Jordan (MNN) — Christians in predominately-Muslim Jordan are facing a bit of uncertainty following Jordan's acknowledgement that they're expelling foreign Christians for preaching the Gospel. This action is a surprise to many evangelicals, including Partners International.
"Carlos" works with Partners International. "They have been trying over the years to really strike a balance between their internal security and everything else that's happening around the world. And, I think, in this particular case they are taking a measure that is taking them to extremes that we haven't seen before."
Carlos gives some examples. "Some churches have been shut down. Some church workers have been summoned to the police station for interrogation. We almost see the writing on the wall as far as our involvement there."
Partners International has been helping to support the church in Jordan, which has been very open to Christians until now. Is it intended to be blatant persecution against Christians? "I wouldn't call it blatant persecution," says Carlos. "I would just call it a desperate measure by a well-intended but ill-informed government."
In the government's mind, the expulsions are being handed down to avoid violence between Christians and Muslims. Carlos says this could have a negative impact on tourism. "The no-so-naive visitor will see it as a Jordanian admission that things are really going beyond their control — to basically accept that the problems are actually beyond the means that they currently have to maintain order," says Carlos.
Christians make up about six-percent of the population and have been an integral part of society serving as members of parliament, the government and the armed forces. Jordan is also considered a place of Biblical history, as some suggest Jesus was baptized on the Jordanian side of the Jordan River.
While Jordan has made this move to preserve peace, Carlos doesn't agree with the decision. "We believe the Gospel is the best message. In fact, it's a message of peace for Jordan. I think the Jordanian government should realize the Christian minority has a tremendous influence beyond their size in Jordan."
Despite the action taken against Christians, Carlos says, "We have renewed our commitment to bring the Good News to the Jordanian people. We don't want to do anything that is bringing trouble to Jordan, but we believe the Gospel of Peace does exactly that–it brings peace. So we're committed to make Jordan a better nation."
Pray for the Christians who remain in Jordan. Also, "pray for the Jordanian government and his majesty," says Carlos, "that the Lord will allow him to have the freedom to see how to best move as he's trying to keep stability in a country that's really in the middle of a lot of problems."