IRAQI BAPTISTS AS PEACEMAKERS
The Baptist movement was initiated in Iraq in 1986 at the hands of a Lebanese pastor
burdened to share the message of the Gospel – and Baptist doctrines – with fellow Arabs. The
ministry remained under low profile until January 2004 when the first Baghdad Baptist Church
With God’s grace and the support of the global body of Christ, the ministry is expanding
in Baghdad as well as in Northern Iraq. The Lord has provided in that we have been able on
several occasions to reach out to our fellow internally displaced and suffering Iraqis with
relief aid as a gesture of support and care. On several occasions, the local newspapers have
commended us – and the Lebanese Baptist Society for their relief programs in Iraq – noting
that we have reflected true Christian values and ethics in distributing to the needy without
discrimination of any sort. That in itself is a wonderful witness to who we are in Christ.
We have many a challenge in Iraq today, yet at the same time there is a role for us to play.
Our countrymen and women are desperate for peace – and we are called to be peacemakers.
Though a minority, we have an important role to play. We are called to lead lives that are a
witness to the majority population, and we can only do so when in all we do and say we reflect
Christian values and so earn the trust and friendship of our fellow Iraqis. Only then can we be
effective. As fellow Iraqis, we have a common ground that we can build on and this is why
with God’s grace we have good relations with many people.
Though today life in Iraq is rather tough, still we hold on in response to our calling that
we may be light.
By a Baptist in Iraq
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Our churches have been away from the world family for so long. As we were praying for
a real return, the visit of BWA President David Coffey was a real encouragement for us. It was
a voice that came to us declaring to us that we are not alone, but members of a big family that
has a big mission.
Today, seven million of the 10 million Christians in Egypt do not have seats in the existing
Egyptian churches, add to that the countless numbers of other needy Egyptians crying for help!
What can a few Egyptian Baptists do? A lot – as we share the full message of the Gospel.
If the river Nile runs along Egypt providing enough water for all Egyptians, can the church
move with the living water to heal the land? Our prayer for the coming Baptist generations is
to understand the necessity of moving outside the walls of the church to reach those outside;
moving with the promise:
“Blessed be Egypt my people…
and the LORD shall be known to Egypt.”
Isaiah 19:25, 21
Mounir Sobhy Yacoub is the pastor of First Baptist Church of Cairo in Egypt.
Photos: BWA President David Coffey with the founding members of First Baptist Church of Cairo
(two women in front row) during his visit to Egypt earlier this year;
The newest member of First Baptist Church of Cairo;
Many generations of Egyptian Baptists
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