Jordan's rich religious history is punctuated by the entrance of Christianity in the first century C.E. and the establishment of Muslim dominance in the seventh century.
   Thanks to the weakening of the ottoman Empire, Protestantism was introduced in 1860 by Anglicans associated with the Church Missionary Society. Today, the church supports several schools and a home for the aged. About the same time, Lutherans (with German and American support) began work in the region, and a single congregation was established in what is now Jordan. The Society of Friends (Quakers) also began a small work in the 1860s.
   The Christian and Missionary Alliance was the first of several groups to enter following World War I, as the Ottoman Empire collapsed. The Assemblies of God, which initiated work in 1929, has become the second-largest Protestant church, next to the Anglicans. The Seventh-day Adventist Church arrived in 1932. The Southern Baptist Convention has supported a small work begun in 1943.
   The Protestant/Free Church community in Jordan remains small, with fewer than 20,000 believers. There is no council of churches, though the Anglicans, as part of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, and the Jordanian Lutherans participate in the Middle East Council of Churches. Since the 1990s, Evangelicals have reported more freedom to openly proselytize and have been allowed to offer free Bibles. However, Muslim converts to Christianity (as opposed to Catholic or Orthodox converts to Protestantism) face penalties from the government, as it is against the law for a Muslim to convert to Christianity.
   See also Middle East.
   Further reading:
   ■ David Barrett, The Encyclopedia of World Christianity, 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001)
   ■ J. Herbert Kane, A Global View of Christian Missions (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1971).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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