I have not ceased to put this information out not only to highlight the importance of freedom of worship of this young man but also that the gospel may advance in countries like Iran. Today I will highlight another aspect of the story of profound theological importance. You see…
Youcef Nadarkhani has been reported in both the secular and Christian media and periodicals to be under a death sentence for his conversion from Islam to evangelical Christianity. He was arrested on 12th October 2009, in the city of Rasht in the northern part of Iran, where he had been the pastor of the underground church there. He is reported to be the evangelical pastor of “the Church of Iran”. However, what might come as a shock to many evangelical believers is that “Pastor” Nadarkhani is actually one of the leaders in a growing cult in Iran, which is linked with the Oneness Pentecostalism (Jesus Only) cult, which is non-Trinitarian, believes in baptismal regeneration, and is very closely linked and supported by the United Pentecostal Churches outside of Iran. They greatly admire and follow the teachings of an American preacher, William M. Branham, who claimed to be the last of God’s prophets on earth, that the doctrine of the Trinity is from the devil, and only those who are baptised in Jesus’ name are saved.
But what is the wider implication of this? I am glad you asked because….
For the past number of years, these anti-Trinitarian cult teachers, including Youcef Nadarkhani have been militant in their proselytising and recruiting of individuals, especially in Rasht and Shiraz…
….this cult has caused untold damage to the cause of the gospel in Iran. Many evangelical papers and periodicals seem not to have noticed his grave and damning errors on fundamental doctrines.
It is a sad fact that many evangelical Christians do not realise the affect such teachers are having on the true churches in Iran. Many house churches have been devastated, and a false man-centred gospel has replaced the gospel of the free grace of God in Jesus Christ.
The believers in the West are very much misinformed which is understandable. Some even have argued that as Youcef Nadarkhani has not renounced Christ then he must be a believer! This is very naive to say the least, for there are many people who sincerely follow something that is false and are prepared to die for that cause – history is full of such examples, e.g. believers in Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Nazi’ism, Communism, etc. So the fact that this man talks about a faith in Jesus Christ does not mean anything, since his view of Christ and salvation is always plus human works, and teaching without complete obedience to their church rules there is no salvation!
Do not stop praying for Nadarkhani. Indeed pray earnestly and ceaselessly that the grace of God may shine and intervene in this case and that Youcef may be reunited with his wife and little children but also (more importantly) that he may come to knowledge of salvation that comes by repentance and faith in Christ alone through the power of the Holy Spirit alone to the glory of God the Father alone. Pray!
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I happen to know an evangelist who believes the ‘message’ of William Branham, and he told me that he is not sure how much of William Branham’s ‘message’ Pastor Nadarkhani believes, but is trying to help him anyway (a very Christian thing to do). I think spreading hearsay like this is a poor example of Christianity because it takes people’s eyes off the plight of a Christian and puts the emphasis on something that may or may not be true. Enduring persecution for the sake of the gospel is something most of us have no idea about, and at the end of the day it is not doctrine that defines us, it is the love of Christ.
If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. -1 Corinthians 13:2
You and I have no idea about his salvation or anything else, but I doubt that any two people in the world see eye to eye on every doctrine. I know fine Christians who believe the Trinity, some who believe Oneness, and some who are not convinced either way, yet all have a scriptural basis for what they believe. The point is they are fine, Bible focused, Holy Spirit filled Christians who exhibit the nature of Christ. Because of this, I am doubtful that correct interpretation of the Godhead is essential to salvation.
You aren’t the first person I have come across spreading this poor excuse for Christian love, and you ought to be ashamed of yourself. Instead of slinging mud at people like Pastor Nadarkhani, why not just pray for them? The Lord knows you’d appreciate it if you were in his shoes.
Dear Paisley, thanks for passing by. You see there is nothing as unloving as leaving abrother hold to a fundamentally false or heretical belief especially if you know it is not right. The early church for example since the Councils of Nicaea (325) and Constantinople (381), took anti trinitarian views like modalism (from which descend aberrant ideas like oneness pentecostalism and branhamites) has been universally understood by every major branch of Christianity as heretical—falling outside the boundaries of theological orthodoxy. The Council of Constantinople, for example, explicitly condemned and anathematized “the Sabellians” in both Canon I and VII. The Athanasian Creed adds this:
Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic [universal] faith; which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.
Since when is the number of people that believe something an indication that it is true?
Why should anyone care about the pronouncements of a Catholic Church council?
What evidence is there that Youcef’s ministry has caused damage to Christianity in Iran? The Pharisees would have said that Jesus caused great damage to Judaism, but in reality he FULFILLED Judaism.
So in the end, all that matters is what the Bible says, not what men say.
“Instead of slinging mud at people like Pastor Nadarkhani, why not just pray for them? The Lord knows you’d appreciate it if you were in his shoes.”
