Spring Storms

Many outcomes are possible across the ‘Arab Spring'

Noel Weeks, Professor of history at Sydney University is chairman of MERF Australia.

[Insightful analysis of events in the Middle East by Christian historian, Dr. Noel Weeks is reprinted, with permission from Australian Christian periodical AP]

Anybody who thinks history is irrelevant should follow closely the events consuming many Arab countries at the moment and the attitudes of Western governments and commentators to those events. It can be argued that the West is seeing the events in terms of its own dominant theory of history and ignoring the alternate possibilities.

The Western hailing of the turmoil as a "Spring" flows from reading the movements as democratic with all that connotes in the Western mind: free, progressive, secular. In turn that flows from a theory that sees democracy as the inevitable direction of history. The Arab world is following us in demanding freedom and rights.

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History of MERF

The Church in the Middle East

The Evangelical churches in the Middle East were largely established by Reformed missionaries. However, in recent decades they have been influenced by different unbiblical trends, superficiality and dead spirituality. Moreover, those of the Reformed persuasion in the region lack active fellowship and cooperation with like-minded Christians elsewhere. They need encouragement from Reformed churches and believers worldwide. MERF was formed to link together the gifts of the national believers with the vision and support of the Bible-believing Reformed communities worldwide.

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Progress of the Gospel in Egypt

Gospel Beginnings

In Isaiah 19 we read the prophecy that worship of the true God would be established in Egypt and that the Egyptians would come to know deliverance through the promised Saviour (verses 19-21). In Acts 2 we notice that Egyptians were present to hear the Apostle Peter preach the Gospel on the Day of Pentecost and were among the many who were converted that day when the New Testament Church was established. According to tradition, the Evangelist Mark, possibly along with those converts who returned to Egypt, spent much time preaching, teaching and church-planting in Egypt. In God's providence, Egypt was ripe for the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy and the Christian faith spread very rapidly throughout the land of the Nile River.

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Reformed Churches in Iraq

[Note: This article was written before the war]

Until recently most Christians were not aware of the presence of Christian churches in Iraq. It is possible that few Western Christians are conscious of the presence of Reformed churches there. Yet, biblical Christianity in Iraq goes back to the second half of the first century AD.

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Godly Interaction with Muslims

By a Middle Eastern Christian, Posted January 2004

At one stage or another we each face unsettling events. It might be a problem in the family or at church or at work. It might be some sickness or the loss of a loved one. It might be business failure or the loss of a job. Still, it might be a major national event such as what happened in the US on September 11, 2001. Sooner or later we are confronted by things that disturb and shake the depths of our being.

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Zwemer - Pioneer Servant of Christ

Samuel Marinus Zwemer was born April 12, 1867 to Adrian and Catherine Zwemer in Vriesland, Ottawa Co., Mich., Apr. 12, 1867. His father, Adrian, was born February 12, 1823 in Oostkapelle, Netherlands. He was the youngest of seven children born to Jacob and Neeltje Janse Zwemer. Early in 1849, he left the Netherlands and settled in Rochester, New York. There he married Catherine Boon (1826-1886), who had traveled in the group with him, in 1849. Adrian moved his family to Holland, Michigan, in 1856. He was ordained by the Classis of Holland, Reformed Church in America, in 1858. His first church was at Vriesland, MI. Adrian and Catherine had 15 children, among them was Samuel. He retired from his last church at Spring Lake in 1898. He died on March 17, 1910 in Holland.

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Learn more about the work of MERF and its ministries through a variety of articles. These deal both with current work and the history of missions in the Middle East.

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