Tag Archives: Israel

The Battle for Jerusalem

The Battle for Jerusalem from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

What provides you with most security? After your faith and your family, what comes next? Probably your home.

It is probably your largest monthly financial expense or, if the mortgage is paid, your most valuable asset. You may have only just moved in yesterday. Your life, your memories, your hopes and dreams are still carefully packed away in those unopened boxes, but it is still your home. Or you may be living in your parents home. You may have been born there, grown up there, never spent a night anywhere else. What ever, your home is your security. The place where you can lock the door, feel secure, be yourself, protect your loved ones, raise your family.

Now imagine losing it. Not to a mortgage company through repossession, not because of a divorce settlement or an act of nature be it fire or flood, but lose it violently to a foreign government. Imagine being woken at 6:00am by riot police with dogs and bulldozers. They force you out at gun point.

They give you 15 minutes to remove your possessions.

They demolish your home in front of you. Then a week later, they send you the bill. It happens every day. Salim and Arabiya Shawamreh live in Anata, a village to the east of Jerusalem.

In June, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that their home could be demolished – for the fifth time. Four times it has been demolished and four times friends and international volunteers have rebuilt it.

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With God on our Side

I am delighted to endorse a new film being launched this autumn produced by Porter Speakman Jr and Rooftop Productions.

“With God On Our Side takes a look at the theology of Christian Zionism, which teaches that because the Jews are God’s chosen people, they have a divine right to the land of Israel. Aspects of this belief system lead some Christians in the West to give uncritical support to Israeli government policies, even those that privilege Jews at the expense of Palestinians, leading to great suffering among Muslim and Christian Palestinians alike and threatening Israel’s security as a whole.

This film demonstrates that there is a biblical alternative for Christians who want to love and support the people of Israel, a theology that doesn’t favor one people group over another but instead promotes peace and reconciliation for both Jews and Palestinians.”

Launch: Autumn 2009. More news soon.

With God on our Side – Website, FaceBook and YouTube

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Blessing the Children of Abraham: An Annotated Bibliography

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” (Romans 1:16)

Various  attempts have been made in recent years to broaden the definition of anti-Semitism to both criticise those engaged in evangelism among Jewish people as well as those who question the continued Israeli occupation of Gaza, the Golan and the West Bank. Neither is necessarily true although it sometimes is.

However, articles such as  “Anti-Zionist Attacks on Church and Messianic Group” (since removed from Moriel’s website but still endorsed by them) appears on a website associated with Christian Friends of Israel. They blame my writings for attacks against Jewish people and Christians here and abroad.

Jacob Prasch states, “We additionally agree that articles citing Sizer’s anti-Zionist and anti-Christian Zionist propaganda republished in radical Islamic publications are contributing to the incitement of Moslem attacks on churches in the UK are excellently written… But now he stands publicly accused by some sources (none published by Moriel) of having his articles against Christian Zionists used to help incite attacks on churches in the UK in the same manner radical Moslems attack churches in Islamic countries.”

Besides being economical with the truth (Moriel did publish the above article – it was accessible on 10th March 2009) these allegations are unproven and defamatory. Nothing could be further from the truth. When ever I am invited to speak, especially at interfaith gatherings, I present a Christian perspective that repudiates the use of violence to resolve injustice, and instead calls for active peacmaking efforts with the purpose of achieving reconciliation.

In Zion’s Christian Soldiers, I stress that it is important to distinguish between Judaism, Israel and Zionism as well as repudiate the use of violence to bring an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

“Judaism is a religious system. Israel is a sovereign nation. Zionism is a political system. These three are not synonymous. I respect Judaism, repudiate anti-Semitism, encourage interfaith dialogue and defend Israel’s right to exist within borders recognised by the international community…”

In Christian Zionism, I distinguish between three strands of Christian Zionism – Messianic, Apocalyptic and Political. Messianic and Jewish Christian organisations that are primarily evangelistic, such as the Churches Ministry Among Jewish People (CMJ), Christian Witness for Israel (CWI) and Jews for Jesus (JFJ) must be distinguished from those primarily having a social or political ministry, such as Bridges for Peace (BFP), Christian Friends of Israel (CFI), Christian Friends of Israeli Communities (CFOIC) and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ). I am in the process of revising the book as the emphasis of some of these agencies has evolved over time and new ones have emerged such as John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel (CUFI) and Mike Evans’ Jerusalem Prayer Team.

