The Source of Lasting Peace and Salvation in Afghanistan



Throughout its history, Afghanistan has been an important country for many different religions. Countless people have traveled over across its mountain routes and brought with them the beliefs and traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. Some of these religions are no longer frequent in Afghanistan; others have gone underground because of persecution they faced. In isolated and rural parts of Afghanistan, several artifacts from these ancient civilizations have been discovered. Unfortunately, many of them have either been destroyed or smuggled.

For more than a thousand years, Christianity had been fundamental to the socio-religious development of this region. But because of the destruction of this history by numerous conquerors and the lack of interest among historians in researching this region’s past, many people don’t know this. The memory of Christian groups in Afghanistan has been progressively eradicated.

Between 224 and 226 AD, King Ardeshir and his troops revolted against the Parthian kings and established a new Sassanid dynasty in Persia. By conquering Armenia and India, Ardeshir expanded the kingdoms under his territory from the east and the west, an expansion which included the Christians of Persia. After a while, we see the emergence of the Persian Church. The Persian Church initially followed the Western Church, that is, Rome and Constantinople. But it eventually became independent both theologically and organizationally.

At the Council of Dadyeshu, which was held in 424 AD under the chairmanship of the bishop of the Church of the East, one of the members of the council was a bishop named “Afrid” who was apparently a representative of the ecclesiastical domain that extended from Zaranj to Kandahar (two cities in Afghanistan).

After investigating Adrid’s complaint, the leaders of the Persian Church decided to divide the bishopric of five cities between Afrid and Sergius. They appointed Afrid of Yazd to the bishopric of the cities of Zaranj (or Azraj), Farah, and Khash, and entrusted the cities of Bost and Kandahar to Sergius. These events took place during the fifth and sixth centuries.

Around the year 636, when Islam conquered the Persian land, the Christian community began to decrease. At first, Christians were called dhimmi people, which means they had to pay jizya (special tax) to the Islamic rulers. During the reign of Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi, persecution escalated. The rulers no longer wanted a special tax; instead, they sought to kill every Christian, looted their property, and destroy all their historical documents. Subsequently, whenever Afghans embraced Christianity, their options were often limited due to the small size of the Christian community or the persecution they faced at the hands of Muslims. Many chose to leave Afghanistan and seek refuge; others tragically lost their lives and their possessions.

The Complexity of Afghan Social Order

The main players in Afghanistan are religious and tribal leaders and traditional and conservative elites who have controlled the social order through a wide social base. This arrangement severely limits any transformation toward a modern and free society. These societies restrict freedom of speech and thought, suppress women and girls, and exert control over individual autonomy. They are full of violence, and their people are nervous and stratified. Ultimately, the principles from such societies are not grounded in love and wisdom, but rather influenced by a few individuals’ interpretation of Islamic texts.

Peace Through Christ Alone!

Like people all over the world, Afghans long for peace and freedom. Amid turmoil and uncertainty, there is only one source of hope that brings true and lasting peace: the gospel of Jesus Christ. This message offers encouragement and living hope to anyone who seeks his name. The peace that Christ the Lord gives is not temporary and fleeting. It is lasting and eternal; no chaos can take it away.

Afghans experience a variety of difficulties in their everyday lives, from the effects of sinful leaders to the hardships of relocation and war to their own suffering and disobedience. But God has people there, and those who believe in Christ will live in His strength and enjoy his blessing of peace (Psalm 29:11). That’s why Afghan believers and local churches must prepare themselves for evangelism. They must actively proclaim the good news of salvation, peace, and the reign of God. “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Romans 10:15)

Anyone who rebels against God will face judgment. Sin is like a chain that binds the Afghan nation and keeps its people from the loving presence of our Creator. But the good news is that God, in His infinite mercy, has provided a way for all people to be reconciled to Himself.

The Local Church’s Job

As followers of Christ, the church is called to actively share the good news of salvation. As ambassadors of Christ, the church is called to invite others to be reconciled to God through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18–20). Peter reminds the church that God is patient, not wanting anyone to perish but desiring all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

God has given every church gifts. It’s our job to use those gifts to glorify God and proclaim His name. In doing so, we may rescue the lives of my Afghan countrymen who are perishing. Again, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

Ramazan Rafee

Ramazan was born in Afghanistan and is living in Louisville, Kentucky, with his family. He studied business and Islamic theology and now continues his studies in theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His main focus in ministry is training and equipping preachers and elders of Persian churches and sharing the gospel in Central Asia.

Want More Content Like This?

We will deliver Reaching & Teaching articles and podcast episodes automatically to your inbox. It's a great way to stay on top of the latest news and resources for international missions and pastoral training.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.