How to Unfreeze the Middle East
The Pacis Project's faith-based reconciliation takes the gospel into the political realm. A central question: How do enemies problem solve together? He said, "Secular forms of reconciliation are unsuccessful because transforming hostility into love is a supernatural thing. It's the grace of God working in people's lives whether they acknowledge Jesus or not. There's no secret sauce." Cox takes the long view that "God is unfreezing the Middle East."
For many American Christians, this kind of thaw brings to mind prophecy about God's future purposes for Israel yet to be realized. In 1969, Ryrie also wrote, "The way out of the maze is to focus on people … a concern for people, more than for politics, or even prophecy."
This kind of focus on the needs of others globally is not necessarily in conflict with our government's need to defend itself from enemies, foreign and domestic. As people of faith we affirm that God's sovereignty is supreme, he is at work in peoples and nations, and the Holy Spirit can turn an otherwise hate-filled human heart toward forgiveness.
Since March 2011, 350,000 refugees of the Syrian conflict have fled into Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, and Armenia. In these nations, the local Christian church has played a critical role in providing care. This is more evidence of the work of the Spirit—something that the new Middle East desperately needs.
(Editor's note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Charles Ryrie was deceased. CT regrets the error.)