Egypt

6 05 2019

Geography: Mostly desert. Only 3% is arable land. This is along the banks of the delta of the Nile River, and around the Western Desert oases.

Population: 98 million.

People: 92% Arab.

Produce: Agriculture, natural gas, oil, textiles, tourism, (& Suez Canal dues!).

Politics: Relative stability under President Mubarak. In 2006 the Muslim Brotherhood gained 20% of the elected parliament seats. They ran as independents, since religious parties were banned from running. …Many Egyptians are disillusioned with the political process.

Religion: “Islam is the State Religion; until recently the large Christian minority were left in relative peace. The last – 20 years (2020) – however, have seen higher levels of communal  violence. The rise of Islamism caused Islamist violence” (Operation World).

Christians 12.8% .     Muslim 86.67% .       Non religious 0.5%

History in Review: It is sobering to recall that for over 1,000 years Egypt was a majority-Christian country, even after the Arab Muslim conquest in AD640. Egypt gave to the world some of its greatest theologians and the monastic movement.

                         

Prayer Points:  

  1. For the recognition of the Church’s history in Egypt over the past 2000 years.
  2. That the Scriptures will be read, as so many have been strategically distributed by the Bible Society.
  3. For innovative us of the Media to proclaim the Gospel
  4. For the great prayer movement of recent years to expand and prove to be a huge blessing for the nation.
  5. For God’s blessing upon the Coptic Church, by far the largest body of Christians in the middle east, and a key for the proclamation of the gospel in this nation.
  6. For the steadfastness of the Christian community. In the last 20 years persecution of Christians has steadily increased. Operation World report that: “Harassment, discrimination on individual and communal levels and financial incentives for Christians to adopt Islam are all used to break the morale of Christians. Some areas, such as Upper Egypt, face more intense pressure than others. In most cases, the attacks that occur are carried out by vigilante Islamists groups – but often with the tacit acceptance of local security forces. Identity cards stating religion can be a huge challenge for believers from Muslim backgrounds, who tend to be on the receiving end of persecution more frequently than Copts. O Lord we pray for Christians who waver, that they may find new courage to hold fast to Christ; and we pray for the Egyptian government to respond to unfairness and attacks and violence, with genuine resolve for the wellbeing of all people – and for them to legislate and act with “an even hand. We give thanks for the many Muslim-background people who are being found by Christ Jesus – that they may work out how best to respond to Jesus, and to love their family, community and nation.
  7. May the people of Egypt come once again, into the great hope of forgiveness, joy and salvation, through knowing the Father, through his Son Jesus Christ, in the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit.
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Agape or Eros?

19 06 2012

There are two basic types of love—agape and eros—according to Scripture. True love, and fallen love.

C.S. Lewis has highlighted the four loves—agape, eros, philia (friendship) and storge (affection)—mentioned in Scripture. However, in the light of God’s love in the cross of Jesus Christ, Christians, filled with the Spirit of God, are now to live from and in and out of, agape love—in the Spirit’s enabling power.

Eros love is the pseudo-love, that which is in the world as a result of the fall. We might say, ‘fallen love’, following the fall into sin and death (Genesis 3). It is unfortunately the natural default position, for all of us who are fallen, sinners.

Recently here in Australia, a militant, homosexual lobby have taken it upon themselves to attack the public policy, leadership, and participants of the Christian group known as The Salvation Army—’the Salvo’s’.

The ‘Salvo’s’ are an non-discriminatory, free, ministry of mercy and kindness, to the needy in the whole community.

But their views of marriage, do not conform with a new, militant regime, demanding that all parts of society adopt the new ‘anthropology’. Salvo’s hold that celibacy is the true way for all outside of marriage. They hold that only Marriage—between a man and woman—is the legitimate context for the expression of sexual union—a traditional, Christian approach.

I think time would be well spent in understanding the huge difference between ‘agape’ love and ‘eros’ love. Self-giving, or self-getting. Agape love is the free, saving, atoning, suffering, self-giving love of God. Eros is ‘fallen’ agape. It can masquerade as true love, but it is not the agape love of Jesus Christ, of the Triune God.

The Salvation Army members honour, love, serve, proclaim, minister and represent Jesus Christ. Their ministry of mercy in giving to others freely, is consistent with the meek ‘agape’ love seen in the cross of Christ Jesus. This is the true serving, self-denying, forgiving, redeeming, agape love which lays down one’s life, for the benefit—now and eternally—of another. It is God’s redeeming agape love for the world.

Jesus said to ‘agape’ love your enemies and do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute you.

Much talk of love today is of ‘eros’ love.  It is not the same thing as ‘agape’. Tricky thing is, that in the human scene, ‘eros’ seems noble. While ‘agape’, an act of the will can seem weak.

“The crowd”, as they demand ‘rights’ and pressure organisations at the expense of true community, and of personal lives, miss this true agape love—saving love!  May the Spirit of God, make it known in the midst of a militant-legal approach towards the community, and this current fierce focus upon ‘the Salvo’s’.

“Thank God for the Salvos”!








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