Adapting technological methods developed earlier by Billy Graham's Global Mission (CT, April 24, 1995, p. 36), Luis Palau preached to more than 600,000 Egyptians last month in the country's largest evangelistic outreach in modern history.
Palau preached from Cairo's Kasr el-Dobara, one of the largest Protestant congregations in the Middle East, from March 12 to 15. The church immediately edited and copied the videotaped services, then sent couriers across the country to 570 primarily Presbyterian churches, which televised the videos the next day. One service ended early due to a bomb threat. Organizers earlier expected only 200 churches to be involved. "It's reason for people who have been praying to rejoice," Palau told CT. Because overflow crowds attended, many outlying locations plan on immediately rescreening the videos.
Egyptian Christians face a climate of legal restraint and are also being victimized by Muslim militants in many parts of Egypt (CT, Aug. 11, 1997, p. 44). Palau initially planned to address nominal believers with the intent of avoiding unnecessary offense to Muslims, but church leaders encouraged boldness.
Menes Abdul Noor, pastor of Kasr el-Dobara, requested that "Christians in the West keep pressure on all governments because it works to the protection of fellow believers."
Leaders are enthusiastic about reaching cultural and nominal Christians. Traditional Orthodox teaching and custom have kept Orthodox and evangelical groups from significant partnerships in the past. This campaign brought cooperation as some smaller Protestant churches held their overflow gatherings in larger Catholic or Coptic churches. Several churches reported this was the first time all seats were filled.
Evangelical leaders from six Arab countries came to observe. Many reported they will duplicate the videos, along with printed materials, for use within their own countries.
"I see the same trigger points that were in Latin America 35 years ago," Palau says. "In the next 30 years, the Arabic world will be saturated with the gospel of Jesus Christ."
Abdul Noor, whose congregation numbers more than 4,000, concurs. "The time to reach the Middle East is now."
Copyright © 1998 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more