The Future of Palestinian Christianity and Prospects for Justice, Peace, and Reconciliation

By Younan, Munib | Currents in Theology and Mission, October 2007 | Go to article overview

The Future of Palestinian Christianity and Prospects for Justice, Peace, and Reconciliation


Younan, Munib, Currents in Theology and Mission


I am an Arab Palestinian Evangelical Lutheran Christian. When people ask us Palestinian Christians when we converted to Christianity, we have to remind them that we've been here since the first Pentecost when we are mentioned in Acts 2:11.

Our Lutheran Church began here in the mid-1800s as mission, primarily health and education, to the local people. We have six churches and their ministries: Jerusalem, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Beit Jala, Beit Sahour, and one in Amman, Jordan. We operate four schools and four additional educational programs that are committed to holistic education and academic excellence. Yes, we are a small church, but not the smallest in the Holy Land. We do not consider ourselves a minority but an integral part of Palestinian society.

I am a refugee. I grew up in the Old City of Jerusalem, and both at home and in church I was taught to respect Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and other traditions. I believed in my youth that the world would only become better and better. Now, every time I see what is happening in our present world, I am shocked and saddened to see that the world seems to believe more in the love of power than in the power of love. Our world has come to worship weapons, walls, and war in the name of peace and security. We have come to use the holy writings of religion to justify injustice and to undergird oppression and supremacy. The new wave of anti-Semitism, the growth of Islamophobia, and the proliferation of many kinds of xenophobia stigmatize and demonize people through racism, fear, and ignorance. This movement fuels hatred, anger, and fear against the other and keeps it alive by giving it the face of the enemy.

The Palestinian Christian Churches have denounced such intolerance and extremism and believe it is our calling as ministers of reconciliation to raise up anew generation of the faithful who will urgently seek to see God in other religions and cultures and who will urge all to seek common values of respect for all human life, justice, forgiveness, and healing. It is time that religion became part of the solution rather than part of the problem. We Christians must challenge one another with a firm theology of creation and redemption, knowing that God's son, Jesus Christ, on the cross, saved all the world and intended that we all live together injustice and peace as sisters and brothers.

Recent statistics on Palestinian Christians

A new study about Palestinian Christians was presented at a conference in Jerusalem in December, 2006. According to the study, there are approximately 162,000 Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land, 120,000 living in Israel (within the Green Line), 40,000 living in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), and 2,000 living in the Gaza Strip. More than 80 percent live in the urban areas, 20 percent in rural areas. Estimates say Christians were around 15 percent of the population of historic Palestine before 1948 and that it fell to about 5 percent in the West Bank and 1 percent in the Gaza Strip by 1967. Today, Christians are less than 2 percent in the West Bank and less than .25 percent in the Gaza Strip.

The study asked about the reasons why Christians are leaving. Some have been saying that it is because of systematic Muslim persecution. But the study concluded: "One factor remains the most detrimental to the continued existence of the indigenous population. This factor is the political situation manifested in the occupation and the loss of hope in a just peace." The fact is that we do not have a problem with systematic persecution by Muslims or the Palestinian Authority. The underlying problem of Palestinian Christian emigration is the unbearable situation under ongoing military occupation.

However, we are very worried about the future of Palestinian Christianity. If present trends continue, there will be no living, local Christian community here in fifteen to twenty years. The heads of churches last year issued a statement with specific steps to help keep the Palestinians in Jerusalem and the Holy Land:

1. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Future of Palestinian Christianity and Prospects for Justice, Peace, and Reconciliation
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.