Guest / Limited Access /

Recent U.S. Iraq policy has moved from toppling a genocidal autocrat to seeking to create a pluralist, prosperous Arab democracy and inducing neighboring regimes to replicate it. The mainstream media discuss what this might mean for the region at large, but what about for Christians in the Middle East? What does this policy portend for them? If one were to perform a risk analysis for churches as one does for corporations—something I do for a living—what would be the inherent risks for churches, particularly evangelical churches, in the Middle East at this time?

Minority of a Minority


Evangelicals in the Middle East are primarily the legacy of American Presbyterian missionary efforts in the 19th century. They are clustered in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the Palestinian areas, and Egypt. In Cairo's Shubra district alone, 40 congregations meet, in addition to Kasr Dubara in the heart of downtown, which is the largest evangelical church in the Arab world, and one of the largest in Africa. Its Sunday evening worship service packs two thousand believers. Alexandria, on the Mediterranean coast, boasts seven churches, and believers populate other towns north and south, as well as some of the tiny villages nestled in verdant fields hugging the Nile.

In Damascus, Syria, one church's huge neon sign boldly proclaims Yesua Noor Al Alam (Jesus, Light of the World). The presence of this and six other evangelical congregations shows that the climate is considerably more permissive than when the apostle Paul had to sneak out of town in a basket. A revival is taking place among Orthodox and Catholic churches in Syria and Iraq, and in Iraq, at least five evangelical churches dot the map.

Still, Middle Eastern evangelicals remain a minority ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only Finding Heaven
Where is heaven, and how will we experience it before the final resurrection?
RecommendedShould Christians Vote for the Lesser of Two Evils?
Should Christians Vote for the Lesser of Two Evils?
Even at the ballot box, morality is not relative.
TrendingNicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life
Nicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life
I had no untapped, unanswered yearnings. All was well in the state of Denmark. And then it wasn’t.
Editor's PickWhat It’s Like to Be Gay at Wheaton College
What It’s Like to Be Gay at Wheaton College
The evangelical university has received negative press on LGBT matters. My own experience paints a different picture.
Christianity Today
The Risks of Regime Change
hide thisApril April

In the Magazine

April 2005

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.