How Christians reach and approach the Middle East is the single greatest challenge facing the church is learning how to witness and spread the Gospel to Muslims, Rex Rogers, president of broadcasting network SAT-7, said in a chapel Oct. 21.
“The Spirit of God is moving through the house of Islam and is at work like never before,” Rogers said.
He said that God is using traditional missions as a means of spreading the Gospel and dreams and visions. Muslims are not resistant to the Gospel, Rogers said, they just haven’t heard.
Roger’s network, SAT-7, broadcasts Christian television all over the Middle East in Arabic, Farsi and Turkish speaking countries.
The Middle East has a 50 percent illiteracy rate, which makes a television network particularly effective in the region.
The Middle East is in need of outreach. It has 1 percent of the world’s Bibles, and one-tenth of a percent of mission funds go to the Middle East, Rogers said.
“From the perspective of God, there is no such thing as a closed country,” Rogers said.
There is a lot of displacement in the Middle East, with 800,000 refugees fleeing violence into Europe. One in five people in Lebanon is a refugee. 250,000 have been killed in the Syrian Civil War, and Turkey has two million immigrants, Rogers said.
“It’s an area of unprecedented crisis and instability,” Rogers said.
Rogers referenced American reluctance to accept immigrants. He said that while there are certainly dangerous immigrants, there are dangerous citizens just as much. He urged Christians to remember that Islam and Muslims are different things. While Islam is a religious and philosophical system, Muslims are people.
“An immigrant is just somebody looking for a better life,” he said.
Rogers cautioned against believing that Middle Easterners hate the west. They are people who want the same things that everyone wants, Rogers said.
Some Muslim men beat their wives, but some Christian men beat their wives too, Rogers said. This evil is not specific to culture.
Although the evil of wife-beating is everywhere, Islam puts women on a low tier in society, causing women to face a great deal of suffering.
“Women are always getting the brunt,” Rogers said.
To the young in Iran, they see religion as a tool used for power and are receptive to the Gospel, Rogers said.
Iran is seeing a great deal of cultural change, with three cultural movements emerging. Worldliness, Zoroastrianism and Christianity are growing in Iran. Christianity is growing at a rate faster than China, Rogers said.
Rogers referenced the story of Jonah. Jonah was biased, discriminatory and perhaps racist, said Rogers.
“He thought the world would be better if we just nuked them,” Rogers said. “Jonah wanted to do to them what he thought they did to his people.”
Rogers said that there is a lot of this same sentiment in America toward the Middle East. Christians speaking to Muslims should use their testimony and life to demonstrate the Gospel.
“ISIS, when you get down to it, they’re just human beings made in the image of God,” Rogers said. “The way you talk to Muslims about Jesus is the same way you talk to anybody about Jesus.”