“Dude, how can you be Jewish and believe in Jesus?
It was November of 2002. I had just released my first novel, The Last Jihad. I was doing a telephone interview on a hard rock radio station in Rochester, New York, the city closest to where I grew up in Upstate New York. And the radio host, a guy who called himself “Brother Weese,” asked me this very question.
Here’s my answer.
The story of my spiritual journey — how I was raised by a Jewish father and Gentile mother and came to believe that Jesus is, in fact, the Jewish Messiah — was just released online by a ministry called, “One For Israel.”
I hope you’ll watch them both and share them with family and friends.
Please pray for Egypt — yes, the Christians there and all Egyptians face many, many challenges, and yet they have made so much progress in just the last few years.
I have just returned to Jerusalem from eight historic days in Egypt. It was a joy and honor to lead a Delegation of sixteen American Evangelical leaders in that beautiful, Biblical country that has gone through two revolutions and nearly a civil war in the last decade. We learned so much and were deeply blessed by our time. We are still trying to process it all, but if we could sum up in one word what we saw happening there it would be: “progress.”
- We met with more than three dozen Coptic Orthodox and Coptic Protestant Christian leaders, including a 90 minute meeting with Pope Tawadros II — all of them were honest about the challenges they face, yet to a person they expressed how encouraged they are by the progress they are seeing in terms of religious freedom, honor and recognition by the government, the unprecedented freedom they now have to build and renovate churches, and more. (My colleague Johnnie Moore and I write about this more in our columns posted below.)
- We attended the openings of the new mosque and massive new cathedral, the largest in the Mideast, both located in the new administrative capital, about 30 miles east of Cairo.
- I was asked to briefly address the Protestant Christmas service at the “Kasr El Doubara Evangelical Church” in Cairo. The full service, including my brief remarks, were broadcast live on Egyptian TV to the entire country.
- Our Delegation also met with Members of the Egyptian Parliament, Muslim clerics, NGO leaders and other members of civil and religious society — it was so interesting to be able to have deep and detailed conversations about both the problems and the progress Egypt is making from their unique perspectives.
- Last Thursday, I was invited to attend a major policy address delivered by my friend, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on the campus of American University in Cairo, and then go with him and his team to visit the new mosque and cathedral.
- By God’s grace, I was also able to arrange for Secretary Pompeo to do an exclusive interview with CBN News correspondent Chris Mitchell. (I highly recommend you watch the excellent CBN coverage — see below)
What follows are 10 articles, columns, and interviews that my colleagues and I have written and/or produced, each describing what we saw and heard during our time in Egypt from our individual angles.
I hope that you’ll take the time to read and watch them; share them with your family, friends, churches, seminaries and other spheres of influence; and use the information to pray in a more educated and effective way for Egypt’s national leaders, Muslims and Christians.
- Egypt’s leader deserves US support — Pompeo’s visit was a welcome move — op-ed by Joel C. Rosenberg and Johnnie Moore (published by Fox News)
- Opinion: Egypt’s El-Sisi Is A Friend To Christians — op-ed by Joel C. Rosenberg and Johnnie Moore (published by The Daily Caller)
- Egypt’s El Sisi Builds Middle East’s Largest Church, A “Game Changer” In The Region (CBN News story, both print and video)
- “Jerusalem Dateline” devotes nearly entire 28 minute program to coverage of historic events in Egypt, including the visit of an Evangelical Delegation (CBN News story, both print and video)
- Exclusive: Pompeo vows US to stand with persecuted believers: “Christians Central To Middle East” (CBN News story, both print and video)
- FRC’s Tony Perkins joins Egypt’s President, Coptic believers for opening of cathedral near Cairo (FRC press release)
- A Cairo Christmas — op-ed by Tony Perkins (published by The Patriot Post)
- Egypt is rebuilding its churches, making slow but significant steps toward reform — op-ed by Dr. Darrell Bock, professor at Dallas Theological Seminary (published by the Dallas Morning News)
- Wise Men Still Bring Gifts: Our Extraordinary Christmas In Egypt — column by Rick Segal, Vice President of Bethlehem College & Seminary (published on the Desiring God website)
- Coexistence: Mark’s reflections from Cairo — by Mark Rodgers, founder of The Clapham Group (published on The Clapham Group website)
- PRE-ORDER — To pre-order a copy of THE PERSIAN GAMBLE, please click here.
