The Middle East is fraught with polarization. Yet in the midst of conflicts churches are often recognized as communities of forgiveness and reconciliation. For Dr. Salim Munayer bearing witness to the Gospel of reconciliation within the conflict is his passion. In University Chapel, he speaks about this enormously challenging calling.
Salim Munayer is an Arab-Palestinian Christian whose family was forced to flee their home, Lydda-Lod, in 1948. Like the Anabaptist/Baptist/Free Church Tradition, Salim’s Theology of Reconciliation offers a third way between the bipolar split of the western church’s conservative evangelicalism and protestant liberalism. Salim is on faculty at Bethlehem Bible College and is director of Musalaha – a dynamic peace-building program based out of Jerusalem.
On Musalaha’s homepage Salim says: “Conservative Western evangelicals tend to see the Middle East through the lens of religion. To many Westerners, Islam is frequently viewed as a threat since it is distinctively different and foreign in its expression. Islam is often perceived as anti-Christian, and the majority of problems in the Middle East are linked to Islam’s dominance in the region. These perceptions can lead to fear of Muslims, sometimes resulting in negative and racist attitudes toward Arab or Muslim people. At the other end of the spectrum, many liberal churches see current events in the Middle East as a byproduct of social changes such as modernization and urbanization, and they see radical Islam as a result of colonialism and imperialism…”
Salim’s theology is rooted in the reconciling work of Jesus on the cross. Salim’s mission is focused on building and reconciling relationships and, according to Salim, “most of Musalaha’s reconciliation work is between Israeli Messianic Jews and Palestinian Christians.”