Amen. Well Said PM. We should pray for our brother.
In your post you say, “Nadarkhani is…linked with the Oneness Pentecostalism” After that you say, “They greatly admire and follow the teachings of an American preacher, William M. Branham”.
However in the Wikipedia reference to William M. Branham, the link says “Although Branham spoke about the ‘oneness of the Godhead’, he disagreed with the Oneness Pentecostalism view.” The Wikipedia article has further references to support this claim. It doesn’t seem to me that if Nadarkhani is linked with the Oneness Pentecostalism that they can also greatly admire the teachings of W.M. Branham since his teachings disagreed with the O.P. view.
Could you please clarify this point?
It is important to remember that the right Spirit will bring a person to the right doctrine(John16:13), but the right doctrine with the wrong spirit will do a person no good (I Cor. 13). We should not judge or de-Christianize Nadarkhani because we think he doesn’t line up with a certain doctrine. We are not his judge (ROMANS 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.)
God bless the readers.
Steve no body is slinging mud. We all pray for this young man’s safety. it will be a trgedy if he is executed for apostasy from Islam. But more importantly we pray that he is soundly saved. believing in a wrong Jesus and a wrong gospel would be a greater and far more damning tragedy. Thats why we ought to pray that Nadarkhani has come to true faith in Christ and not a false one that branhamites usually hold.
What makes you think that he is believing in a “wrong Jesus and a wrong gospel?” Assuming he really does follow the teachings of William Branham, what, specifically, is wrong about the Gospel he preached? I’m not interested in what self-appointed church councils have said. I’m interested in what the Bible says. 🙂
A couple of points that create credibility issues for your article are:
-Branhamites are not actually ‘Oneness’ (thanks Steve, you are correct about that). They say they do not believe the Trinity, but if you examine Mr. Branham’s teaching on it (which I have) he doesn’t really know his stuff. He makes very strong anti-Trinity remarks, then goes on to explain the Godhead in very Nicene Trinitarian terms.
-We are not even sure if Pastor Nadarkhani is a ‘Branhamite’. And from what I have heard from a ‘Branhamite’ missionary who has been in contact with him in the past, it is doubtful.
Personally, I don’t care too much about what the Nicene and post-Nicene folks did or said, they are not my absolute authority. I agree with them on some points and disagree on others, but the ultimate basis for faith is (or should be) in the Christ of the Bible. Peter, when talking about a ‘doctrinal’ issue between the Jewish and Gentile Christians (that is what it was) said:
And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. … But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.” -Acts 15:8-9, 11
I think this is very good advice. I know Oneness and ‘Branhamite’ Christians whom I disagree with doctrinally, but I cannot deny the Holy Spirit in their lives. By giving them the Holy Spirit, according to scripture, God himself testifies that they are saved.
I would be much happier seeing Pastor Nadarkhani treated like a member of the family of God, the body of Christ… I am sure he is. Why would we persecute (as if he doesn’t have enough already), or even throw stones at someone to whom we should “Let love of the brethren continue”? (Hebrews 13:1) The verse goes on to say, “Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.”
I believe it would give God much pleasure if we follow the instructions in his word and love one another even as Christ has loved us.
God bless you.
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…Here’s me maybe digressing from the main article and trying to clear up sth that makes me sick in my stomach. Believing in the gospel of christ as delivered through William Marrion Branham does not make one a “Branhamite”. You all make it sound like some sort of religion/cult. Yes, some ppl might go astray and baptize and maybe even pray in his name and maybe even call themselves “branhamites” but pleaaaase, there are still many heaven-bound true believers of Christ who believe that William Branham was a man sent from God. Now I feel better. God Bless you.
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Y. Nadarkhani is being attacked from the front and behind! This is not new, the denominations (as at the time of Jesus) set up unwritten rules and concepts to help “understand” the Word of God (theology), but the Word of God is not studied in prestigious schools otherwise Peter (who was a fisherman) would be ignorant about this and the I Corinthians 1:21 would have been written in vain. Again the concept of trinity is an ancient pagan concept that Romans tried to “christianize” and introduce it but it is mentioned nowhere in the Bible and the first Christians (from whom we got the Gospel) never knew this! So if you are arguing that Y. Nadarkhani is not a christian because he believes like Paul and Peter and baptize like them (Acts 2:38; Acts 19:5) then I’m not surprised because Jesus as well was attacked by religious dignitaries of his time (Pharisees, …) and the Roman administrators!
God bless you all
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Hullo Jean, thank you for passing by. The Trinity and the deity of Christ are doctrines that have been strongly debated and have caused a lot of unrest in many camps. I see you are anti Trinitarian and rightly say that the word “Trinity” is not in the bible and so are many words we use to describe many of the indescribable attributes of God. However the Bible does maintain that God is One and in three distinct persons the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
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