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What Trump’s Evangelical Advisors Took Out of Egypt | A Sense of Belonging

Egypt Evangelical Delegation 2

Image: A. Larry Ross US evangelicals meet with Egypt’s grand mufti.

This article was first published at Christianity Today on November 14, 2017.

Jim Garlow walked cautiously through the cavernous halls of Egypt’s Ministry of Islamic Endowments. He prayed: Why am I here, God? What do you want me to see?

The pastor of Skyline Church in San Diego was part of a 12-member delegation of American evangelicals. Their mission: To offer friendship to the president of Egypt.

But as largely a Who’s Who of Christian Zionists and otherwise pro-Israel pastors and ministry leaders, the mission could easily go awry in a majority-Muslim nation where even the Coptic Orthodox Church still officially bans pilgrimage to neighboring Jerusalem.

Mike Evans, founder of the Friends of Zion Heritage Center in Jerusalem, is a lifelong friend of Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu. Mario Bramnick, senior pastor of New Wine Ministries Church in Florida, is president of the Latino Coalition for Israel. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, leads tours to Israel. They were assembled by Joel Rosenberg, a Jewish Christian with dual US and Israeli citizenship and author of the fictional The Last Jihad series.

But Rosenberg had recently made a new friend, giving him confidence that this visit might be God’s will.

Last year in March, he spent five days in Jordan as a guest of King Abdullah, who had just read his book. Intrigued after noticing himself as a named character in Rosenberg’s latest series on the ISIS threat, the Muslim ruler wanted to know more. (Rosenberg assured Abdullah that his character didn’t die in the series, which the king went on to finish reading.)

Not long thereafter, God placed on Rosenberg’s heart a different Middle East leader: President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt.

Invited as 1 of 60 Middle East experts to a forum held during Sisi’s state visit to President Donald Trump in April, Rosenberg walked up and boldly introduced himself.

“I’m Jewish,” he told CT. “I’ve got some chutzpah.”

Rosenberg thanked Sisi for rescuing Egypt and its Christians from the Muslim Brotherhood. He commended the president for reaching out to Jews and to Roman Catholics.

“But there is one group I don’t see: evangelicals,” he told Sisi. “It’s not your fault; probably we haven’t asked. But would you like us to bring a delegation of leaders to come and visit you?”

Seven months later, Garlow was in Cairo.

“Each step of the way I learned so much,” he said. “There were insights I had never known…”

Please click here to read the full article at Christianity Today.

Egypt Evangelical Delegation

Press el-Sisi: Egyptian President el-Sisi (front center) receives a first-ever delegation of American Evangelical leaders in the Presidential Palace after a frank and transparent dialogue about challenges in the region and opportunities for cooperation.

Source: What Trump’s Evangelical Advisors Took Out of Egypt | A Sense of Belonging

What Trump’s Evangelical Advisers Took Out of Egypt | News & Reporting | Christianity Today

Jim Garlow walked cautiously through the cavernous halls of Egypt’s Ministry of Islamic Endowments. He prayed: Why am I here, God? What do you want me to see?

The pastor of Skyline Church in San Diego was part of a 12-member delegation of American evangelicals. Their mission: To offer friendship to the president of Egypt.

But as largely a Who’s Who of Christian Zionists and otherwise pro-Israel pastors and ministry leaders, the mission could easily go awry in a majority-Muslim nation where even the Coptic Orthodox Church still officially bans pilgrimage to neighboring Jerusalem.

Mike Evans, founder of the Friends of Zion Heritage Center in Jerusalem, is a lifelong friend of Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu. Mario Bramnick, senior pastor of New Wine Ministries Church in Florida, is president of the Latino Coalition for Israel. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, leads tours to Israel. They were assembled by Joel Rosenberg, a Jewish Christian with dual US and Israeli citizenship and author of the fictional The Last Jihad series.

But Rosenberg had recently made a new friend, giving him confidence that this visit might be God’s will.

Last year in March, he spent five days in Jordan as a guest of King Abdullah, who had just read his book. Intrigued after noticing himself as a named character in Rosenberg’s latest series on the ISIS threat, the Muslim ruler wanted to know more. (Rosenberg assured Abdullah that his character didn’t die in the series, which the king went on to finish reading.)

Not long thereafter, God placed on Rosenberg’s heart a different Middle East leader: President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt.

Invited as 1 of 60 Middle East experts to a forum held during Sisi’s state visit to President Donald Trump in April, Rosenberg walked up and boldly introduced himself.

“I’m Jewish,” he told CT. “I’ve got some chutzpah.”

Rosenberg thanked Sisi for rescuing Egypt and its Christians from the Muslim Brotherhood. He commended the president for reaching out to Jews and to Roman Catholics.

“But there is one group I don’t see: evangelicals,” he told Sisi. “It’s not your fault; probably we haven’t asked. But would you like us to bring a delegation of leaders to come and visit you?”

