On October 1st and 2nd, 2010, at the historic Moody Church in downtown Chicago, New York Times best-selling author, Joel C. Rosenberg, along with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, Dr. Charles Dyer, Dr. Michael Rydelnik, and Dr. Mitch Glaser opened our eyes to the events that are unfolding in the Middle East from a biblical perspective and provide practical insight on how to love Israel and her neighbors, come what may.

Thank you for registering -- and enjoy the videos and mp3s of the conference!

America In A Troubled World: What Does The Future Hold? - Joel C. Rosenberg

The Biblical Origins for the Middle East Crisis - Dr. Erwin Lutzer

Inside The Revolution In The Middle East - Joel C. Rosenberg

Whose Land? A Biblical Appraisal - Dr. Michael Rydelnik

The Future of Israel, Iraq and Iran - Dr. Charles Dyer

God's Purpose and Plan For Israel and the Jewish People - Dr. Mitch Glaser

The Life Story of Michael Zinn

The Life Story of Tass Saada

Finding Peace in a Troubled World - Joel C. Rosenberg

Q & A with the Conference Speakers: Dr. Michael Rydelnik, Michael Zinn, Dr. Mitch Glaser, Dr. Erwin Lutzer, Dr. Charlie Dyer, Joel C. Rosenberg

America In A Troubled World: What Does The Future Hold?

Joel C. Rosenberg
Friday, October 1

Listen:

Watch:

 

The Biblical Origins for the Middle East Crisis

Dr. Erwin Lutzer
Saturday, October 2

Listen:

Watch:

 

Inside The Revolution In The Middle East

Joel C. Rosenberg
Saturday, October 2

Listen:

Watch:

 

Whose Land? A Biblical Appraisal

Dr. Michael Rydelnik
Saturday, October 2

Listen:

Watch:

 

The Future of Israel, Iraq and Iran

Dr. Charles Dyer
Saturday, October 2

Listen:

Watch:

 

The Life Story of Michael Zinn


Saturday, October 2

 

Listen:

Watch:

 

God's Purpose and Plan For Israel and the Jewish People

Dr. Mitch Glaser
Saturday, October 2

Listen:

Watch:

 

The Life Story of Tass Saada

Saturday, October 2

Listen:

Watch:

 

Finding Peace In A Troubled World

Joel C. Rosenberg
Saturday, October 2

Listen:

Watch:

 

Q&A with the Conference Speakers: Dr. Michael Rydelnik, Michael Zinn, Dr. Mitch Glaser, Dr. Erwin Lutzer, Dr. Charlie Dyer, Joel C. Rosenberg

Saturday, October 2

Listen:

Watch:

 



Report: Mitch Glaser

 

The Inside the Middle East Crisis Conference was held at The Moody Church in Chicago, Illinois beginning Friday evening, October 1st and continuing all day on Saturday, October 2nd - concluding with a conference rally on Saturday evening. This conference aimed to raise the awareness of the Jewish and Christian communities in Chicago to the spiritual challenges we are facing today in the Middle East, and to provide a new perspective for understanding the situation based upon Scripture.

The Focus of the Conference

Although the Israeli/Palestinian conflict was the main focus of the event, the speakers also addressed the growing threat of fundamentalist Islam, the Iranian nuclear threat and the ways in which these various challenges are influencing believers in North America, in their attitudes towards the Jewish people, Israel and the Arab world.

The speakers mapped out various helpful ways to think through these issues from a biblical perspective, and most importantly how to respond in love, prayer and witness to both Jews and Arabs.

The following is a summary and reflection of our aspirations for the conference and its associated events. Upon reflection, it seems that these goals were not only met – but exceeded.

  • To create a compelling forum to reach the people of Chicago with the Gospel of peace and hope through Jesus the Messiah amidst global conflicts and troubling times at home and abroad.
  • To encourage Christians to appreciate God’s plan and purpose for the Jewish people and nation of Israel, and to demonstrate Messiah’s love to the Jewish community in practical and purposeful ways.
  • To educate Christians and help them better understand God’s love for Palestinian and Muslim people, and to help them learn how to demonstrate that Messiah-like love to the Muslim community in practical and purposeful ways.

The speakers addressed each of the following complex issues with biblical accuracy and gracious balance during the day and a half conference.

  • The economic and geopolitical crises facing the U.S the world and the Middle East today
  • The calling and role of the Jewish people according to the Scriptures
  • The impact of radical fundamentalist Islam in the world and its future according to the Scriptures
  • The power of the gospel as the only hope for true and lasting peace in a troubled world, evidenced by the testimonies of Israeli and Palestinian believers in Jesus the Messiah


Conference and Outreach Partners

The conference and the corollary events were the fruit of partnerships with a variety of ministries sharing the same heart and vision for ministry in the Middle East, Chicago and cities throughout North America. The ministry partners had a common concern for helping believers in Jesus develop a biblical and balanced view of the Middle East crisis and to be encouraged by the many stories of both Jews and Gentiles finding peace in troubled times through the power of the Gospel.

