This book is a unique window into missions in the Middle East in recent history. While no such overview can do justice to the last two hundred years, the contributors have carefully tried to cover as much as possible in a fair and balanced perspective. This book will be especially useful for evangelical Westerners who want to get an idea of what God has done and is doing in the Middle East today and the cultural and political contexts in which Christian ministry takes place. It is important to note that much more than is written in the book is taking place, as the author clearly acknowledges, and also that particularly in Egypt a great part of the work is being done through the Coptic Orthodox Church which is not mentioned in this overview.
The Bible Society of Egypt
At a time when there is so much conflict in the Middle East and so many doubts about the survival of Christianity, we need to know that there are many Christians who are rooted there and actively engaged in their communities in creative and imaginative ways. These are powerful stories – the majority told by nationals – not only about subjects you would expect from evangelical Christians, like church planting and discipleship, but about peace-making, inter-faith dialogue and social justice. As the title suggests, we are told not only what these Christians are doing but why they are doing it. Perhaps we are seeing here a fresh fulfilment of Isaiah’s promise about ‘a new thing’ that God might be doing before our eyes.
Former Lecturer in Islamic Studies,
Near East School of Theology, Beirut, Lebanon
Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, Beirut, Lebanon
If we thought little is happening among Arabs, we need to think again. The Missiology behind the Story clearly demonstrates that the God of mission has a church in the region that is reaching out in numerous ways. As expected, evangelism, church planting and discipleship are part of that mission, but so are relief and development, justice, peacebuilding and more. Moreover, through case studies in each of the ten chapters, it is very encouraging to see the involvement by Muslim background believers that is helping to change every aspect of life and society. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. Much of what is going on cannot be written about publicly for security reasons. Finally, what is most heartening for me is that increasingly people throughout the Arab world are being given an opportunity to respond to the question Jesus asked his own disciples: “Who do you think I am?” Truly, God is at work among the 313 million Arabic speakers in our world, and we can look forward to even greater things to come.
Warren Larson, PhD
Senior Research Fellow and Professor,
Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies,
Columbia International University, South Carolina, USA
This is a sensitive and broad introduction to Christian worship and witness in the birthplace and heartlands of the three major monotheistic religions of the world – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Against the backdrop of the history of the region and the transfer of leadership from expatriate to national leaders, it takes the reader through helpful descriptions of evangelism, church planting, discipleship, relief and development, social justice, dialogue, peacebuilding, media, children and youth, and leadership formation – all described by a variety of workers. If you only can have one book on the these topics, this is the book to get.
J. Dudley Woodberry, PhD
Dean Emeritus and Sr. Professor of Islamic Studies,
Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California, USA