Seven months later, Garlow was in Cairo.

“Each step of the way I learned so much,” he said. “There were insights I had never known.”

Rosenberg wanted the delegation to listen, and not just push an agenda.

Offering something tangible to Sisi, 6 of the 12 delegation members were informal or frequent evangelical advisors to Trump’s White House. And they took what they saw to heart.

Mukhtar Gomaa, Egypt’s minister of Islamic Endowments, spoke with conviction, attendees recalled. “If Egypt is to move forward, the Muslim Brotherhood must be rejected,” he told the group. He then distributed a booklet prepared by the ministry to show how Islam must defend churches.

Garlow expressed astonishment at how comfortable these Muslim leaders were with evangelicals, especially Sisi. It recalled his earlier surprise, when he first met Trump.

Garlow was greatly encouraged to see the Egyptians speaking so forcefully against terrorism. But Egypt also touched him at a deeper level.

“We drove past the pyramids and saw miles of high-rises, home to 22 million people,” he said. “My heart was broken for the city, and I need to shed some tears.”

Johnnie Moore, co-chairman of Trump’s unofficial faith advisory board, described similar emotion in Sisi.

“His heart looked broken. He had to tell the story about rebuilding the churches destroyed by the Brotherhood,” Moore said.

“But he was also like a lion with his mane out, vowing it would never happen again.”

The evangelical delegation also heard what many were eager to hear.

“There is a coalescing between us and Egypt in religious freedom, combatting radicalism, and the relationship with Israel,” said Bramnick. “To us, these are very important.”

US evangelicals meet with Egypt's grand mufti.

Image: A. Larry Ross

US evangelicals meet with Egypt’s grand mufti.

Rosenberg emphasized the delegation was a personal initiative of all involved. There was no official link to Trump or the US government.

“Meeting with this delegation is not an endorsement of us or our views, but an opportunity for [Sisi] to advocate Egyptian interests to an important American constituency,” said Rosenberg. “To be effective in Washington, he needs buy-in and trust from pro-Israel people.”

But with the Americans the whole time was a somewhat nervous Egyptian.

“When I heard the key organizer lives in Israel,” Andrea Zaki, president of the Protestant Churches of Egypt, told a subsequent meeting of influential colleagues, “I was shaking a lot.”

But Zaki checked with friends, and queried Rosenberg’s dispensationalism and prophetic theology. Differences exist, but he was satisfied.

“I was blessed by these meetings,” said Zaki, “and I never saw the president so open and comfortable.” Scheduled for one hour, the conversation with Sisi stretched to nearly three.

Egypt has maintained a peace treaty with Israel since 1979, but there is much support for the Palestinian cause. The delegation also visited Jihan Sadat, the widow of President Anwar al-Sadat. He paid for the treaty with his life, assassinated six months later.

Putting Zaki at ease was Rosenberg’s somewhat unusual commitment.

“It bothers me that too many US evangelicals are either-or toward Israel and the Arab world,” Rosenberg told CT. “They are good people, but sometimes they don’t realize you can love both without violation of your core convictions.

“It hurts God’s heart if we show such disdain to one side or the other.”

It also assured Zaki that the delegation was coming to listen, and wanted to help Egypt.

“If I don’t help advance the interests of Egyptian evangelicals, I won’t consider the trip a success,” said Rosenberg. “We come and we go, but this is their country.”

Egyptian Protestant leader Andrea Zaki hosts a meeting with scores of local church leaders.

Image: A. Larry Ross

Egyptian Protestant leader Andrea Zaki hosts a meeting with scores of local church leaders.

The subsequent meeting with about 40 leading Protestant pastors, ministry leaders, and political figures was a highlight to many. Stuffed into a tight meeting room, they heard not only what God is doing in Egypt, but also their respect and appreciation for President Sisi.

“The feeling in Egypt is that we are not being listened to in the West,” Ramez Atallah, head of the Bible Society of Egypt, told CT. “Any sympathetic ear by a Western leader is gratifying.”

Ekram Lamie, chairman of the media committee of the Presbyterian Synod of the Nile, told CT of the Sisi meeting’s benefit. He was recently selected to teach Muslim clerics-in-training about Christianity at Zagazig University.

“They are close to Trump, and this is the first time the evangelical church here can have relations with Sisi directly,” he said. “But we must have wisdom, and only go to Trump hand-in-hand with the Orthodox.”

Though there are no reliable statistics, Zaki counts Egypt’s Protestant community at 2 million, and its Christians overall at 15 million. A meeting had been arranged to have the delegation meet with Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II, but the pope fell ill.

And while Zaki is keen to remain balanced between evangelical and mainline churches in America—he also accompanied the National Council of Churches to visit Sisi in September—he emphasizes a conservative theology.

The “sweet spirit” of the believers was appreciated by the US delegation. Garlow was encouraged to learn that nearly all Egyptian Protestants are evangelical.

