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Arab Evangelicals in Israel 

A collection of essays which throw a helpful spotlight on the work and witness of a small and often forgotten group of Christians

Arab evangelicals in IsraelArab Evangelicals in Israel
By Azar Ajaj, Duane Miller & Philip Sumpter
Pickwick Publications    
ISBN 978-1-4982-7951-2
Review by the Revd David Ronco

It will surprise many UK Christians to read that there are evangelical Arab Christians in Israel. Over the past 15 years it has been my privilege through Baptist Twinning in Israel to get to know many brothers and sisters in Christ in the 18 Arab churches of the Association of Baptist Churches in Israel. Situated mostly in the north of the country, they are the largest group amongst four small evangelical denominations.
 
This collection of essays throws a helpful spotlight on the work and witness of this small and often forgotten group of Christians. It starts with a helpful historical overview of Arab Christianity in the Holy Land. It then explores how the Baptists and other evangelical groups are learning to work together and connect with the much larger traditional Catholic and Orthodox churches who have often viewed them hostilely as sects. Their significant relationship with messianic believers is also explained, the longing for unity and the painful realities of working this out against the majority Jewish and Muslim cultures.
 
There has been a great need for effective training of pastors and church leaders and one chapter tells the exciting story of Nazareth Evangelical College since its establishment six years ago. With indigenous Arab leadership the college now has a key role in envisioning and empowering  pastors and churches. The final chapter opens up the vexed question of Christians from a Muslim background and the challenge of relating to and supporting this small group usually hidden from view.
 
I recommend this short but excellent book. It will help you understand more about the complex situation in Israel/Palestine. The Lord is at work through his church there and here is one group of fellow Christians we can identify with and offer our prayerful support as they witness for Christ in a deeply divided land.
 

David Ronco is a retired Baptist minister in Hertford

Baptist Times, 17/11/2016
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