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Have you heard of SAT-7, the Christian media ministry with which I serve that shares the Gospel throughout the Middle East and North Africa?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #137 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

SAT-7 exists to “Make the Gospel visible throughout the Middle East and North Africa,” and “to see a growing Church in the Middle East and North Africa, confident in Christian faith and witness, serving the community and contributing to the good of society and culture.”

Founded in 1995, on air in 1996, SAT-7 is a Christian media ministry headquartered on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. SAT-7 began as a satellite television enterprise, broadcasting 24/7 in Arabic, Farsi, and Turkish via virtually un-censorable satellite delivery in the Middle East and North Africa—what is abbreviated as the MENA—and this is still its principal endeavor. Today, SAT-7 also produces video-on-demand in all three languages, available worldwide on the web on its SAT-7 PLUS app.

When I first got involved with SAT-7 in 2009, I was blown away, and still am, when I discovered that satellite technology was as close to un-censorable as we could hope to get. It literally beams from a satellite orbiting the earth to a satellite television receiver in the safety of the person’s home or hovel or palace.

SAT-7 can beam – uninterrupted, uncorrupted – biblical teaching and truth directly to hungry hearts and minds in places controlled by rulers, religions, and regimes that do not want religious liberty and do what they can to curtail it.

Incredible. “Making God’s love visible throughout the Middle East and North Africa,” and no one can stop the truth. In the providence of God, satellite television is a technology for such a time as this.

When the ministry was launched, people said it wouldn’t make it because Christian Middle Easterners would be afraid to appear on air. But the pessimism was largely unwarranted because God empowered and encouraged believers, and they in turn wanted to be on air to share their faith with their country and region.

What many in the U.S. do not understand is that the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, though speaking dialects of Arabic, differ markedly in culture, national interest, social practices, and sometimes religious expression. On air, SAT-7 uses what’s called “pan-Arabic,” which allows for words that are understood from Morocco to Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula countries.

SAT-7 has worked to establish its reputation as a non-denominational, non-political, non-partisan, culturally sensitive voice of Christian believers across the region. Because the Middle East North Africa is dominated by Islam, few Christian churches exist, but they do exist. Countries vary in whether churches are allowed to maintain physical facilities, meet for worship, or publicly identify with the Christian faith. What the religious cultures in most of these countries do agree upon is that proselytizing or evangelizing on behalf of Christianity is forbidden. Suppression and oppression of religious minorities exists, and periodically, Christians and other religious minorities are persecuted for their faith.

It is difficult for Christians to communicate with one another within their own countries and certainly across the region. This is where SAT-7 makes a powerful contribution – giving voice to Christian minorities, some of whom exist in areas where no other Christians live, no churches are available, even secret or house churches, and no access to Bibles and other Christian materials is available. SAT-7 communicates, teaches, encourages, educates, edifies, and offers fellowship to these isolated believers wherever they may be.

Sometimes in the MENA, Christians are referred to as “Christian believers.” This sounds redundant to American ears, but with a little reflection, it is not.

Think how many people in the US, even in our churches, who are really “nominal Christians” or “cultural Christians,” meaning what Scripture calls “having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3:5). They masquerade as Christians.

And also in Scripture, the scary description of such people: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matt. 7:21-23). So, it is possible to pretend to be Christians but not really be Christians.

Now back to the MENA. Many countries in the region issue national identification cards, some at birth, some at age 16 years, etc. Most countries require religion be listed on the ID cards, and if not on the card itself, then in other government documents. These cards are used for administrative purposes, proof of citizenship, access to driver’s license, and more.

There is a movement to get religion dropped from national ID cards, but this varies by country. In the past, religious designations on IDs have gotten people persecuted, even killed on the spot if the “wrong” religion was listed, and such designations have been something of a deterrent to changing one’s religious convictions.

The point here is to note how church and state are not separated in most MENA countries, that one’s religion is publicly identifiable on documents, and that one can therefore be born to Christian – meaning non-Muslim – families or be born to Muslim families and thus be labeled as such on one’s ID card for life.

So, who really are Christians? Bible believers would say, those who acknowledge their sin, ask God to forgive their sins by trusting in Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross, and then by grace through faith becoming a true believer – a Christian believer.

So, in US churches there are people who are likely Christians-in-name-only and there are people who are indeed Christian believers. And in MENA countries and churches, there are people born into Christian, meaning non-Muslim families, and there are actual followers of Christ, “Christian believers.” In any event, Christian believers exist in the MENA, they may be few, but their faith is resilient.

SAT-7’s satellite television broadcasts, and online video and posts, offers Christian content to these isolated believers in ways many of them cannot access in any other way. Supported financially and through prayer by Christians around the world, SAT-7 works “to provide the churches and Christians of the Middle East and North Africa an opportunity to witness to Jesus Christ through inspirational, informative, and educational television and digital media services.”

As a media ministry, SAT-7 is for the most part not working “on the ground,” so to speak, like other Christian and humanitarian agencies do, particularly in the aftermath of crises like the Türkiye-Syria, Afghanistan, or Moroccan earthquakes, Libyan floods, or MENA pandemic, the now multi-year Syrian Civil War and Yemen Civil War, protests in Iran, and since Oct 7, 2023, the Israel-Hamas War.

It's always interesting to me that as soon as a crisis occurs, SAT-7 USA gets calls from Christian radio to do interviews. During those interviews by Christian hosts from around the country, the questions I’m asked invariably reference what’s called physical relief. How many blankets, how much food, what kind of medical supplies are we providing for those in need? Now of course, there is nothing wrong and a lot right with supplying such forms of physical relief to suffering people, especially in the midst of danger and tragedy. And there are American ministries, like for example Samaritans’ Purse, that are very good at this.

But as a media ministry, SAT-7 broadcasts. We have no real means to provide physical relief. What SAT-7 provides is spiritual relief, Christian teaching and encouragement that helps suffering people answer the existential questions that crises always generate: Where is God? Does He care? Does He know we are suffering? Why did he allow this to happen? What happened to my friend who died?

Christian medical professionals working in what amount to MASH hospitals near ground zero circumstances tell us the first two or three waves of people to come to them need help with broken arms, bleeding wounds, battered bodies, i.e., they need physical relief in the form of medicine, food, clothing, shelter, security.

Then the medical professionals tell us that the next waves of people begin asking the existential questions. They need what SAT-7 can provide, spiritual relief, what the Word of God says about love, what God promises, and the hope found only in the living God.

In many ways, SAT-7 might be described by that old phrase, “It’s a God thing.” Only God could put together a multi-country, multi-continent, multi-cultural, multi-language, multi-denominational ministry that embraces and operates well with a unity of the faith revealed in the Bible.

Not a week goes by that the MENA is not in international news. As the Bible says, that part of the world will be important till Jesus comes again. SAT-7’s mission to share the Gospel throughout the MENA is today more vital than ever.


Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s

And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2024  

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