(BP) Western Christians Must ‘Run toward Egypt,’ Worker Says

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The monumental changes taking place in Egypt should be a clarion call for Western Christians to "run toward Egypt" and take advantage of an opportunity decades in the making, said a Christian worker deeply familiar with the country.

"How long have we been asking the church around the world to pray for the [unreached parts of the world]?" Ron Robinson* asked. "I know for 29 years I've been asking American churches, churches in the United Kingdom, Korean Christians to pray for Egypt -- that doors would open" to share the Gospel.

"Our prayers are being answered right now.... This is God's hand at work."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeMissions* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt

Posted February 24, 2011 at 7:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Terry Tee wrote:

Yesterday I sat open-mouthed with a friend when, channel hopping, we came across a TV evangelist talking as if Russia had never known Christianity until recent years and the arrival of Protestant missionaries.  This stuff about Egypt is almost as bad and almost made me feel ill.  The local Egyptian Christians are recognised - grudgingly, referred to as ‘nominal’.  The implication is that now Western Protestant Evangelical missions can make inroads.  Well, they certainly can.  The history of many such missions in the Middle East is that they convert very few Muslims but make converts from existing Christians, thus dividing the local Christian community. Moreover it is easy to rush in and inflame local tensions, making Christianity seem as if it is an import whereas Christianity has been present in Egypt since the time of the apostles (St Mark traditionally evanglised Alexandria).  Indigenous Egyptian Christianity has shown great vigor.

February 24, 10:00 pm | [comment link]
2. Fr. J. wrote:

Terry,  you took the words right out of my mouth.

I have real contempt for those Christians who presume that any tradition dating to the first century is not really Christian.

May the Russian Orthodox Church have a Scott Hahn to bring so many Russians back to the faith founded by Christ himself.

February 24, 11:56 pm | [comment link]
3. MichaelA wrote:

That is certainly not what happened in Russia. Underground protestant churches flourished during the mid-20th century, despite great persecution. These churches were almost entirely home-grown (as missionary work by foreigners was next to impossible under the Soviet regime).

Nor did they poach christians from the Orthodox - most Russians did not attend church of any kind during that period.

February 25, 4:59 am | [comment link]
4. Katherine wrote:

The line that 10% of Egyptians are “at least nominally Christian” does make my stomach turn.  The Copts I met in Egypt were deeply devoted.  Persecution tends to do that.  Any missionary effort whose major focus is turning Copts into Baptists, for instance, is seriously misdirected.

On the other hand, the Muslim/Copt divide in Egypt is viewed by Egyptians as an ethnic divide.  I read an editorial, with which I agree, which said that Egypt will begin to make progress when Egyptians view themselves as Egyptians, not as separate religious groups.  It may be true, because of the ethnic angle and the nature of Coptic religious practice with its extensive fasts, that Egyptian Muslims might more easily come to Christ via Catholic or other non-Coptic affiliations.  The Episcopal/Anglican Diocese of Egypt has medical and social service clinics in place which serve poor Muslims and spread the Word by service and example.

February 25, 11:14 am | [comment link]
6. Karen B. wrote:

Thanks Terry Tee, Katharine and others for insightful comments on this.  Yes, a bunch of Westerners rushing in could do much harm if they are merely going to export Western evangelicalism and try and convert Egyptian Copts and Anglicans.

One of the BEST things that could happen (and thankfully I know some doing this in Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia and elsewhere ... and in the UK for that matter!!!) is for folks with a heart for Muslims to go and share with local Christians in Egypt and elsewhere how to share with their Muslim neighbors and colleagues, helping them to develop literature and methods of sharing Christ that will be relevant to Muslim culture and sensibilities. 

But above all, do keep praying that God will be at work using these seismic political events for the increase of His Kingdom throughout N. Africa and the Middle East!

February 26, 7:04 pm | [comment link]
7. Karen B. wrote:

By the way, while eating lunch at a local restaurant here in W. Africa yesterday, I saw a wonderful Egyptian music video “Egypt is One” showing Muslims & Christians standing together in the recent protests, and showing that minarets & steeples are parts of Egypt’s proud national heritage, along with pre-Christian and pre-Islamic symbols like the pyramids.

It was very encouraging.  I’ve not managed to find it online.  If I do, I will share it here.

February 26, 7:09 pm | [comment link]
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