Global Missiology English, Vol 2, No 4 (2007)

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The Nazareth Center for Christian Studies

The Nazareth Center for Christian Studies

An initiative of the Association of

Baptist Churches in Israel (ABCI)

The Baptist House V The Beginning

The Baptist House was paid for

by the Southern Baptist Mission

Board (IMB) and built by IMB

(then FMB) representative, Dr.

Dwight Baker in the 1950s. It

first served as a residence for

Dwight & Emma Baker and

their four children. Dr. Baker

served as pastor of the Nazareth

Baptist Church, Director of

Church planting and Bible

teacher in Nazareth and

throughout the Galilee region.

The Baptist House V The Beginning

In addition to being a

Text Box:  residence for the Bakers, the

Jim & Betty Smiths, the Ray &

Rosemary Registers, the Jack

and Shawn Hodges, as well as

short-term IMB representatives

working together with the

ABCI, for 50 years the Baptist

House has been a hub for

different ministries reaching

out to the city and region.

The Baptist House V The Story

P          In the late 1990s, the IMB changed its focus and

withdrew from its ministry in Nazareth and the Galilee

and its partnership with the ABCI.

P          In 2002, the IMB decides to sell the Baptist House for

the market price of 440,000 USD + Taxes.

P          The ABCI suggests that the Baptist House needs to

move to the leadership of the local Baptist Churches as it

was built for ministry in Nazareth and the Galilee.

The Baptist House V The Story

P           Negotiations between the IMB and the ABCI come to no

satisfactory conclusion.

P           IMB gives the ABCI the option to buy the house for

400,000 USD + Taxes.

P           Email correspondence between IMB president, Dr. Jerry

Rankin and ABCI executive member, Mr. Bader

Mansour reach the press in the USA in March of 2005.

P                  IMB gives the ABCI a deadline for purchasing the House V

otherwise it will be sold in the free market.

The Baptist House V The Story

Text Box:  In May 2005, Dwight and Emma

Baker, who served in Nazareth as

Baptist representatives and were

the first people to live in the

house, give a generous donation

of 100,000 USD for the ABC to

be able to purchase the house.

Dwight (Age 86) and Emma live

in Dallas, Texas.

The Baptist House V The Story

P          In June 2005, the IMB and the ABCI return to

negotiations. They agree that the ABCI will purchase

the Baptist House from the IMB for the price of

300,000 USD + Taxes.

P         ABCI pays 200,000 USD to the IMB.

P     ABCI to pay the IMB 100,000 USD by June 2007.

P          Taxes amounting to 60,000 USD need to be paid to

the authorities in Israel.

The current use of the Baptist House

P               In Christmas of 2005, after the house was renovated,

it was dedicated for the ministry again.

P                     The House will serve as the campus of the Nazareth

Center for Christian Studies and incorporating the

offices of ABCI.

The current use of the Baptist House

In the last few months the Baptist House is being

used for Church special meetings and hosting guests.

The Nazareth Center V The need

P             Nazareth is the city with the largest Christian population in

Israel, approximately 25,000.

P                 There are around 140,000 Christians living in Israel today out

of a total population of 7,000,000 (2%).

P             There are 5.6 Million Jews in Israel and 1.1 Moslems.

P               There is a community of around 3,000 Baptists in Israel in 20

churches associated with the ABCI.

P          The Nazareth Center for Christian Studies is an initiative of

the ABCI.

Baptist Churches in Israel









Kufur Yaseef


Baptist Churches in Israel






Nazareth Illit










Kufur Yaseef


Tel Aviv


The Center will be the heart of the ABCI

The Contribution to the Local Body

P        Text Box:  To serve as a place of

excellence in theological and

Biblical learning which will

help equip leaders of the local

congregations and ministries.

P             To be a center where ABCI

leaders can meet for strategic

planning for the strengthening

of the ministry, reaching out to

the lost and planting churches.

P                        Promote unity, provide

resources, and encourage

cooperation among


The Contribution to the Larger Body

P             The center will be open for visitors from around the world

who are visiting the Holy Land including church groups,

students, pastors on sabbatical and others.

P             Visitors to the center will be able to study Bible, theology,

reconciliation, Hebrew, Arabic, the Middle East, and

Islam, among other topics, all from a unique viewpoint

from Christians living in the Holy Land.

P                 The center is located in a quite neighborhood, walking distance

from major Christian sites in Nazareth. Its location is also central

to other sites in Galilee which are of special interest to the

Christian pilgrim.

A Unique Contribution

Text Box:  The character of the center and

its proposed program is unique.

Its geographical location in

Nazareth, the hometown of

Jesus, provides a unrivalled

context for in-depth studies into

New Testament origins and the

foundations of Christianity. The

underlying perspective of the

center will find its focus on

Biblical and theological


The Nazareth Center

P                         Text Box:  The ABCI has invited Rev.

Dr. Bryson Arthur to head

the Nazareth Center for

Christian Studies.

P             Bryson and May Arthur

will settle in Nazareth by

May 2006.

The Nazareth Center V Phases

Phase I V Jun 2005 V Dec 2006

Securing the Baptist House and beginning of operations.

Phase II V Jan 2007 V Sep 2009

Offer lectures and general courses, together with

hosting different groups.

Phase III V Oct 2009 V Sep 2012

Launch the Nazareth College for Christian Studies.

Phase IV V Oct 2012 -

Getting additional buildings and facilities to accommodate

expansion of the college.

Resources needed for Phase I

Total Amount needed: 400,000 USD

Amount needed for the following:

300,000 USD - Payment to the IMB.

60,000 USD - For taxes.

20,000 USD - For renovations.

5,000 USD - For furniture (A lot was donated locally).

15,000 USD - For general expenses.

200,000 USD - Payment to the IMB - already paid.

100,000 USD - Payment to the IMB - Due by June 2007.

Resources for Phase I

Total Amount needed: 400,000 USD

Amount raised so far:

100,000 USD from ABCI.

100,000 USD from Dwight and Emma Baker.

3,600 USD from the European Baptist Federation.

2,250 USD from Central Baptist Church, Bearden, TN.

1,750 USD from Hartford Baptist Church, England.

3,055 USD from other donors.

Total amount raised: 210,655 USD

Total amount needed: 189,345 USD


For More Information:

Bader Mansour

The Association of Baptist

Churches in Israel

PO Box 20, Nazareth,

16100 Israel

Tel +972-4-608-0023

Fax +972-4-647-0112