Originally published in The Gospel Herald
Despite continued persecution from Muslim extremists, Christians in Egypt remain unwavering in their faith, compelling a “multitude” to come to Christ, church leaders have revealed.
The Rev Sameh Hanna, associate pastor at the Evangelical Church in Cairo, told Premier on Monday that the “mood is very, very good amongst Christians who are living in Egypt.”
“Not because the situation is good or bad — that is not the reason,” he explained. “We have two kinds of news — earthly news, which is very ugly, very discouraging and I think in the West, you get only the earthly news — a bombing here or there.”
“But there is heavenly news. We know what is going on spiritually. We see things that not everybody is seeing. We see things you are not hearing. We see the multitude coming to the knowledge of Christ from every background, so this brings joy to us.”
Faith in God alone
The Rev Andrea Zaki Stephanous, president of the Protestant Community of Egypt, said that believers in the country put their faith in God alone, as further attacks by the Islamic State terror group or other extremists are a very real possibility — even in church.
“When security knows I’m going to a certain church there will be double security, but you never know. You can expect at any moment that someone will come with a bomb and create a massacre. So every day we trust God and we go,” he said.
Fr Kyrillos Fathy was at St Mark’s Coptic Church, one of the houses of worship that was bombed by Islamic extremists during Palm Sunday of last year, and said that he narrowly escaped crossing paths with the suicide bomber during the attack.
“Even though the incident was very terrible and it left us emotionally vulnerable, we believe in the Bible and in the verse in the Bible that says everything works out for the good,” Fathy shared.
He explained that the church was full for service after the attack on Palm Sunday despite the horror the people had suffered through.
Sharing the gospel with everyone
Albert Falzi, SAT 7’s Egypt director told Premier they want to share the message of Christ with everyone — no matter how resistant to the gospel.
“Many times we receive comments from people who are not Christian and we welcome them. Even when people send hostile messages, we just react in the Christian way,” he said.
Last Palm Sunday, ISIS carried out twin attacks on churches in Egypt, leaving 45 people dead and 126 injured. In a letter written to persecution watchdog Open Doors USA, believers in the region declared they would not give in to the spirit of fear, but would attend Easter services to worship Jesus.
“We love Egypt. We will not leave Egypt. We cast out the spirit of fear by the power of His love,” the believers wrote. “We will go to churches on Easter and beyond to worship the Name of Jesus.”
“We will spread out the light we were given by His grace, in every street, village, town and city,” the letter continued. “We will keep praying for all Egyptians, especially for those dark minded, brainwashed and miss-led so that our Father may cleanse their minds and hearts.”