14 related to Islam and to Westernisation. Dehqani-Tafti understood that one should not have to lose or ‘sacrifice’ one’s identity after becoming a Christian. While converting to Christianity ought to make one more aware of culture through God’s creative plan,15 Dehqani-Tafti writes, one could be fully Christian and fully Iranian without living in Christian districts, remaining in secluded groups, or copying Western Christianity.16 Iranian Christians’ place in Iranian Society means they can ‘interpret’ the West and East in ways that other Iranians are incapable of.17 Dehqani-Tafti tended to agree that Mohammed Reza Shah and the din-e dowlat’s endorsement of pre-Islamic culture fit well within the Iranian Christian model of indigenisation because it gave Christianity a place within Iranian history. Dehqani-Tafti recognised also the apparent conflict between Islam and culture in Iran. He acknowledged that over 90% of Iranians were Shia Muslims, but with Islam coming into Iran through the Arab invasion, Iranians, while proud to be Muslim, resented Islam’s forced interjection into society. Dehqani-Tafti did not believe the conflict between Islam and its foreignness to Iranians could be united. He explained: There is a dichotomy within the Persian’s soul. Deep down, he is a Persian, subconsciously aware of the glories of pre-Islamic Iran, and regarding the Arab conquest of his country in the seventh century AD as an unfortunate foreign invasion which wiped out the past glories of the Empire. But then a Persian is also almost always a Shi’a Muslim, giving thanks to Allah for the spread of the True Faith into Iran.18

Dehqani-Tafti was not opposed to acknowledging the importance of Islam to Iranian Society even as the Islamic Revolution unfolded. In his autobiography, written in 1981, he quotes a letter he wrote to Ayatollah 14 Dehqani-Tafti, The Unfolding Design of My World, 10. 15 Ibid., 231. 16 Hassan Dehqani-Tafti, ‘The Art of Being a Christian Minority’, Iran Diocesan Association Publication no. 95 (December 1965), in Dehqani-Tafti, ed. Hassan Barnaba Dehqani-Tafti 1920−2008 (Basingstoke: Sohrab Books, 2008), 120. 17 Ibid., 127 18 Dehqani-Tafti, The Hard Awakening, 3.

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Khomeini dated 19 Sept 1980 on behalf of the Anglican Church in Iran, which stated the Church’s approval of the change in government: The Church in Iran, which for its part had experienced the pressures and limitations of the previous regime and interferences by the SAVAK in Church matters… with hopeful hearts … announced our solidarity with the aims of the Revolution which had vowed to put an end to injustice, bringing freedom, equality, and justice for all, especially religious minorities.19

Later in his autobiography, he recollects approvingly the Islamic Revolution’s promises of ‘justice, freedom, and security for all’ and attributes ‘extreme fanatics’ for usurping the cause.20 Indeed, Dehqani-Tafti recognised the legitimacy of the coming of Islam in the seventh century and the promotion of Shi’ism as Iran’s state religion in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, which gave Shia Islam a special place in the minds of Iranians. However, he opposed the din-e mellat’s vision of Islam that Shariati advanced, one that mixed Shiism with liberation theology.21 Dehqani-Tafti disagreed with Shariati’s assertion that Iranians have been separated from their (Islamic) roots for the past two centuries because of Westernisation. According to Dehqani-Tafti’s understanding of Shariati, Shariati believed that Western technology, science, and other advancements have made the West more innovative than Iran. However, if Iranians returned to Islam, these concerns would be alleviated, and Iranian culture would deepen. While Dehqani-Tafti admitted that some of what Shariati stated was true, for example, Easterners feel ‘inferior’ to Westerners, he disagreed with Shariati that the West was to blame.22 Dehqani-Tafti believed that Iranians needed to take ownership of their own affairs and not condemn anyone else for their mishaps. In an unrelated piece about Mohammed Reza Shah and Westernisation, Dehqani-Tafti states, ‘One of the most unfortunate characteristics of us Iranian people is our lack of sense of responsibility for our 19 Ibid., 92. 20 Ibid., 99. 21 Hassan Dehqani-Tafti, ‘The Plague of Westernization or Scope for Integration’, translated by Shrin Ward, Rehavard Magazine no. 57 (July 2001), in Dehqani-Tafti, ed. Hassan Barnaba Dehqani-Tafti 1920−2008, 128. 22 Dehqani-Tafti, The Hard Awakening, 3.

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destiny … We still suppose that everything is engineered by the British, the Russians, or the Americans. That is why in times of crisis the people become indecisive and easily manipulated’.23 Instead of Shariati’s Islam, in which, in Bazgasht be Khishtan [Return to Oneself], Shariati states that Iranians must ‘return ourselves to ourselves … to our own [Islamic] culture … return to [the] Islamic culture and ideology of Islam, not as a tradition, inheritance, a system or belief in society, but as Islam as an ideology, Islam as a faith’,24 DehqaniTafti supported a history of Iran that dated to pre-Islamic times, one that provided a foundation for Iranian Christian ideology. Iranian Christianity could preserve the cultural norms of society, for example, celebrating Noruz,25 and unify Iranian culture. He stated: Christian faith demands the utmost participation in the culture of one’s birth and this, in turn, means a high regard for all within that culture that has made it historically what it is and what it will remain. Such loyalty is no compromise of witness rightly understood …26 We Persian Christians ought to go deeper into our own souls and penetrate into our own mystical heritage. There we will find Christ waiting to meet us, and save us from being estranged from our own culture.27

Dehqani-Tafti saw ‘no contradiction’ in terms such as ‘Muslim Christian’, ‘Hebrew Christian’, or ‘Zoroastrian Christian’, because the Church is ‘simply part of the world – the part which is aware of Christ’s Lordship over the world, and so is ready to recognise what God is doing in the world and join him in that action’.28 Dehqani-Tafti was not completely supportive of Mohammed Reza Shah and the din-e dowlat . While he praised the Shah at the 2500th

23 Ibid., 8 24 Ali Shariati, Bazgasht be Khishtan [Return to Oneself], http://www.shariati.com/

farsi/bazgashtbkhish/bazgashtbkhish1.html,http://www.shariati.com/farsi/bazgashtb khish/bazgashtbkhish2.html, site editor, Shariati.com, accessed on 3 March 2018. 25 Dehqani-Tafti, ‘The Art of Being a Christian Minority’, 125. 26 Dehqani-Tafti, The Unfolding Design of My World; the Persian translation of book of

Yek Chah o Do Cheshmeh [One Well with Two Sources], 230−31. 27 Hassan Dehqani-Tafti, ‘Excerpts from the Iran Diocesan Association Publications, 1960−1973’, no. 100, in Dehqani-Tafti, Hassan Barnaba Dehqani-Tafti 1920−2008, 59. 28 Dehqani-Tafti, ‘The Art of Being a Christian Minority’, 124.

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anniversary of Iran,29 Dehqani-Tafti also critiqued the manner that Mohammed Reza Shah used to modernise Iran. The Shah often violated human rights and rationalised the imprisonment of political activists and others who opposed Pahlavi rule. For the Shah, these actions were the consequences of advancement. With the support of only one of the four traditional sources of power in Iran, the army (not the religious class, land owners, or tribes),30 Dehqani-Tafti believed that Mohammed Reza Shah’s eagerness to make Iran equal with world powers hindered the improvements he promoted. In short, Dehqani-Tafti thought that the Shah was being impatient with modernisation.31 Communications professor Javier Gil Guerrero, in his work on President Carter’s interaction with the Pahlavis, suggests that because of the close connection between Iran and America and Carter’s emphasis on morality and human rights, the Shah needed to expedite his liberalisation process sooner than he felt comfortable.32 Dehqani-Tafti’s assessment of the Shah’s leadership was mixed: ‘My impression of the Shah was of a man of piercing intelligence, anxious to make an impression, especially on expatriates, but not endowed with the rare gifts of humility and wisdom, which after all are very much interrelated’.33 Dehqani-Tafti believed that Mohammed Reza Shah should not have sent Ayatollah Khomeini into exile, because Ayatollah Khomeini gained support from the intellectuals and middle class. Dehqani-Tafti realised that the use of the SAVAK and its increasing brutality towards those who opposed the Pahlavis led to fear and hatred, which allowed those who did not completely agree with Ayatollah Khomeini to align with the Muslim ruler. Many intellectuals, for example, were almost apathetic regarding Ayatollah Khomeini’s religion, but because they knew faith could be a uniting point against the Shah, they gave him their support.34 As Ayatollah Khomeini questioned both the Shah and America, he provided

29 Dehqani-Tafti, The Unfolding Design of My World, 175. 30 Dehqani-Tafti, The Hard Awakening, 4. 31 Ibid. 32 Javier Gil Guerrero, The Carter Administration & the Fall of Iran’s Pahlavi Dynasty: US-Iran Relations on the Brink of the 1979 Revolution (New York: Palgrave-MacMillan, 2016), 36. 33 Dehqani-Tafti, The Hard Awakening, 33. 34 Ibid., 6.

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the populist sentiment in Iran with a figurehead for their views while exploiting the Shah’s weaknesses. According to an Iranian who Guerrero quotes, with many Americans who lived in Iran acting in a manner that ‘revealed their sense of self importance and superiority’,35 the perception of Americans was increasingly lowered and gave proponents of indigenous Iranian Christianity all the more reason to focus on their Christianity being Iranian. At the same time, advocates of an Iranian Christian ideology were not opposed initially to Ayatollah Khomeini, the din-e dowlat , and some of the changes that the Islamic Republic desired to implement. DehqaniTafti’s son, Bahram Dehqani-Tafti, who would later be killed by proponents of the Islamic Revolution, according to Rzepka, welcomed the change in government because he believed the Pahlavis were dishonest.36 When Ayatollah Khomeini came to power, H. B. Dehqani-Tafti welcomed the Islamic Revolution. Dehqani-Tafti believed that Ayatollah Khomeini’s Government would be more open than the Pahlavis. Dehqani-Tafti wanted to display loyalty towards the administration, but as the Islamic Republic solidified, Ayatollah Khomeini’s position on Christianity in Iran became clear. Christianity was permitted as long as Christians remained within their traditional ethnic borders. The Armenians and Assyrians were able to practise their faith37 with certain limitations (for example, no proselytisation), but those from Muslim backgrounds who adopted Christianity as their faith were mistreated. While there were a few Muslim ‘fanatics’ who wanted to protect their understanding of Islam at the expense of other faiths, including the small group of Christian Iranians who converted from Islam, Dehqani-Tafti explained that Iranian Christians needed to maintain their loyalty to Iran and stand for ‘truth and justice’. ‘To save Islam and the Revolution from getting a bad name, and to prevent Christianity from the accusation of complacency’, he explained, ‘we [Iranian Christians] must resist gently and quietly’38 even when this meant attempts on his life and the killing of his only son.

35 Guerrero, The Carter Administration, 62. 36 Rzepka, Prayer and Protest, 118. 37 Hassan Dehqani-Tafti, Masih va Masihiyat Nazd-e Iranian [Christ and Christianity . . Amongst the Iranians], vol. 3 (Basingstoke: Sohrab Books, 1994), 400. 38 Dehqani-Tafti, The Hard Awakening, 106.

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The Indigeneity or ‘Iranian-Ness’ or ‘Non-Western-Ness’ of the Iranian Church Persian Preaching, Teaching, and Writing Although Iranian Christian ideology failed to progress beyond the thoughts and ideas of Dehqani-Tafti, as there was no Iranian Christian thinker to replace him, the indigeneity of the Iranian Christian Church did materialise. With American (and Western) missionaries no longer present, Dehqani-Tafti insisted that preaching in the Iranian Church be conducted using the vernacular. Rzepka notes that even before the Islamic Revolution, Dehqani-Tafti identified the importance of the Persian language to the health of the Iranian Church, irrespective of ethnicity.39 This offended some ethnic Christians who considered their own local dialects as important. Indeed, although there was a desire for a united Iranian Church, there was sectarianism within the Church among the ethnic Christians and those Iranians who converted to Christianity. As Iran turned towards a stricter understanding of Islam, some of the established ethnic Iranian churches maintained the use of Armenian or Assyrian languages in their services. Not only did this use help protect them after 1979, it continued a tradition that had preserved them for hundreds of years. Bradley noted that while Armenians lived in every major city in Iran and left a positive impression on Iranians regarding Christianity, the majority of Armenians did not evangelise their Muslim Iranian counterparts.40 Hagop A. Chakmakjian argued that the nationalism and the ceremonialism of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the sacredotalism of the Armenian hierarchy in Iran were the main reasons for a lack of evangelism prior to the Islamic Revolution41 ; this seemed to have remained when Ayatollah Khomeini came to power. Two issues accentuated the differences among ethnic Iranian Christians: the use of the Persian language and evangelising Muslim Iranians. Some ethnic Christians realised Persian was important to the Iranian Church. Rzepka remarks that the Pentecostal Church established by

39 Rzepka, Prayer and Protest, 89. 40 Bradley, Iran and Christianity, 147. 41 Hagop A. Chakmakjian, Armenian Christology and Evangelization of Islam: A Survey of the Relevance of the Christology of the Armenian Apostolic Church to Armenian Relations with Its Muslim Environment (Leiden: Brill, 1965), 62.

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Armenians Haikaz and Hrand Khachatoor in the late 1950s and 1960s, while also using Armenian, officially used Persian. Hovsepian-Mehr also spoke in Persian when he preached.42 In one documented case, Catholic priest Pierre Humblot, who served the Chaldean Church in Iran for 45 years, was deported in 2010 for evangelism, something he stated he never did. ‘I was accused of proselytising, [but] I’ve never done it, just because it’s not my job and I would not have had the time’43 ; however, using the Persian language to train Iranian converts was something different. He explained: In Iran, however, there has been a significant wave of converts … so we must welcome them, we must train them, we must continue with them on the path, what I seek to do, in the Persian language obviously since it is the language of the country. And so we hold meetings, make many translations of books for the formation of not only catechumens but also leaders and animators, and then on Facebook, we have many questions about Jesus Christ that come to us: the Gospel, it fascinates people, so you have to answer!44

Indeed, the Islamic Republic frowned upon the use of Persian in Christian services. The United Kingdom’s ‘Christians in Parliament All Party Parliamentary Group Report on the Persecution of Christians in Iran’, and the Danish report entitled, ‘Iran’, both written in the earlier part of this decade, state that it is largely illegal to hold Christian services in Persian,45 although no law could be found in the Islamic Republic 42 Rzepka, Prayer and Protest, 59, 184−85. 43 ‘Iran: Saints Orientaux et Conversions, Avec le père Humblot’ [Iran: Eastern Saints

and Conversions with Father Humblot], 1 November 2016, https://www.franceculture. fr/emissions/chretiens-dorient/iran-saints-orientaux-et-conversions-avec-le-pere-humblot, site editor, Le Direct, accessed on 8 March 2018. 44 ‘Iran: Le Témoignage du Père Pierre Humblot au Service des Convertis Iraniens’ [Iran: The Testimony of Father Pierre Humblot in the Service of Iranian Converts], 22 January 2015, https://www.oeuvre-orient.fr/2015/01/22/iran-temoignage-du-perepierre-humblot-au-service-convertis-iraniens/, site editor, L’Ouvre d’Orient, accessed on 8 March 2018. 45 ‘Christians in Parliament All Party Parliamentary Group Report on the Persecution of Christians in Iran’, (n.p.: n.d.), 7; ‘Iran: On Conversion to Christianity Issues concerning Kurds and Post-2009 Election Protestors as well as Legal Issues and Exit Procedures’, Danish Refugee Council, 26 February 2013, https://landinfo.no/asset/2313/1/2313_1. pdf, site editor, Landinfo, accessed on 8 March 2018.

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that prohibits this. Rzepka explains that using Persian became part of the psyche for the Iranian Christian. In relation to both the Islamic Government and missionary activity, the Persian language in the Church became ‘a symbolic tool’ that provided the Church with access to the greater Iranian population and helped to facilitate the ‘synthesis of Protestant missionary activity’ and the ‘development of the indigenous Iranian churches in the 20th century’.46 As the Persian language increasingly became important following the Islamic Revolution in Christian Church services, and as the vast majority of English-speaking churches (with Western workers and missionaries) disappeared from Iran, reading Christian material in Persian increased in standing. The Bible translated into Persian was a key component and considered to be the ‘best missionary’ because it used the ‘native language … to bring people to Christianity [and] showed the common presumption of the importance of the Persian language [to the] work among Iranians’,47 especially as few Christians wrote in Iran’s mother tongue. Even fewer Iranian converts penned their own theology, and most conversions resulted from reading the Bible.48 Dehqani-Tafti was the exception. Dehqani-Tafti wrote or compiled around two dozen pieces in Persian that explained a wide variety of biblical and theological concepts.49 Similar to how Iranian thinkers, perhaps unwittingly, used Enlightenment thought to develop an understanding of nationalism, Dehqani-Tafti transferred Western missionary and theological ideas and made them Iranian. He used their thoughts and assimilated them into Persian culture. Dehqani-Tafti’s reliance on Western missionaries cannot be underestimated. As early as 1952, for example, in The Faithful Remnant,50 a work that arose from lectures at a Christian youth conference in Tehran, which dealt with believers in the Bible and the Church who remained faithful to Christianity, Dehqani-Tafti based his ideas on Anglican missionary John Drewett’s work, Not Many Mighty: A Study of the Biblical Idea of the

46 Rzepka, Prayer and Protest, 208−09. 47 Rzepka, Prayer and Protest, 77. 48 ‘Iran: On Conversion to Christianity’, 14. 49 ‘Sohrab Books––Christian Literature’, http://www.farsinet.com/sohrab_books/cat

alogue.html, site editor, FarsiNet, accessed on 2 March 2018. 50 H. B. Dehqani-Tafti, The Faithful Remnant (London: Sohrab Books, n.d.).

