Defending the Christian’s Place In This Area

This area, whether it is called Palestine or Israel or any other name, is the place where Jesus spent his earthly life. Jerusalem is particularly sacred since it is the city in which he was tried, crucified and resurrected. The recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of another religion’s country is a denial of the place of the life of Jesus and Christian history. It is reminiscent of the New Testament arguments about whether Christians must be Jewish first or whether Gentile Christians are also legitimate Christians.

One of the earliest beliefs that Christian Churches had in common was the idea of the Body of Christ to which all belonged. Even as different theological interpretations arose and different forms of governance were developed in Churches, they still believed themselves to be ONE Body of Christ. Even when they separated or disagreed, they eventually recognized each other.

Jerusalem is also the place where the Christian Church got its start (Acts 2) before it spread out to other cities and countries and around the world. There is a continuous history of the Christian Church in this area and of people regarding it as Holy. (See the section on Indigenous Christians in Christianity Then and Now.)  After Islam began, European Christians defended this area as Crusaders because of its importance to the Christian Church. They were unfortunately ruthless, killing Jews and Muslims and often acting un-Christian.

Today’s Palestinian Christians (who are the indigenous Christians) and ex-patriot Christians have made great contributions to this area over the years and in today’s world. They have begun good schools, much needed hospitals, and other social services open to all. Their approach has been humanitarian and they have brought in values that are common with democratic values. Many Christian Churches were begun across the globe but some Christians stayed in the area called "Palestine" in 135 C.E. (A.D.)

The Israel Defense Force soldiers guard the route of the Via Dolorosa on Good Friday
Israeli Defense Force soldiers guard the route of the
Via Dolorosa on Good Friday

It is important not to let others define “Christian” for you. It is not just one set of beliefs or specific acts of God, other than the life and resurrection of Jesus and the expression of God's love in actions. Its expressions are diverse but its actions affirm human life, the oneness of God, and the worth of all humanity.

You may find it helpful to read some of the documents put out by the Palestinian Christians such as the Kairos Document (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)  to better understand Christianity in the Christian Holy Land.