More Information
ISBN: 9781783684342
Imprint: Langham Global Library
Format: Paperback
Dimensions (mm): 229 x 152 x 8
Publication Date: 30/05/2018
Pages: 152
Series: Institute of Middle East Studies Series
Language: English

The Church in Disorienting Times

Leading Prophetically Through Adversity


The Middle East is in a period of profound change. In the midst of turbulence, trauma, tragedy and the hopelessness felt by many, an increasing number of indigenous churches are finding ever more imaginative ways to be active in the societies of which they are a long-standing and integral part. This book describes some of these developments. It seeks to inspire Christians worldwide to stand alongside such people and to provoke everyone, in the Middle East and elsewhere, to ask what they should be doing to encourage transformation of societies to the glory of God.How can we be the salt, light and yeast that Scripture exhorts us to be when faced with despair? How can we live as active heroes when others expect us to be passive victims? The expert contributors of this book delve into these issues to give churches direction in these disorienting times.

Author Bios

Jonathan Andrews
(Edited By)

JONATHAN ANDREWS has been researching and writing about issues that impact the day-to-day lives of Middle Eastern Christians since 2003. He is an experienced author and editor of books addressing religious issues in the Middle East.


Personal stories are combined with contextual conversations to offer the global church rare insights into discipleship, faith and mission in difficult contexts of the Middle East. Highly recommended not only for Christians in persecuted countries, but also for those living in contexts of religious freedom such as in the West.

Kang-San Tan
General Director, BMS World Mission

Here men and women speak candidly and wisely about the cost, sometimes fatal, of discipleship, and about the risks, often brutal, of speaking good news. They wrestle with questions of faithfulness in the face of torture and imprisonment. They talk about a joy and peace in Christ that defies earthly explanation. They speak of a hope worth suffering and even dying for. Buy a copy, and listen in. But be warned: it will mess with you. It will shatter all versions of the gospel that reduce it to merely good advice. Prepare yourself to meet the real thing.

Mark Buchanan
Associate Professor, Pastoral Theology,
Ambrose University, Canada
Author of Your Church Is Too Safe

In this volume are found some of the most profound reflections you will ever read on the situation of Christians in the “disorienting times” of the Middle East today. As key themes are explored – persecution, emigration and minoritization – we are confronted with the raw reality of suffering and despair; and there are also some necessary correctives to prevailing perceptions of the situation. But overall there are grounds for hope and even joy in the continuing calling to followers of Christ to be his agents of transformation in the Middle East.

Anthony Peck
General Secretary, European Baptist Federation

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
  2. Acknowledgements
  3. Abbreviations

  4. Introduction

  5. 1 – Persecution and Suffering
    1. Reflections on the Christians of Egypt Today (by Ramez Atallah)
    2. Devotional Pause: Psalm 91 (by Gary Nelson)
    3. Cross-Check: Palestinians – Suffering Occupation (by Daniel Bannoura)
    4. Witness 1: Aydin – A Convert Who Was Obliged to Leave His Country
    5. Witness 2: Tahia – Choosing to Follow Jesus Cost Her Marriage
    6. Global Cross-Check: Victims or Heroes in the Search for Meaning? (by Gordon Showell-Rogers)
    7. Leading Prophetically
    8. Questions for Reflection
  6. 2 – Emigration
    1. Biblical and Theological Reflections on Emigration (by Elie Haddad)
    2. Devotional Pause: Psalm 18 (by Gary Nelson)
    3. A Syrian Perspective (by Harout Seliman)
    4. An Egyptian Perspective (by Ramez Atallah)
    5. A Palestinian Perspective (by Daniel Bannoura)
    6. Witness 1: Kamel’s Temporary Move Abroad Lasted Thirty Years
    7. Witness 2: Ash’s Journey to the USA via Lebanon
    8. Global Cross-Check: Canada – A Nation of Immigrants (by Greg Butt)
    9. Leading Prophetically: Being Faithful to the Call of God
    10. Questions for Reflection
  7. 3 – Hopelessness and Despair
    1. A Theology of Tears: Cry with Us (by Yohanna Katanacho)
    2. Devotional Pause: Psalm 27 (by Gary Nelson)
    3. Cross-Check: Syria as a Wake-up for the Church (by Nehla Issac)
    4. The Book of Psalms for Situations of Conflict and Overt Evil (by Yohanna Katanacho)
    5. Witness 1: Rebecca with Suzanne, Teresa and Fr Simon
    6. Witness 2: Nadia with Tala and Sahar
    7. Global Cross-Check: From Hopelessness and Despair to Anger and Courage (by Shane McNary)
    8. Responding to Hopelessness and Despair: Four Causes for Hope (by Helen Paynter)
    9. Leading Prophetically
    10. Questions for Reflection
  8. 4 – Minoritization
    1. From Minority Status to the Fateful Embrace of Minoritization (by Martin Accad)
    2. Devotional Pause: Psalm 137 (by Gary Nelson)
    3. Cross-Check: An Active Presence Rooted in a Universal Identity in Christ (by Ehab el-Kharrat)
    4. Witness 1: Haitham – The Changing Nature of the Church in Iraq
    5. Witness 2: Elias – Palestinian and Christian in Lebanon
    6. Global Cross-Check: France’s Evangelical Christian Community (by Philip Halliday)
    7. A Canadian Perspective: The Treatment of the Original Inhabitants (by Gary Nelson)
    8. Leading Prophetically
    9. Questions for Reflection

  9. Conclusion

  10. Appendix: The Kerygmatic Approach within the SEKAP Scale
  11. Glossary
  12. Bibliography
  13. Contributors
  14. Index


Martin Accad

MARTIN ACCAD has a DPhil from the University of Oxford, UK. He is Chief Academic Officer at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, Mansourieh, Lebanon, and Director of its Institute of Middle East Studies. He is also Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at ABTS and Affiliate Associate Professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California, USA.