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Remnant.51 Similarly, in Chimes of Church Bells,52 in which DehqaniTafti explains Christianity to Iranian Muslims, he is influenced greatly by another Anglican missionary, Kenneth Cragg, and his work, The Call of the Minaret,53 still considered today as one of the standard texts to read if evangelising Muslims. In one work, Garanbahri va Arami [Anxiety and Peace], Dehqani-Tafti defends the incarnation of Christ for those from Muslim backgrounds and discusses his understanding of the importance of dialogue.54 Being well acquainted with Western and Persian thinkers, Dehqani-Tafti asks whether Iranians really think Christians would invent the idea of the full divinity and full humanity of Jesus by stating that a boy came into the world to be the Saviour. Furthermore, he asks, would Christian leaders throughout the centuries, who disagree on a wide variety of theological issues from Augustine to Albert Schweitzer, subscribe to the same assertion? ‘This is not the case [of] a little speculation’, he comments.55 Regarding dialogue, he suggests that one listen not only to what the other says, but what the other means; use methods that may be uncomfortable culturally and methodolgically for the evangelist and give time to process what has been stated. In this manner, the ‘mutual exchange of ideas’ becomes more acceptable, even when there is disagreement as to the ‘truth’.56 While other Christians wrote in Persian about Iran—many gospel tracts in Persian were produced in the 1960s and 1970s—in the 2018 Iranian and Afghan Christian Resource Catalogue, which has almost 50 pages and over 800 items of Christian material in Persian (including works that are out of print), the only pieces written in Persian by an Iranian during the time of Mohammed Reza Shah were those by Dehqani-Tafti.57 While the catalogue is not exhaustive, it indicates the lack of importance ascribed to 51 John Drewett, Not Many Mighty: A Study of the Biblical Idea of the Remnant (London: Church Missionary Society, 1951). 52 H. B. Dehqani-Tafti, Chimes of Church Bells (London: Sohrab Books, n.d.). 53 Kenneth Cragg, The Call of the Minaret (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1956). 54 H. B. Dehqani-Tafti, Garanbahri va Arami [Anxiety and Peace] (Tehran: Nuri Jahan, 1969, rev., London: Sohrab Books, n.d.), 52. 55 Ibid., 27. 56 Ibid., 52. 57 ‘Iranian and Afghan Christian Resource Catalogue’, http://www.persianwo.org/ Farsi%20to%20English%20Books,%20Booklets,%20DVDs,%20and%20CDs%20List.pdf, site editor, Persian World Outreach, accessed on 3 March 2018.

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indigenous writings and the dearth of Persian resource material written by Iranians during the years of Mohammed Reza Shah. Even after 1979, more Christian material was written by English speakers and then translated into Persian than by native Persian speakers. Presently, there is a concentration on translating English theological works to Persian because, as Mojdeh Ministries, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Persian resource programme that began in 2017, states, ‘currently, the Iranian church is in need of Christian literature and theologically solid Bible study material’.58 The influence of Iranians living outside Iran and American non-residential missionaries focusing on Iran is discussed later in this chapter. Poetry and Song The desire for the Iranian Church to be conducted in Persian led Iranians (as well as missionaries) to concentrate on using Persian poetry and worship songs as a means of indigenisation. Anglican Missionary Norman Sharp, who lived in Iran for almost 50 years, was a forerunner in how Persian poetry intersected with Christianity. His work, ‘Golchin-i Masihi’ [An Anthology of Christ],59 details some of his ideas, many of which are in Dehqani-Tafti’s compilation in honour of him.60 Bradley, who focuses on Iran in the twenty-first century, mentions that Christ is treated respectfully among many of the famous non-Christian Iranian poets. Ferdowsi and Rumi both stated that Christ raised people from the dead. Saadi used parables of Christ. Hafez told his readers to imitate Christ. Other lesser-known poets esteemed Christ also, such as Nezami, Shabistary, Sanie, and Khaqani, as did modern poets Akhvan Saless, Ahmad Shamlou, and Farough Farrokhzad.61 Bradley notes that while none of these poets claimed to be Christians, the ‘warmth’ they had towards Christ indicates

58 ‘About Us’, https://www.mojdehministry.org/what-we-do-1/, site editor, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, accessed on 6 March 2018. 59 H. B. Dehqani-Tafti, Christ and Christianity in Persian Poetry (Basingstoke: Sohrab Books, 1986), 1. 60 H. B. Dehqani-Tafti, ed., Keshish Norman Sharp va Nagahrahayeh Zibayi Irani [Norman Sharp’s Persian Designs] (Basingstoke: Sohrab Books, 2001). 61 Bradley, Iran and Christianity, 34−37.

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‘that poetry in Iran constantly moves beyond the sharper dogmatic lines of orthodox Islam’.62 Love seems to be a common theme in many of the Iranian poets’ interactions with Christianity. As both Bradley and Rzepka comment, love in the form of sacrifice is apparent in one of Shamlou’s poems, ‘Marg-e Naseri’ [Death of the Nazarene].63 Farrokhzad’s interface with the Christian faith is somewhat remarkable, as her writings were more sensual. Bradley64 records that she used Christ as a representation for a greater love in one of her poems, ‘Border Walls’, which depicts ‘love giving birth to a greater love’.65 Regarding Hafez, who is considered by many Iranians as their greatest poet, his understanding of Sufism allowed him to connect Christianity to the common thread of love. One of the more distinctive poems Hafez wrote concerned a Muslim man who fell in love with a Christian girl and converted to Christianity, something considered apostasy in his day, to express undying love for his dearest. Indeed, Hafez has some of the most powerful verses of the beauty of Christ’s work with the Holy Spirit: And if the Holy Ghost descend In grace and power infinite His comfort in these days to lend To them that humbly wait on it Theirs too the wondrous works can be That Jesus wrought in Galilee.66

Hafez’s citation of the Christian scriptures helped to clarify his thoughts regarding ‘pharisaical’ and hypocritical religions and allowed him to interface with Western poets on the themes of religion and love, including

62 Ibid., 37. 63 Rzepka, Prayer and Protest, 192; Bradley, Iran and Christianity, 37. Note: also both

Bradley and Rzepka used Dehqani-Tafti as a reference. See: Rzepka, Prayer and Protest, 192 n. 28; Bradley, Iran and Christianity, 43 n. 43. 64 Bradley, Iran and Christianity, 37. 65 Farough Farrokhzad, ‘Border Walls’, translated by Layli Arbab Shirani, http://www.

forughfarrokhzad.org/selectedworks/selectedworks3.php, site editor, Farough Farrokhzad, accessed on 2 March 2018. 66 Dehqani-Tafti, Christ and Christianity in Persian Poetry, 9; c.f., Bradley, Iran and Christianity, 36, 43 n. 40 states the English translation was from A. J. Arberry.

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John Milton, who extolled biblically Christian ideals.67 British academic Leonard Lewisohn observed that Hafez developed something unique in his condemnation of the establishment while maintaining his Muslim faith: a ‘hyper-sophisticated psychological re-evaluation of religious ideas and values … of which are directly derived from Sufi ethical and metaphysical doctrines, as well as teachings taken from the Qur’an and hadith, not to mention several other sources’.68 The aspiration that the Iranian Church use the Persian language led Dehqani-Tafti to write songs in Persian and to write Persian poetry. Dehqani-Tafti wrote several worship songs and wrote books on Christ and Persian poetry. Mottahedeh and missionary Charles E. Brewster both explain that Dehqani-Tafti believed that indigenous Iranian liturgy and indigenous Iranian theology using Persian poetry and Iranian melodies, not translations of Western hymns or the use of hymnbooks, were paramount to developing an Iranian Church that reached its intended culture.69 Mottahedeh explains: Living in a multi religious context, he [Dehqani-Tafti] felt it was not healthy to import the Good News in its western thought forms and culture. He was deeply conscious that Iranian culture, language, literature, and the dominant religion were not four separate entities, but integrated and interwoven together as a unit.70

The trend of writing Christian Persian songs has continued. While hymnbooks are used in the Iranian Church, and Western songs are translated into Persian,71 Iranian Christians have written their own poetry and music as a means of sharing the gospel and edifying the local Church. The Iranian website, FarsiNet.com, lists and provides videos of some of these 67 Leonard Lewisohn, ed., Hafiz and the Religion of Love in Classical Persian Poetry (New York: I. B. Tauris, 2010), 53, 90−96, 160, 170. 68 Lewisohn, Hafiz and the Religion of Love, 159. 69 Mottahedeh, ‘A Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving’, 36−37; Charles E.

Brewster, ‘Profiles of Middle East Christians: An Iranian Bishop’, in Dehqani-Tafti, Hassan Barnaba Dehqani-Tafti 1920–2008, 78. 70 Mottahedeh, ‘A Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving’, 37. 71 Elam Ministries has both Iranian Christian music and hymnals for sale. See:

‘Music’, http://shop.kalameh.com/music.html, site editor, Elam Ministries, accessed on 18 April 2018; ‘Song Books’, http://shop.kalameh.com/song-books.html, site editor, Elam Ministries, accessed on 18 April 2018.

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Farsi works.72 Iranian Christian poets and pastors such as Jalil Sepehr73 have written and arranged poetry and music inside and outside Iran. Other Iranian Christians have done the same, including Kaveh Rafiei74 and Daniel Shayesteh,75 but mostly from outside the country. Gilbert Hovsepian-Mehr, the son of Haik Hovsepian-Mehr, is involved in writing Persian worship songs also.76 Iranian pastor Daniel Kaboli, who ministered in Gorgan, Iran and Yalova, Turkey, states that Iranian Christian worship music is becoming more indigenous but also more ‘worldly’ and based on emotion. However, he wishes the songs would reflect more ‘Bible truths’ or ‘Bible verses’.77

Persecution of Iranian Christians and the House Church Movement The Importance of Persecution to Indigeneity For Dehqani-Tafti, indigeneity consisted of incorporating Persian into the essence of the Iranian Church, but from the beginning of the Islamic Revolution, although Christians were protected under Article 13 of Iran’s Constitution,78 persecution, from simple discrimination to imprisonment to killing, became normal practice against Iranian Christians. While Christian sects that opposed using the Persian language in their services, largely the traditional ethnic churches, fared better as they did not evangelise

72 ‘Farsi Christian Hymns and Poetry’, http://www.farsinet.com/farsi_hymns/, site

editor, FarsiNet.com, accessed on 18 April 2018. 73 ‘Pastor Jalil Sepehr’, http://epiphanychristianarts.com/artists/pastor-jalil-sepehr/, site editor, Epiphany Christian Arts, accessed on 25 July 2018. 74 ‘Kaveh Rafiei’, https://epiphanychristianarts.com/gallery/kaveh-rafiei/, site editor, Epiphany Christian Arts, accessed on 25 July 2018. 75 ‘Daniel Shayesteh’, http://www.eaglechurch.us/images/uploads/DanielShayesteh Bio.pdf, site editor, Eagle Church, accessed on 25 July 2018. 76 ‘Gilbert Hovespian’, http://www.gilberth.com, site editor, Gilbert Hovespian, accessed on 18 April 2018. 77 Daniel Kaboli to Philip O. Hopkins, 29 March 2018, transcript of typewritten email, Special Collections, Philip O. Hopkins, London, England. Permission to use email for granted in email. 78 Article 13 of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Constitution states: ‘Zoroastrian, Jewish, and Christian Iranians are considered the only recognized religious minorities. They may exercise their religious ceremonies within the limits of the law. They are free to exercise matters of personal status and religious education and they follow their own rituals.’

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either,79 the goal of Ayatollah Khomeini and the din-e mellat was to spread Islam.80 ‘In education, in the military, in the police, in the legal system, and in the job market’, Bradley notes, ‘all Christians … met outright prejudice’.81 Dehqani-Tafti suffered harassment. There was an attempted assassination on him and his wife, and his son was killed by followers of the Islamic Republic. Other provocations against Anglicans continued during the transition from the Pahlavi regime to the Islamic Government, including the beating of Anglican missionary Jean Waddell and the killing of Iranian pastor Saayah Arastoo.82 The message from Iran’s new Government was clear from the beginning: ‘Quiet Christianity will be tolerated in the Islamic Republic; enthusiastic Christianity will be opposed’.83 The status for Christians has not improved since 1979; Christians in Iran continue to sense that they are ‘second-class citizens’.84 There has been some consideration as to which Christians are shielded under Article 13. Mainly, the Islamic Government has deduced that protection is intended for ethnic Christians who do not evangelise, but, according to the Center for Human Rights in Iran, there was at least one respected Iranian Islamic theologian, Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, who asserted that the Act could include Iranian Muslims who converted to Christianity.85 Furthermore, there have been interpretations that have allowed children to convert to Christianity (or other faiths) before puberty,86 though there are other understandings that state the opposite. Nonetheless, being inconspicuous about one’s Christianity lessened the 79 ‘Iran: Christians and Converts’, https://landinfo.no/asset/1772/1/1772_1.pdf, site editor, Landinfo (7 July 2011): 8, 9, accessed on 8 March 2018. 80 Ayatollah Khomeini, The Little Green Book: Selected Fatawah and Sayings of the Ayatollah Mosavi Khomeini, translated and ed. Harold Salemson (New York: Bantam Books, 1985), 8. 81 Bradley, Too Many to Jail , 163. 82 Dehqani-Tafti, The Unfolding Design of My World, 188−208. 83 Bradley, Too Many to Jail , 169. 84 ‘The Persecution of Christians in Iran’, 13. 85 ‘Unprecedented Death Sentence for Christian Pastor on Charge of Apostasy’,

7 December 2010, https://www.iranhumanrights.org/2010/12/khanjani-nadarkhani-apo stasy/, site editor, Center for Human Rights in Iran, accessed on 13 June March 2018. 86 ‘The Cost of Faith: Persecution of Christian Protestants and Converts in Iran’, 2012, https://www.iranhumanrights.org/wp-content/uploads/Christians_report_ Final_for-web.pdf, site editor, International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, accessed on 19 March 2018, 30 n. 86.

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chances of persecution, while many ethnic Christians chose to leave Iran. As noted previously, Iranian Studies professor Foltz suggests that, prior to 1979, ethnic Christians numbered well over 300,000, but that number could be less than 55,000 as of 2013.87 Those Christians who remained and were evangelical in their faith were persecuted severely, often directly by the Islamic Republic. Armenians, many of whom were connected to the Assemblies of God, suffered some of the harshest treatment. Assemblies of God pastors had to submit detailed reports of their activities; the Government placed cameras outside several of their churches also.88 Haik Hovsepian-Mehr was killed days after pastor Mehdi Dibaj, a former Muslim, was released from jail due to political pressure after being accused of apostasy and sentenced to death. Hovsepian-Mehr was the first person of a religious minority attacked in Iran after advocating for Christians who had been victimised.89 According to Dibaj’s son, both HovsepianMehr and Mehdi Dibaj were slain by Iran’s secret police,90 although the Iranian Government has not taken responsibility for either killing. In 2013, Robert Asserian, the pastor of Iran’s largest Pentecostal Church,91 the Central Assemblies of God Church in Tehran, was imprisoned.92 The church closed three years later, in 2018,93 after its leaders were accused of being funded by the Central Intelligence Agency.94 In another example, Presbyterian Armenian Tateos Michaelian, who translated more than 60 87 Foltz, Religions of Iran, 122. 88 Bradley, Too Many to Jail , 175 n. 302. 89 ‘Christian Bishop in Iran is Reported Missing’, 27 January 1994, https://www.

nytimes.com/1994/01/27/world/christian-bishop-in-iran-is-reported-missing.html, editor, New York Times, accessed on 12 March 2018.

site

90 Issa Dibaj, 23 April 2012, ‘Westminster Hearings’, in ‘Christians in Parliament’, 14. 91 Stefan J. Bos, ‘Iran Releases Pastor of Largest Pentecostal Church; Congrega-

tion Remains Closed’, 5 July 2013 https://www.worthynews.com/12472-iran-releases-pas tor-of-largest-pentecostal-church-congregation-remains-closed, site editor, Worthy News, accessed on 12 March 2018. 92 He was later released and is now in London working for Pars Theological Centre. 93 ‘Iran: Christian Retreat Centre Ordered to Close by Tomorrow’, 9

March 2018, https://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/2018/03/iran-christian-retreat-cen tre-ordered-close-tomorrow/ site editor, World Watch Monitor. 94 ‘Iran: Church Retreat Centre Confiscated for “Being Funded by CIA”’, 12 December 2016, https://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/2016/12/iran-church-retreat-cen tre-confiscated-for-being-funded-by-cia/, site editor World Watch Monitor, accessed on 12 March 2018.

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Christian books into Persian,95 was shot dead for his faith.96 Cox’s Book of Modern Saints and Martyrs states that he was on the Government’s ‘hit list’.97 However, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran writes that the Iranian Government has stated the Mojahedin, a militant political group in Iran that the Iranian Government considers a terrorist organisation (and that the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe did as well until recently), were responsible.98 In addition to Armenians, Christian Iranians who converted from Islam were also persecuted. Aside from Dibaj, there is the case of former Muslim evangelist, Kambiz Saghaey, who currently operates Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Persian studies programme.99 He was imprisoned for his faith in 2009, and the Iranian police threatened to take away his adopted daughter until he was released because the presiding judge died.100 Another Iranian from the Baptist tradition, Daniel Shahri, describes his ordeal in detail at the age of 19: They asked me about another church member and I wrote, ‘Ask me anything you want About myself; I won’t talk about others.’ The interrogator read this and said ‘Do you know were [sic] you are?’ I said ‘Yes, in Dastjerd prison.’ He then threatened me, ‘I’ll show you where you are.’ He left and came back with another officer. The [new officer] said, ‘Daniel, I heard you won’t cooperate.’ I said, ‘I wouldn’t talk to them about others.’ And they started beating me: they would slap me, swear, and circle around me. They slapped me maybe 10 times. One guy punched me in the face and kicked me in my leg. I had a chin beard at the time, they pulled the beard,

95 Van Gorder, Christianity in Persia, 226. 96 David Yeghnazar, ‘The New Translation of the Bible has been Dedicated’, https://

www.elam.com/article/new-translation-bible-has-been-dedicated, Ministries, accessed on 12 March 2018.

site

editor,

Elam

97 Baroness Caroline Cox, Cox’s Book of Modern Saints and Martyrs (London: Continuum, 2006), 168. 98 ‘The Cost of Faith: Persecution of Christian Protestants and Converts in Iran’, 8. 99 ‘Southeastern Begins New Persian Leadership Program’, 16 February 2017, https://

www.sebts.edu/news-and-events/headlines/2017/02/SP17_Persian.aspx, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, accessed on 12 March 2018.

site

editor

100 ‘One Muslim’s Conversion to Christianity’, 28 December 2016, http://www.edg efieldadvertiser.com/2016/12/one-muslims-conversion-to-christianity/, site editor, The Edgefield Advertiser (Edgefield, South Carolina), accessed on 12 March 2018.

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pulled my hair. They didn’t ask me any more questions, and I said, ‘As long as you hit me, I won’t say anything.’ I didn’t have any permanent injuries. They then took me out into an open-air area; I still had a blindfold on and thought it was a balcony. I later learned it was the prison courtyard. One of them hit his baton against the wall in a threatening manner and said, ‘If you want to be a hero, don’t think we’ll let you become a hero. We’ll keep you here till you talk.’101

Perhaps the most well-known case of persecution and confirmed execution was that of Hussein Soodmand, who was hanged for apostasy in 1990102 without a trial. His daughter recounted the experience at the United Kingdom’s Westminster Hearings in 2012: They found him [Hussein Soodmand] and asked him to come, so he went to the religious police. We didn’t have any news of him and my mum was very worried. After two weeks, a pastor from Tehran went to the religious police and asked about my father. They said, ‘We executed him two weeks ago.’ I remember once my mum went to the place and said, ‘Give me the reason, Christianity is not a good reason to kill people, we have rights, Christianity is free, the religion is free in Iran. Why did you kill my husband?’ They said, ‘Tell your Jesus to come and make him alive’. We didn’t have any right answer from them and it was very hard for my family.103

These are only a few examples of persecution. Tavassoli mentions that some Iranian intellectuals believed that Islam and Christianity could unite against common ills, such as secularism and globalisation, and addresses how bridges were made to Western culture and philosophy under former president Ayatollah Mohammed Khatami.104 However, by 2010 and 2011, the Iranian Government had changed its method in dealing with ‘unrecognised religious minorities’ (i.e. Iranian Muslims who converted to Christianity). Becoming a Christian became a ‘[threat] to national 101 International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran interview with Daniel Shahri, 31 October 2011, in ‘The Cost of Faith’, 48. 102 ‘Iran: On Conversion to Christianity’, 25. 103 Rashin Soodmand, 30 April 2012, ‘Westminster Hearings’, in ‘Christians in

Parliament’, 13. 104 Tavassoli, Christian Encounters with Iran, 108, 21, 22.

