Palestinian Baptists

February 08, 2008

Among the interesting and insightful addresses at the Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant was the testimony by Hanna Massad, pastor of Gaza Baptist Church in Gaza City. He talked about ministering in the Holy Land and the need for the Baptist witness among the Palestinian people. His church is the only Protestant one in the Gaza Strip and has been damaged by both sides in the conflict. You can watch his and other addresses online here. It was a poignant reminder to pray for and help our Palestinian brothers and sisters. Interestingly, the New York Daily News had an article about Massad and Gaza Baptists on Monday and then the Baptist Press had a piece on Wednesday. Both pieces talked about how Baptists were being killed and that Massad has had to relocate. The Baptist Press piece included numerous comments from Massad about the danger in the region for Christians. The article ended by saying that Gaza Baptists ask for prayer for safety, for the calming of fear, and for hope.

What is so interesting here is that Southern Baptist leaders and the Baptist Press have attacked the Celebration, claiming it would be too political, unbiblical, and a left-wing smokescreen. Now, however, they are indirectly agreeing with the Celebration by drawing attention to the plight of Palestinian Baptists and urging U.S. Baptists to pray for them. Had they attended the Celebration, they could have prayed with--and not just for--Massad. They could have met--and not just read about--him. This seems like an obvious example of how the Celebration helped bring Baptists together to care about and focus on important biblical matters. It is setting the example for how we should relate to one another. It is about helping people and sharing the love of Jesus. That is why we must hope that it becomes a movement and not just a moment.

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