Though Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has never practiced Islam, the Iranian government may execute him any day now for the crime of apostasy.
A court told the 34-year-old pastor he would escape the death penalty if he would simply repent of converting to Christianity.
"Repent means to return," Nadarkhani told the court. "What should I return to? To the blasphemy I had before my faith in Christ?"
"To the religion of your ancestors, Islam," a judge said.
"I cannot," insisted Nadarkhani.
But the Iranian government's dispute with Nadarkhani has never really been about apostasy. It's about a young Iranian man challenging the system and leading one of the fastest growing house churches in the country today.
Nadarkhani had challenged a government order requiring that all school children, including Christians, be taught Islam in the classroom.
And the house church he leads now includes more than 400 believers, most of them are former Muslims.
So, pray for strength and encouragement for this bold follower of Christ and that God may spare his life.
But If he is executed it will be not for leaving a religious belief that he never embraced, but for living his faith--ready to die as a bold witness for a risen Savior.