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security’ instead of apostasy.105 The suggested reason for this adjustment was that it provided less international scrutiny. A spokesperson at Elam Ministries states that Elam has confirmed that since 1979, eight church leaders have been executed by the Iranian Government and 300 Christians have been detained in almost 50 cities in Iran. Considering the severity of the treatment of Christians in other countries, these numbers are low. However, Elam explains that there is a difference between confirmed cases and the actual number, with Elam believing the real figure to be higher.106 Based on the United Kingdom’s Home Office report, Elam’s assumption may be correct, as the Home Office reported that 193 and 52 Iranian Christians in 2016 and 2017, respectively, were jailed.107 A United Kingdom parliamentary report has confirmed that, under President Hassan Rouhani, the number of arrests of Christians in Iran has not lessened, nor has there been any ‘meaningful improvement’ since the tenure of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.108 Enayat describes additional cases in her two papers on asylum seekers from Iran who claim to be Christians.109 The House Church Movement The idea that persecution helps grow the Church is not something new. The New Testament implies that the numbers of followers of Christianity increased because of maltreatment. Early Church theologian Tertullian 105 ‘Christian Converts to Iran’, 21 August 2015, https://migri.fi/documents/ 5202425/5914056/62318_Suuntaus-raportti_Kristityt_kaannynnaiset_IranissaFINAL FINAL160915_2_.pdf/5d13ea14-9aa8-4896-a737-7bcd5a8d4c24, site editor, Finnish Immigration Service, accessed on 29 March 2018, 9. 106 ‘Christians in Parliament’, 6. 107 ‘Country Policy and Information Note. Iran: Christians and Christian Converts’,

Version 4.0, March 2018, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/att achment_data/file/686067/iran-christians-cpin.pdf, site editor, United Kingdom Government, 10, accessed on 19 March 2018. 108 ‘The Persecution of Christians in Iran’ (London: Christians in Parliament APPG, March 2015), 2, 17. 109 Anna Enayat to The Immigration Appeal Tribunal, 16 April 2008, transcript of

typewritten report, Special Collections, Anna Enayat, Oxford, United Kingdom; Anna Enayat, ‘Unpublished paper to given to the Dutch Council for Refugees’, 6 November 2013, updated 16 May 2014, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Anna Enayat, Oxford, United Kingdom. Both papers are used by written permission from Enayat.

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reportedly stated, ‘The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church’. However, persecution is possibly the most non-Western element of the Church in Iran. While American theologians such as John Piper have written on suffering and persecution in relation to missions,110 being harassed for one’s faith is not regarded or understood experientially by Western Christians today. Persecution has provided Iranian Christians with a perspective that few of their American counterparts can understand. Edward Hovsepian, the brother of Haik Hovsepian-Mehr, explains: As the result of persecution worship in the church is no longer contained or limited to a few handful of churches in mega cities; it has now moved, according to the statements by the state officials, to remote areas and villages. Therefore, the creation of house churches has given many people opportunity to have Christian fellowship, whereas in the past you had to be a middle class person living in a mega city to be able to find a church to attend.111

Indeed, ironically, while the Iranian Government tries to curtail proselytisation, Iranians seem welcoming towards Christ. Catharine at the Westminster Hearing in 2012 stated: Iranian people are one of the most open people to the message of Christianity, so I didn’t have any problems with the people, my friends in the university. Our neighbours loved and trusted us more than anybody else. And generally people of Iran are very open about Christianity… I have never heard or never seen one Iranian reject a Gospel when we were sharing our testimonies.112

How Iranians are embracing Christianity is apparent specifically in the house church movement. While persecution stopped or severely limited the aboveground registered churches, it did the opposite with house churches. House churches in Iran are thriving, even in Iran’s holiest of Muslim cities, Mashhad 110 For a detailed analysis of John Piper and his understanding on this topic see: Philip O. Hopkins, God’s Desire for the Nations: The Missiology of John Piper (Gonzalez, FL: Energion, 2010). 111 Edward Hovespian, in Afshari, ‘An Examination of the Growth of Christianity and the Contribution of Farsi Christian Media in Contemporary Iran’, 30. 112 Catharine, 12 April 2012, ‘Westminster Hearings’, in ‘Christians in Parliament’, 8.

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and Qom. These churches are thriving to such an extent that, in 2011, an Iranian Government official, Morteza Tamaddon, whom the United States Department of the Treasury placed sanctions on in 2014 for human rights abuses,113 stated that Christianity was ‘deviated’ and ‘corrupt…just like the Taliban’ when arresting house church leaders.114 Iran’s current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stated that house churches are ‘enemies of Islam.115 Iran’s Mehr News Agency reported that Heydar Moslehi, then Iran’s Minister of Intelligence, stated that house churches baptise thousands and linked house churches to the Central Intelligence Agency.116 On more than one occasion, another Iranian media group, Fars News Agency, noted the negative effects of house churches and linked them to Zionism.117 According to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Javan Online, an Iranian paper operated by the Revolutionary Guard, stated that there were over 200 house churches in Mashhad alone in 2010.118 There are reports also of house churches and

113 ‘Treasury Sanctions Iranian Official for Human Rights Abuses’, 23 May 2014, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl2411.aspx, site editor U. S. Department of the Treasury, accessed on 18 March 2018. 114 ‘Iran Arrests Christian Missionaries: Official’, 4 January 2011, https://www.alarab iya.net/articles/2011/01/04/132214.html, site editor, Al Arabiya News, accessed on 18 March 2018. 115 Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ‘Bayanat dar Ejtemae Bozorg Mardom Qom’ [Speech at the People’s Large Gathering in Qom], 19 October 2010, https://www.leader.ir/langs/ fa/index.php?p=bayanat&id=7363, site editor, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, accessed on 19 March 2018. 116 ‘Vazir Etelaat Onvan Kard: Hoshdar Nesbat be Sheklgiri Sahyounist Shiyi/Nokhbegan Howzeh Mored Hojoum CIA Hastand’ [Minister of Intelligence Warns Against the Formation of Shia Zionist/Howzeh’s Elite Are Being Attacked by the CIA], 23 September 2010, https://www.mehrnews.com/fa/NewsDetail.aspx?NewsID= 1157266, site editor, Mehr News, accessed on 19 March 2018. 117 ‘Tabligh Masihiyat dar Miyan Danesh Amouzan Keshvar’ [The Promotion of Christianity Among Students], 9 August 2010, https://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn= 8905181239, site editor, Fars News, accessed on 19 March 2018; ‘Kelisaye Khanegi Barname Estekbari Sahyounisthast’ [House Churches are the Zionists Arrogant Plan], 23 October 2010, https://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8907300494, site editor, Fars News, accessed on 19 March 2018. 118 ‘Ekhtesasi/Kashf 200 Kelisaye Khanegi dar Mashhad’ [Exclusive/The Discovery of 200 House Churches in Mashhad], 2 October 2012, http://www.javanonline.ir/vdciq5 a5qt1azu2.cbct.html, site editor, Javan Online, accessed on 19 March 2018, in ‘Iran: The Cost of Faith’, 24.

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evangelistic activity in Qom, where some of the most important theological and academic centres for Shia Islam in Iran are located. This is significant as Qom is considered to be the ‘most religious city in the country’ and the ‘origin of the revolution’.119 Iranian Aftab News reported that Ayatollah Vahid Khorasani stated that Christian propaganda was influencing Iranian Shia youth in Qom.120 These reports confirm what Bradley believes: there is ‘an umbilical cord’ link between the antagonism that the Iranian Government has towards Christianity and the house church movement.121 House churches usually comprise 10−15 people meeting in members’ homes or other private areas.122 In these homes, the Bible is studied, prayers are said, and sometimes songs are sung. Considered illegal (not officially registered), they began in Iran in the early 1990s123 and have been largely independent of the established churches since the 2000s.124 Beginning in the major cities, they eventually expanded into smaller population centres as persecution intensified.125 House churches are not identical in how they operate and, while there are networks, house churches are largely self-governing. House churches usually begin with family members and close friends, allowing for freer expression and familiarity. A trust factor is present, which is important because of security. While members of house churches evangelise individually or in small groups, frequently, the service itself is only open to those who have been 119 ‘Biahnat dar Ajtamagh Bozorg Mardome Qom’ [Statements in the Great Society

of Qom], 21 October 2010, http://www.leader.ir/fa/speech/7363, site editor, Office of the Supreme Leader of Iran, accessed on 18 April 2018. 120 ‘Hoshdar Shadid Al-Lahn Ayatollah Al-Ozma Vahid Khorasani’ [Ayatollah Vahid Khorasani’s Severe Warning], 10 March 2011, http://aftabnews.ir/vdcjy8evvuqe8mz.fsfu. html, site editor, Aftab News, accessed on 21 March 2018. 121 Bradley, Too Many to Jail , 203. 122 ‘Iran: Christians and Converts’, 11. 123 Enayat to The Immigration Appeal Tribunal, 24. 124 ‘Iran: House Churches; Situations of Practicing Christians; Treatment by Authorities

of Christian Convert’s Family Members’ (Vienna: Austrian Red Cross/ACCORD, 14 June 2017), 3; ‘Iran: The Cost of Faith. Persecution of Christian Protestants and Converts in Iran’ (New York: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, 2013), 22. 125 ‘Update on the Situation for Christian Converts in Iran’, 11 April 2014, https://www.nyidanmark.dk/NR/rdonlyres/78D46647-A0AD-4B36-BE0A-C32 FEC4947EF/0/RapportIranFFM10062014II.pdf, site editor, Danish Immigration Service, accessed on 29 March 2018, 22.

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vetted. Often, it takes time to integrate new members, up to six to eight months.126 House churches are fluid and transient, often changing locations. One study notes the difficulty in house churches remaining in one location for even two years because of harassment.127 When a house church becomes too large, it splits and multiplies into two or more, which allows for regrouping when oppression occurs. Their small size means there is more accountability in house churches than in traditional ones. Testimonials are expected and there is collective ownership. House churches in Iran share a reliance on technology, a deference to their predecessors and the ethnic Christians in Iran (Armenians and Assyrians), and a connection with the global Church. Outside of the ‘Jesus Only’ Pentecostals, who deny the Trinity,128 and perhaps some other lesser-known groups, they are largely theologically orthodox. Many are charismatic and have female leadership, although few of the house church leaders are trained formally by Americans or Westerners. Another feature that house churches have in common is that they are evangelistic, which has allowed them to grow rapidly. Foltz, in 2013, estimated that there could be as many as half a million Iranian Christians attending house churches.129 According to Bradley, as Iranian Christians have veered away from meeting in traditional places and have begun congregating in homes or in smaller gatherings, many of the practices influenced by the West have been broken. Aside from the assemblies being conducted in Persian, often with Iranian worship songs and melodies, Iranian converts to Christianity from Muslim backgrounds enjoy a ‘like-mindedness’ and familiarity with one another in the house church setting that contrasts with the ethnic registered churches, which are more formal, frequently not in Persian, and with Armenian or Assyrian leaders who are watched by the Iranian Government. Often, converts from Muslim backgrounds are not allowed to join these churches.130 Close associations with others and connectivity are not new phenomena in growing the Church, nor are they relegated only to Iran. A concept that exemplified this idea, the ‘Homogenous Unit 126 ‘Iran: On Conversion to Christianity’, 12−31. 127 ‘Iran: House Churches’, 3. 128 ‘Iran: On Conversion to Christianity’, 15. 129 Foltz, Religions of Iran, 124. 130 ‘The Persecution of Christians in Iran’, 17.

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Principle’ popularised by missiologist Donald McGavran in the 1950s131 and Church growth expert Wagner afterwards, states that ‘[people] like to become Christians without crossing racial, linguistic, or class barriers132 … [so that they can] become [Christians] with [their] own kind of people’.133 Aside from the potentially non-biblical, anti-evangelistic,134 and racist elements that are apparent in the principle’s application within the American Church,135 because the house church fosters the experience of intimacy based on it being a ‘homogenous unit’, there is a sense of community in which members can be vulnerable and intimate around one another.

The Impact of American Non-residential Missionaries on Iran and the Influence of Iranian Christians Living in the United States Following the Islamic Revolution To differentiate between the operations of missions organisations in the United States and missions groups in other Western countries focused on Iran post-1979 is somewhat of a false dichotomy. Iranian Christians who have migrated to various nations are interconnected through

131 Donald McGavran, Bridges of God (London: World Dominion, 1955, rev., 1981), 10−13. 132 Donald McGavran, Understanding Church Growth (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980), 85. 133 C. Peter Wagner, Our Kind of People (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1980), 75. 134 Rene Padilla, ‘The Unity of the Church and the Homogenous Unit Principle’,

International Bulletin of Missionary Research vol. 6, no. 1 (January 1982): 29. 135 According to Martin Luther King, Jr., 11:00 AM on Sunday morning (the time that church services are usually held) was considered to be the most racist time in the United States. See: ‘Interview on Meet the Press’, 17 April 1960, transcript of type written report, http://okra.stanford.edu/transcription/document_images/Vol05S cans/17Apr1960_InterviewonMeetthePress.pdf, site editor, Stanford University, accessed on 20 March 2018. This still may hold true. See: Ed Stetzer, ‘The Most Segregated Hour of the Week? Reflections on Church Diversity on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day’, 19 January 2015, http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2015/january/most-segregated-hourof-week.html, site editor, Christianity Today, accessed on 20 March 2018; Bob Smietana, ‘Diversity & Churches: Progress Being Made, Study Says’, 20 March 2018, http://bpn ews.net/50555/diversity-and-churches-progress-being-made-study-says, site editor, Baptist Press, accessed 20 March 2018.

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both American and other Western missions groups. Moreover, in an increasingly global community, American missionaries are seconded to international groups, and missions societies have centres in multiple countries. Nonetheless, even with these overlaps, as this work focuses on American missionary activity to Iran during the 1960s and 1970s, and given the relationship between America and Iran, this section concentrates on missions activities arising or originating from the United States. Tours to Iran, Bible Distribution, and Informal Training As there has only been a scattering of American missionaries living in Iran after 1979, often clandestinely for short periods, almost all American missionary activity to Iran has been conducted non-residentially. One strategy of American non-residential missionaries has been to have American Christians holiday in Iran. American Christians visit the historical and biblical sites in Iran, discreetly distributing Bibles to Iranians, leaving Bibles in parks or hotel rooms, praying for Iranians, and, when appropriate, discussing religion and sharing the gospel. This strategy has been effected even in the holiest of Muslim cities, such as Qom. As touring Iran is one of only a few ways Americans can enter Iran, it must be done with a government-approved guide. While statistics are guarded, in a personal conversation with one Iranian tour director in 2008, the guide stated that there were only 1000−1500 non-Iranian Americans annually going to Iran as sightseers.136 Whether or not this estimate is completely accurate, the figure indicates that the number is low. Additionally, as not all the non-Iranian American tourists are Christians or working for missions organisations, this method has been limited in scope and effectiveness. However, for those American Christians undertaking a ‘short-term missions trip’ to Iran (something Dehqani-Tafti opposed),137 it has given their supporters, potentially tens of thousands of American Christians since 1979 who have not gone on the tours, an opportunity to pray for Iran and its people. Such supporters can also expand their understanding of the country upon the return of the sightseers, as often they are required to deliver a report to their supporters. At times, 136 According to a personal conversation with an Iranian travel guide, Seyed Rahim Bathaei, who can be seen in the video, Rick Steves’ Iran (Back Door Productions, 2009). 137 ‘Excerpts from the Iran Diocesan Association Publications, 1960−1973’, no. 104, in Dehqani-Tafti, ed. Hassan Barnaba Dehqani-Tafti, 65.

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these reports have changed American Christians’ perception of Iranians in the Islamic Republic from being ‘terrorists’ to being ‘just normal people’.138 Seeing the historic and biblical locations has broken some negative misconceptions that Americans have of Iranians. Challenges for Americans entering Iran remain, but as technology has advanced, the distribution of Bibles to Iran has taken different forms. While Christian missions entity Open Doors popularised the idea of smuggling Christian scriptures into Eastern Europe during the Cold War,139 trafficking them into Iran and using Iranians and ‘unknown persons’140 to distribute them is only one method used.141 In the past several years, micro-secure digital (SD) chips with the Persian Bible and other Christian material in Persian (and other Iranian languages) on them have become an alternative method. Often, dispersal has occurred outside of Iran during the annual Noruz holiday when Iranians travel abroad. Apparently, this scheme has been successful, as it has attracted interest from the Iranian Government, which wishes to prohibit these chips from entering Iran. In 2014, Iranian officials distributed flyers warning its citizens not to take these chips. The leaflet advised Iranians that, when travelling to Armenia and Georgia especially, evangelical missionaries would be there offering these chips free of cost. Not only would these SD cards have Christian material on them, they would have malicious files that could damage computers and distribute personal information without knowledge or permission.142 These claims did hold when tested.143 Many of these chips have found their way into Iran. Distribution of the SD cards has spread to other countries Iranians visit, including Malaysia, Turkey, 138 ‘Iran Missions Trip [date redacted]’, [date redacted], private collections, Philip O. Hopkins, London, United Kingdom. According to the directives on this trip, the leader required each person going to Iran to have at least two people praying every hour of the day for the duration of the trip. 139 ‘Brother Andrew’s Story’, https://www.opendoorsusa.org/about-us/history/bro ther-andrews-story/, site editor, Open Doors, accessed on 22 March 2018. 140 Enayat to The Immigration Appeal Tribunal, 41. 141 Ibid., 5, 40, 41; Enayat, ‘unpublished paper to given to the Dutch Council for

Refugees’, 50, 60. 142 Pamphlet distributed around Noruz 2014, March 2014, private collections, Philip O. Hopkins, London, England. 143 The author of this work put several of the SD cards into his phone and computer as an experiment. Only Christian material was on the cards. The cards were acquired from Armenia and the United Kingdom.