“The [US] capitulation of liberals, or of evangelicals weakening their moral stance, is not what we see here in Egypt.”

But like some evangelicals in America, many Egyptians express a deep concern about the mingling of religion and politics. After all, this was the way of the Muslim Brotherhood; thus Christians—like many Muslims—are wary.

“I worry about church involvement in politics,” said Nadia Henry, one of four Protestants serving in Egypt’s parliament. “There is a big question mark: is this interference in politics, or part of the role of the church to pray for leaders and peace in the world?

“I’m not sure where this delegation falls,” she told CT after attending the pastors’ meeting.

However, Henry is confident that Zaki does not want a political church. And Zaki said he did not receive negative feedback from his colleagues. The visit was reported positively in the Egyptian press.

But given the political role that government officials and Christians themselves sometimes want to thrust upon church leaders, Zaki emphasizes an important distinction.

“The church and church leaders should be politically active in encouraging participation,” he told CT, “but not in directing any political choices.

“The visit of the delegation falls on the right side of increasing awareness.”

It was the Americans—and the state—that invited Egyptian Protestants into conversation, Zaki said. He welcomes them as fellow evangelicals, and salutes them for being advisers to Trump.

But it was their initiative to come to Egypt, not his. Zaki’s role was to give them a clear picture of Egypt—with the positive emphasized, but also the concerns.

“The president was clear that he is pro-religious equality and pro-freedom of worship,” said Zaki of Sisi. “But it was not just a meeting to say that all is fine, not at all.”

The conversation focused on human rights, economic development, the US-Egypt relationship, the peace process between Israel and Palestine, regional terrorism—and the Coptic issue.

Despite what is seen in the media, Zaki said, most Egyptian communities do not suffer from sectarian incidents. But sometimes, in some cases, local authorities are not in line with the state in applying the law.

The most recent US international religious freedom report criticized Egypt for using reconciliation sessions instead of prosecuting crimes against religious minorities. Contempt of religion lawsuits are also selectively applied, though the State Department report praised the new church building law.

Egypt ranks No. 21 on Open Door’s World Watch List of the 50 nations where Christians face the most persecution.

“Our discussion focused on issues of coexistence and how it must be promoted,” Zaki said. “But no one denied that there are problems.”

Yet despite the problems, what most impressed Perkins of the Family Research Council was the evident friendship between Zaki and Egypt’s religious leaders. He has a picture of Zaki and Gomaa, laughing.

“It encapsulates the entire visit for me,” he said. “The practice of peaceful coexistence is possible here. It is not perfect, but it is peaceful.”

After the picture, Garlow made his way out through the same dimly-lit corridors. His heart was changing, but he wanted to be sure.

Pulling Zaki aside, Garlow asked, “Do you trust him [Gomaa]?”

“Yes,” Zaki replied. “‘I do.”

It was the promise of peace that drew Rosenberg, in a spirit of reconciliation and solidarity.

“Can you believe it,” he told his family after meeting Sisi the first time. “On the eve of Passover, a Jewish man asks the leader of Egypt, ‘Let my people come.’”


 

Source: What Trump’s Evangelical Advisers Took Out of Egypt | News & Reporting | Christianity Today

Postcards from Jordan, Evangelical Leaders Visit the Middle East

Postcards from Jordan, Evangelical Leaders Visit the Middle East

It’s good to be back on American soil! Despite all the problems and challenges our country faces, America is still a blessed nation. It’s an exceptional nation. For the disciples of those who have spent the last decade denouncing America and apologizing for what it stands for, here’s a suggestion. See for yourself how the majority of the rest of the non-radicalized world doesn’t hate America, they appreciate America; this is what I see almost every time I travel beyond America’s borders.

Yesterday, our private, unofficial delegation of evangelical leaders wrapped up our week and a half trip to the Middle East where we met with church and government leaders in Egypt and Jordan. Our final meeting was a working lunch with Jordanian King Abdullah II at the Royal Palace in Amman. The discussion over a traditional Jordanian meal covered a variety of topics including terrorism, human rights, and a particular focus on the continuing refugee crisis in the Middle East. During our three days in Jordan, we met with top cabinet ministers who provided very informative and comprehensive briefings on the state of affairs in Jordan and the broader Middle East. The heavy emphasis in various briefings was on the refugees that have fled war-torn countries, primarily Syria, and the state of religious freedom for all people in Jordan.

Appropriately, on Sunday, the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, we were able to visit Al Zaatari, a United Nations refugee camp located about nine miles from the Syrian border. Al Zaatari presently serves as home to about 80,000 refugees, both Christian and Sunni Muslims who fled the terror of ISIS. We spoke to some families who have been there since the camp opened six years ago and listened to them explain their desire to return to their home country if and when it became safe again.

