Us Evangelical Church Leaders and Israel/Palestine: Identifying Obstacles to Missiological Engagement


Steve Norman

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U.S. evangelical Christians have historically been deeply invested observers of events in Israel. This dissertation focuses on U.S. church leaders and their views on mission in Israel/Palestine. The research shows two major themes shape their perspectives on this complex context: their churches' existing approach to global mission initiatives and their specific attitudes regarding the issues affecting the region.

The research employed in this study utilizes qualitative data methodology, including an anonymous online survey, shorter semi-structured interviews and participant observation. Data analysis led to the theory that the lack of information and identifiable opportunities for engagement, rather than theological and political concerns, are the primary obstacles for U.S. churches considering engagement in the area. The literature review includes theological, missiological and some historical perspectives on mission to people in conflict and Israel/Palestine. The research also includes a brief description of a U.S. church currently seeking to support local churches in Israel/Palestine.

U.S. evangelical church leaders are certainly not a monolithic group; their views vary significantly on this topic. Nevertheless, the research indicates many U.S. church leaders are overwhelmed by the complexities of the conflict in Israel/Palestine and fear involvement there could create undue conflict in their congregations. They require clear strategies, accessible educational materials and tailored travel opportunities in order to make informed decisions about partnering with indigenous local churches in the region. This work offers more detailed examples of what form those educational experiences could take.

This study concludes with some closing remarks and recommendations for further research including: exploring the link between witness and peacemaking, studying "younger" evangelicals' views on this issue and identifying ways to connect Palestinian Christians, Israeli Christians and U.S. evangelical Christians in dialogue.

Mentor: Alan R. Weaver

Degree Name

Doctor of Intercultural Studies

First Advisor

Weaver, Alan R.

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