Langham Scholar Launches New Book for Arab Christians

26 June 2008

HPIM3136b.jpgby Helen Turnbull Goody
26 June 2008

The National Evangelical Church of Beirut has deep roots in Lebanon, first established in 1848 and later creating the first evangelical Arabic-speaking congregation in the Middle East. It has a long history of serving as a center for publishing and other communication among Arab Christians. In June, the tradition of this church continued as it became the venue for a book-launch of Langham scholar Riad Kassis’ latest publication to an enthusiastic crowd that included many local and national dignitaries.

Organized by Clarion Publishing House, the event celebrated the publication of Riad’s book Why Don’t We Read the Book That Christ Read? Towards a Better Understanding of the Old Testament (Beirut: Clarion Publishing 2008). The book was released in Arabic and supported in part by a grant from the Langham Literature program. Riad is the first Langham writer to publish in the Middle East and the first to publish in Arabic.

RiadkassisCover1.jpgThe main objective of the book is to approach the difficulties that an Arab reader may face when reading the Old Testament, to provide an appropriate methodology on reading the Old Testament, and to show the relevancy that the Old Testament has for the ethical, social, and political issues of the Arab world today.

Among the attendants of the event were following: the president of the Supreme Council of the Evangelical Churches in Syria and Lebanon, the president of the Evangelical Alliance in Lebanon, many pastors, school principals and teachers, as well as the presidents of several theological institutions in Lebanon.

“I was also pleased to see the most influential writer and biblical scholar in the Maronite/Catholic church of Lebanon, and perhaps in the whole Middle East, Father Dr. Boulos Feghali,” Riad said. “Even Father Feghali, who was not scheduled to speak, insisted to say a few words on the importance of my work.”

HPIM3127b.jpgRiad was honored and thrilled with the excitement from the people who attended. One leader from the Lebanon chapter of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) wrote, “Allow me to thank you for yesterday’s ‘classy’ signing event. I liked all of its parts, especially your word! … May the Lord bless you and keep your pen running for His glory!”

Crews from local media–including SAT-7 (the evangelical satellite television) and Noursat (the Catholic satellite television)–were also present. SAT-7 will be broadcasting the book-launch event on June 24 and 25, 2008, and will feature a special interview with Riad on July 10. It is expected that the event will also appear in several major newspapers in Lebanon and the Middle East.

Please join Riad in prayer that the success of his book release will help promote the need for the publication of more books written by and for Arab Christians.

Read the recommendations for Why Don’t We Read the Book That Christ Read?

View more photos of Riad Kassis’ historic book launch.