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All articles in category Lebanon

September 2006
Lebanon

MERF and Lebanon

In 1971 Lebanon was a prosperous, democratic multicultural haven in the Arab world — a centre for business, education and tourism. But sadly, the 50,000 Lebanese Protestants identified in an early 1950s census had dwindled to barely 3000 regular churchgoers. Three young believers in Beirut, of various nationalities, met regularly for prayer, Bible study and the discussion of Reformed literature. They were united in a desire to ‘proclaim the whole counsel of God’ and to serve and guard ‘the church of God which he purchased with his own blood’. Together they established a growing fellowship. They began to sponsor lectures, seminars and other Christian activities...

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Evangelicals in Lebanon
September 2006
Lebanon

Evangelicals in Lebanon

There are an estimated 20,000 Protestants in Lebanon. These comprise Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists, Church of God, Nazarene, Brethren and Charismatics. The Presbyterian and Congregational churches are similar, and form 75% of the Protestant community. The Presbyterian Synod covers Lebanon and Syria (there are several thousand Presbyterians in Syria also). The evangelical missions that established Congregational and Presbyterian churches started work early in the nineteenth century. They founded the Syrian Protestant College (now the American University of Beirut) and the Beirut College for Women (now the Lebanese American University). Both today are secular institutions. Sadly, most of these churches no longer preach salvation. They are heavily...

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The struggle for Lebanon
September 2006
Lebanon

The struggle for Lebanon

This month’s missionary spotlight demonstrates that in the past Lebanon has played a unique role in Christian mission in the Middle East – surely a point not lost on Satan either. In this article we chart the conflicts that have raged over the last 60 years as Islamic forces have struggled to take control of Lebanon. Lebanon gained independence from France in 1943. Five years later the first Arab-Israeli war broke out and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled their homes, 150,000 of them finding refuge in Lebanon. Embittered and predominantly Muslim, they threatened the fragile balance of the country. In 1958 a short civil...

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Hezbollah
September 2006
Lebanon

Hezbollah

Hezbollah (Hizbullah, Arabic for ‘party of God’) is an Islamic political party and militia group ­functioning within Lebanon. It was founded during the Lebanese civil war of 1975-1990. In June 1982 Israel invaded Lebanon and sided with one of the country’s ‘Christian’ factions against the many other, mostly Muslim, factions. Other powers, including Syria and several Western countries, also played various roles in the civil war. Largely in response to Israel’s invasion, a group of Shiite Muslim clerics led by Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah established Hezbollah to promote Islam and to resist Western influences in Lebanon. Iranian influence The clerics’ politics and theology were inspired by...

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September 2006
Lebanon

Lebanon profile

Lebanon is located north of Israel at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea and shares a border with Syria. It is a beautiful land of plains and mountains, with about 3.8 million inhabitants, nearly all Arab. Lebanon was once wealthy — an economic centre of the Middle East — but decades of war have destroyed its economy. Some rebuilding has taken place in recent years, but today Lebanon is a shadow of its former self. When Lebanon gained independence during World War II, power was apportioned among the various religious groups based on size. At that time, professing Christians were the largest group. Then...

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