For years, mission groups have been talking about the rapid growth of Christianity in Iran and now a survey of Iranian citizens is backing up those claims. The non-profit Group for Analyzing and Measuring Attitudes in Iran (GAMAAN) questioned 50,000 Iranians, 90% of whom live in the country. The results showed that 1.5% of those surveyed identified themselves as Christian. Those numbers suggest there are probably hundreds of thousands of Christians in Iran and could quickly be approaching one million. Mike Ansari of Mohabat TV, a ministry that broadcasts the Gospel into Iran, said the survey is significant because it lends credence to what mission groups have been saying for years. “Iranians are turning their back on their Islamic faith, and receiving Christianity as their new faith,” Ansari said.
“1.5% becoming Christian may not seem a big number, but for a country that is closed and where Christians are persecuted, that number is a huge indication of the Gospel growth.” Until now, the number had been less than 1% of the population, but reports suggested waves of people were turning to Christ in recent years. Those numbers are hard to verify, since Iran is officially a Muslim nation and the church is persecuted. Satellite TV and other ministries are sending a message of love that appeals to the population and it’s spreading organically from person to person, resulting in a huge explosion of the underground house church movement. “The majority of the movement is happening underground and it’s growing very, very fast,” Ansari said. However, rapid growth also presents a risk to the church because of a lack of biblical teaching and discipleship.
Many Muslim background believers come to Christ through the radio or TV and that isn’t the best way to grow in faith. “The church could be very vast, but it could be extremely shallow, theologically. There’s no access to the Bible. There’s no access to church,” he said. “The church in Iran is quite scattered, it’s very fragile and it really does need to come out of isolation. That’s one of the major challenges the church in Iran is facing. The survey also revealed that Iranians are turning from Islam. While the government claims 95% of the population is Shiite Muslim, only 32% of those surveyed identified themselves as such. And 47% said they used to be religious, but are no longer. According to a 2019 survey by GAMAAN, 79% of the population said they would vote against the Islamic Republic.
Source: CBN News