In both their Arabic and English editions, the Saudi Gazette has just published a rare and possibly unprecedented front-page interview with an Evangelical Christian speaking candidly about war, peace, reform, the Crown Prince and what followers of Jesus believe.
JEDDAH — Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman is leading Saudi Arabia through the most dramatic, positive and exciting social and economic reforms in the history of the Kingdom, said Joel C. Rosenberg, New York Times best-selling author and head of the Evangelical Delegation, in an exclusive interview with Saudi Gazette, following his visit to the Kingdom recently…..
Rosenberg: None of us want to see another war in the Middle East. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are commanded in the Bible to pray for peace and to be peacemakers. So, we are praying fervently for peace and stability. At the same time, however, we regard the Iranian regime as sheer evil, determined to export their Revolution of death and destruction in a wicked scheme to establish a global Caliphate….
Rosenberg: As a follower of Jesus Christ, I am commanded in the Bible to love my neighbor and pray for my neighbors. That’s why I accepted the Crown Prince’s invitation to come last year and again this year, despite the criticism against the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia is my neighbor. I want the best for the people and leaders of this Kingdom. Yes, I see the problems. I’m not blind to the mistakes, nor to the criticisms. But I also see real progress. And I want to commend the Kingdom for all the good reforms they are making, even while respectfully urging you to make even bolder reforms. Religious leaders who are paralyzed by cynicism and are constantly critical are not helpful. If we want to see positive change, we need to praise what is good and build honest and sincere friendships in which we can talk openly and candidly about what is not good….
Rosenberg: Few Saudis know much about Evangelical Christianity. I hope they will learn more about us over time. There are more than 60 million Evangelicals in the United States, and more than 600 million worldwide.
Evangelicals believe in the teachings of the whole Bible, both the Old and New Testaments. We believe that Jesus is the Messiah. We also believe He is God and that He loves all people and wants every person in the world to know and follow Him.
The Bible teaches Christians to share the love of Jesus Christ with everyone in the whole world, and to encourage them to read the Bible for themselves. The most famous verse in the Bible is found in the Book of John, chapter three, verse 16. It reads, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, and whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
We love that verse, and we live by it. But we are never supposed to force our religion on anyone. Some people have done this in the past, claiming to be Christians. This grieves me, but I can tell you they were not following the model or teachings of Jesus found in the New Testament.
I think there is much we as Evangelicals can learn from the people of Saudi Arabia. And I think that after the Crown Prince invited us twice to the Kingdom there is growing curiosity among Saudis about us and why we seek to be ambassadors of peace and reconciliation….
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