Thursday, March 1, 2012

Is Youcef Nadarkhani a Christian?

Hi ____,
An Iranian Christian news agency is reporting in more detail about Youcef’s non-trinitarianism.
Perhaps the Iranian gov't is shrewd enough to use Mr. Nardakhani's membership in a cult as a way to try to escape Western pressure. Martin' Niemoller's statement about "First they came for the communists and I did not speak out because I was not a communist..." comes to mind.
The video almost makes the "Christian" Iranian pastors seem unconcerned about Youcef... "Agh, he's doesn't believe in the Trinity. Let him die while we go burn some more incense."
A double tragedy if Youcef is executed: he goes to hell, and the Iranian government is emboldened to further restrict religious freedom.
All the more reason to pray for our brothers and sisters in Iran.
In the joy of the gospel,

Reply I received from M____:
Please note the following comments
The best source for information about Youcef and the small network/movement/denomination of which he is a part (“Church of Iran”) is Jason DeMars at Present Truth Ministries ( ). Here is the key point, including a quote from Firouz, an elder in Youcef’s network:
Recently, Mohabat News has claimed that the Church of Iran network is closely associated with the United Pentecostal Church, believes in baptismal regeneration, salvation by works, Jesus only Sabellianism and that “speaking in tongues [is] the main sign of true salvation.”
The assertions that you see above are false. I have met personally with pastors, missionaries and evangelists that are a part of the Church of Iran network. I can assure you that they preach the Gospel and that salvation is through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. They reject the teaching of the initial evidence of the Holy Spirit being tongues, Jesus only Sabellianism and baptismal regeneration. Not one of the brothers that I have been in contact with has stated they hold to these beliefs, but in fact have told me directly that they do not believe in them.
Firouz Sadegh Khandjani, an elder in the Church of Iran, states that, “We disagree with the oneness [Jesus only] understanding of the unity of God. We do not believe in a simple unity, as in God being one as your finger is one.” Pastor Firouz informed me that he has also written an article in Farsi detailing why the Oneness doctrine is Scripturally wrong.
We know the individual that is spreading the information to the contrary – and he is not close to Youcef as Jason and Firouz are. So, I recommend we say that we have definitive sources that refute the claims about Youcef advancing oneness theology and being part of a cult.
My replies to M____: 
Hi M____,
Thanks for the link. I had seen this before. What you may not be aware of is that Present Truth Ministries (Jason DeMars) is itself Branhamite. William Branham believed he had found a position halfway between trinitarianism and oneness; but when you study his teachings, it quickly becomes apparent that it is just another spin on modalism (sabellianism).
You can find corroboration of what I have just told you on Present Truth Ministries’ web site:
Hope this helps!
P.S. M____: here is even more clear oneness theology as written by Jason DeMars:
If you hover your mouse over “Biblical Doctrine” on either of these pages, you’ll see articles by Jason supporting other Branham doctrines such as the Serpent Seed (Satan had sex with Eve and produced Cain).
Note: another person pointed out that oneness theology would be very appealing to a person coming out of Islam.  It seems to offer them a way to be a Christian without believing in the Trinity.  To a Muslim, the Trinity is abhorrent (because they think it violates the Quranic injunction against "ascribing partners to God").  Sadly, oneness theology is just another route to hell. True Christians believe that God is one being in three persons.  For more background on the importance of the doctrine of the Trinity, see the teaching I gave last year.


  1. Daniel, Whether a Christian brother or sister accepts or denies the Trinity is NOT the criteria for salvation. It is belief in the Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God (Matt 16:16, Joh 20:31). Hopefully one then learns to be fully obedient to Him, growing in understanding of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost and place complete trust in Him. If belief in the trinity is so crucial, why is it not clearly stated by the apostles?

    M: If he is astray and has been leading others astray we should just add that to prayers for him, his family and all Christians in Iran.

  2. My take on this, is I am going to pray for him, and petition for him. I am not going to judge him as to whether he is a Christian. I will leave that to the Lord. Is being wrong about something going to condemn you to eternity in hell? If so, then I bet I could point out something doctrinal that each "Christian" who calls him a cult is doing wrong.
    The fact is, he loves the same Lord I do. He may not have all the answers, but he probably doesn't have all the resources we have either. If he is unsaved, I am still praying for him, because every day he is alive, is another day he has to come to the truth and get saved. My job is to pray for him, I will let God deal with the rest.

  3. @NotOfWorks: I would certainly agree with you that someone does not need to be able to articulate what we know about the Trinity to be saved. But if someone actually denies the Trinity, they are not saved. The Trinity is a foundational doctrine that if altered, undermines the very nature of the atonement itself (Jesus taking the wrath of the Father that we should have received, being separated from the Father as we deserved to have been, being raised from the dead by the Father, etc.). Check out the book "The Forgotten Trinity" by James White for a great overview of why the Trinity is so important.

    @Anonymous: You are right that there are many things we can be wrong about and still go to heaven. For example the mode of baptism (sprinkling or immersion), charismatic gifts, the role of women in church hierarchy, etc. You are also right that no doubt we are all wrong about many things. But the doctrine of the Trinity is such a fundamental doctrine that we cannot be wrong about it and still go to heaven. We can be uninformed about it, but if we actually deny it (as it seems Youcef does) then we are a part of a cult, not a true Christian. (Much the same as we would say about a Mormon or Jehovah's Witness.)

    You are right, we must pray for him. He does not have access to good Bible study tools like we have, nevertheless, God is able to reveal the truth to him even in his prison cell. Father, open his eyes!