According to Jordanian officials, who have done a remarkable job of securing their border to keep ISIS and other terrorists out, this vast refugee camp only reflects about 10 percent of the refugees who have come into Jordan. Ninety percent are now living in Amman and other Jordanian towns and villages, integrating with the local population. In total, there are approximately 1.4 million refugees who have fled into Jordan. Based upon previous refugee patterns, Jordanian officials are anticipating that 40 percent will permanently settle in Jordan. Here’s the challenge for the Jordanians — that 1.4 million represents a population increase of nearly 25 percent in less than six years.

Jordan’s capitol, Amman, which is home to nearly half the country’s population, is a thriving, modern, and clean city. Like Egypt, which has a historic Christian population, there is a peaceful coexistence between the various religions in most parts of Jordan, especially in Amman. By Middle Eastern standards, Jordan is one of the safest and most accepting of Christians next to Israel. Jordan is the Muslim nation in the Middle East that has been the closest ally to the U.S. and, despite the shooting of two Jordanians by a security guard at Israel’s Amman embassy, maintains very close ties to Israel.

King Abdullah and his father, King Hussain, realized that in the absence of natural resources like oil, water, etc., their people were their best resource, so a major emphasis has been made on education. As a result, Jordan has a literacy rate of 98 percent. This focus on education factors into the Jordanian response to the current refugee crisis, which is the largest migration of people, 65 million, since World War II. To help bring greater future stability, the Jordanians are educating and providing some vocation training to the refugees who are coming from regions with high illiteracy rates. At present, they have taken over 200,000 additional students into their educational system.

This commitment, which is being financially supported by the U.S. government, still comes with a high price. Before the Arab Spring in 2011, the Jordanian economy was experiencing an annual growth of six percent. With their major markets cut off for the sale of their goods, the influx of refugees, loss of energy supplies from the embattled countries and a 67 percent rise in food cost, unemployment has soared to over 15 percent.

In addition to our meeting with governmental leaders in Jordan, we met with leaders of the five evangelical denominations in Jordan. Meeting with these Arab Christian leaders, many of whom deeply love their neighbor Israel, was one of the highlights of the trip for me. They shared remarkable stories of what God is doing in the Middle East and how the people are open to the gospel in ways unseen in the past. But they also shared the ongoing challenges of living in a country where they represent only two percent of the population. They are very grateful for the protection and freedom of worship that is extended to Christians in Jordan by King Abdullah. However, unlike the mainline and orthodox denominations, they do not have a voice in or access to the government. They, like us, want to see all people enjoy the freedom of religion, including those born Muslim. These are issues we hope to work on in the weeks and months ahead.

But most importantly, they wanted us to convey, just like our brothers and sisters in Egypt, that there is a window of opportunity to bring help and hope to the hurting people of the Middle East, which could reshape this region of the world and bring greater stability. While nothing we do will result in the perfect peace that is yet to come, our prayers and our efforts should be focused on what this opportunity does present — the possibility of a more peaceful world.



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Source: Postcards from Jordan, Evangelical Leaders Visit the Middle East

Sisi meets delegation of U.S. Evangelical heads in Cairo – Egypt Today

 

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi meets with a delegation of U.S. Evangelical heads – Press PhotoPresident Abdel Fatah al-Sisi meets with a delegation of U.S. Evangelical heads – Press Photo

Sisi meets delegation of U.S. Evangelical heads in Cairo

CAIRO – 1 November 2017: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi met on Wednesday with a delegation of U.S. Evangelical heads, said presidential spokesman Bassam Rady.The meeting was attended by Egypt’s General Intelligence Services Chief Khalid Fawzi and the president of the Protestant community in Egypt Andrea Zaki.

At the beginning of the meeting, Sisi expressed his condolences to the delegation for the victims killed in the terrorist attack that hit Manhattan on Thursday.

Sisi stated that Egypt is keen on strengthening the bridges of communication and understanding with the various strata of American society to address the challenges facing the two countries; stressing Egypt’s openness to all religions and sectors.

He also noted that Egypt is willing to uphold the principles of citizenship, equality and non-discrimination among citizens, calling for the spread of culture and the acceptance of others.

The heads of the American delegation expressed appreciation to Egypt’s leaders and citizens, hailing the role of Egypt as a cornerstone of stability and moderation in the Middle East.

They also expressed their solidarity with Egypt in the face of terrorism, pointing out their confidence in Egypt’s ability to overcome the difficulties posed by the current challenges.

During the meeting, the parties tackled ways to confront terrorism and stressed that the elimination of terrorism in the region and beyond will only be achieved through collective action and the international community’s adoption of a multi-pronged strategy.

 

 

Source: Sisi meets delegation of U.S. Evangelical heads in Cairo – Egypt Today

Jordan’s King Abdullah II welcomes Evangelical Christian Delegation at Palace in Amman. Leaders thank King for advancing peace, fighting terrorism, caring for refugees & protecting Christians. « Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

DELEGATION-King-grouppicture

Here is the press release our Delegation just issued…..

