Posted by: Elena's Israel Blog | 10/28/2010

Disturbing News

from Bridges For Peace special alert:
Israel Needs You!

Overall, one could say it hasn’t been a very good week for Israel, at least on the interfaith front. Between the synod of Catholic bishops and evangelical Stephen Sizer, it seemed that the tension couldn’t get any worse. Then came the Presbyterian call for divestment. Israel has been slandered, delegitimized, and ostracized from seemingly every corner of the Christian world. The underlying disregard for biblical scholarship in each of these instances is alarming, as it is an apparent return to blatant replacement theology.

The Catholic Synod

The recent statement by Catholic bishops following a two-week meeting in Rome lays the blame for stalled peace negotiations squarely on Israel and demands that Israel withdraw from Arab lands conquered in 1967, allowing the Palestinians to “live with dignity” and Israel “in peace and safety.” It is hard to know if this is an attempt to curry favor with an Arab world in which Catholicism has been a shrinking minority for the past decade, or simply naïveté. Regardless, a statement by a Synod spokesman suggesting that the Bible can no longer be used as a foundation for understanding the modern state of Israel is not only preposterous but dangerous. Blaming Israel for the exodus of Christians from the region makes Israel the scapegoat again and removes the spotlight from a radical Palestinian regime that should be called to task by the international community for its blatant persecution of Christians.

Stephen Sizer

Stephen Sizer, well-known evangelical Anglican and replacement theologist, made the news this week promoting the film With God on Our Side, produced by London-based Rooftop Productions. Sizer is featured in the film and his book Zion’s Christian Soldiers was used heavily by the producers of the film and for its accompanying study guide. These “exposes” of Christian Zionism are meticulous in their efforts to rewrite history, present Zionism in the most negative of terms and define Israel as an apartheid state. Not only does Sizer exaggerate the influence of today’s Christian Zionist movement, his assertion that dispensationalism is the basis for all Christian Zionist belief is simply incorrect. Further, his claim that Christian Zionism was birthed in the 19th century is also erroneous. Since at least the 16th century, every age has produced Christian men of influence who believed the Bible and were passionate in their commitment to the restoration of the Jewish people to their promised biblical homeland.

Presbyterian Call to Divestment

Last but not least was a vote by the Israel/Palestinian Mission Network (IPMN) of the Presbyterian Church “to engage in divestment and in an economic and commercial boycott of everything produced by the [Israeli military] occupation.” Although the Presbyterian church has called for divestment in the past, this vote was in response to the first anniversary of the anti-Israel “Kairos Palestine” document, a theological treatise against the Israeli “occupation.” Calling the document a “bold confession of faith, hope, and love,” the IPMN called upon all Christians of the world to stand in solidarity with this Palestinian Christian call to action in order “to put an end to the existing evil…”

Make Your Voice Heard

It is clear that the gauntlet has been thrown down and Christian Zionists have been called into battle. According to the producers of With God on Our Side, Christian Zionism has now “been put on notice.” A call to action is ringing out, loud and clear, for those who oppose the nation of Israel to unite and use every tool at their disposal to bring an end to the “Zionist experiment.”

But there is another call that can be heard throughout the nations, the voice of God Himself, calling for a Church that truly believes He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8); that the gifts and callings of God really are irrevocable (Rom. 11:29); that His promises to Israel will be fulfilled; that His covenant relationship with that nation and its people is in fact, eternal (Jer. 31:35-36). It is a directive from heaven for those who would “tremble at His word” (Isa. 66:5) to actually believe it, to recognize that there is, in fact, a chosen people (Deut. 7:6); that Israel is, in fact, a chosen land (Amos 9:14-15); to stand in solidarity with those He has marked as the apple of His eye (Zech. 2:8).

For decades now, many evangelical Christians have engaged in relationship-building with Israel. We have claimed to be true friends, advocates, and supporters, sincere and respectful in our desire to build a lasting relationship based on what we share in common. The time has obviously come for us to make good on our word. As Stephen Sizer and the Catholic bishops purport to speak for Christianity, it is imperative that we make our voices heard. Do we all agree with every decision Israel makes? Of course not. Do we think that Israel is infallible and can make no mistakes? Certainly not. Do we believe that Israel has a biblical, moral, and historical right to exist as a Jewish state, recognized as a sovereign nation by the global community, living in peace and safety free from international meddling? Unequivocally, yes we do.

Whether or not Christians would identify themselves as “Zionists” or even dispensationalists for that matter, we must recognize what is at stake here. It goes far beyond Jewish-Christian relations and even beyond the sovereignty of the state of Israel. If the Bible can no longer be trusted, we have nothing. It is God’s integrity and the validity of His Word that are on the line. If this growing tide of anti-Israel sentiment in the Christian community bodes ill for Israel, I would suggest that the ramifications are even more ominous for the Church.

By Cheryl Hauer, BFP International Development Director

 

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Responses

  1. Hi Elena, Thank you for blog. It caused me to pray for the peace of Israel. I needed this reminder.
    In Christ June

  2. from today’s response in the Jerusalem Post:

    ARE ALL CHRISTIANS ANTI-ISRAEL?

    NO!

    Millions of Bible-believing Christians worldwide stand faithfully in support of Israel. Bridges for Peace thoroughly rejects recent anti-Israel statements from the synod of Catholic bishops and other Christian leaders.

    Bridges for Peace


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