Signs Of Hope And Concern

While Secretary of State James Baker was on his diplomatic mission to Israel last month, his wife, Susan, met with religious leaders and peace activists at Saint George’s Anglican Cathedral in East Jerusalem. The group, including Palestinian Christian leaders Elias Chacour and Bishop Samir Kafity, shared their concerns about the situation with Mrs. Baker and then held an interfaith prayer service.

Life for Palestinians has gotten “infinitely worse” since the Gulf War, says World Vision’s Jerusalem representative, Bill Warnock. Christian church services have been interrupted, and during Easter some Palestinians were prevented from attending special worship services. Lands belonging to a Christian village north of Ramallah were confiscated by Israeli officials, presumably to be used for a new Jewish settlement in the West Bank, Warnock reports.

Palestinian Christians were encouraged by an Easter-week visit from Alex Awad, pastor of the East Jerusalem Baptist Church. The Palestinian pastor, brother of Bethlehem Bible College president Bishara Awad, has not been allowed into Israel since he was asked to leave in March 1989. A third brother, Mubarak, was deported from Israel for political activities. Alex said an Israeli official promised a final decision on his case within a month of his return.

Pentecostalism Flourishes

Pentecostal and charismatic churches worldwide now count 382 million members, or one of every five Christians. They gain 19 million members per year, and they donate $34 billion to Christian causes. Those figures, published in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research, document the tremendous growth of the Pentecostal and charismatic movement, which many missiologists ...

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