Spiritual Heritage of the Middle East

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When we look to the spiritual heritage of the Middle East today, we mostly think of Islam. Though there is a strong Christian presence in some countries, the dominating religion of the Middle East is Islam by far. One of the most well known and renowned spiritual leaders of this region is Muhammad, the man who changed the religious face of the Middle East. But what is less known is that the Middle East has a rich Christian heritage as well that goes back to the early Church. Around 300 AD the spiritual climate of the Church was beginning to change.

The Church was no longer a rejected sect of Judaism like in the days of the first disciples. Nor was it under intense persecution from the Roman government. For the first time in Church history Christianity was actually the religion of the government. Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity in 113 AD and changed the expression of Christianity in the Middle East and South Eastern Europe. But for some, this change was not actually a positive one. Before the Church was refined in the fires of persecution, you risked your life by choosing Jesus. Now Christianity was the religion of the ruling powers and if you wanted to be in power you needed to be “Christian”. The once pure Church was now corrupted from the inside. This change in the structure of the Church led men and women into desert spirituality.

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“The words flee, be silent, and pray summarize the spirituality of the desert. They indicate the three ways of preventing the world from shaping us in its image and are thus the three ways to life in the Spirit.

— Henri Nouwen

The people who fled to the desert were fleeing from the comfort of false Christianity. They learned from the early Church that in order to grow spiritually you had to suffer to some measure physically- putting to death the flesh, so to speak, that the spirit may soar. Those who went first later became the spiritual fathers and mothers of those who followed. Soon there were “cities” raised in the wilderness places around Egypt and Syria of devoted Christian colonies which would later become monasteries. The wisdom of these forerunners is recorded in books that we benefit from to this day.

Though the Middle East is currently under the mask of Islam the truth is its roots are deeply found in Christ. The spiritual wells that were dug by the disciples, the early Church and the monastics are springing open today in places across the Middle East. We have hope that the love of Jesus will be known in the Middle East and lives will be changed by His presence.


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We believe the Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are inspired by God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct. (2 Timothy 3:15-17, 1 Peter 1:21)

We believe that there is one God, eternally existent who has revealed Himself as embodying the principles of relationship and association as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Deuteronomy 6:4, Luke 3:22)

We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father where He intercedes for us, in His present rule as Head of the Church, and in His personal return in power and glory. (Matthew 1:23, Luke 1:31)

We believe in the creation of mankind in God’s image, and the fall of man, resulting in universal guilt and total depravity; and the necessity, therefore, of redemption and restoration; that all men and women are lost spiritually and face the judgment of God, that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation, and that repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ is necessary for regeneration by the Holy Spirit. (Genesis 1:26-27, Genesis 2:17)

We believe salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, being justified by grace through faith, man becomes an heir of God, according to the hope of eternal life. (Luke 24:47, John 3:3)

We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; the saved unto the resurrection of eternal life in the presence of our Lord, and the lost unto the resurrection of damnation and eternal punishment. (Matthew 25:46, Mark 9:43-48)

We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ and that all true believers are members of His body, the Church, which has the duty to preach the Gospel to every person. (Ephesians 1:22-23, Ephesians 2:22)

We believe that we must dedicate ourselves to prayer, to the service of our Lord, to His authority over our lives, and to the ministry of teaching, preaching, the prophetic, the apostolic, and evangelism. (Ephesians 4:11-13)

We believe in upholding the ordinances of the church of water baptism and holy communion.

The ordinance of baptism by immersion is commanded by the Scriptures. All who repent and believe in Christ as Savior and Lord are to be baptized. Thus, they declare to the world that they have died with Christ and that they also have been raised with Him to walk in newness of life. (Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:16, Acts 10:47,48, Romans 6:4)

The Lord’s Supper, consisting of the elements—bread and the fruit of the vine—, is the symbol expressing our sharing the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:4), a memorial of His suffering and death (1 Corinthians 11:26), and a prophecy of His second coming (1 Corinthians 11:26), and is enjoined on all believers “till He comes!”