A review of Pastor Skip Heitzig’s recent trip to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO – Skip Heitzig, senior pastor of Calvary Church in Albuquerque, and New York Times bestselling author Joel C. Rosenberg were among a delegation of American evangelical Christian leaders welcomed this past week to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia. The delegation, led by Mr. Rosenberg, provided the opportunity to meet and build relationships with government and religious officials.
On his Twitter account, Heitzig wrote that visiting the UAE was a “privilege.” He said he was able to “encourage [Christian] believers as well as hear how the country encourages freedom of worship.”
In the UAE, the group discussed religious tolerance in the Muslim-majority country with His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and other government leaders. They also discussed measures being taken to counter extremism.
“The strides in combating extremism have been very encouraging,” Heitzig said.
In Saudi Arabia, His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of the Kingdom, discussed his vision for the nation with the delegation.
While some have questioned the wisdom of visiting Saudi Arabia during the current global crisis surrounding the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the delegates were glad to seize the occasion to open a dialogue. Heitzig brought back some unique observations from his time in both countries during the seven-day visit that ended on November 1st.
Pray For Them
Heitzig likened the opportunity to similar ones given in the Bible. “You know, in the Bible, you have people like Esther, who was in a royal court. Daniel approached several kings and filled several key positions. God used them to speak to people in authority, kings, and the Bible says we are to pray for them.”
Rosenberg encouraged Christians everywhere to pray. “We’re under no illusions about the challenges that are in Saudi Arabia and that remain. But I think it’s respectful to go and listen to leaders who have the opportunity to make life better for Christians and Muslims and potentially for Israel as well and who are against the crazies in Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. I’d ask people to pray.”
Besides Rosenberg and Heitzig, the delegation included other American evangelical leaders, such as former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann; Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; and Dr. Jerry Johnson, president and CEO of the National Religious Broadcasters.
Part of a joint statement by the delegation reads, “Without question, this is a season of tremendous change in the Middle East, and therefore we have been grateful for the opportunity to meet in-person with key Arab leaders to understand their goals and to ask direct questions. We look forward to building upon these relationships and continuing the dialogue.”
In another tweet, Heitzig said it was “a thrill to be part of this historic meeting.”
Skip Heitzig is the founder and senior pastor of Calvary Church in Albuquerque, NM. Started in 1982, Calvary is a non-denominational Christian church that ministers to over 15,000 people every weekend.
For a CBN review of the trip that features Skip Heitzig, click here: http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2018/november/exclusive-video-christian-leaders-meet-with-saudi-crown-prince-in-historic-step
Thanks to Quentin Guy and Lorin Bentley for reporting on this event.