Three hundred seventy evangelicals and others from around the world are meeting in Bethlehem, March 10-14, 2014, to strengthen the Palestinian church and to seek resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Under the theme, “Thy Kingdom Come,” renowned speakers are exploring the challenge from biblical, historical, theological, and practical points of view.
Reports from delegates indicate that Christians around the world are becoming aware of the small but vibrant Palestinian church in the Holy Land. The church, with total membership of about 160,000, is struggling under the limits imposed by the occupation.
The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs considers evangelicals “an extremely important audience” and is threatened by the fact that Palestinians Christians are taking the opportunity to share their experience and points of view with the world. In response Bethlehem Bible College, which is sponsoring the “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference, is avoiding political statements and denies having political motives against Israel. The conference is seeking “to love all people, including Jews and Palestinians, with the love of Jesus,” says chairman Munther Isaac.
Palmer Becker, a short-term service worker with Mennonite Church Canada who is attending the conference, says, “The conference is about the Lordship of Jesus. To follow the purposes and ethics of Christ’s Kingdom inevitably brings conflict in relation to existing powers that have fallen and have become self-serving.”
“I am impressed with how this conference is bringing Christians from many backgrounds together for dialogue,” continues Becker. “We’ve had excellent and open interaction between Messianic Jews, Bible teachers, university professors, pastors and youth. Also of interest is the number of books being written by Palestinians about their heritage and faith.”
—Posted March 12, 2014
To read more about Christ at the Checkpoint, see the conference website.
Palmer Becker is a Mennonite pastor and educator who is currently teaching at Bethlehem Bible College. See his blog.