- To order a copy of The Kremlin Conspiracy — the New York Times best-selling political thriller, now available in paperback, hardcover, e-book and audio formats — please click here, or order from any of your favorite general market or Christian bookstores.
- To order copies of the new mass market paperbacks of the J.B. Collins novels — my most recent trilogy of novels about ISIS plotting attacks on the U.S., Israel, Jordan and Egypt — please click here.
- Would you like to make a tax-deductible investment in The Joshua Fund (www.joshuafund.com)? This is the non-profit organization that my wife, Lynn, and I founded in 2006 to educate and mobilize Christians to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus — to teach the Word of God, encourage pastors, care for the poor and needy in Israel (both Jews and Arabs) with food and other humanitarian relief, care for Holocaust survivors, care for Syrian and Iraqi refugees, and in many other ways strengthen the Church in the epicenter. The Joshua Fund is a member in good standing of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. Please click here to learn more. Thanks so much!
- Visit Joel’s website at www.joelrosenberg.com.
- Sign up to get every blog Joel writes delivered immediately to you by email — just click here and enter your email address in the RSS feed section (see top right-hand section of the blog’s homepage.
(Cairo, Egypt) — It’s impossible to overstate how historic this is: a pious Sunni Muslim Arab President builds the largest church in the Middle East and gives it as a Christmas present to the Christians of his country.
Can you remember the last time this happened? Neither can I.
Yet this is precisely what happened last night — the eve of Eastern Christmas — as the “Nativity of the Christ Cathedral” was formally opened and inaugurated on live national television by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II in the country’s new administrative capital city, located about 28 miles east of Cairo.
I had the joy of witnessing this game-changing moment first-hand, alongside the Delegation of fifteen-other American Evangelical leaders that President Sisi asked us to bring, and it moved me to my core. At numerous points I found myself quite emotional at seeing this event unfold and reflecting upon just how much progress Egypt has made in just a few years.
• The economy is now growing at over 5% annually.
• The country is vastly safer than it was during the so-called Arab Spring.
• Tourism is rebounding.
• Inflation and unemployment are dropping.
• And overall Muslims and Christians are living peacefully together, despite two revolutions that almost tipped into full-blown civil war.l and wave me of terrorist attacks against Christians and their church buildings here.
Do enormous religious, social and economic challenges in Egypt remain? Absolutely. But every single one of the dozens of senior Coptic Orthodox and Coptic Protestant leaders we met with told us they feel so encouraged by the progress and forward momentum they’re seeing and experiencing.
To our astonishment, the Delegation and I were also invited by President Sisi to attend the inauguration of the massive new mosque — one of the largest in the world — located just a few miles away from the cathedral. We didn’t know until the night before that we would be invited, and were deeply encouraged that Pope Tawadros attended as a VIP guest (at Sisi’s side), as did Dr. Andrea Zaki, head of Egypt’s two million Protestant Evangelicals.
Joining in all the festivities were Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and many senior Muslim clerics and leaders from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and elsewhere in the region.
All of it was broadcast live on Egyptian TV. All evening, Egyptians watched Christians and Muslims singing together, walking together, laughing and conversing together, and visiting each other’s holy places. It was beautiful picture of what people here want the “New Egypt” to be.
Soon, I will share more on our Delegation’s work and what we’ve been learning. For now, I just wanted to share with you the remarkable story of the opening of this enormous new church in the heart of the world’s largest Arab Muslim country, and the powerfully positive message of religious freedom and tolerance that it sent not only to 100 million Egyptians but to people and leaders throughout the Muslim world.
For us and our Egyptian Christian brothers and sisters it has been a very Christmas, indeed!