AMMAN, JORDAN, November 8, 2017 – His Majesty King Abdullah II on Tuesday welcomed a delegation of American Evangelical Christians at Al-Husseiniya Palace in the capital city of Amman. The meeting capped three days of meetings between Delegation members and senior government officials; Evangelical, Catholic and Muslim leaders in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; and a moving visit to the Zaatari Refugee Camp near the Syrian border.

After similar successful meetings last week in Cairo with President el-Sisi, senior Egyptian Cabinet Ministers and religious leaders – both Islamic and Christian — as part of a regional tour, the Delegation flew to Amman on Sunday to build bridges of friendship and understanding with Jordanian leaders.

Delegation members expressed their appreciation for King Abdullah II’s impressive efforts in advancing security and stability, and for his compassion and that of the Jordanian people. They also expressed gratitude for the King’s consistent efforts to foster dialogue and understanding among various faith communities.

“His Majesty King Abdullah II is America’s most faithful Sunni Arab ally, and a man of peace,” said New York Times best-selling author Joel C. Rosenberg, an Evangelical and a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen who convened and led the delegation. “When my wife and I met with His Majesty last year, he asked us to bring a Delegation of Evangelical Christian leaders back to Jordan and we readily agreed. Nowhere in the Arab world are Christians safer than in Jordan. By God’s grace, the King has created an oasis of stability amidst a sea of fire. This is a model of moderation the American people need to know more about.”

DELEGATION-Jordan-LunchWithKing

On Monday evening, the Evangelical leaders met with His Royal Highness Prince Hassan, brother of the late King Hussein and grandson of the late-King Abdullah I, the nation’s first monarch. The Prince, who brought several Catholic leaders with him, shared personal anecdotes of the early years of the country and leadership qualities he has observed in his brother and grandfather. He spoke of “the Jordan ethic” of hospitality and compassion that has resulted in the accommodation of so many refugees. It was a special and, at many points, humorous evening that was a blessing to the Delegation.

The Americans were able to experience the “Jordan ethic” first-hand during a visit to the Zaatari Refugee Camp near the city of Mafraq that provides housing for 80,000 Syrian individuals and families. Since 2011, Jordan has taken in some two million refugees, making up 25 percent of the national population and accounting for one-fourth of the national budget. Despite no oil wealth and limited resources, Jordan is providing these refugees humanitarian support, jobs and educating their youth in order to reduce their vulnerability to recruitment into extremist ideology.

“I believe God is blessing Jordan because they have been so generous to the poor and the suffering,” said Rev. Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council. “And while I’m grateful the American people are doing more than any nation in the world to help Jordan financially during this crisis, it’s critical that the rest of the world stand with the people and leaders of Jordan in their hour of need.”

On the first day of their visit, the group was briefed by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff Lt.-General Mahmoud Freihat, and other senior military officials at Jordan’s Central Command headquarters.

The Delegation was also received by Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, who expressed his deep appreciation of Washington’s generous financial and military support of the Kingdom, and President Trump’s commitment to reach a comprehensive Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement. They also discussed how to expand Christian tourism to Jordan, which has many Biblical sites, including the Baptismal Site of Jesus, Mount Nebo, Petra, and cities of the Decapolis.

“King Abdullah and President el-Sisi are to be applauded for exemplifying moderation and stability in a neighborhood scarred by intolerance and war,” said former congresswoman Michele Bachman. “These men are courageously confronting the forces of terror and extremism. They’re committed to their nation’s peace treaties with Israel. And they want to work even more closely with the United States to advance peace in the region. These are impressive leaders and they need our America’s appreciation and full support.”

In a separate meeting, the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, His Excellency Imad Fakhoury focused on the critical economic and financial challenges facing Jordan. The wars in Iraq and Syria and the resulting refugee crisis are placing enormous pressure on the nation’s budget and host communities across the country. He, too, expressed appreciation for the continued U.S. aid to Jordan supporting national reform and development programs resulting from the Syrian Crisis.

On the final day of their visit, the Delegation visited the Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary (JETS). They met with Major General (ret.) Imad Maayah, president of the Evangelical Synod of Jordan; Dr. Imad Shehadeh, the JETS president; Captain Emad Kawar, the seminary’s board chair; and three dozen Jordanian Evangelical pastors and ministry leaders for a roundtable discussion about how to strengthen the Church in Jordan. The Delegation was deeply appreciative of the opportunity to meet with their brothers and sisters, listen to their prayer requests, and hear their hopes and dreams for the future.

