Mansur Sang was a very devout Muslim Sufi who became a Baha'i. From his home in Iran, he had even made a pilgrimage to the sacred Baha'i shrine in Acre in Haifa, Israel. Yet he became disillusioned with that religion. Then he heard the Gospel and accepted Christ as his Savior.
In the Muslim religion, Mansur had been a dervish, a group of Sufis who perform various feats to earn their salvation. Some of them whirl around until they just fall into a stupor. Others simply torture themselves. They will eat nails and even break light bulbs to chew and swallow the jagged pieces. Sometimes they will take a sword and plunge it through their cheeks and into their mouth, or pierce their flesh with sharp instruments, torturing themselves in order to reach a higher level of ecstasy and so earn their salvation.
Some dervishes will give away everything they own and wander as mendicants, with bowls hung around their necks, begging for food from house to house.
Mansur Sang had been that kind of dervish.
After he accepted Christ, however, he decided he wanted to become a Christian dervish. No longer would he live by begging. Now he would have a profession even as the the Apostle Paul once had. And so he became a dentist. That's how I came to know him when I was a boy in Iran.
One of the medical missionaries, a doctor, gave Mansur a pair of forceps. He carried these forceps on him as he walked from village to village, asking people if anyone had a toothache and wanted a tooth pulled. Now, in Afghanistan, I've seen barbers often serve as dentists. They would pull out a pair of forceps, grasp the patient's tooth - then with one foot firmly anchored against the patient's shoulder, they would both push and pull at the same time. This works wonderfully every single time!
Well, Mansur would pull people's teeth in the village square, always attracting a crowd. By the time he had extracted the tooth, the crowd had grown substantially.
This was the moment Mansur had been waiting for. Opening his Bible, he would start preaching the Gospel. Now Mansur couldn't read or write a single word but he had memorized much of the Bible. He only used the open Bible so people would know the source of the passages he quoted.
Once Mansur Sang was arrested by the police for preaching on the streets in Shiraz in southern Iran. When they brought him to the prison, the jailer said, "Why have you arrested this man again? He is happier in prison than he is outside. And besides, he makes Christians out of the other prisoners. I don't want him here." But they put him in prison, nevertheless.
The chief of police was a Baha'i. When he heard that this Muslim convert to Christianity was in jail, he ordered him brought to his office. They had confiscated the bag of Scripture portions Mansur Sang took with him everywhere.
The police chief pulled out one leaflet and asked him what it was. Mansur Sang answered that it was Christ's Sermon on the Mount. He asked what it cost. Mansur Sang said that he gave it away free to anyone who agreed to read it or have it read to him.
The chief of police laughed. "This shows your religion isn't worth anything. You have to give your literature away."
He then pointed to a shelf of Baha'i books and said, "I paid hundreds of tomans for these. This shows how much more valuable my religion is than yours."
The Lord Jesus Christ said that when we are persecuted for His sake, the Holy Spirit would give us the ability to answer effectively. Mansur Sang pointed to the electric light that was burning in the office and asked, "Do you pay money for this?"
The chief of police said, "Yes, we are happy to pay for electricity and these fixtures."
Then Mansur Sang pointed to the sun that was shining outside. He asked, "Do you pay money for the sunshine?"
The chief answered, "No."
Then Mansur biang said, "Your books - like these electric light fixtures - are man-made and give a little light, but you have to pay for them. This Scripture is the Word of Gd and has the light of the sun. And just the way sunshine is free, so this is free to those who will receive it."
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