How big is this movement? The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life estimates there are 20-40 million supporters in America. The Unity Coalition for Israel draws together over 200 different organizations and claims 40 million active members. John Hagee has weekly access through TV and radio to 99 million homes in 200 countries. Hagee is just one of thousands of other pastors, television evangelists, authors and politicians who identify with Christian Zionism.

Whether they welcome it is another matter, but I endorse those ministries committed to presenting the good news of Jesus Christ to Jewish people, defending the existence of a safe homeland for the Jewish people, combating anti-Semitism and enhancing the understanding of the Gentile church as to our Jewish origins.

“I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew.” (Romans 11:1-2)

That is why I have willingly contributed to Messianic conferences in South Africa and Israel, debated with Jewish rabbis and academics, dialogued with Zionists on radio and theological colleges as well as have met with representatives of agencies such as CMJ and CWI, for example, on a regular basis.

My books have been endorsed by Jewish academics such as Dr Jeff Halper, Rabbi Professor Dan Cohn-Sherbok and Professor Norton Mezvinsky

Jeff Halper writes,”Everyone loves peace, but not everyone loves peace-makers. The work of people like Stephen Sizer is crucial to peace-making. “Peace” is not merely a goody-goody term that we use on Christmas or Passover. It has to do with hard realities like conflict, injustice and suffering, all of which require not only good will, but an analysis which identifies the causes of the conflict and offers a way out. Hardest of all, peace-making requires self-reflection, self-criticism and the ability to see the viewpoint of the Other, the “enemy,” especially when “your side” is involved. And one more thing is essential to peace-making: an ability to reach out, even to your detractors, so that a common ground of action can be established.

In all these things my fellow peace-maker Stephen excels. Over the years he has shown both courage and good-will, but most important, in my mind, he has provided us with tough analysis, primarily around issues dealing with Christian Zionism, a fundamental obstacle to a just peace in Israel and Palestine, that helps us get to the foundations of the conflict in order to resolve it. One would think Stephen’s work would be appreciated by everyone – Christian Zionists excepted, (although a sizeable number of critical Evangelicals do support his analysis). His seminal book, Christian Zionism, accompanied by films and presentations, provides an authoritative de-bunking of the spurious theology underlying that school’s seemingly “pro-Israeli” positions which make genuine peace-making so difficult.

Why Stephen is attacked and demonized by the organized Jewish community is an absolute mystery to me. After all, Christian Zionism is supremely anti-Semitic: at the End of Days those Jews who do not accept Jesus die. Indeed, the Jews are sacrificed in the battle of Armageddon; witness Pat Robertson’s outrage at Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert when he ended the attack on Lebanon in 2006, an attack that, in the eyes of Robertson and other Christian Zionists, was supposed to trigger Armageddon – no matter what befalls the Jews/Israelis. Jewish demonization of Stephen, rather than of the Christian Zionists, who Jewish and Israeli leaders cynically consider our allies,” demonstrates nothing more than bad faith. It is perfectly acceptable, apparently, to be anti-Semitic if, like Robertson, you are “pro-Israel.” Simply professing a doctrine in which the Jewish people is exterminated and disappears is no crime, in their view, as long as it somehow serves short-term Israeli interests (and Stephen shows that Christian Zionism does not serve Israeli or Jewish interests in any way).

Ironically, then, it is the peace-makers – anti-anti-Semites like Stephen and even critical Israeli Jews like me – who are the enemy. If that is the case, then all the protestations of the Jewish community against anti-Semitism are hollow. What they really mean is, be anti-Semitic by all means if you combine that with a pro-Israeli position, but woe be unto those who fight such an anti-Semitic creed as Christian Zionism because by opposing Christian Zionism you are somehow opposing Israel. In attacking Stephen in his criticism of Christian Zionism, Jewish leaders have gone so far as to define “pro-Israeliness” in anti-Semitic terms.

But peace-makers are themselves tough people, willing and able to face down bigotry and bad faith. Indeed, this willingness and ability are what makes us peace-makers. To the organized Jewish community I would only say, as an Israeli Jew: remove your moral and intellectual blinders so as to be able to differentiate your true (if critical) friends from your true enemies.” Jeff Halper, Jerusalem, April 8, 2009.

