|Christianity Today has published an interview with Anne Zaki, assistant professor of preaching and practical theology at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, about the transformative power of Scripture in her own life and in the Egyptian church. It gives a fascinating insight into living as a Christian in an Islamic context, as a number of our partners do.
Anne says: "Within the church, faithful preaching creates a safe place for the Holy Spirit to do this transformation. The pastor prepares the ground on which the manna falls, from which people are nourished and fed. And this manna expands from preacher to the audience, and from the audience outward in whatever circles they touch.
"Being in an Islamic context, we are not allowed to openly evangelize. Our call is unique: to live out the Word of God and display it in our lives. While it is prohibited to openly share, it is okay to answer questions about the faith.
"For women, as Egypt has become more conservative, we are distinguished in our dress by not wearing a head covering. People can tell we are Christians from the cross around our neck or, for Orthodox women, by the tattoo on their wrist. We’re in the spotlight all the time. So sharing the Word is not only in preaching. It is in how we treat the lady who sells vegetables in the market and how we refrain from paying bribes in government offices. Here, it is often not so much proclaiming the Word out loud but living the Word out loud."
The Evangelical Theological Seminary of Cairo (ETSC) is a key element of our partner church in Egypt, the Synod of the Nile. Responsible for the training of those seeking ordination and providing courses to those who are interested in further Christian study, it also specialises in Middle Eastern Christianity, with a dedicated centre that has been used by scholars of all faiths. Anne has been a part of the teaching staff at ETSC for around 7 years, becoming the first Egyptian female professor to be hired full time by ETSC.