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and the United Kingdom. Similar to Americans visiting Iran, the interaction between American Christians and Iranians has altered the Americans’ perception of Iranians. Although anecdotal, in several debriefing reports and personal conversations, Americans consistently remarked on the kindness and hospitality of Iranians, even though the Iranians were outside their own country. Training Iranian Christians in Christian theology and biblical studies is another avenue that American missionaries to Iran and expatriate Iranian Christians have used to impact their faith in Iran. While instructing Iranian Christians is often informal and performed outside of Iran, missionaries and expatriate Iranians teach a number of courses and hold numerous seminars that range from instruction in daily Christian living, to interpreting the Bible, to topics in systematic theology. As Iranian Christians frequently cannot afford the cost of accommodation and transportation, transporting them to the events happens creatively. American sanctions, often changing, make it difficult to pay or reimburse Iranians directly. For security reasons, there is little accessible documentation as to numbers of Iranians attending these conferences. However, at times, there have been large events at which hundreds of Iranian Christians and Iranian ‘seekers’ (Iranians who are not Christians but interested in Christianity) have attended sessions over the years. The Iranian Government is aware of these activities and has arrested Iranians after they have returned to Iran from them144 or prevented them from going altogether. ‘The Cost of Faith’ records one conversation with an Iranian Christian wanting to attend a Christian conference in Turkey: We wanted to attend a Christian leadership course in Turkey, so we signed up for it in Iran. It was a condensed class that lasted three months. There were seven of us from the church who were prepared to go. We got to the bus station, found our bus, but before the bus drove off a gentleman from [the Ministry of Intelligence] came up and called out each of our names and told us to get off the bus. He then confiscated our passports. The police officer [we asked for help] told us he couldn’t do anything to help us since it was the Ministry of Intelligence that confiscated our passports.145

144 Enayat, ‘Unpublished paper to given to the Dutch Council for Refugees’, 21. 145 ‘The Cost of Faith’, 57.

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In at least one case, the authorities stated that appearing at conferences such as this was the equivalent of spying.146

The Impact of Media on Christianity in Iran Written Material, Radio, and Television in Persian Media are perhaps the most significant means that American missionaries to Iran and expatriate Iranian Christians living in the United States have used to impact Iran for Christianity. Stewart states that he believes that Persian Christian media are ‘absolutely crucial for sustaining the church in Iran’,147 because, as Jahani, a popular Iranian Christian presenter on television, explains: ‘people can sit in their own private home and learn whenever they have time. They do not have to be in certain services at a certain time and location’.148 The written medium has been used by Protestant missionaries to evangelise Iranians since Qajar times, with Martyn’s translation of the New Testament in Persian, often to the disadvantage of indigenous cultures.149 For the current period of Iran’s history, Christian poetry and worship songs have already been mentioned. Indeed, translations of English Christian theological material into Persian and other forms of Christian Persian writing in general are being produced, and Christian materials written in Persian are abundant. An American missionary non-profit organisation, the Jude Project, is dedicated to creating a ‘500 book library’ of Christian works translated into the Persian language (and other languages in the Middle East) and providing it free of charge.150 Some of the pieces already translated include the Westminster Confession of Faith, Our Daily Bread (a popular American devotional), and works on marriage and family by popular American and Iranian

146 Enayat, ‘Unpublished paper to given to the Dutch Council for Refugees’, 44. 147 Ashton Stewart, in Afshari, ‘An Examination of the Growth of Christianity’, 33. 148 Jahani, in Afshari, ‘An Examination of the Growth of Christianity’, 33. 149 Becker, Revival and Awakening, 34, 71, 80, 97−103. 150 ‘About the Jude Project’, https://judeproject.org/about/, site editor Jude Project, accessed on 18 April 2018.

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authors.151 Iranian Christians who lived in Iran but now reside in the United States and elsewhere are often the main translators. Radio stations/missions organisations, such as Trans World Radio,152 broadcast in Persian and/or transmit to Iran, which is helpful when access to the internet is difficult.153 However, television has become a greater tool for Christians targeting Iran. Iranian Christian academic Afshari argues that Christian television programmes transmitted to Iran in the Persian language via satellite have made the faith accessible to the general population.154 Her research is key, considering the voluminous Christian television programmes in Persian that target Iran,155 including Iran Alive, TBN, 222 Ministries, and SAT-7,156 all of which have a different theological and ideological angle. The willingness of Iranian academics to entertain the truths of Christianity, and interest in Christianity from Iranian young people because of globalisation, particularly in the form of media, are pervasive. Conservative cleric Mesbah Yazdi comments on Christianity’s influence. Afshari quotes Yazdi, who states that Iranian youth have ‘become the prey’ of evangelical Christians.157 Tavassoli documents the largely liberal tradition of Muslim Iranian thinkers who have published non-apologetic pieces on Christianity. One of these intellectuals, Ayatollah Khatami, received 151 ‘Antsharat Javan Adabiat Masih’ [World Literature Christian Publishing House], https://judeproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/JP-book-catalogue.pdf, site editor, Jude Project, accessed on 18 April 2018. 152 For example, see: ‘About’ https://www.twr.org/about, site editor, Trans World Radio, accessed on 18 April 2018; ‘Radio Nedaye Omid––Persian Christian Webradio Voice of Hope’, http://www.farsinet.com/ibcdallas/nedaye_omid/, site editor FarsiNet.com, accessed on 18 April 2018; and ‘About’, https://sharecmi.com/about/ site editor, Christian Media International, accessed on 18 April 2018. 153 Issa Dibaj, 23 April 2012, ‘Westminster Hearings’, 24. 154 Sara Afshari, ‘Christian Media in the Middle East:

An Introduction’, 5 August 2016, http://christian-orient.eu/2016/08/05/christliche-medien-im-nahenosten-eine-einfuehrung/?lang=en, site editor, Christian Orient, accessed on 18 April 2018. 155 ‘Persian Christian Radio and TV’, http://www.farsivideo.com, site editor, FarsiNet, accessed on 6 April 2018, provides a sample of the programmes. 156 ‘Iran Alive’, http://iranaliveministries.org, site editor, Iran Alive, accessed on 18 April 2018; ‘TBN Nejat’, https://nejattv.org, site editor, TBN Nejat, accessed on 18 April 2018; ‘About Us’, http://222ministries.org, site editor, 222 Ministries International, accessed on 18 April 2018; and ‘SAT-7’, https://www.sat7usa.org, site editor, SAT-7, accessed on 18 April 2018. 157 Afshari, ‘An Examination of the Growth of Christianity’, 11.

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an honorary degree from the University of St. Andrews in 2006158 and opened the University’s Institute of Iranian Studies the same year.159 In an interview with the American news channel CNN, he used the Puritan Christians of the United States as a positive example of faith united with religious freedom: The American civilization is founded upon the vision, thinking, and manners of the Puritans … The Puritans constituted a religious sect whose vision and characteristics, in addition to worshipping God, was in harmony with republicanism, democracy, and freedom … In my opinion, one of the biggest tragedies in human history is this confrontation between religion and liberty which is to the detriment of religion, liberty, and the human beings who deserve to have both. The Puritans desired a system which combined the worship of God and human dignity and freedom.160

While one can debate whether liberty among minority religions improved in Iran under Khatami, his opinion indicates a positive (and wellinformed) interpretation of Puritan Christianity’s influence in America. However, whether the United States was founded on Christian ideals is debatable.161 The Internet The advent of the internet has further enabled media to be embedded into American missionaries and Iranian expatriate Christians’ overall strategy to evangelise and recruit Iranians in Iran. Many websites based in America are dedicated to this purpose. Although the internet is slow and restricted 158 ‘Khatami to Receive Honorary Degree’, 25 September 2006, https://www.st-and

rews.ac.uk/news/archive/2006/title,43148,en.php, site editor, University of St. Andrews, accessed on 17 April 2018. 159 ‘Khatami Lecture Attracts Protestors’, 13 October 2006, https://www.theguardian. com/education/2006/oct/13/highereducation.iran, site editor, The Guardian, accessed on 17 April 2018. 160 ‘Transcript of Interview with Iranian President Mohammed Khatami’, 7 January 1998, http://edition.cnn.com/WORLD/9801/07/iran/interview.html, site editor, CNN, accessed on 17 April 2018. 161 For a brief summary of the debate, see: Mark David Hall, ‘Did America Have a Christian Founding?’, 7 June 2011 https://www.heritage.org/political-process/report/ did-america-have-christian-founding, site editor, The Heritage Foundation, accessed on 18 April 2018.

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in Iran, Persian is one of the primary languages used worldwide on the web.162 With a virtual private network (VPN), many Christian radio and television programmes can be viewed inside Iran. Twitter, WhatsApp, Telegram, and other web-based applications provide ways for Christians to share information. While utilising the internet is not unique to Christianity—the 2009 protests of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election have been called the ‘Twitter Revolution’ because of the protestors’ use of social media to encourage activism163 —this alternative and somewhat safer and more efficient means to communicate (with certain precautions, such as concealing ones identity as much as possible),164 has given rise to Iranian ‘internet pastors’.165 One of these pastors, Natan Roufergarbashi, remarked that he tended virtually to 300 people in Iran and had a leadership team, while never giving his personal information to others.166 The Austrian Red Cross notes that house church pastors who have fled Iran at times continue their leadership through the web.167 These pastors’ online church services help Iranian house church members to grow spiritually.168 Indeed, informal discipleship based online is often the main training that house church leaders receive.169 Presbyterian missionary Stewart uses the internet to connect with Iranian pastors and the larger Iranian Christian audience. In addition to offering courses online,170 he produces sermons in Persian that can be listened to on the web.171

162 ‘Iran: On Conversion to Christianity’, 58. 163 ‘Iran and the Twitter Revolution’, 15−19 June 2009, http://www.journalism.org/

2009/06/25/iran-and-twitter-revolution/, site editor Pew Research Center, accessed on 18 April 2018. 164 Enayat, ‘Unpublished paper to given to the Dutch Council for Refugees’, 51, 120. 165 Ibid., 50. 166 Natan Roufergarbashi, 23 April 2012, Westminster Hearings, in ‘Christians in Parliament: All Party Parliamentary Group’, 24. 167 ‘Iran: House Churches’, 4. 168 Enayat, ‘Unpublished paper to given to the Dutch Council for Refugees’, 50. 169 ‘Iran: House Churches’, 4. 170 ‘Welcome’, http://home.talimministries.com, site editor, Talim Ministries, accessed on 17 April 2018. 171 ‘Ashton Stewart’, https://www.spreaker.com/user/tatstewart, site editor, Spreaker, accessed on 17 April 2018.

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Using the internet to train Iranian Christians formally is an area in which American missionaries (and Western missionaries) in general have begun to innovate. Elam Ministries and Pars Theological Centre172 offer a variety of courses online in Persian that range from simple ‘Sunday School-like’ classes to modules that one would find at a university.173 Some of the classes include courses on specific books of the Bible, worldviews, apologetics, Christian missions, and counselling.174 The academic faculty consists of some of the more well-known Iranian Christians residing abroad, as well as American and British missionaries who once lived in Iran.175 Southeastern Seminary has begun a Persian Leadership Development programme176 that offers a range of classes from free courses to accredited bachelor (BA) and master (MA, MDiv) degrees. Currently, there are 26 free classes offered. Those who complete and excel in those courses are ‘recruited’ to take seminary level modules. While much of the coursework and many texts are translations from the school’s classes conducted in English, the goal is to ‘produce indigenous theological materials so that the rest of the Persian world can process theology with their own cultural background in view’.177 According to Southeastern’s website, its set of courses in the Persian language provides the first ‘degree offering’ programmes by any seminary in the world that are fully accredited according to secular American standards.178 Currently,

172 While they are United Kingdom based, both Elam and Pars have Americans working for them. 173 Elam Ministries, 13 June 2017, in, ‘Iran: House Churches’, 4; ‘About’, http:// www.parstheology.com/about/, site editor, Pars Theological Centre, accessed on 28 March 2018. 174 ‘Courses’, http://www.parstheology.com/pars-school/courses/, site editor, Pars Theological Centre, accessed on 19 April 2018. 175 ‘Academic Faculty’, http://www.parstheology.com/pars-school/academic-faculty/, site editor, Pars Theological Centre, accessed on 19 April 2018. 176 ‘Persian Leadership’, https://www.sebts.edu/academics/gti/farsi1.aspx, site editor, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, accessed on 28 March 2018. 177 ‘What We Offer’, https://www.mojdehministry.org/what-we-do-1, site editor, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, 19 April 2018. 178 ‘Persian Leadership Development’, https://www.sebts.edu/academics/gti/about. aspx, site editor, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, accessed on 29 March 2018.

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after only a couple of years in existence, there are well over 350 Iranian students taking courses, many of whom live in Iran.179

Conclusion Although American missionaries were developing a model of indigenisation in the 1960s and 1970s, because they were the ones who owned the property, determined the theology, and made the decisions, they were the ones in control. However, Dehqani-Tafti praised them: ‘I am convinced that the missionary movement of the Church of Christ, for all its many defects and faults, has done more good to mankind than any other single movement in history’.180 With the change to an Islamic Government, the idea of a righteous sovereign transferred from Mohammed Reza Shah and the Pahlavi Kingdom to Ayatollah Khomeini and the Islamic Republic. While this forced Iranian Christians to modify their practices by focusing on the house church over the traditional church, integrating Persian poetry into worship songs, and using Persian as their primary language, the underpinning of their ideology remained. Indigenous Iranian Christianity may have been strengthened without the physical influence and involvement from America and the West. As Bradley notes, it was the concept of house churches instead of democracy or freedom, beliefs that Americans and Westerners support today, that allowed indigenous Iranian Christianity to gain a hearing among Iranians (it was similar to what they already knew) and provided a method for Christianity in Iran to increase in popularity. Bradley explains that although many Iranians assumed that a ‘Christian country’ was also a ‘democratic one’,181 this was not true historically or biblically; the Old and New Testament writers only questioned the authenticity of political leaders after they repeatedly violated God’s will. As Christians look to the Bible for authority, the idea of a covenant and just ruler that respects God, and under God that ruler blesses the people, is closer to Iranian identity. Bradley states:

179 David Page to Philip O. Hopkins, 17 April 2018, transcript of typewritten email, Special Collections, Philip O. Hopkins, London, England. Page is on the Board of Directors for the Persian Leadership Development programme at Southeastern. Permission to use the email for the granted in email. 180 Dehqani-Tafti, The Hard Awakening, 17. 181 Bradley, Iran and Christianity, 59.

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Christianity packaged with Western democracy then runs against the grain of Iran’s political history … Iran’s long and royalist past clearly reveals that charismatic kingship and covenant lie at the heart of the country’s political identity and though it is hostile to a Christianity wrapped up in Western democracy, it is not at all hostile to Biblical Christianity, rather it is a bridge, and this bridge is likely to grow stronger as disillusionment with the country’s Islamic revolutionary government increases.182

While the Iranian Government regards Christianity as alien,183 the differences between the Christianity that American missionaries promoted during the years prior to 1979 and one that is culturally acceptable to the general population of Iran currently have decreased. Admittedly, funding for almost all the strategies to reach and train Iranians in Iran originates from outside the country.184 This includes the purchasing of television times, website domains, and translation materials, and often the works produced are given to Iranians inside the country for free or at a significantly reduced cost. When instruction, formal or informal, occurs, courses are generally subsidised; when travel and accommodation are required, Iranians are compensated for some or all of their costs. The financial commitment of American missionaries to the evangelising and training of Iranians in Iran raises the question of how independent Iranian Christians in Iran are from American missionaries. The Iranian Government, by dismissing the missionaries during the Islamic Revolution, forced or enabled Iranian Christians to take possession of their faith, to become less reliant on the physical presence of American Christians but perhaps just as dependent on them financially. American missionaries continue to influence Iranian Society (as do Iranian expatriate Christians living in the United States). Indeed, without being able to focus as closely on Iran’s modernisation or Westernisation, American missionaries have centred their devotion on evangelising and training Iranian Christians in Iran. Nevertheless, even with Iranian Christians’ economic reliance on American missionaries, the unfamiliarity of Christianity has lessened.

182 Ibid., 60. 183 ‘Iran Arrests Christian Missionaries’. Official’. 4 January 2011, https://www.alarab

iya.net/net/articles/2011/01/04/132214.html, site editor, Al Arabiya News, accessed on 18 March 2018. 184 ‘Update on the Situation for Christian Converts in Iran’, 8.

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Without the cultural trimmings of the West, Bradley believes that Christianity can become less foreign as Iranians observe the similarities of Shia Islam to Christianity. He writes: The closeness of the Shia faith to the central truths about Christianity means there is an almost instinctive understanding and love for Christianity freed from its Western trappings at the heart of the Iranian identity. So when the Iranian hears of a dedicated, sinless, Saviour who deliberately chose to suffer death rather than compromise with evil, this is not an alien concept. When they are told that God raised Jesus from the dead, they already know that God spared the Twelfth Imam from death. When they are told that though they cannot see this Saviour, he is still ever present by His Spirit – this reminds them of the hidden Mahdi. And the fact that history will end when this Jesus returns in glory, Shias already believe this.185

While Afshari notes that some Iranian Christians in Iran question the indigeneity of the Church,186 the Church in Iran has become more Iranian than in Pahlavi times. This is especially apparent with the house churches. Services are mostly conducted in Persian and allow for relationships to be built and strengthened. The format is less ‘culturally alien’ to Iranians187 from Muslim backgrounds and, thus, more socially acceptable to society as a whole. Dehqani-Tafti’s desire to have Iranians change their view of the Church from being a ‘mission field’ to being ‘filled with a mission’, and for this to reach all Iranians for Christ, seems to be happening.188 Afshari notes the appeal that Christianity could have for Iranian young people in the Islamic Republic, as it requires a modification of thinking, a change from the traditional Muslim mindset. She writes, ‘[because] Christianity, especially Protestantism, is conceptually oriented around a set of beliefs rather than rites, with an ideology of personal choice, [Protestant Christianity has] the potential to be the logical focus for young Iranians

185 Bradley, Iran and Christianity, 11. 186 Afshari, ‘An Examination of the Growth of Christianity’, 30. 187 Bradley, Too Many to Jail , 151. 188 Iraj Mottahedeh, ‘A Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving’, in Dehqani-Tafti, Hassan Barnaba Dehqani-Tafti 1920−2008, 36−37.

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disillusioned by the Islamic state’189 . If she is correct, in its own selfinterest, perhaps the Islamic Republic is justified in curtailing the activities of Christians in Iran. However, with the current method of restricting the Iranian Church’s actions, ironically, the Islamic Republic is helping to grow the very faith it is trying to stymie.

