Will Christianity in the Middle East Become Extinct?

by Terry Goodrich  |  published on November 7, 2014

In the November cover story of Christianity Today, Baylor University author and scholar of world religions Philip Jenkins, Ph.D., explores what many view as Christianity on the edge of extinction in the Middle East.

The article may be viewed at Middle East and Christianity.

This year has been catastrophic in many lands in which early Christians spread their faith, and Jenkins asks, “How bad could this get?” Christians in the Middle East know the answer as they remember the experience of Jews, who once flourished in the region, notes Jenkins, co-director of the Program on Historical Studies of Religion in Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion. Since the 1940s, Jewish populations have vanished from most Middle Eastern countries outside Israel. Could the same thing soon happen to Christians?

While Islam gained power over the Middle East in the seventh century, it was several centuries before Muslims became an overwhelming majority and before persecution became systematic and violent. Even long after that, religious minorities survived – and even thrived. In recent times, though, violence has become widespread, from the Armenian Genocide of 1915 to the massacres and expulsions of Christians in modern-day Iraq.