My books have also received critical but constructive reviews from David Pawson and Tony Higton.

“my fellow Zionists… will be disturbed by my agreement with much of Sizer’s criticism of this position.” (p. 19). “I am grateful to Stephen Sizer for drawing attention to the legitimate criticisms of dispensational Zionism. He has rendered a service to the cause of Zionism which was needed.” (David Pawson, Defending Christian Zionism, p. 39)

“After years of sparring, Stephen Sizer and I met up and found we had wide areas of agreement. Having worked in Jewish ministry for seven years, half of them in Jerusalem, I have seen the best and worst of Christian Zionism. Insofar as it combats anti-Semitism, defends the existence of a safe homeland for Jewish people, promotes evangelism among Jewish people, and supports reconciliation in the Holy Land, it is good. However, Sizer is right to criticize the serious failings of some Christian Zionism. I agree with him in rejecting the following errors which are held by many Christian Zionists:

  • Lack of godly compassion for the Palestinians, and of concern for their human rights and about their legitimate aspirations.
  • A negative attitude toward Palestinians, and Arabs in general, to the point of racism.
  • Uncritical support for Israel (a secular, sinful state like any other), justifying all its actions against the Palestinians.
  • Neglecting or even opposing and forbidding evangelism of Israelis, sometimes believing that Jewish people can experience salvation through Judaism.
  • Being more interested in the fulfilment of prophecy than in application of kingdom principles such as justice and reconciliation.
  • Opposing the peace process.
  • Sometimes advocating the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the Holy Land.
  • Sometimes supporting the rebuilding of the temple regardless of the problematic theological implications and the danger of provoking extreme violence.” (Tony Higton, A Critique of Christian Zionism, p. 18)

Over the years we have also hosted events in our church for CMJ and Jews for Jesus and regularly invite a local Jewish Christian pastor to speak at our monthly men’s breakfasts. Our church family include several who are Jewish or identify with Messianic Judaism. They seem comfortable with my own views, despite attempts by at least one anonymous blogger to change their mind having gained access to our church Facebook account. Offers to meet face to face and resolve his or her concerns proved fruitless.

“Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:2)


An Annotated Bibliography

The following list is partial and subjective but these books have been helpful, at least to me, in understanding and distinguishing between Judaism, Israel and Zionism and the necessity of Christian witness among Jewish people.

Light Force Brother Andrew
Wrongly accused of being anti-Israel, Brother Andrew replies, “The best way I can help Israel is by leading her enemies to Jesus Christ.” He shows that genuine dialogue is possible based on our common humanity. Should we really be surprised, he asks, to discover that so called terrorists are human beings like you and me created in the image of God? Dr. Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors USA, summarises the importance of this unique book. “Light Force is a riveting and often provocative book. The book details Brother Andrew’s passion and compassion for the Church and bringing the Light of Jesus to one of the world’s on-going hot spots. Like God’s Smuggler, it is compelling reading. By reading the daily headlines from the Middle East, we know Light Force will be both timely and relevant.”

Israel: Land of God’s Promise: Murray Dixon
Israel is the most misunderstood nation on the planet. The Jewish people are the most consistently persecuted in all of history – ancient and modern – why? Can the Church afford to pursue its historically notorious treatment of the Jew and the nation of Israel? This book offers clarity where confusion abounds. The author compels us to examine Church history and Jewish history in the light of God’s word. Jesus is Jewish and so are the roots of the Christian faith – why is that significant? No nation, ever, has been regathered from worldwide dispersion to its ancient homeland, and speaking its ancient language – except Israel. And that, only, after man’s most hideous crime, to attempt to exterminate them – why?

Atlas of the Holocaust: Martin Gilbert
The atlas traces each phase of the Holocaust, beginning with the anti-Semitic violence of prewar Germany and leading to the German conquest of countries in which the Jews had lived for centuries. Presented in chronological order, the maps document in compelling detail, month by month and week by week, the story of the Holocaust, from the spread of the early random killings of Jews and their systematic mass expulsion from thousands of towns and villages to the establishment of ghettos and the setting up of the death camps. The atlas ends with the death marches and executions in the final days of the Allied liberation. Also shown on the maps are more than two hundred acts of resistance and revolt, as well as areas of Jewish partisan activity and other avenues of escape and rescue. Many maps tell the stories of hundreds of children deported to their deaths. Others bear witness to individuals active in revolt and tell moving sagas of their courage and defiance.