189 Afshari, ‘An Examination of the Growth of Christianity’, 9.

CHAPTER 7

Conclusion

Introduction This book has argued that the ideology of American missionaries in the Pahlavi period, particularly during the 1960s and 1970s, confused the message of the gospel with broader Western thought. As opposing sociopolitical positions surfaced in Iran between the din-e dowlat and the din-e mellat , the Iranian Government, which was part of the din-e dowlat and sympathetic towards the West, focused on a more secularised version of Iranian Islam, which became increasingly unpopular. Many Iranians thought that Westerners, including American Christian missionaries, were followers of the din-e dowlat and transmitters of Mohammed Reza Shah’s beliefs, and Westerners were regarded with displeasure because the political opinions and actions of the din-e dowlat were in conflict with those of the general population. They were antagonistic also to what many Iranian Christians believed, which led to Christians being associated with the West and linked to an Iranian administration that became detested. Given that the objective of the American missionaries was to help Iranians, their work aligned with the reforms that Mohammed Reza Shah and the din-e dowlat were enacting through the White Revolution. Mohammed Reza Shah’s changes modernised Iran, but contrasted with the customs and practices of the din-e mellat and the Islamic clergy, who espoused a more conservative approach. The din-e mellat considered the reforms a threat to traditional Iranian values and to their constituency; the changes were implemented too quickly to ensure the inclusion of the © The Author(s) 2020 P. O. Hopkins, American Missionaries in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-51214-9_7

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din-e mellat, and those who disagreed with Mohammed Reza Shah were persecuted. Ironically, the lack of diversity of thought lessened the power of the din-e dowlat . The Shah relied on the West and was out of touch with central elements of Iranian culture, which led to his underestimation of the din-e mellat ; inclusion and compromise with opponents in Iran did not interest the Shah. By neglecting the needs of the din-e mellat and focusing on modernisation, the Shah failed to provide traditional Iranians with the time to acclimatise to the rapid changes he was implementing. Many American missionaries did not possess an effective cultural gauge to understand how Mohammed Reza Shah’s reforms would affect Iran as a whole. The missionaries believed that the changes were good for the country because they equated modernisation with Westernisation, and while this view was accurate in one sense, their involvement helped to foster a feeling of supremacy. Even before the White Revolution, as late as 1959, missionaries regarded Iranian instruction as inferior to its American counterpart. Presbyterian missionary Allen glorified American missionary efforts as a means to promote Western ideals.1 Although American missionaries developed Iran’s educational and medical programmes, and American missionary Jordan is considered the father of Iran’s modern-day educational system, the missionaries exported an interpretation of Christianity that confused the message of the gospel with broader Western thought. By concentrating on the development and modernisation of Iran, American missionaries were blinded by their own culture. Iranian Christians themselves had mixed views of the American missionaries. They acknowledged the contributions the missionaries made in spreading the gospel, but also warned the missionaries that they were impeded by their own philosophy.2 Critiquing the methods that the American missionaries employed,3 Iranian Christians suggested that the traditional approaches of missions be changed, such as the use of teaching and health centres as tools for evangelism.4 Around the time of the White Revolution, many American missions organisations seemed to listen to Iranian Christians and transitioned from a traditional missiology to an

1 Allen, ‘Muslim Responses to Christian Witness in Iran.’ 2 Dehqani-Tafti, The Hard Awakening, 16−17. 3 Mottahedeh, ‘Critical Problems and Creative Opportunities’. 4 Abhari, ‘My View of Christian Missions Among Muslims’.

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indigenous one; American missionaries began to focus on direct evangelism and discipleship, and ceded more control of educational institutions and medical facilities to Iranians. This change was made with the tacit approval of the Iranian Government, with most American missionaries’ activities being given the consent of the Pahlavis. Missions hospitals that had previously received financial assistance from the Government were closed,5 and Queen Shahbanu attended the opening of the new independent Damavand College (formerly Iran Bethel College),6 while Prime Minister Hoveyda spoke at the commencement ceremony.7 Whereas the traditional model of missiology considered Iranian Christians to be largely dependent regarding missionaries, the newer, indigenous model sought more of a partnership with Iranian Christians, who were to take on greater responsibility. Although the new strategy moved from emphasising modernisation and Westernisation, and shifted its focus to evangelism and discipleship instead of education and healthcare, the transition did not always proceed smoothly, especially concerning the transfer of Church work to Iranian Christians. Indigenity did not foster the partnership American missionaries were seeking in that it did not stop Iranian Christians from being dependent on American missionaries, in part because the latter were inconsistent with their efforts. The American missionaries sometimes intervened in local matters, such as when, as late as the early 1970s,8 the Iranian Church claimed that it could not afford to pay retirement benefits to its workers and the Presbyterians agreed to provide emergency assistance.9 The change in strategy affected the work of both the Iranian Christians and the American missionaries and led to confusion as to why the missionaries were in Iran. Not only were the disagreements among the missionaries a poor Christian example, likened by some to parents fighting over how to raise their children in front of those children, but the changes added to the lack of emphasis regarding sharing the gospel among all Iranians. Since many missionaries

5 Arbuthnot to Scovel. 6 Office of Commission Reprehensive, 16 November 1971. 7 Busse to Black and Arbuthnot. 8 ‘KCC Finances for 1973’, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Archives, Philadelphia, PA. 9 Johnson to Sundberg, 30 November 1966.

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chose to travel to Iran to work specifically with ethnic Iranian Christians and the Western expatriate community, it became clear that there was limited desire to learn Persian and study Iranian culture. By the 1970s, it appeared that American missions organisations were content with simply being able to secure visas, without any additional established plans, intentionally to engage Iranian Muslims with the gospel. Dehqani-Tafti developed Iranian Christian thought distinct from both the din-e dowlat and the din-e mellat , and the Persian language became noticeably more prominent in church services. While some ethnic Iranian Christians continued to use their own languages, others worshipped at least in part in Persian. Thus, Iranian Christians were identifying themselves as Iranians and indicating that their faith was not irreconcilable with Iranian culture. This chapter summarises and analyses the findings of the work by addressing avenues for further research. The conclusion proposes that the connection between American missionary organisations and the respective American and Iranian governments in the period in question was ancillary—neither was under the express authority or power of the other. This chapter, therefore, suggests the following: (a) the din-e dowlat and din-e mellat are now unified under the Islamic Republic, which may be detrimental to the Iranian people, Christians and non-Christians alike; (b) Iranian Christians should look to the example of Iranian academics and religious leaders as models of how to interact and convey their message; (c) the indigeneity of the Iranian Church may not be possible or even healthy, and further dialogue is needed; and (d) Iranian expatriate Christians should consider returning to their homeland. Finally, this chapter recommends that the following issues related to this study require further research: (a) the harassment and defence of Iran’s ethnic Christians; (b) the factors that bring about the growth of Christianity; (c) the effect of Christian media outlets on the Iranian people; and (d) the significance of Dehqani-Tafti.

Avenues for Further Research American Missionaries, the Governments of the United States and Iran, and Access to the Iranian People Although there is no evidence to suggest that the American missionary organisations worked directly for the American regime or the Pahlavi

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administration—and with one missionary group at least, political neutrality (currently) is required10 —to maintain there was no connection between the groups is misleading. Throughout American missionary history there have been interconnections between these entities. At times, these connections have been more direct than others, as in the case of Baskerville, a Presbyterian missionary teacher in Tabriz during the Constitutional Revolution who fought with Iranians against royalist troops. He is remembered fondly by the Islamic Republic; in 2005, President Mohammed Khatami unveiled a bust of him in Tabriz.11 In other times, the relationship was more subtle, as with Reza Shah. While he placed restrictions on American missionaries and closed missionary schools in part because of his disapproval of American Christianity, he also understood American missionaries’ expertise and utility in the fields of education and healthcare and gave them certain allowances he might not have afforded them otherwise. The United States was not the dominant force that it would be later in the century and did not seem to take a great interest in the internal affairs of Iran—as opposed to Russia and the United Kingdom—so American missionaries were favoured more than those of other nationalities.12 The missionary Allen recounted that the Pahlavi Government was friendly towards missionaries and gave them approval to evangelise, but asked that the work be done discreetly.13 Another missionary, Jo Cocharan, stated that Iranian governmental officials were so busy, whether they were promoting ‘Christian propaganda’ was never raised in conversations with Ministry of Education bureaucrats, despite the fact that he was open about his faith.14 Even regarding adopting a child,

10 ‘Manual for Field Personnel—213: Military Commitment and Political Neutrality’, 1 July 2009, International Mission Board, Special Collections, Philip O. Hopkins, London, United Kingdom. 11 Cyrus Farivar, ‘Century-Old Groundwork Fuels Internet Interest in Iran Today’, 3 August 2009, http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2009/08/century-old-groundwork-fuelsinternet-interest-in-iran-today215, site editor, Public Broadcasting Network, accessed on 6 June 2015. 12 Karimi, ‘Implications of American Missionary Presence in 19th and 20th Century Iran’, 1−2, 81−83. 13 Allen, ‘Muslim Responses to the Gospel’, 9. 14 Jo Cochran to Mr. McGilvray, 17 January 1964, transcript of typewritten letter,

Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Archives, Philadelphia, PA.

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one missionary recounted that while the American Government was difficult to work with, the level of support she received from the Iranian administration was remarkable.15 However, there were times when missionaries came into conflict with the American administration; for example, the case of Norman and Jacqulyn Friberg, who worked as missionaries in Afghanistan and Iran. Norman Friberg was summoned and admonished by the United States Ambassador’s office in Afghanistan for a letter of support Jacqulyn Friberg had written that informed their constituents about the suppression of Christianity in Iran and her amazement that the United States Government would allow this restriction of the gospel. While rare, this episode inspired others and led missionaries from other mission agencies in Iran to complement the Fribergs on their strength.16 Nevertheless, in most instances, missionaries complied with and needed assistance from both the Iranian and American governments. In one incident, the Foreign Mission Board sent a letter to the Iranian Embassy in Washington, DC requesting permission to enter Iran.17 In response, an Iranian representative, Motamedi, asked questions about the beliefs and strategies of the Foreign Mission Board, and stated that he would answer requests about admitting Foreign Mission Board missionaries to Iran in due time.18 The head of the Europe and Middle East division of the Foreign Mission Board, provided detailed information about the Southern Baptist Convention, including the number of its churches and the nature of the Baptist Faith and Message (a doctrinal statement of the Convention),19 in addition to an explanation that the Foreign Mission Board had representatives in a number of countries.20 The Iranian Embassy failed to provide the Foreign Mission Board with either a positive or negative answer in the time specified, which led to some frustration. Hughey visited Iran in person also, where he spoke to an official at the Foreign Ministry, 15 Sarah W. McDowell, ‘Personal Report’, 30 June 1960, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Archives, Philadelphia, PA. 16 J. Mark Irwin to R. Park Johnson, 4 December 1964, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Archives, Philadelphia, PA. 17 Hughey to Iranian Ambassador, 13 December 1965. 18 H. Motamedi to J. D. Hughey, 5 January 1966, transcript of typewritten letter,

Special Collections, Foreign Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 19 Hughey to Motamedi, 10 January 1966. 20 Hughey to Iranian Ambassador, 13 December 1965.

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who stated that an answer would be coming soon. This left Hughey encouraged, but the Board did not receive a response from the Iranians.21 In a letter to United States Ambassador to Iran Edward Pearl from a Foreign Mission Board representative, Robert S. Denny, Pearl was asked to use his influence to help Foreign Mission Board missionaries obtain access to the country. A handwritten note at the bottom of the letter states that the American Ambassador succeeded in securing a meeting between the Iranian Ambassador and the Foreign Mission Board, which would not have taken place otherwise.22 While the details of the meeting are ambiguous, when Motamedi did respond to Hughey, he specifically asked whether Iranians would be forcefully converted to Christianity by Foreign Mission Board missionaries, and whether the proposed student centre (mentioned in the 10 Jan 1966 letter to Motamedi) would be used to distribute Christian literature.23 Hughey, perhaps anticipating this response, wrote to Motamedi a couple of days after receiving the latter’s message. Hughey wrote: We would hope to render an unselfish, uncalculating service to persons in your country. Absolutely no pressure would be put on anybody to change his religion. We would want our representatives to demonstrate the meaning of Christianity at its best. This might result in new religious concepts and experiences for some people. Like most other religions, ours is evangelistic. I assure you, however, that persons we send to Iran would not attack any other religion or use any forbidden means to convert people to our faith.24

One year later, in another letter to Motamedi,25 Hughey again explained his struggles in securing visas for Foreign Mission Board missionaries. 21 J. D. Hughey, ‘Report on Europe and the Middle East’, 10 March 1966, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Foreign Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 22 Robert S. Denny to Edward Pearl, 18 May 1966, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Foreign Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 23 H. Motamedi to J. D. Hughey, 13 July 1966, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Foreign Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 24 J. D. Hughey to H. Motamedi, 15 July 1966, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Foreign Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 25 J. D. Hughey to H. Motamedi, 5 October 1967, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Foreign Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA.

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Later, when waiting for the Iranian Government to accept a request by the Foreign Mission Board, Hughey mused to the Foreign Mission Board’s Board of Trustees about what he believed may have been a lost opportunity when he visited the Foreign Affairs Office in Iran, while at the same time justifying his actions, which could have been construed as too assertive. He explained: Perhaps I was too frank [in my conversation with the Iranian Foreign Affairs Office], or perhaps we were expecting too much when we asked a Muslim government to give general permission for the entrance of missionaries. However, there are about seventy Presbyterian missionaries and quite a few of other denominations in Iran, and I believe persons we send will be able on their own to obtain residence permits…. Iran is a Muslim country, but Islam has a weaker hold on it, especially so far as educated people are concerned, than it has on the Arab countries. With more than twentythree million people, great resources, and a progressive spirit, it is one of the stronger nations of the Middle East. It may eventually become one of our leading mission fields.26

American Missionaries’ Interactions with the Iranian Government Regarding Education and Healthcare The connection between American missionaries and the Pahlavis is clear in two of the main fields in which missionaries were aiding in the modernisation of Iran: education and healthcare. While traditional mission schools were incorporated into the governmental system under Reza Shah, during the time of Mohammed Reza Shah, the Iranian Government allowed the Presbyterian Church to maintain a day school with over 2000 students.27 As mentioned in Chapter 2, Iran’s Minister of Education was pleased with the instruction the Community School provided28 and, by 1967, the Iranian Government recognised the diploma and voiced their desire for a Persian language course to be offered so that Iranians who did not

26 J. D. Hughey, ‘Board of Trustee Minutes,’ 14 September 1967, transcript of typewritten minutes, Special Collections, Foreign Mission Board Archives, Richmond, VA. 27 R. Park Johnson, ‘Iran Mission Annual Narrative Report––1964’, 16 November 1964, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Archives, Philadelphia, PA. 28 Lodwick to Bobel, 16 July 1970.

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speak English could attend.29 By 1968, it was hoped that the Government would provide further land for another school, Bethel College,30 which enjoyed a good reputation among Iranians.31 The Government was a little more imprecise regarding medical institutions, but it was nonetheless involved with missionary work in this field. Motamedi informed a Presbyterian missionary that the Iranian Government was standardising the country’s hospitals (which formed part of the White Revolution’s objectives) and approved of missionaries performing medical work in remote areas of the country.32 The Government wanted American medical personnel to train Iranian nurses,33 but at the same time, missionaries complained about the lack of governmental assistance34 and increased requirements.35 American missionaries did not seem to realise the extent to which they were tied to either administration; by requesting help, they offered the impression that Christians integrated politics into their faith, rather than being politically neutral. In addition to importing a distinct religion, American missionaries were perceived as being aligned politically with the din-e dowlat ; as long as the missionaries supported Mohammed Reza Shah, they had permission to operate with relative impunity. While the Iranian Government was not the sole reason why American missionaries gradually moved away from the education and healthcare strategies —finances and changes in philosophy were other important contributors—the Government’s increasing involvement in these fields encouraged the process. When British missionary archives from the 1960s and 1970s become more accessible, comprehensive research on the Pahlavi administration’s interest in Western missionaries’ work in education and healthcare will be possible.

29 Johnson to Sunberg, 31 March 1967. 30 Woody Busse to Bob Lodwick, 8 August 1968, transcript of typewritten letter, Special

Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 31 Jeha and Viehman, ‘Report on Study and Evaluation: Iran Bethel College’. 32 Cochran to McGilvray. 33 Robert T. Bucher, ‘Personal Report’, 1965, transcript of typewritten report, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 34 Rodney A. Sunberg to Robert M. Easton, 7 July 1965, transcript of typewritten letter, Special Collections, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 35 Zoeckler, ‘Annual Report of Meshed Christian Hospital’.

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In recent years, Western evangelicals’ reflections of their experiences in the 1960s and 1970s support the notion that although American missionaries did many fine things for the Iranian people, their connection with the Pahlavi Government was not one of them. Although he only spends a few pages discussing this relationship, Bradley states that the association was far from ideal.36 A. Christian van Gorder addressed the connection between missionaries and the Iranian Government also, as well as the freedoms enjoyed by Christian converts under the Pahlavis and especially under Mohammed Reza Shah, who granted missionaries and Iranian converts to Christianity extraordinary liberties and protection. However, these allowances led many Iranians to believe that the Iranian Government was protecting the missionaries; that being the case, to harm the missionaries meant to harm their government, and Mohammed Reza Shah was zealous in his efforts to prevent the Pahlavi regime from being ill-treated.37 During the Islamic Revolution, as noted in Chapter 4, an Iranian official told the missionary Corley that the Islamic Republic was hostile to the Government of the United States and not to individual Americans,38 but given the ongoing tension between Iran and the West, and Iranian Christians’ continued relationship with the United States, the apprehension among current Iranian administration officials is not surprising. In one respect, the Iranian administration’s suspicion towards Iranian Christians is understandable. It would be helpful to conduct a detailed analysis of the connections between American (and Western) missionaries and their own governments, in addition to the various administrations that have governed Iran, since the period of the Protestant Modern Missions Movement. In the 1960s and 1970s, American missionary interactions with the United States and Iranian governments, while friendly and mutually beneficial, were imprecise and undefined; there is no evidence to suggest the American missions agencies examined in this book were under the absolute control of either government.

36 Bradley, Iran and Christianity, 59−60. 37 Van Gorder, Christianity in Persia, 147−48. 38 Corley, ‘Rezaiyeh Report’, July 1979.

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A Way Forward Twentieth-century American missionaries were frustrated in their efforts to teach Iranians about the gospel via a focus on education and healthcare. Financial troubles, governmental interference, and lack of personnel were some of the factors that militated against their desire to promote the modernisation of Iran. When they transitioned to a more indigenous form of missiology, the response of Iranian Christians was similarly maddening; Iranian Christians wanted autonomy, but proved unable to shoulder the accompanying responsibility. This book has argued that the missiology of American missionaries in Pahlavi times, particularly during the 1960s and 1970s, confused the message of the gospel with broader Western thought. The missionaries’ own cultural biases enhanced the negative perceptions Iranians had of Christianity, but even so, the missionaries played a positive role in developing the Church in Iran. While contemporary American missionaries have voiced a desire to live in the country, given the current Iranian Government’s distrust towards the West, perhaps these missionaries’ best strategy to reach Iranians and teach them about Christ is one that has been forced upon them by the Islamic Republic: to become non-residential missionaries—missionaries who live in one country but are focused on another. By being somewhat removed from Iran, the missionaries’ cultural biases are less obvious, and Iranians are better able to diffuse the missionaries’ message and apply it in forms that are socially acceptable. The nature of globalisation and the rise of various forms of media communication entail that American missionaries do not need to live in Iran to make an impact. While such an approach means that they will not be able to experience Iranian culture and its beauties first-hand, if they can learn Persian, study Iranian history, live in a nearby country, such as Turkey, or those in the south Caucasus, and gain knowledge from expatriate Iranians, American missionaries should be able to digest enough of the Iranian ethos to make a constructive difference. In this way, their faith could become less Westernised, while still maintaining its core doctrines. American missionaries can work with Iranian Christians to reach out to Iranians about the gospel and encourage believers inside the country to engage with their own people.

