Munther Isaac, a Lutheran theologian in Bethlehem, that I met multiple times during my visits in the (not so) holy land, writes about the complicated and responsible task of doing theology faithfully and relevantly in the contemporary world.
Bethlehem Bible College invites you to the fourth “Christ at the Checkpoint” Conference, which will take place in Bethlehem from March 7-10, 2016. The conference hopes to follow the success of the first three conferences (2010, 2012, and 2014). The theme of this conference will be “Christ at the Checkpoint 4: The Gospel in the Face of Religious Extremism”.
The motivation for organizing the “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference is that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict with its many complexities still exists. In fact, since our last conference in March 2014, the conflict and the reality of the occupation have worsened. The religious aspect of the conflict, which has not been the primary issue in the past, has become more pronounced. We have seen a marked increase in religious extremism particularly within the Jewish and Muslim communities in our region, and, to a lesser degree, in the Christian community in the West. More than ever, as the Evangelical Christian community in Palestine, we feel an urgent and relevant need to address these issues. Continue reading “Christ at the Checkpoint 4 – The Gospel in the Face of Religious Extremism”
Today God weeps over the situation in Palestine and Israel. Today God weeps over Gaza. With God, our hearts are broken when we see the carnage in Gaza and in Israel.
We at Bethlehem Bible College consistently called for a just peace for both Israelis and Palestinians. We always sought a nonviolent resolution to the conflict. “All forms of violence must be refuted unequivocally”, stated the Christ at the Checkpoint manifesto. We also believe that as long as the occupation of Palestinian territory and the siege of Gaza remain, the conflict will continue to escalate. To quote the manifesto again, “for Palestinian Christians, the occupation is the core issue of the conflict”.
As Christians committed to nonviolence, we do not and cannot endorse Hamas’ ideology. However, we believe that the people of Gaza have the right to live in freedom and dignity. This means that the siege over Gaza should be lifted and the borders should be open. The people of Gaza need a chance to live.
We oppose Hamas launching rockets at Israeli town and cities. At the same time, we are shocked by the unproportional and inhuman response by the Israeli military and the disregard of civilian life and specially innocent women and children.
We are grieved by the mounting hate, bigotry and racism in our communities today, and the consequent violence. We are specially grieved when Christians are contributing to the culture of hatred and division, rather than allowing Christ to use them as instruments of peace and reconciliation.
In the face of this, we affirm – using the words of our own Dr. Yohanna Katanacho:
We are against killing children and innocent people. We support love not hatred, justice not oppression, equality not bigotry, peaceful solutions not military solutions. Violence will only beget wars, it will bring more pain and destruction for all the nations of the region. Peacemaking rooted in justice is the best path forward. Therefore, we commit ourselves to spread a culture of love, peace, and justice in the face of violence, hatred, and oppression.
We call on all the friends of Bethlehem Bible College to pray for an immediate ceasefire, followed by serious efforts to address the root of the problem not the symptoms. We pray comfort for the bereaved families. We specially pray for the Christians of Gaza, who although are currently under bombardment, yet they are offering shelter and support for the displaced and wounded. We finally call for you to pray for all those – Palestinians, Israelis and internationals – who are committed to spreading a culture of love, peace, and justice in the face of violence, hatred, and oppression.
Note: Pray for the Shepherd Society – a ministry of Bethlehem Bible College – as we contemplate practical ways to minister and walk along the destitute and displaced in Gaza. We will soon share with you how you can help us respond to the huge needs.
A statement by Bethlehem Bible College’s board of directors, president, deans, faculty, staff and students – and the local committee of Christ at the Checkpoint.
The moment we arrived in Mafraq, a city in north Jordan, we began to understand the magnitude of the Syrian tragedy. Pastor Nour Sahawneh came out to meet us and instantly he was surrounded by Syrian refugee women who had recently crossed the border to Jordan and began presenting to him their urgent needs. As we were introducing ourselves to Pastor Sahawneh, other refugees turned to us and they began to share their desperate conditions. The nine of us, staff and students from Bethlehem Bible College, realized that we were at the right place in the right time.
We served among both Muslim and Christian Syrian refugees in Amman and in Mafraq. Although the church in Mafraq is a small congregation, its pastor and leaders are doing a tremendous job in welcoming and caring for fleeing refugees regardless of their religious or political affiliations. The church’s ministry to the refugees is so transparent and honest that in addition to Christian humanitarian NGOs, several secular agencies are also supplying the church with emergency items to distribute. Continue reading “Alex Awad – Standing with Syrian Refugees”
A major breakthrough in the evangelical world took place in Bethlehem through a gathering of over 600 international and local Christians, including renowned evangelical leaders. Organized by Bethlehem Bible College, the conference, under the banner “Christ at the Checkpoint,” addressed the issue of how to find hope in the midst of conflict. The conference exceeded all expectations.
For the first time, a broad spectrum of evangelical believers met literally at the “checkpoint,” and engaged biblically on issues that have historically divided them. Subjects included, Christian Zionism, Islamism, justice, nonviolence, and reconciliation. These themes were intended to create an ongoing forum for Christian peacemaking within the context of the Israeli Palestinian conflict. These issues were discussed in the form of inspirational messages, Bible study, interactive workshops, panels and site visits. Continue reading “Christ at the Checkpoint Conference Statement”
Ci[rian Terinte, aflat la o conferinta academica la Cairo, impartaseste cite ceva din lucrurile noi pe care le-a aflat despre crestinii din Orientul Apropiat.
In luna martie a acestui an participam la conferinta Christ at the Checkpoint, organizata de Bethlehem Bible College. Una dintre cele mai interesante prezentar din cadrul acesti reuniuni teologice a fost aceea a lui Manfred Kohl, fost Director at World Vision Germania si in prezent Director de dezvoltare al Oversees Council, o organizatie care sustine peste o suta de seminarii teologice din tari in curs de dezvoltare.
Lucrarea lui Kohl s-a concentrat pe istoria si caracteristicile pietismului, o miscare de revigorare a luteranismului care avut o influenta decisiva asupra teologiei, a spiritualitatii si a practicii sociale a evanghelicilor.