Iran (MNN) — In Iran, Christians make up less than one-half
of one percent of the population. Sharia
law has taken its toll on the church.
On September 9, Iran's parliament voted in favour of a draft
law that would mandate the death penalty for those convicted of apostasy, a
charge frequently brought against Christians in the country.
The legislation defines an apostate as "any Muslim who
clearly announces that he/she has left Islam and declares blasphemy." It is clearly aimed to deter conversion from
The state of the church in Iran is not good, on the face of
things. Without a safe place to practice
or share their faith, believers have been forced underground.
However, David Harder with SAT-7 says despite the brutality
faced by Christians, the church is growing.
SAT-7 PARS is one avenue believers are relying on for
teaching and discipling. "For many
people, not only in Iran, but also in Afghanistan and even in Tajikistan where
they speak Farsi-derivative languages, some people are using the broadcasts as
their only church service. They will actually gather regularly to watch the
SAT-7 PARS reaches viewers who seek basic knowledge about
Christianity and those who need encouragement in their Christian faith.
SAT-7's CEO Terence Ascott says the programming on SAT-7
PARS is meeting a very specific need. "This year we have seen responses from
children triple and responses to our SAT-7 ARABIC and PARS channels more than
Harder says prayer support is most needed because
"often the Christians in Iran feel very isolated, very alone. Pray that
the Christians in Iran would be encouraged–that they would feel that they're not
alone by watching Christian television and radio and other means. Pray also for more freedom for the
churches in Iran."
The costs of
production and operations for SAT-7 have been rising steadily. Funding issues hold back further
expansion. But between now and January
15, 2009, an anonymous donor has agreed to triple every first-time donation to
SAT-7, up to 1 million dollars. Click here if you can help.