THE CHURCH IN EGYPT IS THRIVING AND FEARLESS
Egypt’s history goes back to just a generation or two after the Tower of Babel, and it features heavily in the Old Testament. It was a great rival to many other empires including the Hyksos, the Libyans, the Nubians, the Assyrians, the Persians, and the Greeks. Then in 30BC it fell to the Roman Empire. The Romans and then the Byzantine Romans ruled until 641AD when it was conquered by the rapidly growing Arab Empire.
The coming of the Arabs changed Egypt’s future forever. Its vast Coptic Christian population was slowly subjected to ever tightening controls and the majority of Egyptians converted to Islam over the centuries. Arabic became the nation’s language, as did a strict from of Sunni Islam. Egypt was the lynch-pin of the Muslim control of all trade from Asia to Europe until Portugal’s Vasco de Gama found a sea passage and broke the monopoly, birthing the global era of European colonialism and the impoverishment of the Middle East until the discovery of oil. The French took control of Egypt in 1798 and then the British took it off them in 1882. Egypt finally regained its independence in 1953.
Egypt is home to about 95 million people who live off just a fraction of its land; the Nile floodplains and its delta. Sixty percent are still poor farmers and the average Egyptian income is just 5% of the USA. Politically it has leaned toward secular military governments even in the face of rising radicalism. The last 10 years has seen many acts of violence perpetrated by radicals and this has galvanised the government to crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood. Most violence has been directed toward the large Coptic Orthodox Christian minority who number around 10 million.
3. Evangelism Highlights
Good news: Egyptian Christianity is thriving again! There is a widespread revival happening among the Coptic believers from the very top down. Sadly, this is the only Orthodox denomination in the world where any renewal is happening. Prayer and renewal movements have burst onto the scene with all churches seeing a rise in spirituality and numbers. There are no less than seven Christian satellite TV stations beaming all over the Middle East, there are also Christian radio stations and many web-based evangelistic ministries.
Evangelicals now number some 3.5 million and numbers are growing over 5% a year. This is in the face of church bombings, abduction of young Christian women, widespread discrimination and institutionalised abuse. Egypt ranks No. 21 on Open Door’s World Watch List of the 50 nations where Christians face the most persecution. The Egyptian church has rediscovered its roots and is thriving. Christians are active and respected in politics, business and the health professions.
Muslim leaders also pitch in by complaining about the number of Muslims becoming Christians. Some say the number is close to one million but this figure is likely exaggerated for propaganda effect. Muslim background believers face much persecution from family and the government but are encouraged by some high profile former Muslim clerics who have become Christians.
4. Prayer Points
Pray for Egypt to once again become a Christian nation
Pray for continued boldness in the face of continued persecution
Pray for an even higher level of dreams, visions and miracles to impact Muslims who are searching
Pray for the safety of young Christian women
Pray for Muslim Background believers to multiply
Pray for Christian media to penetrate deep into Egyptian society
Pray that radicalisation will destroy the faith of millions of good people who are Muslim.