ANSWERING NEW BELIEVERS’ BIG QUESTIONS
People are coming to faith in Iran in larger numbers than ever before[i]. But sadly, a lack of Christian teaching, combined with the isolation that many Iranian believers face, causes many to fall away. SAT-7 PARS show Question Mark seeks to support new believers during the critical early stages of their journey.
“Immediately after someone has accepted Jesus there is no place for them to go,” explains Moe Pooladfar, the show’s Producer. “When you read the Bible as a new or seeking believer, you come across a lot of things that don’t necessarily make sense. That’s where Question Mark comes in.”
The live show is entirely dedicated to answering viewers’ questions about Christianity, to help them grow in spiritual maturity and feel less alone in their faith. Moe explains that it is easy for many Christians to take for granted the access they have to reliable spiritual teaching.
“We forget, even I do, that someone in a remote village in Iran has no clue, because there is so much censorship,” he shares. “There is not even a Bible available, there is no teaching at school or in their families, so they know very little about Christianity.”
ANSWERING QUESTIONS, BIG OR SMALL
To counter this lack of teaching, Question Mark systematically answers theological questions on topics such as the Trinity, the divinity of Jesus, life after death, the role of the Holy Spirit, and how to read the Bible.
The show’s Presenter, Sally Pooladfar, and a guest host, usually an Iranian Christian Pastor, start with an unscripted chat to lay some groundwork on the chosen topic. The remaining hour is spent answering viewers’ questions, which come in through social media or messaging apps, as well as phone calls answered live on air.
Most of those contacting the show are new believers, but questions also come from people of other faiths who are trying to understand Christianity. Sally shares: “Some of them text us and say ‘Who is Jesus? Jesus was a prophet, so why do you call him God? What is Christianity?’’”
“I get excited when I see these questions coming in,” says Moe. “They are actually reading the Bible. They are trying to understand – that’s amazing.”
A RELATIONSHIP OF TRUST
The show has built up a culture of interaction, and viewers often call in to respond to each other’s questions. “It’s good because it’s not just us talking, there is a conversation and interaction happening,” Sally explains. “We encourage people to share their comments, as well as testimonies, which can be very powerful.”
“The viewers really count on this kind of program – they even send us messages asking to have more hours!” Sally continues. “They say, ‘We don’t have any church to go, we don’t have any believers around us, this is the only way we can get answers to our questions, this is the only source that we can trust.’”
One viewer from Iran wrote: “I thank the Lord for all of you and for your network. I’m very grateful for the program Question Mark, which is excellent! I got the answer to my question… I understand now that I was the one that doubting, whereas God simply answers our invitation and enters our lives. Thank You, God!”
Messages and testimonies like these give Sally and Moe the encouragement they need to keep going in their work for SAT-7. “You have to remind yourself that there is a purpose behind this and there are people watching for whom this is their only means of getting to know Jesus right now.” says Moe. “There might be someone desperate. Even though it’s work for us, it could be changing people’s lives.”
“Sometimes we feel like we just sit and talk, and we don’t know how much it’s working,” Sally adds. “But when you see the fruit, when you see that God is working, then it is a great blessing for us too.”