The partners involved with the Inside the Middle East Conference and various events were:

  • Chosen People Ministries
  • Joel C. Rosenberg and the Joshua Fund
  • The Moody Church
  • Moody Bible Institute
  • Moody Radio
  • Moody Business Network
  • Executive Ministries - Chicago

 


Conference Attendees

There were more than 1,600 people registered for the Friday evening and Saturday events, and almost 1,700 attended the Saturday evening celebration, which was open and available to the public at no cost. Almost 1/3 of those who attended the conference came from outside the Chicago area, and some traveled from Europe to attend the conference.

This was the largest conference Chosen People Ministries has sponsored in recent decades and one of the largest Evangelical Christian rallies in recent days that combined biblical teaching on God’s plan for Israel and the nations as well as emphasizing evangelism to both Jews and Palestinians.

In addition to the many Evangelical Christians at the conference, there were also a large number of Jewish believers in Jesus who attended, and many felt that the events provided great encouragement to the growing Messianic movement in Chicago. A number of Jewish seekers also attended the conference–as well as the evangelistic breakfast and lunch, where dozens of wonderful conversations about the Messiah took place.

The speakers and topics for the conference, as well as the personal testimonies, music and worship were greatly appreciated by all who attended. The following is a more detailed summary of the conference events themselves.


The Speakers

Joel C. RosenbergNew York Times best-selling author of Epicenter: How the Current Rumblings in the Middle East Will Change Your World, and Inside the Revolution, with more than two million copies in print.

Dr. Erwin Lutzer—Senior Pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago and award-winning author of numerous books. He is the featured speaker on three nationally syndicated radio programs: The Moody Church Hour, Songs in the Night, and Running to Win.

Dr. Charlie Dyer—Host of The Land and The Book on Moody Radio and professor-at- large of Bible at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. He has authored and co-authored several books, including Who Owns the Land?: The Arab-Israeli Conflict and What’s Next?: God, Israel and Future of Iraq.

Dr. Michael Rydelnik—Professor of Jewish Studies at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and the author of Understanding the Arab Israeli Conflict: What the Headlines Haven’t Told You. He recently appeared in the Lee Strobel film The Case For Christ and authored The Messianic Hope: Is the Hebrew Bible Really Messianic?

Dr. Mitch Glaser—President of Chosen People Ministries and co-editor of the award- winning book To The Jew First: The Case for Jewish Evangelism in Scripture and History.

The music was led by Steve Wiggins—A 5-time Grammy-Award nominee with Big Tent Revival, who regularly leads worship at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California and for Harvest Crusades with Greg Laurie. The brilliant emcee for the evening was Mark Elfstrand, a popular Chicago-based, Moody Radio host.

The personal testimonies given during the conference were both thrilling and informative. Tass Saada, a Palestinian believer, Director of Ishmael’s Hope and author of Once an Arafat Man shared his personal story of coming to faith in Yeshua the Messiah from a radical Muslim background. He was a former PLO sniper and driver for Yasser Arafat.

He once hated the Jewish people, but after coming to faith in Jesus the Messiah and understanding God’s plan and purposes for the Jewish people, he became a firm believer in the Jewish right to the Land of Israel, while at the same time developing a deep concern for the salvation of Jewish people as well as his own Palestinian people. Tass lives in Jericho and serves the Lord through local church ministries as well as in ministering to the poor.

Michael Z., a Russian Israeli believer and director of Chosen People Ministries Israel, gave a dynamic testimony describing his father’s experiences in the Holocaust. Michael described how he emigrated from the former Soviet Union to Israel how during his Hebrew studies, a missionary couple also studying Hebrew led Michael and his wife to the Lord through their love and witness. Michael leads the burgeoning work in Israel, leading a team of fifteen staff workers for Chosen People Ministries doing direct evangelism, feeding poor and elderly immigrants–especially Holocaust survivors–and planting Messianic congregations throughout the land of Israel.

 


The Topics:

The topics for the conference were prayerfully and very carefully chosen by the planning committee with the intent of providing a sound biblical and spiritual basis for understanding the Middle East crisis. The constant theme of the speakers was that we must view the crisis as more than political, as when viewed through the lens of Scripture, the Middle East conflict is primarily a spiritual battle. The fact that the nation of Israel is at the center of the crisis in the Middle East is a sure sign that the challenges in the region should be viewed in this way.

The speakers addressed the following topics in 50-minute plenary messages.

