Sunday, August 01, 2010

Book Notice: Jerusalem Testament by Melanie May

Melanie A. May
Jerusalem Testament: Palestinian Christians Speak, 1988 - 2008
Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2010.
Available at

This volume by Melanie A. May (Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School New York) documents the joint statements made by Palestinian Christians experiencing the duress of the Israeli occupation. The statements listed are those issues over a twenty year period by the following representatives: Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Greek Catholic Patriarch, Armenian Orthodox Patriarch, Syrian Orthodox Patriarch, Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Jordan, Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, Custos of the Holy Land.

In response to the Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, the Palestinian churches wrote this joint statement:

1. The so-called "Christian Embassy" does not represent nor replace the Christian community in Jerusalem or the majority of the Faithful all over the world. We do not acknowledge this body nor its activities and conferences. The teachings of our Lord and the light of the Gospel have gone out from this very Holy Land. We are the representatives of Christianity here, venerating and safeguarding the Holy Places, and we do not expect people coming from abroad, unaware of our problems, to act on our behalf.
2. We categorically refuse and reject any political interpretation of the Holy Scripture.
3. According to our Lord's commands, we seek peace and justice for all the people of the world, and especially the region, without any kind of discrimination or violence.

The various periods including before and after the intifada, the Oslo peace accords, and the separation wall. It is very informative for hearing the voice of Palestinian Christians caught in the cross fire of Muslim extremism and Zionism. Particularly poignant was the call issues in August 2006:

"We call upon Christians in churches on every continent to pray for the Palestinian and Israeli people, both of whom are suffering as victims of occupation and militarism".

This is a very interesting and informative read that gives a perspective of Christians on the other side of the wall. It would be very interesting to see how a Messianic Jew would respond to this book. Those interested in the state of the Church in the middle east would do well to read this book. The testimony is very moving as to how our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ struggle within the political turmoil of the Holy Land.

May there be peace in Jerusalem!

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