No Strange God: Gordon Jessup
An outline of Jewish life and faith. Revised edition of this classic work which helps Christians understand their Jewish neighbours.

Christian Witness to the Jewish People: Lausanne Occasional Papers
This report, is one of a series of Lausanne Occasional Papers (LOPs) emerging from the historic Consultation on World Evangelization (COWE) held in Pattaya, Thailand, in June 1980.

Judaism is Not Jewish: Baruch Maoz
People from a Jewish background face difficult choices when they trust in Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. Baruch Maoz, the leader of a Christian Church in Israel, believes that to be Jewish is a blessing from God. The strong Jewish cultural identity impacts on worship and life so how does a Jewish Christian worship with his Gentile brothers and sisters? If they join churches will they be assimilated? If they establish synagogues will their fellow Christians feel excluded? The response that some Jewish Christians have decided upon is to establish a fourth branch of Judaism called Messianic Judaism (the others are Orthodox, Conservative and Reform). Baruch accepts there are fine Christians within the movement but shows how Jewish life is not the same as synagogue life. He enables Jewish Christians to retain a cultural identity without losing fellowship with other Christians.

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The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy: John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt
How a powerful American interest group has created havoc in the Middle East, damaged Israel itself and now threatens an even more perilous future. The Israel Lobby by John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen M. Walt of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, was one of the most controversial articles in recent memory. Originally published in the London Review of Books in March 2006, it provoked both howls of outrage and cheers of gratitude for challenging what had been a taboo issue in America: the impact of the Israel lobby on U.S. foreign policy. Now in a work of major importance, Mearsheimer and Walt deepen and expand their argument and confront recent developments in Lebanon and Iran. They describe the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the United States provides to Israel and argues that this support cannot be fully explained on either strategic or moral grounds. This exceptional relationship is due largely to the political influence of a loose coalition of individuals and organizations that actively work to shape U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction. Mearsheimer and Walt provocatively contend that the lobby has a far-reaching impact on America’s posture throughout the Middle East—in Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, and toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—and the policies it has encouraged are in neither America’s national interest nor Israel’s long-term interest. The lobby’s influence also affects America’s relationship with important allies and increases dangers that all states face from global jihadist terror. You can read the London Review of Books article that inspired the book here.

Rabbis Meet Jesus the Messiah: Messianic Good News
This book contains the moving and exciting testimonies of twenty four Rabbis, each of whom were brought to the wonderful, but startling revelation that Jesus is the Messiah through a careful and diligent study of the Scriptures. Part of the purpose of this book is to refute the view expressed by various Jewish leaders throughout the ages that only worthless, ignorant and mentally feeble Jews are likely to be believers in Christ and to accept his teachings as recorded in the New Testament. Contrary to this, the Rabbis mentioned in the book, had all received rabbinical ordination, having been thoroughly schooled in the traditions of their fathers and the teachings of Judaism. This book also corrects the misconception that when a Jew becomes a believer in Yeshua – Jesus, he becomes a traitor (meshumid) to the Jewish people and ceases to be Jewish. It must be emphasised that the turning away from sin to God, is the fulfillment of what it really means to be a Jew. These testimonies are presented as a source of inspiration and encouragement to readers and to those who are faced with the same challenge today.

Abandoned: Stan Telchin
What’s the problem with Messianic Judaism? Stan Telchin, a Messianic Jew and former pastor, explores in depth the heart and soul of Messianic Judaism. He exposes the motive behind its creation, its controversial doctrines and its ineffectiveness in Jewish evangelism. Messianic Judaism has grown significantly in fewer than four decades. While intended originally to appeal to Jewish people, unexpectedly it appeals primarily to Gentiles. Telchin, in following the teaching of the apostle Paul, sees Messianic Judaism as divisive. With a firm and loving approach, he addresses the dangers of this movement, reiterates God’s intention for His Church to serve as “one new man” and, most importantly, advocates unity among the body of believers.