America In A Troubled World: What Does The Future Hold?: Joel C. Rosenberg

The Biblical Origins for the Middle East Crisis: Dr. Erwin Lutzer

Inside The Revolution In The Middle East: Joel C. Rosenberg

Whose Land? A Biblical Appraisal: Dr. Michael Rydelnik

The Future of Israel, Iraq and Iran: Dr. Charles Dyer

God’s Purpose and Plan For Israel and the Jewish People: Dr. Mitch Glaser

Finding Peace In A Troubled World: Joel C. Rosenberg

A Question and Answer session was also held with Dr. Dyer, Dr. Glaser, Dr Rydelnik, and Michael Z., moderated by Dr. Erwin Lutzer.

 


Additional Events

In addition to the conference at The Moody Church, the main speaker, Joel Rosenberg, spoke at the Moody Bible Institute and at a breakfast gathering in the northern suburbs of Chicago, as well as at a venue in the Chicago Loop. Christians brought their Jewish friends to hear Joel talk about the challenges of the Middle East while also presenting the One we believe to be the Solution to the problems of the Middle East – and all others–Jesus the Messiah, who is described by the prophet Isaiah as the “Prince of Peace.” More than 300 individuals attended the breakfast, and at least 200 attended the lunch.

Chosen People Ministries also hosted a traditional Sabbath dinner at Moody Bible Institute that was attended by 75 students who are interested in learning more about God’s work among the Jewish people in Israel and throughout the United States. A Pastors and Leaders breakfast and brief Messianic Sabbath Service (led by Roy Schwarz, Chosen People Ministries Midwest Regional Director) was held on Saturday morning as well.


Moody Missions Conference

In addition to the main conference and outreach events, the focus of The Moody Church missions conference–held simultaneously with the conference– focused on Jewish and Arab evangelism, reaching Israel and the Middle East with the Good News. The events of the conference included a Sunday morning message by Joel Rosenberg and luncheon and panel discussion where Chosen People Ministries' staff and Tass Saada were asked some provocative questions on the conference issues by Dr. Erwin Lutzer, Senior Ppastor of The Moody Church. The discussion included topics such as Jewish evangelism in the United States and outreach among Palestinians in Israel and especially the West Bank.

 


The Lasting Impact of the Conference

As suggested above, the goal of the conference was to help Christians gain a better understanding of the political and spiritual conflicts in the Middle East and to develop a more biblically-based understanding of the current conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. A further goal was to encourage believers to be more proactive in reaching out to their Jewish friends as well as to Palestinians and others who follow Islam.

Part of the impetus for the conference was to balance the recent proliferation of books, articles, conferences, videos and various materials produced by Evangelical Christians that appear to be quite one-sided in championing the Palestinian cause. Most of the literature and material of this nature that has been produced by Evangelical Christians who do not believe Israel has a divine right to the land based upon the Scriptures. These believers oftentimes hold to a position called “replacement theology” or more classically, supersessionism – a belief that the church has replaced Israel in God’s purposes because of the Jewish leaders’ rejection of Jesus in the first century.

This position usually portrays the Jewish people as no longer being the chosen people, as having forfeited the right to live in the land of Israel and not having any future in the plan of God because of their disobedience.

The highly-regarded theologians who addressed the attendees of the Inside the Middle East Conference all believe that God still has a plan for the Jewish people and that this plan is clearly revealed in the Scriptures. Romans 11:28–29, which was often quoted by the speakers, is a clear affirmation that God has not rejected the Jewish people and that His election of Israel and the Jewish people is irrevocable.

Based upon this common understanding of Israel’s continued election and God’s faithfulness to His covenant with the Jewish people, the conference speakers agreed that whatever solutions are found for the crises in the Middle East must somehow be grounded in the understanding that according to the Bible, the land of Israel was given to the people of Israel by the God of Israel.

Unfortunately, Evangelicals advocating for Palestinian causes sometimes portray those who believe in the future of the Jewish people and who hold that God Himself deeded the Holy Land to the Jewish people as cold, uncaring, anti-Palestinian, and committed to Israel–whether right or wrong. They often go so far as to portray those who believe the Land belongs to the Jewish people as not being concerned with bringing the Gospel to Palestinians.

Based upon the messages given at the conference, nothing could be further from the truth, as there is a deep concern among those who believe that the land belongs to the Jewish people to work towards and pray for the salvation and well-being of Palestinians–both Muslims and Christians.

The notions that belief in the theological validity of the modern state of Israel demands that one be anti-Palestinian was thoroughly countered at the Inside the Middle East Conference–not only by the speakers in general, but also by Tass Saada, a Palestinian Christian who believes that the Jewish people, according to the Bible, hold the divine deed to the land of Israel.

There was a united heart of concern among the more than 1,000 people attending the conference for the struggles of both Jews and Palestinians. Joel Rosenberg made the point a number of times that much of the trouble in Israel has been caused by more radical Muslims who not only oppose the Jewish right to the land, but also persecute those Palestinians who have come to know Jesus as their Savior.

