Christianity Today reported an increase in the number of Afghans who have been tapping into online church and Bible study.

With tight restrictions on minorities and having been labeled the No. 1 country where Christians face persecution, according to Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List, believers in Jesus are considered to be in extreme danger. Practicing Christianity in Afghanistan is usually underground and highly secretive. But as Christianity Today reported, there is currently an outlet to tap into wider communities online. 

The magazine reported the astonishing news on Jan. 4: “After one month, Church4Afghanistan tallied 8,000 unique views, 88% from within the country. And oddly, the Farsi-language SAT-7 PARS Facebook page – targeted to Iran – receives its largest share of views from Afghanistan. Out of 500,000 unique views in 2022, 49% come from the neighboring nation to the east.”

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John Kim, founder of Afghan Bible College (ABC) who lives in Ankara, started his Afghan Hope Church which has 10 congregations in Turkey. But the story is different in Afghanistan.

“Believers in Afghanistan are in danger and under oppression,” Kim said. “Students are eager to study the Bible – but are afraid.”

It’s not like there was much access to churches before, but the Taliban takeover in August 2021 has increased persecution of women and other minority groups.

The International Christian Concern recently estimated the total number of Christians there to be between 15,000 and 20,000, but many are believed to have fled after the sudden withdrawal by the United States in 2021.

Nevertheless, one-third of Afghanistan’s population is on social media, the magazine reported, and it has enabled Bible studies and discipling among those who have this access. ABC reports its staff have helped lead 300 new believers to Christ in Afghanistan, and students are discipled through sermons, testimonies and worship.

Church4Afghanistan was launched in November as part of SAT-7 PARS, an Evangelical satellite TV broadcaster, which also offers Christian programming on Facebook, which is safer.

“Satellite TV is dangerous in Afghanistan, as the dish is visible on the roof,” said Reza Jafari, creative manager for SAT-7 PARS. “The reality of church is now online.”

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