Epilogue

There are certain themes this work did not address fully or at all because they were not germane to its overall premise. However, in offering some additional concluding thoughts, and expanding on areas where additional research is needed, a brief mention of them is in this epilogue. These matters include: the treatment of ethnic Christians in Iran; various thoughts on the church and Christians in Iran today; the influence of media and Dehqani-Tafti; and the role played by expatriate Iranian Christians today.

The Persecution and Protection of Ethnic Christians in Iran Persecution Throughout Iran’s history with Christianity, the discrimination against and the persecution of Christians appears to have been sporadic. Regarding the 1960s and 1970s within that fluctuating history helps to determine whether any sequence or pattern can be detected concerning increases and decreases in the number of Christians in Iran, and constitutes an important contribution to the field of Church history. While members of the various ethnic churches in Iran largely remained within their sect, persecution either fused them by helping them grow, or strengthened them in other ways. © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 P. O. Hopkins, American Missionaries in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-51214-9

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Bradley estimates that there were over 100 bishoprics in the Sassanid Empire, with 18 of Iran’s 25 provinces having been evangelised or possessing some type of Christian witness. Furthermore, higher Christian academic and theological centres were established, indigenous leaders developed, and churches began to multiply.1 Foltz maintains that by the end of the seventh century, the Western area of Iran was largely Christian, and many Christians of this period were well educated and enjoyed a reputation as ‘transmitters of culture’.2 By the time of Mar Aba, a patriarch of the Church of the East in greater Iran in the sixth century, many Zoroastrians (the majority religion of the time) had converted to Christianity, which was becoming an indigenous faith.3 However, missionary historian Samuel H. Moffett argues that the persecution of Christians in Sassanid Iran was severe, with close to 200,000 Persian Christians being killed.4 Adherents of Zoroastrianism were not fond of Iranian Christians and opposed the spread of the faith. Zoroastrian priests, the Magi, treated Christians harshly, and, in addition to martyrdom, Christians were often subjected to other forms of hardship. They were frequently double taxed, some of their churches were destroyed, and their overall livelihood was disrespected.5 During the Muslim conquest of the region, Islam displayed varying degrees of tolerance towards Christianity. This tolerance required compromises on the part of Christians, usually in the form of acceptance of and allegiance to the Islamic Government. As Islamic dominance increased, a policy known as the Shurut Umar became the modus operandi, a regulation that imposed limitations on non-Muslims. Many of these restrictions, historian Milka Levy-Rubin argues, were influenced by the Byzantine and Sassanian cultures that predated Islam. The Sassanian influence on the Shurut Umar lay largely with the ghiyar, the main part of the Shurut Umar. According to Levy-Rubin, the formation of the ghiyar

1 Bradley, Iran and Christianity, 139–41. 2 Foltz, Spirituality in the Land of the Noble, 83, 89. 3 A. V. Williams, ‘Zoroastrians and Christians in Sasanian Iran’, Bulletin of the John

Rylands Library vol. 78, no. 3 (1996): 39–40. 4 Samuel H. Moffett, A History of Christianity in Asia: Beginnings to 1500 (San Francisco: Harper, 1992), 145. 5 Williams, ‘Zoroastrians and Christians in Sasanian Iran’, 39, 45.

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arose from a Zoroastrian hierarchal, class-based philosophy that advocated a clear differentiation between believer and nonbeliever. Muslims adapted this principle, placed non-Muslims in the lowest class, and regulated aspects of life6 in a similar manner to the Zoroastrians before them.7 Effectively, the treatment of Iranian Christians under Muslims remained similar to how it had been under the Sassanids.8 Under Islam, however, Christians in Iran declined in number. Nonetheless, depending on one’s interpretation, Christianity can also be said to have been strengthened. There is kind-heartedness exhibited towards Christianity in Iranian poetry (as noted in Chapter 4)9 ; educational and cultural centres of Iranian Christianity grew; the graduates of some of these educational and medical schools taught Muslim leaders; and influential Christians were prominent in government. Leading Christians were sought-after administrators, translators, and physicians, and, until the tenth century, the bulk of Iranian philosophers were Christian; until the eleventh century, the majority of translators were Christian; and until the thirteenth century, almost every Iranian leader’s personal physician was a Christian.10 Furthermore, Assyrian Christians in Iran could commission missionaries11 and expand their holdings into parts of Asia, including India, China, Tibet, and Sri Lanka.12 The beginnings of Mongol rule seemed encouraging for Iranian Christians because the new rulers promoted a policy of religious noninterference. As a result of the Church of the East’s missionary efforts,

6 Anthony O’Mahony and Emma Loosley, eds. Eastern Christianity in the Modern Middle East (London, Routledge, 2010), 269. 7 Milka Levy-Rubin, Non-Muslims in the Early Islamic Empire: From Surrender to

Coexistence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 163. 8 Aubrey R. Vine, The Nestorian Churches: A Concise History of Nestorian Christianity in Asia from the Persia Schism to the Modern Assyrians (London: The Independent Press, 1937), 99–100. 9 Bradley, Iran and Christianity, 32. 10 Khanbaghi, The Fire, the Star and the Cross, 45, 48, 49. 11 Aziz Suryal Atiya, A History of Eastern Christianity (London, Methuen, 1968), 253–

71. 12 David Thomas, ‘Arab Christianity’, in The Blackwell Companion to Eastern Christianity, ed. Ken Parry (Chichester, UK, Blackwell Publishing, 2010), 13.

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the Mongols were familiar with Christians in other parts of Asia.13 The Mongols lifted many of the restrictions placed on Iranian Christians and, as had been the case with Iran’s former sovereigns, Iranian Christians could attain influential positions within the new government. The Mongols’ attitude towards Christianity changed during the Crusades and, given that the majority of Iran’s population adhered to Islam, the Mongols began to reconsider their policy of religious tolerance. With the rise of the Mongol King Ghazan and his Islamic profession of faith, many Mongols converted to Islam in 1295. Ghazan became discriminatory towards other faiths, which eventually developed into the concentrated and wholesale persecution of Christianity. In the reign of Timur, less than 100 years later, the situation worsened. Timur murdered thousands of Christians, destroyed churches, monasteries, and schools, and outside of a few enclaves in the Western part of the country in the Kurdistan region, Assyrian Christianity was almost entirely eliminated within Iran. Central Intelligence Agency intelligence analyst Steven R. Ward notes that in the Iranian Plateau, Mongols could have killed 10−15 million people, the vast majority being Muslim. Iran’s population was exhaustive; it did not reach pre-Mongol levels again until the 1900s.14 Protection While persecution was an inevitable part of many Christians’ lives, various Iranian governments did work to protect Iranian Christians. When this occurred in Sassanid times, Christians sometimes took advantage of the situation, burning Zoroastrian fire temples15 and expounding inaccurate and untruthful polemics. Furthermore, during the Mongol period, when Christians were given more autonomy, they sometimes abused their freedom and maltreated Muslims, such as by drinking alcohol openly during Ramadan and deliberately spilling it on mosques and Muslims’ clothes.16 During the Safavid period, when Armenians arrived in Iran en masse, Shah Abbas I moved a group of economically secure Armenians 13 Edward Browne, A Literary History of Persia: From Firdawsi to Sa‘di (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1908), 440–41. 14 Steven R. Ward, Immortal: A Military History of Iran and Its Armed Forces (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2009), 39. 15 Waterfield, Christians in Persia, 22. 16 Vine, The Nestorian Churches, 45–46.

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from Julfa, Nakhchevan to Esfahan, the capital of Safavid Iran, where they became Iran’s largest Christian sect.17 This group was defended by the Shah’s own guards and had their own courts, mayor, and schools that taught in the Armenian language. New Julfa in Esfahan became the religious and cultural centre of the Armenians in Iran. Missions historian Kenneth Scott Latourette describes New Julfa as the ‘center of religious devotion and learning’ for the Armenian people in Iran.18 However, in the late 1600s, the Government’s position towards the Armenians changed; many of their privileges were revoked and, by the end of the century, there was little difference between the Armenians and other religious minorities.19 Nevertheless, their significance remained. Very few Armenians converted to Islam, and they became a totem of the unifying nature of and compatibility of Christianity with Iranian culture. Robin Waterfield notes their influence: The incorporation of a large body of Christians into the very heartland of Persia and their continuing presence in the country was to have a very considerable effect on the future of Persia. From now on they [Iranians] were always confronted with a body of devoted Christians, who in spite of many attempts to induce them to abandon their faith and adopt Islam very rarely did so.20

Here, a brief word is required about the Georgians of Iran. Although not a focus of this book, they played an important role in Safavid times also,21 because they were numerically significant. Many Georgians converted to Islam,22 and they were known for their military prowess. The Shah’s personal guard included 12,000 Georgians, and they formed the foundation of the Iranian army, with 25,000 cavalry members.23

17 Khanbaghi, Fire, the Star and the Cross, 94–96, 111–13. 18 Latourette, A History of Christianity: Reformation to the Present, 1500–1975, 235–36. 19 Khanbaghi, Fire, the Star and the Cross, 117–20, 128–29. 20 Waterfield, Christians in Persia, 63. 21 Vartan Gregorian, ‘Minorities of Isfahan: The Armenian Community of Isfahan 1587–

1722’, Iranian Studies vol. 7, no. 3/4 (Summer–Autumn 1974): 665. 22 D. M. Lang, ‘Georgia and the Fall of the Safavi Dynasty’, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies vol. 13, no. 3 (1952): 523–26. 23 Ibid., 525.

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Establishing a Pattern The relationship between Iranian governments and Iranian ethnic Christians has vacillated between tension and comfort; when outside forces arrived or a major threat occurred, there was a disruption in the arrangement between Iranian Christians and the ruling Iranian government, for better and for worse. Contemporary Iranian policies may be illuminated by examining the effects of outside forces on historical Iranian governments, and such governments’ reactions to those threats in terms of providing and withdrawing freedoms. The leaders of the Islamic Republic hope to promote the success of their country, and because the West, in general, and the United States, in particular, are considered Christian and have a history of meddling in Iran’s internal affairs, Iran’s current hostility to any deviation from the limitations placed upon Christians, while inappropriate, is comprehensible. Placing the period of the 1960s and 1970s within the historical fluctuation of persecution and protection helps to determine whether there is a sequence or pattern to the increase and decrease in the number of Christians in Iran. The research conducted for this work indicates that, for the period in question, external forces in the form of American missionaries were an authority among Assyrian and Armenian Christians, and when data from other Western missions organisations from this period becomes available, additional inquiries can be conducted to determine the scale of the overall impact of the Protestant Modern Missions Movement on ethnic Christians in Iran. Indeed, given that thousands of ethnic Iranian Christians have left Iran during the period of the Islamic Republic—perhaps more Christian emigration than at any other time in Iran’s history—an investigation to determine whether there are any significant causes for this migration in addition to persecution would be welcomed. Since the current growth of Christianity in Iran and the persecution of Christians is similar to that of Sassanid times, a comparison of the Sassanid Empire with the Islamic Republic would be fruitful. While the hindrances placed before the growth of Christianity during the Sassanid, Muslim, and Safavid periods do not confirm causation (i.e. that the Iranian Government’s harassment of Iranian Christians directly led to the growth, unity, or strengthening of Christianity in Iran), they do indicate a correlation; there does seem to be a connection. Demonstrating direct causation (or otherwise) would be a work itself and would need to account for all the periods in which

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Christians have been present in Iran, including the Mongol era, when Christianity was largely extinguished.24

The Health of Unified Iranian Thought Under the Islamic Republic, the Role of Iranian Christians in Iran, and the Growth of the Church in Iran Unified Iranian Thought With the creation of the Islamic Republic, the din-e dowlat and the dine mellat essentially merged, and Mohammed Reza Shah’s idea of the ‘divine right of kings’ was broadly Islamised into the vilayate faqih, the guardianship of the Islamic jurist.25 While both Mohammed Reza Shah and Ayatollah Khomeini believed they were acting according to God’s will—more specifically, according to the Muslim God’s will—their understanding of God, and who God appointed to rule, was different. Under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini and then Ayatollah Khamenei, the religious dogma encouraged by Iran’s head of state essentially became the same as that endorsed by the Islamic clergy. While conservative and reformist elements within the administration existed, the idea of a separation of religion and state—foundational to America and the West, and distinct (at least ostensibly) under the Shah—no longer had support from those in a position of authority. Similar to the Pahlavis, who allowed some variance within their system, the Islamic Republic has at times allowed for greater freedom of expression; nonetheless, Iranians who have veered too far from the promoted dogma, or from the interpretation of that thought as understood by Iran’s Supreme Leader, have frequently been restrained, placed under house arrest, or otherwise detained. This has included public figures loyal to the original ideals of the Islamic Republic, such as Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, initially the perceived heir to Ayatollah Khomeini,26 the 2009 reformist presidential candidates Mirhossein Mousavi and Mehdi

24 Ward, Immortal, 39. 25 Ansari, The Politics of Nationalism, 172. 26 ‘Profile: Iran’s Dissident Ayatollah’, 30 January 2003, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/

world/middle_east/2699541.stm, site editor, BBC News, accessed on 27 June 2018.

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Karroubi27 ; and the former president of Iran, Ayatollah Khatami.28 Others who have deviated from the accepted ideals, such as Oxford PhD student Mohammedreza Jalaeipour—incidentally, a devout Muslim—have been placed in solitary confinement or worse.29 Jalaeipour is not the only Muslim Iranian who has been jailed; some of the harshest treatment has been reserved for Iranian academics, including scientist Ahmadreza Djalali, anti-war campaigner Abbas Edalat, and banker Abdolrasoul Dorri Esfahani, who represented Iran’s Central Bank in the nuclear negotiations. These figures have all been incarcerated.30 Academic liberty in Iran is significantly curtailed,31 and this has led some of the country’s brightest people to flee and live in exile.32 The Role of Iranian Christians in Iran Many Iranian Christians with a Muslim background and ethnic Christians who proselytise have been jailed for reasons similar to those of the academics. Although ethnic Christian Iranians who do not evangelise Iranians are protected by Article 13 of Iran’s Constitution, and

27 ‘Former

Iranian President Ask Supreme Leader to End House Arrests’, 20 August 2017, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-politics-khatami/former-ira nian-president-asks-supreme-leader-to-end-house-arrests-idUSKCN1B00PD, site editor, Reuters, accessed on 27 June 2018. 28 ‘Khatami Practically Under House Arrest, Prevented to Meet with Aides’, 2 December 2017, https://en.radiofarda.com/a/iran-khatami-prevented-from-meetings/ 28891875.html, site editor, Radio Farda, accessed on 27 June 2018; ‘Security Forces Prevent Ex-President from Leaving His House’, 19 October 2017, https://en.radiofarda. com/a/iran-khatami-prevented-from-leaving-his-house/28803515.html, site editor, Radio Farda, accessed on 27 June 2018. 29 ‘Oxford PhD Student Denied Legal Counsel 40 Days After Being Arrested in Iran’, 1 June 2018, https://www.iranhumanrights.org/2018/06/oxford-phd-student-den ied-legal-counsel-40-days-after-arrest-in-iran/, site editor, Center for Human Rights in Iran, accessed on 10 June 2018. 30 ‘Who are the Dual Nationals Imprisoned in Iran?’ 24 May 2018, https://www.ira nhumanrights.org/2018/05/here-are-the-dual-nationals-imprisoned-in-iran/, site editor Center for Human Rights, accessed on 7 July 2018. 31 ‘Iran 2017 Human Rights Report’, https://www.state.gov/documents/organizat ion/277485.pdf, site editor, US Department of State, accessed on 7 July 2018. 32 Golnaz Esfandiari, ‘Iran: Coping with the World’s Highest Rate of Brain Drain’, 8 March 2004, https://www.rferl.org/a/1051803.html, site editor, Radio Free Europe, accessed on 7 July 2018.

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have three guaranteed representatives in Iran’s legislature,33 because the Islamic Republic has made it illegal for Muslims to convert to another faith, Iranian Christians from a Muslim background cannot be incorporated into the official governmental system in the same manner as ethnic Christian Iranians. While in the Pahlavi era Iranian Christians were regarded more like a special interest group within the current Islamic system, they are now not only apostates, but threats to national security.34 This confirms Rzepka’s thesis, in that, from the perspective of the Islamic Republic authorities, there is something insurgent about Iranian Christians who do not follow the restrictions placed upon them because they are thereby rejecting the ideology of the Islamic Republic. Rzepka discusses this rationale: When discussing their motivations for conversion, the converts emphasise their disappointment with Islam. Thus, they try to escape from politicised Islam, or from radical interpretations of it made by Khomeini and his followers. In this sense, Islam becomes something inauthentic and at the same time oppressive in the converts’ eyes, which strongly contrasts with Christianity, which insists on the imperative of love, even for one’s enemies.35

Christianity has spread rapidly in Iran—from maybe 500 Iranian Christians from Muslim backgrounds in 1979 to non-ethnic Christian Iranians being the single largest Christian group in the country, with hundreds of thousands, particularly in light of the mass emigration of Armenians and Assyrians; currently, Iran has one of the fastest-growing Christian populations in the world.36 The Islamic Republic’s concern is, therefore,

33 ‘Discrimination Against Religious Minorities in Iran’, 7 August 2003, https://web. archive.org/web/20080422184053/http://www.fidh.org/asie/rapport/2003/ir0108a. pdf, site editor, Federation Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme, accessed on 4 July 2018. 34 ‘Christian Converts to Iran.’ 35 Rzepka, Prayer and Protest, 190. 36 George Thomas, ‘Exclusive: Jesus is Building His Church: Inside Iran, Millions Watching Christian Satellite TV’, 28 January 2018, http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/ world/2018/january/exclusive-jesus-is-building-his-church-inside-iran-millions-watchingchristian-satellite-tv, site editor, The Christian Broadcasting Network, accessed on 1 June 2018.