Members of the Delegation to Jordan hosted by Joel C. Rosenberg included former U.S. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann; Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Center; Mario Bramnick, senior pastor of New Wine Ministries Church in Florida; Dr. Mike Evans, founder of the Jerusalem Prayer Team; Dr. Jim Garlow, senior pastor at .Skyline Church in California; Larry Ross, founder of A. Larry Ross Communications in Texas; and Bob Vander Plaats, president of The Family Leader in Iowa. (Also joining us were several wives and two of my sons, Jacob and Jonah.)

PHOTO #1His Majesty King Abdullah II (center, wearing red tie) takes a group photo with our delegation of American Evangelical Christians at Al-Husseiniya Palace in Amman.

PHOTO #2: His Majesty King Abdullah II (center, head table) hosts a discussion with American Evangelical Christians. To his left is Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi. To his right is his chief of staff.

 

Source: Jordan’s King Abdullah II welcomes Evangelical Christian Delegation at Palace in Amman. Leaders thank King for advancing peace, fighting terrorism, caring for refugees & protecting Christians. « Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

Egyptian President Meeting with US Evangelicals ‘Prophetic’ and ‘Historic’ – cbn.com

http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/israel/2017/november/egyptian-president-meeting-with-us-evangelicals-prophetic-and-historic

CAIRO, Egypt – For the first time ever, a delegation of Christian evangelicals from the United States met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Some believe the meeting represents a landmark in evangelical relations with the Arab world’s largest country. An estimated 90 percent of Egyptians are Muslim.

The meeting between President el-Sisi and the evangelical delegation exceeded their expectations.

“Rarely have I been in a meeting that was scheduled for an hour that went for three hours and the conversation was clear, so authentic,” Johnnie Moore, founder of the Kairos Company told CBN News. “There was no hedging. It was like we were best friends for our entire life.  It was historic yesterday.”

 

Best-selling author and Middle East expert Joel Rosenberg, who hosted the delegation, believes el-Sisi is the kind of leader the U.S. needs in the war against Islamic terror.

“I believe it is setting into motion an historic relationship between an Arab Muslim leader and the evangelical Christian movement,” Rosenberg told CBN News. “I have to tell you, I’m a fiction writer and if President Abdel el-Sisi didn’t exist you’d have to make him up. I mean [he is] what are we looking for in an ally with the United States: people who want, people who are telling us I want a strong, strategic alliance with America. I’m fighting the same people you’re fighting.”

During their meeting, el-Sisi stressed the importance of fighting Islamic terrorism and protecting religious freedom.

Former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann praised the Egyptian president.

“As a former member of the United States Congress, I can tell you that President el-Sisi is the best of the best in Egypt – on a political and military level – that he’s here,” Bachmann told CBN News. “But I can also tell you that as a believer in Jesus Christ, I’m extremely proud to be associated with President El Sisi because he wants to be sure that I, as a Christian in Egypt, am able to practice my faith and belief without having that disrupted.”

The delegation also met with two influential Muslim leaders: Egyptian Grand Mufti Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allamand and Mrs. Jehan Sadat, the widow of Egypt’s former president Anwar Sadat. It was Anwar Sadat who forged an historic peace with Israel in 1979, a peace that has endured for decades.

“It is so important that such a wonderful group like them [are able] to visit Egypt and to get to know the Egyptian people are for peace,” Mrs. Sadat told CBN News. “We want to build our country, we want to do our best. We want to do more hospitals, more schools, more, everything to make the country – to elevate the standard of the people.”

Egypt is a land rich in biblical history. Here, Pharaoh’s daughter rescued Moses from the Nile River. It’s the land of Joseph, the Israelites and the Exodus. It’s where Jesus sought refuge as a child. Egypt is mentioned more times in the Bible than any other country except Israel. That’s why these evangelical leaders believe God has a special calling on this nation.

“We, as Christians, love Egypt because the scriptures indicate that God has this great love for Egypt – not even just a general love,” Rosenberg said. “There are specific verses, specific prophecies about God’s love. Isaiah 19 speaks of Egypt, My people.”

Some believe the meeting may represent winds of change in the Middle East.

“As I travel around throughout the Arab world, there’s a new openness, there’s a new cooperation,” Moore said. “The horrible events of recent years have awakened everyone not only to the idea of peace, but the necessity of it, and we have nothing to fear by freedom.”

The delegation also met with Egypt’s evangelical leaders, providing an opportunity for both to share from their hearts.

Dr. Andrea Zaki, who heads the evangelical church in Egypt, called the meeting “very prophetic and very inspiring.”

“A fantastic meeting, sharing the hopes, the dreams, the challenges facing evangelicals here: how they look to the future, how they can together build a coalition for the Kingdom of God,” Dr. Zaki told CBN News. “The meeting was very prophetic and very inspiring.”

Dr. Zaki, president of the Protestant Community of Egypt, also serves as general director of the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services.

“We are an emerging church, a growing church,” he continued. “We have confidence in God and we are working together to bring the Kingdom of God. We are pro-stability, co-existence, respecting the others; we are pro-building the Kingdom of God by inviting people to come to Jesus, but also building co-existence and peace.”

