Who Are the Christians in the Middle East?

By Betty Jane Bailey; J. Martin Bailey | Go to book overview

Preface to the Second Edition

It is now nearly a dozen years since the first edition of this book was prepared. A great deal has happened in the world in that period and the events have not been kind to the Middle East.

During those years we lived just a few miles away when the Twin Towers were destroyed and the world shuddered in the aftermath of Nine Eleven. We watched with horror as our country responded not only to those who planned the terrible attack but in Iraq as well. On our frequent visits to places like the Holy Land, to Jordan and to Lebanon, we learned how dramatically members of our family and close friends were affected.

Throughout the Middle East, the Christian churches reached out to hundreds of thousands of refugees who fled first from the horror of American bombs dropped in Iraq and then from the turmoil and anarchy that those bombs unleashed. In addition, the U.S. preoccupation with Iraq meant that efforts to achieve a just peace in Israel and Palestine were sidetracked and wars erupted between militarists in Israel and extremists in Lebanon and Gaza. The Christian churches in the Middle East, along with the United Nations and other peacemakers, have tried to pick up the pieces and minister to innocent victims. The churches of the region have carried on this ministry even when their own resources have been severely limited by turmoil and recession.

Dramatic changes throughout this region, along with increased interest on the part of Americans, some of whom have been sent there in uniform, have prompted us to update this book. The most obvious changes, we discovered, were in the names of leaders and in such details

-ix-

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Who Are the Christians in the Middle East?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • More Praise for This Book i
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface to the Second Edition ix
  • Our Love Affair with the Middle East- An Introduction xi
  • Part I - The Churches of the Middle East 1
  • A Western Christian Appreciation of Eastern Christianity 3
  • The Future of Christians in the Arab World 12
  • The Churches of the Middle East Now Work Together 22
  • The Importance of Jerusalem to Christians 32
  • A Timeline of Christianity in the Middle East 37
  • A Word about Numbers 44
  • Part II - Profiles of the Churches 47
  • The Origins of the Diversity of Christianity in the Middle East 49
  • The Eastern Orthodox Family 56
  • The Oriental Orthodox Family 69
  • The Catholic Family 82
  • The Evangelical (Protestant) Family 101
  • The Assyrian Church of the East 134
  • Part III - Church and State in the Middle East 139
  • A Brief History 141
  • Cyprus 145
  • Egypt 148
  • The Holy Land- Israel and Palestine 154
  • Iran 164
  • Iraq 168
  • Jordan 173
  • Lebanon 178
  • The Maghreb (North Africa) 185
  • The Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia 189
  • Sudan 195
  • Syria 199
  • Turkey 204
  • Annotated Bibliography 210
  • Index 214
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