Anti-Semitism: Dan Cohn-Sherbok
Dan Cohn-Sherbok traces the origins of anti-Semitism and its manifestations, from political opposition, to racial persecution and religious and philosophical justifications for some of history’s most outrageous acts. Against this background of intolerance and persecution, Cohn-Sherbok describes Jewish emancipation from the late 18th century and its gradual transformation into the parallel political and nationalistic ideal of Zionism. He explores how, in the post-war period, anti-Semitism, already triggered by 19th-century Zionism and the formation of a Jewish settlement in Palestine at the end of the 19th century, has become rampant in the Arab world. Finally, he discusses how specific strands of anti-Semitism have arisen in the United States largely as a result of conflict between African-Americans and Jews, and how in Russia and Poland anti-Semitism is as strong as ever. The book covers all historical periods up to the present day and is written for the general reader.

The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World: Avi Shlaim
In the 1920s, hard-line Zionists developed the doctrine of the Iron Wall: negotiations with the Arabs must always be from a position of military strength. This doctrine, argues Avi Shlaim, became central to Israeli policy; dissenters were marginalized and many opportunities lost. Drawing on a great deal of new material and interviews with many key participants, Shlaim places Israel’s political and military actions under an uncompromising lens. The result is a fresh and informed account of one of the world’s most intractable conflicts of modern times.

Not Ashamed: The Story of Jews for Jesus: Ruth Tucker
Not Ashamed tells the remarkable story of how a small band of young Jewish believers became the world’s best-known Christian ministry to the Jewish people. Historian Ruth A. Tucker affectionately describes them as a “mission with an attitude.” She pulls no punches in presenting their triumphs and flops, and their often-controversial methods for winning souls and facing down hostile opposition. You’ll find more than fascinating history in Not Ashamed. You’ll discover the underlying connections between Christianity and Judaism and the reasons for centuries of conflict between Christians and Jews. Most important of all, you’ll come to understand the passion behind Jews for Jesus as they bring the message of the Messiah to their own people.

An annotated bibliography of books on Islam will follow.

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A Critique of Christian Zionism: Tony Higton

Published in Mishkan, A Forum on the Gospel and the Jewish People: Issue 55/2008

The following quotations are taken from an article by Tony Higton published in Mishkan which includes a response to my book, Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon?

Tony Higton is Rector of North and South Wootton near Kings Lynn. The fact that I was married in South Wootton and my mother in law lives in the parish is purely, if delightfully, coincidental. Tony previously served as the General Director of the Church’s Ministry among Jewish People and Rector of Christ Church, Jerusalem. Before publishing my book, he read the draft sections pertaining to CMJ, made comments, and these were all incorporated in the published version.

I warmly commend his article and the case he makes for Moderate Christian Zionism, and invite you to read it and decide whether the selective quotations below, which specifically pertain to my views or book, are in any way taken out of context.

In his introduction, Tony writes:

“After years of sparring, Stephen Sizer and I met up and found we had wide areas of agreement. Having worked in Jewish ministry for seven years, half of them in Jerusalem, I have seen the best and worst of Christian Zionism. Insofar as it combats anti-Semitism, defends the existence of a safe homeland for Jewish people, promotes evangelism among Jewish people, and supports reconciliation in the Holy Land, it is good.
However, Sizer is right to criticize the serious failings of some Christian Zionism. I agree with him in rejecting the following errors which are held by many Christian Zionists:

  • Lack of godly compassion for the Palestinians, and of concern for their human rights and about their legitimate aspirations.
  • A negative attitude toward Palestinians, and Arabs in general, to the point of racism.
  • Uncritical support for Israel (a secular, sinful state like any other), justifying all its actions against the Palestinians.
  • Neglecting or even opposing and forbidding evangelism of Israelis, sometimes believing that Jewish people can experience salvation through Judaism.
  • Being more interested in the fulfilment of prophecy than in application of kingdom principles such as justice and reconciliation.
  • Opposing the peace process.
  • Sometimes advocating the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the Holy Land.
  • Sometimes supporting the rebuilding of the temple regardless of the problematic theological implications and the danger of provoking extreme violence.” (p. 18)

In the second section entitled, “Dangers of Unbiblical Views” Tony writes:

