New book: American Christians hold key to Middle East peace
MONUMENT, Colo. (BP)--America’s Christians hold the key to peace in the tumultuous Middle East, according to a former pastor who is now passionately involved in missionary outreach in the Middle East.
Political proposals can never disrupt a seemingly endless cycle of revenge and retaliation, author Tom Doyle asserts in a new Broadman & Holman book, “Two Nations Under God." Such proposals neglect the religious and historical roots of a conflict that dates back 41 centuries, he says.
“When talking about the complexities of the Middle East situation, Americans eventually voice solutions that have to do with the superficials behind the problems,” Doyle writes.
“To many, it seems that Israel should give the Palestinians a state and pull troops out of the West Bank. It seems so easy –— until you travel there and receive your personal crash course on Middle East religions.
“The real problem is that the wars, the intifadas, the suicide bombings and the endless conflict have to do with religion more than politics. In this area, old scores between Muslims and Jews and Christians are settled over and over again. When it comes to Christians, Saladin still fights the Crusaders. When it comes to Jews, Ishmael still fights Isaac.”
Both Jews and Arabs suffer at the hands of extremist Muslims whose hearts are set on worldwide Islamic control, says Doyle, who lives in Monument, Colo., and serves as a missionary with Evangecube Global Ministries. Remarkably, God’s spirit now reconciles Jews and Arabs through Christ, revealing a glimpse of the region’s only hope for lasting peace.
Such reconciliation brings a new dimension of meaning to Paul’s words in Ephesians 2:14, “For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility” (HCSB).
“Imagine the joy in Yahweh’s heart when the sons of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael reconcile -- when Jew and Arab forgive each other,” Doyle writes. “The holiness of the moment covers the centuries of rooted bitterness and washes it clean. It is one of the most noticeable reconciliation miracles among all people groups.”
Evidence of that reconciliation began to emerge during the Gulf War in the 1990s, Doyle asserts. As Saddam’s Scud missiles rained down on Israel, Arab Christians sprang into action and reached out to comfort hurting Israeli brothers and sisters in Christ.
“As they did, they put their own lives in danger,” he writes. “In one instance, an Arab pastor in East Jerusalem offered refuge in his own home to a family of messianic Jewish believers. If the Arab pastor had been caught with Jews in his house, who knows what would have happened?”
Financed by Saudi Arabia’s oil wealth and backed by Syrian military power, extremist Muslims fight a war for control of Jerusalem, a city Islam ranks as third holiest. But the incessant fighting hurts Palestinians as well as Jews -- driving both groups to despair, Doyle asserts.
“God is using the intifada to bring about a mood of desperation,” he writes. “Both Jews and Arabs are wrestling with the endless struggle and searching for some kind of hope. I have seen spiritual openness like never before. Jews and Arabs are finding Jesus. Only a few years ago, there were four messianic congregations, and now there are 60.
“The news from Palestinian areas and among Israeli Arabs is even better. Arab churches are growing rapidly, and their passion to reach Muslims and nominal Christians is contagious.”
Doyle points out in “Two Nations Under God” that Christians in America can mobilize the prayer and missions resources needed to proclaim the Gospel of peace throughout the region.
“The American church is at a critical juncture,” Doyle writes. He was a pastor in Colorado, Texas and New Mexico before undertaking his Middle East mission.
“God wants to use us to influence the nation of Israel on its journey back to Himself. He also wants us to participate in the Middle East revival that has already begun among Arabs and Jews. This is the mission heart of God.
“The vast resources God has lavished on American Christians are needed to spread the Gospel, disciple new believers and plant strong churches in the Middle East. It is time for action and strategic involvement in the biblical heartland. Every believer should help -- and can.
“In the end, Jesus is the only one who can make a difference. Only He can transform the hearts of those in conflict. Without Him, it will never end.”
Broadman & Holman is the trade book division of LifeWay Christian Resources.
"Two Nations Under God" can be purchased online at www.lifewaystores.com