Christian satellite TV catalyzing growth of Christianity in Iran

Christianity is growing in the Islamic Republic of Iran at a surprisingly fast rate, and the expansion of house churches in the country is reportedly being catalyzed by the power of Christian satellite TV broadcasts.

(REUTERS / Raheb Homavandi / Tima)Iranian Christians stand in line at a church to cast their votes during elections for the parliament and Assembly of Experts, which has the power to appoint and dismiss the supreme leader, in Tehran February 26, 2016.

Amid the ongoing political turmoil in Iran and the people's protests against government repression and economic woes, people tend to miss some of the positive happenings such as the fast growth of Christian churches in the Islamic nation. But Heart4Iran Ministries president Mike Ansari said the chaotic situation is opening up opportunities to spread the Gospel to the Iranian people, the Christian Broadcasting Network reported exclusively.

"God is at work in Iran," said Ansari in an email. "Jesus is building His church, the {Holy} Spirit is transforming lives and the gospel is on the move."

In addition, Ansari revealed that Christian satellite TV broadcasts in Iran have been largely instrumental in the expansion of underground churches as Muslims renounce their faith to embrace Christianity. Recently, programs by Heart4Iran media arm Mohabat TV have led 20 Iranians to accept Christ into their lives and submit to water baptism at an undisclosed location.

Ansari also told CBN's George Thomas that the rapid growth of the church in Iran could be attributed to people's disillusionment with Islam and the absence of answers to their questions about life. He said a lot of people there are reportedly having visions and dreams about Jesus and are turning to the internet for answers, which later lead them to the Christian faith.

Being a Christian in Iran is not easy as the country is included in Open Doors International's top 10 list of the worst persecutor of believers.

Just last month, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed Iran over the way it treated Christians. He criticized Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for having the audacity to wish his people a "happy and peaceful Christmas" while converts were arrested prior to the occasion, Times of Israel relayed.

In light of the situation, Netanyahu appealed to the public to pray for the Christians who were undergoing difficulties under the Iranian regime. He also urged people to relay his message if they advocate for religious freedom.