An estimated 70,000 Egyptian Christians gathered on November 11, 2011 for praise, worship, and prayer at St. Simon Church in Cairo while millions around the globe followed the event live on TV and the Internet. This was a significant event: It was the largest Christian gathering in the modern history of Egypt; it brought together, for the first time, all Christian denominations: Coptic Orthodox, Catholics, and all branches of Protestant and Evangelical Christians. The prayer meeting that started at 6:00 PM continued uninterrupted till 6:00 AM the following day!
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What next for Egypt?
The most likely result is that the uprising will speed up democratic reform, and the Islamists will end up making gains in elections. Because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the West is so unpopular in the Middle East that any parties even smacking of being pro-Western will not perform well.
The status of Christians will not alter much, at least not in the short term. Apart from Lebanon where Christians constitute around 40% of the population, Christian worship is already restricted and Christians persecuted.
In the long term though, the rise of Islamism might turn out to be a blessing for the church. That might seem like an illogical outcome for some, but right now, the Islamist groups can act as if they were purerthan- pure champions of the people, and present Islam as the solution to any problems.
The truth is that Islamists don’t have any working solutions, but they are offering a version of Islam that is pre-medieval and ill-suited to fix anything that is broken.
Take Palestine. Although Hamas won the popular vote there in 2006, its rule in Gaza has been disastrous and led to general disillusionment. Take Iran. The Iranian government has described America as the Great Satan since the Revolution in 1979 – making the Iranians the most pro-American people in the whole Middle East. Both of them are becoming ripe for Jesus revolution.
Let’s pray that Christians will continue to rise up in Egypt, in the rest of North Africa and in the Middle-East.