Both Tass and Michael Z. expressed the frustration that both Israelis and Palestinians have regarding the difficulty of implementing a workable solution to the conflict in the Holy Land.

However, they also expressed great hope in the Lord because of the growing number of Jews and Palestinians coming to faith in the Land of Israel. Whereas the political troubles continue to rage, the Gospel continues to touch lives as many Jews and Arabs are coming to Jesus and both Messianic congregations and Palestinian churches continue to be planted and develop in the Holy Land.

There is no doubt that those who attended the conference grew in their depth of understanding of both the biblical and political issues - especially through the informative and insightful messages of Joel Rosenberg and the other speakers.

The conference was not designed to propose a particular solution to the challenges of securing peace in the Middle East, but rather to give Christians a more balanced understanding of the biblical, geopolitical and nationalistic issues swirling within in the region.

The conference attendees left The Moody Church with a renewed sense of hope for peace in the Middle East, as clearly God is at work in the region and in the souls of both Palestinians and Israelis. In addition, the conference attendees were encouraged to pray for and to continue sharing the Good News of Messiah with their Jewish friends, neighbors and loved ones - in Israel, in Chicago and throughout North America.

The conference concluded with prayer for the “peace of Jerusalem” found in the words of the psalmist in Psalm 122:6. Clearly, based upon the messages given at the conference, there is still a great need to pray for political solutions to the crises in the Middle East, but we should not stop there! We must also pray for the Lord to continue working in power among the Jewish people, Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims - both in the Epicenter (Joel Rosenberg’s term for the Middle East) and across the globe.

As Dr. Lutzer, the Senior Pastor of The Moody Church and host of the conference states so eloquently, “Today the Lord has brought citizens of the Middle East to North America, and as Christians we must receive them with God’s love, deeper understanding and with a commitment to telling them about Jesus.”

All in all, it was a wonderful conference and both the video and audio recordings of the conference will be available November 1st on the Chosen People Ministries website. Stay tuned for the announcement of their availability, as these are messages you won’t want to miss!

There are many economic and geopolitical challenges facing the U.S., the world, and the Middle East today.  The conference speakers will provide perspective on these challenges from a biblical perspective, including:

  • The calling and role of the Jewish people
  • The impact of radical fundamentalist Islam in the world and its future
  • The power of the gospel as the only hope for true and lasting peace in a troubled world, evidenced by the stories of Israeli and Palestinian believers in Jesus the Messiah


PRE-CONFERENCE EVENTS

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1st

7:00 – 8:30 AM
Straight Talk Breakfast, Marriot Hotel, Lincolnshire
Speaker: Joel C. Rosenberg
Registration info >>

11:45 AM – 1:30 PM
Moody Business Network Luncheon, Union League Club, Chicago
Speaker: Joel C. Rosenberg
Registration info >>

Click here for more information about the Straight Talk Breakfast and the Moody Business Network Luncheon

5:00 – 6:30 PM
Student Shabbat Dinner, Moody Bible Institute


CONFERENCE SCHEDULE

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1st

7:30 – 9:30 PM
America In A Troubled World: What Does The Future Hold?

Joel C. Rosenberg

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2nd

7:45 – 8:45 AM
Pastors' Breakfast

Moody Church

9:00 – 9:30 AM
Shabbat Service

Roy Schwarcz

9:30 – 10:15 AM
The Biblical Origins for the Middle East Crisis

Dr. Erwin Lutzer

10:30 – 11:15 AM
Inside The Revolution In The Middle East

Joel C. Rosenberg

11:30 – 12:15 AM
Whose Land? A Biblical Appraisal

Dr. Michael Rydelnik

12:15 PM – 1:30 PM
Lunch Break
(on your own)

1:30 PM – 2:15 PM
The Future of Israel, Iraq and Iran

Dr. Charles Dyer

2:15 – 3:00 PM
God’s Purpose and Plan For Israel and the Jewish People

Dr. Mitch Glaser 

3:00 – 3:30 PM
The Life Story of Michael Zinn


3:30 – 4:00 PM
Meet the Speakers and Book Signing

4:00 – 5:00 PM
Q&A with Dyer, Glaser, Lutzer, Rydelnik, and Zinn



SATURDAY EVENING CELEBRATION (FREE ADMISSION)

7:30 – 9:30 PM

  • Concert by Steve Wiggins
  • The Life Story of Tass Saada
  • Finding Peace In A Troubled World - Joel C. Rosenberg


POST-CONFERENCE EVENTS

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 3rd

9:50 AM: Morning Worship at The Moody Church
Message by Joel C. Rosenberg

5:00 PM: Evening Service at The Moody Church

Receive the latest news:


Partner with us:

Give a gift to support Jewish evangelism


Ways to pray for our ministry:

Pray for Chosen People Ministries


President's Blog: