Israel Celebrates; Christianity Grows

By April 25, 2007

Israel (MNN) — Yesterday saw huge celebrations in Jerusalem for the 59th anniversary of Israel's independence. In Southern Israel, however, Palestinian militants launched a barrage. Despite the violence, Christianity is still gaining a foothold.

While Arabs call this day "the tragedy," the festivities in the Jewish areas continue. "As I'm standing here, we hear the Jews celebrating at the wall singing their national anthem. Right above them at the Dome of the Rock the Muslims are doing the call to prayer, so you can just see the two religions in conflict," notes E3 Partners' Tom Doyle. 

Doyle says Christianity is catching hold in Israel and the rest of  the Middle East. "The good news is the Gospel's breaking through. Jews are coming to Christ,
and Arabs are coming to Christ, so there's a lot of good things happening mission-wise here," said Doyle. 

Reconciliation is happening between Arab and Jewish believers. "Worshiping together,
praying, washing each others feet. There's lots of movement." said Doyle. "That enmity has gone back four thousand years between Isaac and Ishmael, but it can only be solved in Christ because it has to do with the heart."

Young people in Muslim countries are becoming frustrated with Islam. 60% of people are under the age of 30 in these areas. As the church reaches more people, Doyle hopes the violence will back down. "They're seeing Islam as the major culprit around the world for terrorism, unrest, and political upheaval, and the younger people have more of a western mindset," said Doyle.  "Because they're free thinkers, they're open to discussing their religion and finding out about Christ." 

This means it is a ripe time for the Gospel. "Even though it looks really bad on
television, the Gospel is surging in the middle East," said Doyle. Christians who've lived there for decades say they've never seen so many Muslims and even Jew responding to the Gospel like they are right now." 

In the past year, Israel has seen internal conflict, which some credit to the growth of a relatively young nation. There has been scandal, misconduct among officials, and military disarray, but they are still aiming at building a democracy.

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