Friday, March 19, 2004

Evangelicals in Iraq

Great overview report on American evangelicals in Iraq. Some of the more brow-furrowing lines:

"Iraq will become the center for spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to Iran, Libya, throughout the Middle East," said Kyle Fisk, executive administrator of the National Assn. of Evangelicals, which represents 4.5 million Christians in the United States.

"We don't force Jesus Christ's love on anyone," said Darrell Phenicie, an American missionary who teaches theology in Baghdad. "Doesn't freedom of religion mean the right to learn about other choices?"

"Handing out food is a perfect time to talk about Jesus Christ with nonbelievers."

Nonevangelical Iraqi churches have been vandalized in recent weeks. Newspaper editorials and Islamic clerics charge that Americans are in Iraq on a religious crusade. Clausen warned: "The missionaries coming here don't realize the danger they are placing us in."

As Atass spoke, her mother finally caught the attention of church leaders. They listened to her problems and handed her a box that contained some food, cleaning supplies and a pamphlet about Jesus' life. "I want eternal life," Atass said, "but we also need enough to eat."