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justified, especially if Stark’s claims are true that Iran will be over 50% Christian within the next 50 to 100 years.37 The persecution and harassment of Christians seems to have backfired. One solution to curtail the spread of Christianity in Iran may be for the Government to follow the opposite policy and not only allow Iranian Christians greater freedom, but also to give Western missionaries access to Iran, given that Christianity is becoming less foreign in the minds of many Iranians—similar to the approach of Turkey. The latter country has a population roughly the same as Iran, with over 95% of its citizens claiming to be Muslim.38 Many Christians in Turkey are not ethnic Turks, even though conversion to Christianity is accepted legally and missionaries are generally allowed to work with relative freedom.39 However, there is only a 1.2% rate increase to evangelical Christianity.40 Part of the slow rate of increase may be because Christian growth tends to increase at a specific frequency, if the numbers detailed below are accurate. Nonetheless, studying how Turkey deals with its Christian population and the many missionaries living in the country could benefit the Iranian Government, which needs to adopt alternative solutions if it wants to limit the number of Christian conversions. The Growth of Christianity in Iran and the ‘House-Church’ Movement Bradley reports that the persecution of Christians in Iran has resulted in a ‘house-church’ movement, through which the faith has spread.41 He believes that house churches have made Christianity an indigenous religion in Iran. The indigeneity of Iranian Christianity is discussed later in this chapter, but the pattern appears similar to what has occurred in China: persecution has forced Christians to conduct their services underground, which has resulted in the emergence of house churches. The 37 Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity (New York, Harper Collins, 2011), 206. 38 ‘Turkey’, https://joshuaproject.net/countries/TU, site editor, Joshua Project,

accessed on 11 July 2018. 39 ‘Turkey’, https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/tur key/, site editor, Open Doors, accessed on 11 July 2018. There is, however, still persecution of Christians and missionaries in Turkey, which seems to harass them more effectively than Iran. 40 ‘Turkey’, site editor, Joshua Project. 41 Bradley, Too Many to Jail , 203.

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percentage of Iranians attending house churches may even eclipse that of China, where a reported two-thirds of the Chinese Christian population meet to conduct services in private houses.42 House churches seem to have played a pivotal role in the growth of Christianity in Iran. Research comparing the house church movement in Iran to that of China to better understand non-Western countries where religious freedoms are limited would be greatly beneficial for the field of missiology. However, persecution and house churches are not the only means by which Christianity has grown in Iran or around the world. Sociologist Rodney Stark, who has reconstructed the growth of Christianity during its first 300 years, suggests that while persecution was a factor in its rise, there were other important considerations, including its socio-economic base and urban setting, as well as the prominence of female converts. While the biblical book Acts of the Apostles mentions that Christians met in homes (Acts 2.46) at least part of the time (Acts 5.42),43 Stark estimates that Christianity grew from approximately 1000 followers to almost 34 million from 40 AD to 350 AD, with the percentage of Christians from 0.0017% of the population to 56.5%, respectively. Interestingly, Christianity increased from 1000 to 220,000 followers in its first 150 years, and then to 1.2 million in the first 200 years.44 Despite the emigration of ethnic Christians from Iran—Foltz claims that the number of ethnic Iranian Christians has declined from 300,000 in 1979 to a contemporary figure of 55,00045 —Stark’s figures align relatively closely with the pattern of growth Christianity has experienced since the beginning of the Protestant Modern Missions Movement in Iran. More research is needed to discover why there has been such an increase in Christianity in Iran, and to compare it with the increase of Christianity in other parts of the world in various historical periods to determine whether persecution and the house church movement are the only common factors. For example, Stark’s assertation that early Christianity’s socio-economic 42 Brian C. Stiller, ‘China, House Churches, and the Growth of the Kingdom’, 29 June 2017, https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/june/china-house-chu rches-and-growth-of-kingdom.html, site editor, Christianity Today, accessed on 10 July 2018. 43 See also: Rom 16.1-27, 1 Cor 16.19, Col 4.15. 44 Rodney Stark, The Rise of Christianity: A Sociologist Reconsiders History (Princeton:

Princeton University Press, 1996), 7. 45 Foltz, Religions of Iran, 122.

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base was the middle to upper classes, rather than the poor, conflicts with many missionary efforts over the years that have focused on the economically disadvantaged. This approach of Stark’s appears inconsistent with biblical passages such as Matthew 19.24, which states that it is harder for wealthy people to convert to Christianity than for a ‘camel [to go] through the eye of a needle’. Comparing the conversion rates gained by missionaries working among the poor versus those working among the middle to upper classes would make another interesting study.

The Indigeneity of the Church in Iran: The Influence of the Media and the Importance of Dehqani-Tafti to Christian Thought in Iran The Influence of the Media While the notion of Iranian Christian nationalism may have provoked Iranian Christians’ desire for a united Iranian Church,46 as implied in Chapter 4, its indigeneity is a matter of debate; given that American (and Western) missionaries constitute a central influence among Iranian Christians, it is doubtful whether the Church in Iran can become completely indigenous. The distribution of literature and the use of radio, television, and the internet have played a significant role in spreading the message of Western Christianity in Iran, so the role of media platforms should not be underestimated. At times, the use of the media has had unintended consequences, such as those in the Nineteenth and early-Twentyth centuries with the East Syrians of the Urmia and Hakkari regions. Becker argues that the American Protestant missionaries’ model of reform began with the introduction of print media; while it provided missionaries with additional avenues through which to share their beliefs, it also inadvertently conveyed an epistemology that centred on individuals over rituals. This epistemology helped East Syrians to cultivate a secularised understanding of society and promoted the development of modern concepts such as individualism, liberty, and privatisation.47 This state of affairs continued during the 1960s and 1970s throughout Iran, where American missionaries circulated thousands of tracts, leaflets,

46 Rzepka, Prayer and Protest, 189. 47 Becker, Revival and Awakening, 97–98.

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and pamphlets, broadcast many hours of radio and television programmes, and distributed numerous audio and video recordings to convey their message of Western Christianity to the Iranian people. While there were few conversions to Christianity among Iran’s Muslim majority, Western Christianity—and its accompanying ideology—continued to seep into Iranian Society, promote distinctiveness, and influence Christian Iranians. Afshari believes that during the period of the Islamic Republic, media outlets, and particularly satellite television, have significantly shaped Iranians’ views on Christianity, and made the faith available to even more Iranians. Similar to Becker, she argues that Protestant Christianity requires a reformation of thought and a set of doctrines, rather than a certain arrangement of rituals.48 Although it is too soon to determine the extent and nature of the unintended effects of Christian media on Iranian culture, there is sufficient data to conclude whether the use of media by missionaries as a means to propagate the gospel has played a prominent role in society. Given the rapid pace of globalisation and Iranians’ interest in technology49 —almost 70% of Iranians use the internet, and almost half the population have a Facebook account despite it being officially prohibited50 —American missionaries’ decision to utilise the internet to share the message of Christ with Iranians is a strategy that result in unintended consequences. While there has been discussion about implementing a ‘halal internet’,51 Persian is already one of the most used languages on the web, and estimations of its popularity suggest that it is between the fifth and eleventh most popular online language of communication.52 By 48 Afshari, ‘An Examination of the Growth of Christianity’; Afshari, ‘Christian Media in the Middle East’. 49 Najmeh Bororgmehr, ‘Start-up Republic: Can Iran’s Booming Tech Sector Thrive’, 17 April 2018, https://www.ft.com/content/ca7ab580-3d71-11e8-b9f9-de94fa33a81e, site editor, Financial Times, accessed on 9 July 2018. 50 ‘Usage and Population Statistics’, https://internetworldstats.com/me/ir.htm, site editor, Internet World Stats, accessed on 9 July 2018. 51 Jon Gambrell, ‘Iran Deploys “Halal” Internet in Latest Bid to Rein in Citizens’ Web Freedoms’, 29 on January 2018, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middleeast/iran-halal-internet-national-information-network-web-freedoms-citizens-access-socialmedia-telegram-a8182841.html, site editor, The Independent, accessed on 10 July 2018. 52 ‘Persian Ranks 11th Among Most Popular Languages on the Internet’, 12 November 2017, http://ifpnews.com/exclusive/persian-ranks-11th-among-popular-lan guages-internet/, site editor, Iran Front Page News, accessed on 10 July 2018.

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2008, Iranians had almost one million bloggers,53 and while there has not been a ‘Twitter Revolution’54 for Iranian Christianity, the use of the web by American missionaries and Iranian Christians alike has helped them to enter Iranian culture in a manner that is different to previous years. Another possible research topic that would benefit multiple disciplines would be to determine whether there is a link between the change in doctrine over ritual in the use of media by missionaries, as discussed by Becker and Afshari. Of particular interest would be to identify some of the outcomes of this strategy, especially during the period of the Islamic Republic, and to research how it has affected the Iranian Christian community. The Significance of Dehqani-Tafti to the Christian Thought in Iran Dehqani-Tafti was a prolific writer. His views shaped the Church in Iran through his use of media, and, therefore, his role as a writer and communicator requires consideration. His understanding of Iranian Christian identity is foundational to his thought, as is his understanding that Iranian nationalism has deeper roots than Islam in the country.55 His studies of the works of Iranian Islamic scholars such as Shariati and Ayatollah Khomeini, his communication with Western Protestant Christians of many denominations, including those mentioned in this book, and his collaboration with Iraniologists Ehsan Yarshater and Yahya Armajani56 gave him a unique ability to digest and integrate different belief systems to communicate his message. He not only critiqued Western colonialism, the din-e dowlat , and the din-e mellat in a manner that resonated with Iranians, but also integrated Persian poetry into the heart of Christianity, and emphasised the Persian connection with the origins of Christianity via

53 Antony Loewenstein, The Blogging Revolution (Melbourne: Melbourne University Publishing, 2008), 22. 54 Jared Keller, ‘Evaluating Iran’s Twitter Revolution’, 18 June 2010, https://www.the atlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/06/evaluating-irans-twitter-revolution/58337/, site editor, The Atlantic, accessed on 10 July 2018. 55 ‘Hassan Who Honoured Me with His Friendship: A Memoir for Margaret’, in Hassan Barnaba Dehqani-Tafti 1920–2008, 95. 56 Rzepka, Prayer and Protest, 189.

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the assertion that the famed ‘Three Wise Men’ of the Gospel of Matthew, as noted in Chapter 2, could have been from Hamadan or Saveh.57 Dehqani-Tafti espoused a form of incipient Christian Iranian nationalism that manifested itself in the promotion of an indigenous Iranian Church that featured the Persian language as a centrepiece and local Iranian leadership. According to Dehqani-Tafti, Anglican Iranians were bringing about the indigeneity of the Iranian Church prior to 1979,58 which was something that he wanted American missionaries to encourage. Indeed, Dehqani-Tafti asserted that while Christians should be patient with the Islamic Republic and accept that dialogue was ‘alive’ and necessary for a mutual exchange of ideas,59 Islam was the foreign religion that had invaded Iran, not Christianity,60 and this became part of the greater ideology of the Church in Iran. Rzepka notes: Some Iranians perceived religious conversion not as a process of alienation from their culture but, on the contrary, as a return to their own values… Similarly, [in the case of Iranian converts] conversion to Christianity among the Iranians should not be treated only as a personal choice but rather as the result of a new interpretation and understanding of the past, re-discovered again in light of religion and the text – Christianity and the Bible. It is a concept of return, however, not to Shi’a Islam categorised as an alien religion nor to the myth of the Aryan origin of Iranians, but to the Bible and Iranian history written on its pages…. After the revolution and collapse of the monarchy, the Biblical story of the ‘anointed Persian king’ became an Iranian Christian narrative or rather counternarrative alternative to the official and Islamic one…What seems to be important is the discovery of pre-Islamic history by the Iranian converts and their neglecting of Islam. As we have seen, Christianity was recognised as a foreign element in the revolutionary discourse. In the converts’ image, the process is reversed: Islam is categorised as a non-Iranian element. As such, conversion means a true return to the past and return to the self. It also inspires Iranian Christians to study the early relationship between Christianity and Iran.61 57 Dehqani-Tafti, The Hard Awakening, 15. 58 H. B. Dehqani-Tafti, ‘The Episcopal Church in Iran: A Suffering Church’, Anglican

and Episcopal History vol. 59, no. 1 (March 1990): 14. 59 Dehqani-Tafti, Garanbahri va Arami, 52. 60 Dehqani-Tafti, The Hard Awakening, 3. 61 Rzepka, Prayer and Protest, 172, 188–89.

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According to Rzepka, Dehqani-Tafti was ‘an Iranian thinker who proposed a coherent vision of Iranian Christian identity’62 ; he seemed willing to engage in conversation with the Islamic authorities, and in this regard is different to many contemporary Iranian Christians. Although Soroush is often referred to as the ‘Martin Luther’ or reformer of modern-day Iranian Islam,63 the analogy of Luther may also be useful for Dehqani-Tafti; he is the founder—or at least the father—of modern Iranian Christianity in the modern-day Iranian Church. Dehqani-Tafti challenged the status quo of Christianity in Iran. A detailed study outlining his significance not only as a Christian writer, but also as an Iranian thinker, would be valuable for the wider academic community, as well as those interested in Church history or Iranian studies. Many of his works are accessible through Elam Ministries, and his writings have appeared in English journals also.

Nationalism and Indigeneity in the Iranian Church and the Importance of Communication Nationalism The idea of a united Iranian Church without denominational borders or doctrinal divides reveals the nationalism that Rzepka believed was common among Iranian Christians as early as the 1920s, including the few Iranian Christians who had converted from Islam. With DehqaniTafti pressing the idea of a united Iranian Church and giving it a theological and cultural foundation, which began during the Pahlavi era with the Anglicans and continued through the Islamic Revolution, the combination of the emigration of ethnic Iranian Christians, the increase in the number of Christians from a Muslim background in the country since the Islamic Revolution, and their continued marginalisation in society has given such Christians a greater sense of community. The Anglican bishop in Iran, James Linton, Dehqani-Tafi’s predecessor, noticed this sense of spirit among Iranian Christians a number of years earlier and called it ‘most revolutionary’.64 62 Ibid., 88. 63 D. Ray Heisey, ‘Reflections on a Persian Jewel: Damavand College, Tehran’, Journal

of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (in Asia) vol. 5, no. 1 (2011): 26. 64 Rzepka, Prayer and Protest, 83.

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Rzepka notes that Iranian Christian nationalism has been impacted by Western thought,65 but remarks also that the Islamic Revolution has made Christianity more indigenous: ‘We can assume that the revolution caused the necessity of re-defining Christianity in the Iranian context, making it more “Iranian” in style and depriving it of Western influences and, at the same time, requiring one to confess his or her chosen religion in daily life under the new political circumstances’.66 While accurate in one sense—there is little physical presence of Western missionaries, which has diminished their influence—American (and Western) missionaries and expatriate Iranian Christians living in the United States (and the West) continue to impact Iranian Christianity through their use of media to engage Iranians with the gospel. The desire to maintain an indigenous Iranian Church without outside interference or influence seems naïve; it is commendable for Iranian Christians to take ownership of and responsibility for their faith, but doing so in seclusion is unhealthy spiritually and is not the pattern of historical Christianity. For Iranian Christians to find mediating loci between the American and Western influence and an isolating Christianity that respects the ideals of the Islamic Republic would be beneficial to all Iranians. However, such an approach imposes a creative tension between the two forces vying for its attention—Western Christians, who desire to see the gospel spread into an area hostile to their understanding of Christianity and home to many unreached people groups; and the Islamic Republic, which has respected the limited freedoms it has given ethnic Christians, similar to Saddam Hussein and Bashar al-Assad in Iraq and Syria, respectively. As Columbia University’s Hamid Dabashi states, the ideology of the Islamic Revolution has always been in ‘dialectical conversation’ with the West.67 Given the extreme growth of the Church in Iran, especially in relation to the Iranian Government’s strict form of Islam, which seems untenable for its long-term future, a ‘dialectical conversation’ between Iran and the United States may eventually yield additional freedoms. Moreover, Jalaeipour believes that the current Iranian Government will moderate over the next

65 Ibid. 66 Ibid., 171. 67 Hamid Dabashi, Theology of Discontent: The Ideological Foundation of the Islamic

Revolution (Oxford, Routledge, 2017), x.

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few years,68 and while still maintaining its Shia Muslim focus, a relaxation or reinterpretation of the perceived loyalty or dedication of Iranian Christians from Muslim backgrounds is not out of the question. Indeed, if Iranian Christians emphasise the biblical command to respect and submit to the state and its God-given authority over them (Rom 13)—with the obvious exception of evangelism—this might help to assuage the concerns of some moderates in the Islamic Republic. Iranians—even those at the highest levels of government—are interested in Christianity. Since Iran is rapidly becoming an international power, and has a history of religious tolerance dating to the era of Cyrus the Great, much can be learned from Muslim Iranian thinkers about their understanding of Christianity. Although this work has largely focused on negative characteristics of Iranian Society and Iranian Muslim intolerance towards Christianity, advances have been made in the area of Iranian Muslim-Christian dialogue. Tavassoli writes that some Iranian thinkers’ interpretation of the Qur’an and Hadith promotes communication with Christians. According to Tavassoli, some Iranian intellectuals believe that Islam and Christianity can unite against common ills, while he mentions also similarities in certain doctrinal themes between Shia Muslims and Christians. Many Muslim Iranian intellectuals prefer to teach and study Christianity objectively, not just from an Islamic perspective, and this includes Christian doctrines that are controversial for Islam, such as the resurrection of Christ, his divine sonship, and the Trinity. The institutions Tavassoli mentions—The Organization of Culture and Islamic Relations, The International Center for Dialogue Among Civilizations, The Institute for Interreligious Dialogue, and The Center for Religious Studies—all promote, to varying degrees, discussion with Christians. Furthermore, while there are inherent weaknesses in some of their strategies, these government-sanctioned institutions that arose after the Islamic Revolution reveal the interest Iranians have in religious dialogue. While these examples largely fall within the liberal tradition of Iranian Muslim thought, they manifest an aura of acceptance of divergent beliefs. Iran is not an exclusively monolithic, fundamentalist religious state, and while there has been and continues to be persecution, many different

68 Mohammedreza Jalaeipour, ‘Hadsahayi Darbareyi Si Sal Bad: Cheshm Andahr Taeeraht Dine dar Iran’ [Guesses About Thirty Years Later: Prospects of Religious Change in Iran], Gnamah (March 2015): 1–7.

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opinions have existed within the framework of the Islamic Republic, even among its leaders.69

The Importance of Dialogue and the Role of Iranian Christians in America and the West An irenic tone—with respect and equality—seems to fit well with the Iranian psyche when discussing different beliefs. Combined with the idea of haq—the belief in ‘unalienable’ rights—it may provide a way forward to address the growing population of Muslim-background Christians in Iran and their relationship with the Islamic state. Hooman Majd, whose father was a diplomat before the Islamic Revolution, touches on the importance that Iranians place on being treated as equals: The question of rights is fundamental to Shi’a Islam, the very founding of which was a struggle for rightfulness. And Shi’a Iran, with a history of centuries of perceived injustice towards its religion and sect, and the trampling of its sovereignty by foreign powers, cannot easily accept any attempt to deprive its people of their rights. The sense of rights and justice is so deeply ingrained in the Iranian psyche that when Iranians mourn Imams martyred fourteen hundred years ago, as they do during the month of Moharram, they are consumed by paroxysms of weeping, not necessarily for the dead, but for the cruel injustice perpetrated on their saints and, by extension, on them still today.70

At present, haq may be most noticeable in the context of the nuclear question, but it can be applied more generally to Christian encounters with Iran. By coming to an understanding of haq, and the natural outflows of it, the importance of rights to the Iranian people becomes clearer. Many Iranians, even those who do not reject the Islamic ideals upon which the Republic was founded, want their rights to be upheld, and Christianity, which has suffered persecution under the Islamic Republic, is attracting sympathy. As Christianity integrates into Iranian culture and adopts forms that are more acceptable to the general population, ‘speaking the truth in love’ (Eph 4.15) with those both for and against the faith becomes ever

69 Tavassoli, Christian Encounters with Iran, 19–22, 106–08, 126–28. 70 Hooman Majd, The Ayatollah Begs to Differ (New York, Doubleday, 2008), 118–19.

