One of the directors of the Nazareth Evangelical College in Israel brought a message of relationship and “reaching across the aisle” to those in attendance at Logsdon Chapel on Thursday.
Using the John 4 passage about Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well as his scriptural basis, Rev. Azar Ajaj encouraged attendees to “cross boundaries” and shine the light of Christ to all people.
“Jesus ignored 500 years of hostility between Jews and Samaritans by talking to the woman at the well,” said Ajaj, who is one of the directors of the college and a lecturer in Church History, Old Testament, and Pastoral Studies at NEC. “He was treating her as a person by breaking societal boundaries. He was also putting His reputation in a dangerous place; but He was willing to do that to offer her full citizenship in God’s family.”
Ajaj, who holds a BA in Theology from Bethlehem Bible College, an MTh from the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Prague, and is a PhD candidate at Spurgeon’s College in London, said Arab-Israeli Evangelical Christians are “a minority among a minority among a minority.”
Baptists are the largest Evangelical group in Israel today. There are 17 churches in the Association of Baptist Churches in Israel, the majority of which are among the Christian Arab population in the North of Israel. There are around 3,000 people in the community of Baptists which forms just 2 percent of the total Christian population in Israel. Christians in general are also a minority; the 140,000 Christians in the land amount to only 2 percent of Israel’s total population.
“We are called to serve and love everyone … Christian, Jew and Muslim alike,” said Ajaj, who heads the college that trains men and women to become servant leaders, who “follow Jesus Christ and empower the church to become influential for changing the Arab community in Israel according to God’s Word.”
Nazareth Evangelical College was established in 2014 as a result of merging Nazareth Evangelical Theological Seminary and Galilee Bible College. Three partners (the Association of Baptist Churches, Bethlehem Bible College, and the Convention of Evangelical Churches in Israel) are the founders of this college.
“People who are willing to take a step of faith and cross the boundaries are opportunities for God to use,” said Ajaj. “Others need to see the light of Christ in our lives, and that only happens when we don’t see them as an enemy. We can make a transformation in our land, and His challenge is for all of us. God is waiting for you to take the step to cross the boundaries.”
Following chapel and a luncheon, Ajaj met with more than 20 students, faculty and staff for a question and answer session.
For more information about NEC, visit their web site at http://www.baptist.org.il/ministries/46/Nazareth-Evangelical-College; their Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/nazarethseminary.org.