How to Love the Middle East with 'Light Force'
- Thursday, November 11, 2004
Long before the death of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, Open Doors founder and “Light Force” author Brother Andrew began to provide training and support to churches in that region. The man who gave Arafat a Bible for his daughter's first birthday says that love is the solution to the Middle East conflict.
Get BETTER quote “My mission has been to strengthen the Church where it struggles for its survival,” writes Andrew. “I’m not interested in simply physical survival—that is a defeatist attitude. Instead, I want to help Christians escape their victim mentality. I want to see them trained, ready to advance and get on with the job of winning people to Jesus.”
Coauthored with Al Janseen, Light Force Light Force: A Stirring Account of the Church Caught in the Middle East Crossfire details Andrew’s embrace of persecuted Christians in the Middle East and further shares his accounts of approaching Arafat, Hamas and other feared organizations as an ambassador for the Church.
Brother Andrew and Janssen make it clear that the Church will be an essential element to achieving true peace in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Furthermore, Andrew has often stated that the best way to help Israel is to win her enemies to Christ.
Interview with Al Jansen
JC: Could you give a little overview of the Christianity that exists in Palestine and Gaza?
AJ: Well let me give you a little historical perspective. Christianity has been in the Holy Land, what we know as the Holy Land, for 2000 years. Since Jesus. When Israel became a nation in 1948 about 15% of the Arab population was Christian. The Christians tended to be the business leaders. The entrapneurs, they had perhaps more resources than many of the people there, so when times got difficult many of them fled. In fact there’s a lot of them in Europe and in the United States. The Christian population dwindled and today the Christian population among the Palestinians is less than 2%. Most of it’s Muslim obviously.
Now add to that the fact that you don’t have very many Christians among the Jewish side either. You have a small messianic Jewish congregation and as near as I can tell many 7000 believers. Among the Palestinian side maybe 70,000 believers. Now that may be a surprise to most Christians in the west who maybe haven’t thought the fact that there is a significant population of Palestinian Christians.
But on both sides they are obviously a mere minority and so they’re caught in the midst of the conflict that is going on there and the purpose of this book was to raise the awareness of the church in the west so that we can be praying for our brothers and sisters. The body needs to know what this other part of the body is going through and how it’s hurting and suffering so that we can help them.
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