Lebanon is last hope for Christianity in the Middle East, Priest says
Konigstein, Jul. 06, 2006 (CNA) - Lebanon is the last hope for Christianity in the Middle East - that was the message from a Lebanese priest speaking recently at an event in support of the suffering Church.
In an emotional talk about his country of origin, Father Samer Nassif told Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) benefactors and supporters at St Joseph’s Church in Cardiff that all across the Middle East, Christians see Lebanon as a bastion of hope. “Everyone in the Middle East is looking to the Lebanon,” Fr. Nassif explained. “Ours is the only free and flourishing Christian community in their midst. If we can’t hold our place in the Middle East, which Christians can?”
Fr Nassif said that Christianity in Lebanon remained strong despite widespread emigration. The priest, who works for ACN’s French branch, said that out of Lebanon’s entire population of some 4.4 million, about 3.5 million are Lebanese by birth, half of which are Christians. He added that, due to emigration, the Lebanese diaspora totals some 16 million, about 80 percent of which are Christians.
Many Lebanese Christians belong to the Maronite Catholic Rite. Others are split among Orthodox Churches and other Rites united to the Roman Church. A small portion of Lebanese are also Protestant.
According to Fr Nassif, approximately 300 Christian villages were destroyed between 1983 and 1985, during the war in Lebanon. In his diocese of Saida, Fr. Nassif said, 50 parishes were demolished...
read full story here
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Of course since converting to Catholicism, this has always been a perplexing issue to me. Those of us familiar with the middle east know there is no hope of peace over there without Jesus Christ. Christianity is the only thing that can save the middle east from self-destructing. Yet Christians in America seem to be bent on supporting Jews in Israel. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying we shouldn't support Jews in Israel. I'm just wondering why Christians aren't the focus of at least as much attention in both Israel and in Lebanon. Judaism is not going to save the middle east. Arab Muslims are not going to convert to Judaism. Judaism isn't even an evangelistic religion. So why are American Christians sending so much money to Israeli Jews? No, the best hope for the middle east is Christian evangelism, and American Christians should be supporting that. However, not only is the Christian population in Israel neglected by American Christians, but the Christian population in Lebanon is virtually forgotten!
Of course the answer to this question can be summed up in one word -- "dispensationalism." This is a religious theory (or maybe I should say "heresy") about the "end-times" in which Israeli Jews become the focal point. American support of Israel is largely centered around Evangelicals, who are usually big advocates of dispensationalism. Consequently, Evangelical Christians in the USA give literally tens of millions of dollars every year to the support of Israeli Jews, while Christians in Israel, Palestine and Lebanon go virtually unnoticed. It's as if they don't exist at all. I seriously wonder if the neglect of Christianity in the middle east, will in itself accelerate an apocalyptic catastrophe in the middle east. As a result, the "end-times" dispensationalists long for, may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.