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more important. Iranian Christians are building relationships with nonChristians and striving legitimately to understand different viewpoints (not just straw-man arguments). When difficult questions arise concerning Christianity, that Christians can answer them truthfully in the framework of a relationship aids the overall perception of the faith. When answers differ, disagreements occur largely out of respect for the need to be truthful and honest about beliefs, rather than due to a desire to be right or to win an argument. By following such an approach, Iranian Christians have a greater chance of being considered friends who care about people’s souls, rather than zealots seeking to aggressively achieve conversions. Iranian Christians who have migrated to the United States and other Western countries should, perhaps, consider returning to Iran, including those from Muslim backgrounds and others who have been harassed. Even while living outside the country and experiencing other cultures, expatriate Iranian Christians remain connected to Iran, more so than Western missionaries. If Iranian Christians sharpen their beliefs and keep them within the context of Iranian culture, similar to Ayatollah Khomeini when he travelled abroad, they could do much good for the Church in Iran. Indeed, Ayatollah Khomeini may not have had the same influence if he had not left Iran; as Dehqani-Tafti has written, Mohammed Reza Shah made a mistake by forcing Ayatollah Khomeini into exile because he was able to obtain help from intellectuals and the middle class, and thereby form an alliance against the very person who had expelled him.71 Furthermore, Iranian Christians living in Western cultures can observe and participate first-hand in societies different to their own and digest both the good and bad of them, similar to Iranian academics, many of whom have returned to Iran, despite knowing the potential risks—and some have paid dearly for doing so. One can debate the merit of exiles and emigrants returning to Iran; nevertheless, if Iranian Christians believe they possess the ‘truth’ that Christianity claims, their love for their compatriots should be equal to or exceed the love Ayatollah Khomeini and Iranian academics have for their country. American missionaries are unable to live in Iran, and media, the internet church, and discipleship from afar are limited in what they can accomplish, so American missionaries should consider encouraging Iranian Christians living in the diaspora to repatriate. Returning to Iran and sacrificing the good the West has to offer

71 Dehqani-Tafti, The Hard Awakening, 5–6.

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is a powerful testimony, one that fits the ethos of suffering that many Christians and Iranians face regularly. This action would also constitute a strong response to Dehqani-Tafti’s admonishment that Iranian Christians should become less dependent on American missionaries. Years ago, while reflecting on Iranian Christians’ dependency on American missionaries, Dehqani-Tafti wrote: I came to think any [Iranian] Christian visiting the USA should strictly exclude any requesting [of money] as the condition of any true and equal relationship. The bestowal of gifts can make the giver sanguine and complacent, and the recipient a sort of dependent client. This compromises any genuine community. The giver needs the humility of receiving – as can often happen in non-monetary ways – while the receiver deserves the benison of being generous in turn. To give life-experience or listening time and care is worth more than easy cash, which can be an alibi for costly love.72

72 Dehqani-Tafti, The Unfolding Design of My World, 164–65.

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Index

0–9 1960s, 1, 3, 12, 14, 15, 21, 22, 24, 27, 32, 36–38, 41, 43, 45, 62, 70, 80, 87, 89, 91, 92, 94–96, 98, 112, 113, 119, 122, 123, 128, 150–153, 155, 158, 162, 164, 178, 179, 187, 191, 196, 199–201, 203, 208, 214 1970s, 1, 3, 14, 15, 21, 22, 24, 27, 32, 34, 38, 41, 43, 45, 56, 68, 87, 89, 91, 92, 104, 106–108, 114, 115, 119–121, 124–126, 150–153, 164, 179, 187, 191, 193, 194, 198–201, 203, 208, 214 1979, 4, 5, 15, 22, 37, 85, 110, 111, 120, 125, 144–149, 152, 153, 161, 165, 169, 170, 173, 179, 188, 200, 211, 213, 217 A Abhari, Mehdi, 137, 192 Al-Ahmad, Jalal, 25, 26 Allen, Cady H., 71, 93

Anglican, 14, 15, 22, 34, 35, 43, 68, 121, 132, 134, 135, 138, 142, 155, 157, 163, 165, 169, 217, 218 Ansari, Ali M., 14, 29, 78, 81, 82, 84, 98, 153, 154, 209 Armenian, 5, 18, 34, 37, 42, 50, 53, 54, 57, 60, 62–68, 70, 73–76, 110, 121–126, 135, 139, 145, 151, 152, 160–162, 170, 171, 177, 206–208, 211 Assemblies of God, 2, 3, 15, 27, 34, 36, 37, 68, 91, 92, 118, 122–128, 135, 143–146, 170 Assyrian/Church of the East, 50, 56, 61, 205 Ayatollah Khomeini/Kuymany, 15, 20, 25–27, 32, 82–86, 88, 89, 100–102, 114, 116, 144–149, 152, 153, 157, 159–161, 169, 187, 209, 211, 216, 222 B Bahai/Babi/Bahaism, 9–11

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 P. O. Hopkins, American Missionaries in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-51214-9

267

268

INDEX

Baskerville, Howard, 72 Bethel College/Damavand College, 94, 104, 105, 108, 110, 111, 193, 199, 218 Bible, 2, 17, 25, 33, 46, 50, 56, 60, 69, 102, 103, 106, 119–128, 131, 132, 145, 150, 163, 165, 168, 171, 176, 179–181, 186, 187, 217 Board of Trustees, 93, 108, 134, 198 Braswell, George W., 28, 32, 41, 82–84, 99, 107–110, 128, 129, 131, 132, 134, 140, 141 Busse, Durwood, 72, 104, 134

C Central Intelligence Agency, 75, 83, 98–100, 106, 107, 109, 113, 170, 175, 206 Christar, 2, 15, 24, 28, 37, 38, 119, 120, 145 Christianity, 1, 3–10, 12, 14, 16–18, 20, 23–25, 27, 28, 32, 33, 35, 37, 42, 43, 45, 46, 48–66, 69–71, 73, 75, 87–89, 91–93, 103, 108, 116–120, 122, 123, 126, 127, 137, 139, 140, 148–156, 158, 160–163, 165, 166, 169, 171–178, 181–183, 185, 187–190, 192, 194–197, 200, 201, 203–209, 211–222 Church planting, 38, 107, 119, 121, 122 Colonialism, 2, 25, 27, 42, 46, 48, 88, 139, 216 Commission, 59, 63, 88, 94–97, 105, 106, 193, 205 Constitutional Revolution, 10, 67, 72, 78, 79, 195 Corley, Richard, 15, 28, 119, 120, 146, 148

D Dehqani-Tafti, Hassan B., 15, 24, 25, 43, 72, 129, 138–142, 149, 155–161, 163–169, 179, 187, 189, 192, 194, 203, 216–218, 222, 223 Dibaj, Mehdi, 120, 170 Din-e dowlat , 28, 32, 42, 82, 83, 85, 87, 89, 92, 97, 102, 103, 111, 114, 116–118, 124, 152, 156, 158, 160, 191, 192, 194, 199, 209, 216 Din-e mellat , 28, 32, 42, 82–89, 97, 100, 103, 109, 111, 114, 116, 118, 125, 152, 157, 169, 191, 192, 194, 209, 216 E Ed and Belle Jaeger, 120 Education, 8, 20–22, 27, 30, 32, 42, 48, 71, 79, 80, 92, 96, 98–101, 103–109, 111, 112, 116, 117, 142, 150, 151, 155, 168, 169, 193, 195, 198, 199, 201 Elam, 122, 123, 167, 171, 173, 186, 218 Enlightenment, 19, 21, 22, 30, 46, 82, 163 Ethnic Christians, 5, 43, 88, 110, 116, 123, 128, 129, 161, 169, 170, 177, 194, 203, 208, 210, 211, 213, 219 Evangelical, 3, 4, 19, 20, 34, 35, 37, 38, 45, 48, 68, 91, 92, 95–97, 103, 117, 121, 129, 131, 135–137, 142, 143, 145, 148, 154, 170, 180, 183, 200, 212 Evangelism/Proselytism, 27, 32, 35, 36, 42, 54, 70, 74, 76, 96, 108, 119–122, 131, 132, 135, 137, 142, 145, 161, 162, 192, 193, 220

INDEX

F Farsi/Persian, 168 Foreign, 3, 15, 26, 39–42, 46, 49, 69, 70, 79–81, 96, 98, 102, 108, 139, 141, 151, 156, 189, 196, 198, 212, 217, 221 Foreign Mission Board, 3, 14, 18, 21, 28, 40, 41, 72, 92, 93, 107–110, 118, 128–132, 136–138, 140, 143–147, 150, 196–198

G Georgia/Georgians, 34, 73, 74, 76, 180, 207 Gorgan, 123–125, 168 Government, 1–3, 6, 7, 10, 11, 19, 20, 22, 24, 27, 28, 38, 42, 43, 47–50, 55–57, 59, 60, 63, 64, 66–72, 78–80, 82, 84–88, 92, 93, 95, 98–100, 102–105, 108, 110, 111, 115, 117–119, 121, 122, 126, 129, 130, 137–139, 143, 146–148, 151, 152, 157, 160, 163, 169–173, 175–177, 179–181, 187, 188, 191, 193–196, 198–201, 204–208, 212, 219, 220

H Healthcare, 20–22, 26, 32, 42, 70, 71, 80, 92, 96, 107, 111–114, 116, 117, 137, 142, 150, 151, 193, 195, 198, 199, 201 Hopkins, Philip O., 34, 78, 168, 174, 180, 187, 195 Hospital, 3, 8, 47, 48, 71, 94, 107, 112–115, 137, 141, 193, 199 House church, 174–178, 185–187, 189, 212, 213

269

Hovsepian-Mehr, Haik, 68, 94, 123–125, 162, 168, 170, 174, 175 Hughey, J.D., 41, 107, 109, 110, 129–132, 134, 140, 144–149, 196–198 Human rights, 78, 81, 153, 159, 169, 171, 172, 175, 176, 210 Hymns/Songs, 165, 167, 168, 176, 177, 182, 187 I Indigenous/Indigeneity/Indigenisation, 1, 5, 6, 9, 19, 23, 24, 27, 28, 34, 36, 42, 43, 47, 55, 86, 89, 94–96, 103, 110, 116, 117, 121, 122, 125, 128, 139, 141, 142, 150–152, 154–156, 160, 161, 163, 165, 167, 168, 182, 186, 187, 189, 193, 194, 201, 204, 212, 214, 217, 219 International Missions, 2–4, 15, 24, 28, 34, 37, 38, 40, 41, 48, 72, 91–93, 97, 107–110, 118–122, 129–134, 136–140, 143–147, 149, 195 Internet, 183–185, 195, 214, 215, 222 Iranian Council, 135 Iranian Muslim/Iranian Muslims, 5, 27, 68–70, 108, 121, 129, 155, 164, 169, 172, 194, 220 Iranian thought, 43 Iran/Iranian Church, 24, 29, 43, 89, 93, 95–97, 122, 125, 136, 139, 141–143, 153–155, 161, 165, 167, 168, 190, 193, 194, 214, 217–219 Iran/Persia, 3, 16, 31, 51, 52, 54, 56, 57, 65, 66, 69, 70, 79, 93, 98, 124, 155, 207 Irwin, J. Mark, 96, 196

270

INDEX

Islam/Muslim, 5, 9, 10, 15–17, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27–29, 32, 37, 48, 55, 57–61, 64–72, 74, 82, 83, 85–89, 93, 101, 102, 108, 109, 111, 116, 118, 120–128, 130, 131, 136–140, 143–145, 148, 149, 152, 153, 155–161, 164, 166, 167, 169–172, 174, 176, 177, 179, 183, 189, 191, 192, 195, 198, 204–212, 215–222 Islamic Revolution, 5, 15, 16, 23, 24, 72, 87, 88, 102, 110, 116, 118, 119, 122, 125, 137, 143, 146, 149–153, 155–157, 160, 161, 163, 168, 188, 200, 218–221

J Jail , 5, 22, 23, 169, 170, 176, 189, 212 James and/or Eloise Neely, 15, 27, 125, 127, 128, 145, 146 Johnson, Park R., 94–97, 104, 115, 121, 134, 142, 196, 198

K Kermanshah, 38, 94, 121, 122, 125, 137 Khatami, Mohammad, 68, 172, 184, 195 Khuzestan, 134, 135

L Literature, 8, 22, 30, 65, 102, 119, 120, 122, 134, 165, 167, 183, 197, 214

M Mark and/or Gladys Bliss, 15, 27, 68, 123–127, 144, 145

Martyn, Henry, 16, 68–70, 182 Media/TV/Internet, 23, 29, 43, 78, 174, 175, 182–186, 194, 195, 201, 203, 211, 214–216, 219, 222 Mission/Missions, 2, 3, 7, 8, 14, 15, 18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 32–43, 45–50, 54, 60, 63, 65, 68, 71, 72, 74, 77, 89, 92–97, 105–107, 109, 111, 116, 117, 120–123, 126, 131–133, 135–141, 149, 150, 153, 155, 174, 178–180, 183, 189, 192, 194, 198, 200, 207, 208, 213 Modernisation, 1, 8, 27, 28, 30, 31, 33, 42, 72, 77–79, 82, 83, 86, 89, 92, 93, 98, 118, 151, 152, 159, 188, 192, 193, 198, 201 Motamedi, H., 41, 196, 197, 199 Mottahedeh, Iradj, 138, 149, 167, 189, 192

N Nationalism, 3, 9, 20, 28, 72, 76, 78, 79, 85–87, 93, 116, 139, 161, 163, 214, 216–219 Non-Western, 4, 19, 30, 31, 47, 48, 82, 94, 174, 213

P Pahlavi, 2, 3, 11, 15, 16, 20, 24, 42, 69, 70, 77, 79–82, 87, 88, 92, 93, 100, 105, 117, 125, 147, 151, 159, 160, 169, 187, 189, 191, 193–195, 198–201, 209, 211, 218 Persecution/Harassment, 5, 6, 9, 11, 18, 23, 29, 43, 52, 54, 56, 57, 59, 61, 68, 75, 99, 137, 149, 152, 153, 162, 168–174, 176,

INDEX

177, 194, 203, 204, 206, 208, 212, 213, 220, 221 Philadelphia Assembly, 122 Poetry, 22, 59, 165–168, 187, 205, 216 Presbyterian, 2, 15, 20, 22, 24, 28, 34, 38, 39, 68, 71, 72, 80, 91–98, 103–107, 109–111, 114, 115, 118, 121, 129, 132–136, 141, 142, 145, 148, 170, 185, 192, 193, 195, 196, 198, 199 Prime Minister, 80, 81, 105, 193 Protestant, 2–4, 7, 17, 19, 20, 34, 35, 37, 42, 45–50, 65, 66, 68, 70, 72, 74, 77, 89, 91, 92, 98, 111, 128, 143, 154, 163, 169, 171, 176, 182, 200, 208, 213–216

271

Shariati, Ali, 25, 87, 88, 157, 158, 216 Singer, Dwight, 15, 28, 93, 121, 122, 129 Southern Baptist, 2, 3, 15, 21, 24, 28, 34, 39–41, 91, 97, 103, 107, 109, 110, 127–129, 132, 134, 136, 140, 150, 196 Stewart, Ashton, 94, 133, 141, 182, 185 Sundberg, Rodney A., 94–97, 104, 121, 134, 135, 141, 142, 199

R Radio, 117, 119, 120, 124, 126, 133, 134, 143, 146, 149, 150, 183, 185, 210, 214, 215 Roman Catholic, 2, 7, 19, 23, 46, 62, 68, 74–76, 102 Rzepka, Marcin, 23, 98, 102

T Tabriz, 71, 94, 106, 115, 120, 122, 146, 195 Tehran, 16, 17, 26, 61, 70–72, 74, 78, 88, 94, 102, 104–106, 108– 110, 113, 114, 120–122, 125, 126, 128–137, 140, 142–144, 146, 147, 163, 164, 170, 172, 218 Thomas, Dave, 138 Thomas, Kenneth, 134, 135 Traditional, 27, 42, 82, 84, 89, 92, 93, 95, 96, 98, 105, 109, 116–118, 121, 137, 151, 159, 160, 168, 177, 187, 189, 191, 192, 198 Turlington, Helen (Henry), 110, 132, 133, 143–149

S SAVAK, 81, 109, 149, 157, 159 Shah, Mohammad Reza, 1, 5, 15, 20, 26–28, 32, 68, 71, 79–82, 84–87, 98, 99, 102, 112, 113, 116, 117, 132, 137, 144, 153, 156–159, 164, 165, 187, 191, 192, 198–200, 209, 222

U United Kingdom (UK)/Britain, 7, 15, 34, 45, 47, 49, 68, 77–79, 87, 142, 162, 171–173, 180, 181, 186, 195 United States (US)/America, 2, 3, 15, 19, 24, 26, 27, 36, 38–40, 45, 49, 82, 83, 88, 92, 105, 114,

Q Qajar, 11, 16, 24, 42, 67–70, 73, 77, 79, 182 Qom, 16, 85, 106, 175, 176, 179 Qur’an, 59, 88, 138, 167, 220

272

INDEX

120, 121, 132, 148, 149, 159, 179, 184, 187, 209, 210 University/Universities, 2, 9, 11–15, 21, 23, 25, 28–33, 45, 48, 50, 52, 55, 57, 58, 60, 63–65, 67, 69, 71, 72, 77, 84, 91, 100–103, 105, 106, 108–110, 113, 114, 120, 126, 131, 153–155, 164, 174, 178, 184, 186, 205, 206, 213, 216, 219 V Voice of the Gospel , 134, 135 W West/Western, 1–12, 14–16, 18, 20, 23–28, 30, 33, 34, 42, 43, 45, 47–49, 53–55, 57, 61, 62, 66, 68–72, 77–79, 81–83, 85–89,

92, 94, 100–103, 108, 111, 114, 116, 118, 122, 132, 136, 138, 139, 141, 142, 152, 154–157, 161, 163, 164, 167, 172, 174, 177, 178, 186–189, 191, 192, 194, 199–201, 204, 206, 208, 209, 212, 214–216, 219, 222 Westernisation, 1, 20, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31, 33, 42, 46, 79–81, 86, 92, 118, 151, 152, 156, 157, 188, 192, 193 White Revolution, 26, 42, 70, 80–85, 91, 98, 113, 114, 191, 192, 199 Y Yeghnazar, Seth, 122 Z Zoroastrianism, 9, 55, 56, 154, 204