Ramez Atallah

RAMEZ ATALLAH is the General Secretary of the Bible Society of Egypt, a post he has held since 1990. He was born and raised in Egypt. He moved with his parents to Canada in the early 1960s after the Egyptian government nationalized his parents’ properties. He returned to Egypt in 1980, together with his wife, Rebecca, who is Canadian although born in Haiti where her parents were missionaries. He was Regional Secretary for the Middle East of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) from 1980 to 1990. He has participated in the Lausanne Movement since its inception in 1974, twice serving as its Vice-Chairman, and was Program Chairman for the Cape Town 2010 Congress.

Daniel Bannoura

DANIEL BANNOURA is a member of the faculty of Bethlehem Bible College where he is an instructor in Comparative Religion and Church History. He was born in Jerusalem and grew up in Palestine and the USA. He has a bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University of Florida and holds master’s degrees in Theology from the London School of Theology and in Islamic Philosophy from the University of Chicago. His academic interests cover medieval philosophy, Arab theology and Muslim–Christian relations.

Greg Butt

GREG BUTT is Canadian and pastor of Northmount Baptist Church in Calgary, Canada. He was born in Calgary but spent much of his childhood in India where his parents were missionaries. He holds a Bachelor of Biblical Studies (Briercrest Bible College, 1984), a Master of Divinity (Ambrose Seminary, formerly Canadian Theological Seminary, 1988) and a master’s degree in Christian Leadership (Crest Leadership, December 2017).

Elie Haddad

ELIE HADDAD is President of the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (ABTS) in Mansourieh, Lebanon. He grew up in Sidon, Lebanon, before moving to Canada where he lived, worked and studied for fifteen years. He returned to Lebanon in 2005 when he joined the staff of ABTS. He became President in 2008. He holds Canadian and Lebanese nationality.

Philip Halliday

PHILIP HALLIDAY is a British citizen born in northern Scotland. He is a Baptist minister and has lived in France since 1993. He was Baptist Mission Society’s Regional Director for Europe, the Middle East and North Africa until summer 2017. He combined this with leading the French Baptists’ church-planting team. Since September 2017 he has focused on local church-planting in France as well as continuing as Head of Development for the French Baptist Federation.

Nehla Issac

DR NEHLA ISSAC is Syrian and lives in Damascus. Her first degree was in dentistry and after working for several years she became an Assistant Professor of Dentistry at the University of Damascus. In 2001 she founded Women Above Crisis, a charity supporting women in difficult situations. In 2006 the service expanded to include young men and cooperation with IFES. In 2015 she became head of a charity offering humanitarian and relief services, including psychological support, to victims of the war in Syria.

Yohanna Katanacho

REV YOHANNA KATANACHO is a professor of Biblical Studies and Academic Dean at Nazareth Evangelical College. He is a Palestinian Israeli evangelical who studied at Bethlehem University (BSc), Wheaton College (MA), and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (MDiv; PhD). He has authored many books in English and Arabic including The Land of Christ: A Palestinian Cry and contributed to the Palestinian Kairos Document. Rev Katanacho is an Old Testament editor for the Arabic Contemporary Commentary and Asia Bible Commentary Series.

Ehab el-Kharrat

DR EHAB EL-KHARRAT is a medical doctor in Egypt. His work includes establishing an organization that works with drug addicts. He is an elder of Qasr al-Dūbārah Presbyterian Church, Cairo, and a former member of the upper house of the Egyptian Parliament.

Shane McNary

SHANE MCNARY is an American citizen living and working in Slovakia, primarily among Roma peoples.

Gary V. Nelson

DR GARY NELSON is Canadian and President of Tyndale University College and Seminary in Toronto, Canada.

Helen Paynter

REV DR HELEN PAYNTER is a British citizen and Principal of Bristol Baptist College, UK.

Harout Seliman

REV HAROUT SELIMAN is a Syrian working in Aleppo. Ethnically, he is of Armenian origin and is a priest in the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Theology and a master’s in Theology of Ministry, both from the Near East School of Theology in Beirut, Lebanon. Among various positions held he has been Chair of the Educational Committee of the Armenian Evangelical Community in Syria from 1998 to the present day.

Gordon Showell-Rogers

GORDON SHOWELL-ROGERS is Global Director of One We Stand ( which promotes religious freedom and social justice. He was Associate Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance from 2010 to 2016, having previously been General Secretary of the European Evangelical Alliance for eleven years. Before that he taught in a high school, was on the leadership and staff of a local church in the UK, was General Secretary of the Austrian IFES movement and led a mission agency serving foreign students.

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