Dr. Michael Youssef, with Leading the Way Ministry, believes it’s vital to pray for the church in Egypt.

“Sometimes they feel all alone, so for us to come here and to say, ‘You’re not alone. We’re with you. We pray for you,'” Youssef told CBN News. “In fact at our church, we pray every Sunday and every Wednesday for the persecuted church, not once a year. We pray for them on a regular basis, and we support them in every way we know how so that was a shot in the arm for the believer and the Christian leaders in Egypt today. So we really need to be in prayer for the Christians here.”

President el-Sisi also asked for prayer.

“He asked the Christian community, ‘Please pray for me. Please pray for Egypt because we are in a battle,” said Rosenberg.

The delegation wants to build a genuine friendship with Egypt’s president and Rosenberg sees the visit as an historic opportunity.

“This is one of those rare moments in history when God allows the followers of Jesus Christ to build relationships with world leaders to be ambassadors for Christ,” he said. “This is what the Apostle Paul talked about – that we are ambassadors of a Kingdom, Christ’s Kingdom.”

11-03-2017

Delegation of U.S. Evangelicals Meets with Leaders of Egypt, Jordan – NRB.org

Delegation of U.S. Evangelicals Meets with Leaders of Egypt, Jordan

NRB members in EgyptA delegation of American Evangelical leaders recently concluded a week-long trip to Egypt and Jordan that included meetings with government leaders, religious leaders, and a visit to a refugee camp near the Syrian border.

The delegation, convened and led by New York Times best-selling author Joel C. Rosenberg, included NRB members Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council; Dr. Jim Garlow, Senior Pastor at Skyline Church in California; and Larry Ross, Founder of A. Larry Ross Communications in Texas; among others.

“We came away very impressed and encouraged that Egypt is moving in the right direction, and we thank God for that,” Rosenberg said during an interview on Washington Watch, guest-hosted by NRB President & CEO Dr. Jerry A. Johnson.

As for Jordan, Rosenberg said its leader, King Abdullah II, “is America’s most faithful Sunni Arab ally and a man of peace.”

“By God’s grace, the King has created an oasis of stability amidst a sea of fire,” Rosenberg stated in a press release. “This is a model of moderation the American people need to know more about.”

The delegation kicked off its four-day visit with a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who called for unity and solidarity in confronting and eliminating terrorism in the region.

The meeting, which was scheduled to last one hour, ended up lasting nearly three hours.

“President el-Sisi’s courage impressed us, but also his humility, his openness to meet with evangelical Christians and to say he’s working for an Egypt that’s safe and free for anyone – Muslim, Christian, Jew, Atheist, anybody. They’ve got a long way to go, but they’re making tremendous progress,” Rosenberg reported.

Perkins, who usually hosts Washington Watch, also joined as a guest on the program.

“Under President el-Sisi, the state is actually rebuilding some of these Christian churches that were destroyed. They’re providing security where needed when there are threats to Christian churches as well. They are having conversations with evangelical leaders,” Perkins reported.

After the meeting with the President, the delegation was welcomed by former Egyptian First Lady Jehan Sadat, widow of former Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat, for tea in her home of 47 years, which she called the “House of Peace.” They later met with two top Islamic leaders — the Egyptian Minister of Religious Affairs and Endowments Muhammad Jumu’ah and the Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam — followed by lunch and an afternoon roundtable discussion with 60 Evangelical and Protestant pastors and ministry leaders to discuss their vision for the future of the Church in Egypt.

In Jordan, the Evangelical leaders met with King Abdullah II; His Royal Highness Prince Hassan, brother of the late King Hussein and grandson of the late King Abdullah I, the nation’s first monarch; senior military officials at Jordan’s Central Command headquarters; Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi; and the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, His Excellency Imad Fakhoury.

The delegation also the visited the Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary (JETS) and were able to experience the “Jordan ethic” firsthand during a visit to the Zaatari Refugee Camp near the city of Mafraq that provides housing for 80,000 Syrian individuals and families. Since 2011, Jordan has taken in some two million refugees, making up 25 percent of the national population and accounting for one-fourth of the national budget. Despite no oil wealth and limited resources, Jordan is providing these refugees humanitarian support, jobs, and education for youth in order to reduce their vulnerability to recruitment into extremist ideology.

“I believe God is blessing Jordan because they have been so generous to the poor and the suffering,” said Perkins in a press release.

When asked how Christians in America should pray for the Middle East in light of the delegation’s visit, Rosenberg encouraged prayers for leaders like U.S. President Trump and Vice President Pence who have been focusing on the issue of defending all people in the Middle East – that they would continue to do so; and to pray for King Abdullah and President el-Sisi, who Rosenberg identified as moderate Muslims willing to stand up against the radicals.

