(Jericho, Palestinian Authority) — It is my deep conviction that Evangelicals in North America and around the world who love Israel and the Jewish people must also love all Arabs, including the Palestinian people.
The Bible is crystal clear: God loves all people everywhere. God most certainly loves the Palestinians. Indeed, He cares for them immensely and wants followers of Jesus to care for them, encourage them and pray for them.
The Lord especially wants us to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Palestinian Evangelical churches. We may not agree on everything theologically or geopolitically. Nor do they agree with us on everything. That’s okay. We can still live our neighbor and be committed to the kind of spiritual unity and fellowship that the Lord Jesus speaks of in John chapter 17.
To this end, I have some very encouraging news to share with you. God is showing His favor on Palestinian Evangelicals this month, and I wanted you to be aware of this news and rejoice over it.
“The Palestinian Authority has officially granted legal recognition to a regional evangelical group,” reports the Christian Post. “For years, the Council of Local Evangelical Churches in the Holy Land had operated in the West Bank, but without official recognition from the government….(Yet) Council President Munir Kakish announced at the World Evangelical Association (WEA) General Assembly held Nov. 7-12 near Jakarta, Indonesia, that the PA had finally granted his organization legal recognition.”
Munir Kakish, who pastors an Evangelical Church in Ramallah, has become a dear friend over the years, and I was so encouraged to get a direct report from him on all these developments. After all, I have been praying with him and his colleagues about such things for at least eight years.
Here are the remarks Pastor Munir gave at the WEA meeting. Please read them and share them with others. Please join me in thanking the Lord for this decision by the PA, and join me, too, in praying daily for the Palestinian churches to grow in depth, boldness and numbers.
“Good morning, I am Pastor Munir Kakish and I represent the Council of Local Evangelical Churches in Palestine (the West Bank), Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. We are the united voice of the Evangelicals in Palestine.
“We are committed to supporting those who are in Palestinian leadership positions through our prayers. We are against injustice, tyranny, violence and racism and are for fairness, justice and peace for our Palestinian people.
“The council has been requesting official recognition from the Palestinian authorities to grant us our civil rights. Bishop Tendero helped by visiting the authorities in order for them to grant us legal recognition. We appreciate his help.
“Just last week the Palestinian Authorities granted the Evangelicals legal recognition.
“Previously, we could not grant marriage licenses. Now ourlicenses are legally recognized.
“Previously, our churches could not open bank accounts. Now a church can open a bank account.
“Previously, we could not register land or church properties in the name of the Church. Now our churches are able to legally purchase land.
“We have been granted our full civil rights as a religious organization.
“This is a historic moment as other countries nearby do not have recognition and this places the Palestine Authority as a leader for religious freedom in the area.
“Here is the presidential decree signed by the Palestinian President, President Mahmoud Abbas! I have worked for 12 years to obtain this decree.
“Our hearts are full of thankfulness to God for this new declaration.
“We also want to thank President Mahmoud Abbas and Dr. Ramzi Khoury for making the Evangelicals a legal organization in Palestine.
I urge you, pray for the Palestinian authorities and the Palestinian people.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you.”
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