“They want to protect Christians. And they have a track record. It’s not just talk. They’re doing it. So we want to stand with such men as Americans and as Christians, and of course with the Church itself,” Rosenberg said.

PHOTOS ABOVE: [1] The delegation of American Evangelical leaders with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. [2] The delegation with Jordan’s leader, King Abdullah II. Photographs courtesy of A. Larry Ross Communications.

By NRB Staff

Published: November 9, 2017

 

New Hispanic Evangelical Group Shows Its Support for Israel — Charisma News

 

CILC President Bishop Andre Thomas
Bishop Andre Thomas, president of the Caribbean Israel Leadership Coalition, addressed the organization’s inaugural Caribbean Israeli Technology Conference & Exhibition in Barbados. (CILC photo)

A group of Hispanic evangelical faith leaders has launched a new pro-Israel group aimed at combating the global rise of anti-Semitism and the efforts at the United Nations—and elsewhere—to delegitimize the nation of Israel.

The Latino Coalition for Israel is engaging Latino Christians and educating them on the biblical mandate to “support and bless Israel by teaching the Jewish roots of the gospel and God’s heart for Israel and the Jewish people.” LCI President Mario Bramnick, who has been involved in the pro-Israel movement for many years, said the new group is the realization of an expansion of ministry, vision and outreach within the movement.

“Major international Hispanic organizations and leadership have joined our board and advisory board, which include some of the most prominent Hispanic evangelical and Jewish leadership,” he said. “We will be hosting events in major cities throughout the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean and will continue to educate, engage and mobilize the Hispanic evangelical community at greater levels in support of Israel and the Jewish community. We will help establish a bridge between the Hispanic community in the United States, Latin America and the nation of Israel to form an intercessory for the nation of Israel and its people.”

One of the first efforts along those lines was the first-ever Caribbean Israeli Technology Conference & Exhibition held last month in Barbados. The event brought together more than 300 business, governmental and church leaders from seven Caribbean nations and nine Israeli technology companies to showcase various innovative sectors, including agriculture, water scarcity, solar technology, cybersecurity and medical equipment.

The event was hosted by the Caribbean Israel Leadership Coalition, which is now an offshoot of LCI. Its president, Bishop Andre Thomas, said the aim of the conference is to create an enabling environment to do business with companies that can bring meaningful business to Barbados and by extension the region. He contended that it would also bridge the economic, diplomatic and cultural gap and alliance between the Caribbean and Israel.

“[That] was a historic event in bringing business sectors of the Caribbean nations and Israeli technology firms together for fostering of strong future Israel-Caribbean relations,” Bramnick added. “Israel’s achievement in technology is renowned, and Israel desires to share its advances with the Caribbean nations.”

Barbadian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Sealy, a keynote speaker at the event, noted that his country and Israel have had diplomatic ties for about 50 years and urged stronger ties with the Jewish state. He also reflected upon the mutual benefits of bringing together the private sectors of both nations to look at even greater cooperation.

 

“Apart from the skilled labor force that can be found in the region, which is a plus for the advancement of the economy and society of the region, there are very good education systems in Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean,” Israeli Ambassador to Barbados Mordehai Amihai Bivas said. He added the region also has “very stable” democratic systems of government, which have served it well in the past and have guaranteed stability for the future.

LCI’s efforts are extending beyond the Western Hemisphere, too. Last week, its leaders participated in The Hague Institute for International Co-operation, which brought together more than 30 international lawyers and experts from various countries to discuss and formulate legal position papers related to Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict. The timing of the event was profound; not only are anti-Israel efforts at the U.N. and the International Court of Justice at The Hague on the rise, but June also marked the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War in which Israel gained control of East Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula.

Since the mid-1970s, international diplomacy has sought to promote an Arab-Israeli peace agreement by presuming that claimed Palestinian rights to statehood and sovereignty over all of the “occupied territories” are well-founded under international law and that competing Israeli claims with respect to these territories are groundless. More recently, U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334 condemned all Israeli settlements activities in the “occupied Palestinian territories” as a “flagrant violation” of international law.

At the January 2017 summit in Paris, a number of nations adopted a statement claiming that the two-state solution based on bringing a “full end” to the “occupation” of the territories won 50 years ago is “the only way to achieve enduring peace.” Yet, the position papers of The Hague conclude that the statement by the Security Council that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the territories are illegal is both incorrect and misleading.

“It is therefore of the utmost importance to review the international legal framework applicable to the so-called ‘territorial status’ of East Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and to explore the relevance of international law to the formulation of foreign policy,” Bramnick said.

He also presented a speech titled “The New Era of U.S.-Israel Relationships under President Trump’s Administration” in which he explained how the new American president’s initiatives will further strengthen the work of the pro-Israel movement in the United States.

“A combination of solid legal arguments and the unique outreach of LCI will make our work even more effective in the future,” he said.

 

Source: New Hispanic Evangelical Group Shows Its Support for Israel — Charisma News