“I am grateful for Sizer’s book because it stimulates thought and, in my case, underlines many of the questions I have been asking about Christian Zionism in recent years. And I speak currently describing myself (provocatively) as a pro-Palestinian Christian Zionist!”
“Having said that, I am unhappy about calling myself a Zionist because of the prevalence of extreme Christian Zionism which Sizer describes. I attended a week-long conference on Christian Zionism held in Jerusalem by the Sabeel Palestinian Liberation Theology Centre. Initially, I was quite irritated by what I felt was their extreme model of Christian Zionism. I thought it was a caricature and the moderate view I held was the majority view. But one of the main things I learned from that conference was that it is American Christian Zionism (which is very influential among Messianic believers in Israel) which is dominant, and it is very extreme. British (and other moderate) Christian Zionists need to understand this.” (pp. 19-20)

In the fourth section entitled, “Putting Principles into Practice”, Tony writes:

“Sizer seems not fully to understand the Israeli need for security. We once stood together in Abu Dis, just outside Jerusalem, at the foot of the security wall – ten meters of concrete towering above us. He asked me: “Well, what do you think of the wall, Tony?” I replied: “I think it is obscene. But terrorism is even more extreme.” (p. 24) – on this I concur.

In the fifth section in which Tony makes the case for “Moderate Biblical Zionism” he writes:

“It seems to me that Sizer, in his convert’s passion for justice for the Palestinians, tends to throw the baby out with the bathwater with respect to Christian Zionism. One result is that he does not treat the biblical material seriously enough… I still believe that a biblical case can be made for (balanced and moderate Christian Zionism).” (p. 25)

“Sizer raises various criticisms of the biblical justification Christian Zionists claim. In particular he claims that Christian Zionism has an “ultra-literal” and futurist hermeneutic. It is, of course, very simple to make out that all the prophecies referred to by Christian Zionists are not to be taken literally as referring to the Jewish people. In one stroke it removes all sorts of questions and difficulties. But, as we shall see, there are difficulties with this view.
I am also aware that the New Testament radically develops the teaching of the Old Testament. The Old is the bud and the New is the flower. In rightly stressing the Jewish roots of the Christian faith, we must never forget this radical development, which Sizer stresses. So there are important developments of land to world, temple to Jesus, etc.” (p. 25-26)

“I is true that some, including some Orthodox Jewish people, think that such a re-establishment of the state is not the real thing prophesied in Scripture, which could only be established by Messiah. Others, including Sizer, think Israel, because of disobedience to God, could lose the land again.” (p. 28)

“Sizer writes: “Belief in the final restoration of the Jews to Zion is also based on a literal and futurist reading of selective Old Testament prophecies. However, the texts themselves indicate that such a return occurred under Ezra and Nehemiah and that no further return is to be anticipated. It may be argued that Jesus repudiated any such expectation. New Testament writers apply such Old Testament promises to both believing Jews and Gentiles.”
However, there are OT prophecies which scholars believe relate to a time much later than the return under Ezra and Nehemiah, and are often in a messianic context. I refer to Isaiah 11:11-12; 60:4, 9, 21-22; 61:4-5; Jeremiah 3:12-18; 23:7-8; Ezekiel 38:8, 16; 39:25-29; Joel 3:1-2, 17, 20; Amos 9:14-15; Zechariah 12:2-3, 10-11; and 14.” (p 29)

“In conclusion, then, I agree with much of the criticism Sizer makes of Christian Zionism and particularly of its lack of commitment to justice and reconciliation. Like him, I too reject the extremes of Christian Zionism, seen particularly in the USA and Israel. However, I believe Sizer throws the baby out with the bathwater, particularly by not dealing seriously enough with the biblical material, which I believe forms a credible foundation for a balanced, moderate Christian Zionism.
Moderate Christian Zionists will:

  • Pray for the Israelis and the Palestinians, showing compassion for their needs, pain, and fears, and an awareness of their faults.
  • Pray for and, where possible, take action to promote reconciliation, peace, security, and justice for both people groups and an end to violence on both sides.
  • Pray for and support evangelism among both people groups.

Having read Sizer’s book carefully, I remain a pro-Palestinian Christian Zionist who is passionate about justice and reconciliation and sensitive to the needs, pain, and fears of both Palestinians and Israelis.” (p. 29)

It was in part to encourage further dialogue on the interpretation of Scripture regarding the relationship between Israel and the Church that I wrote the sequel, Zion’s Christian Soldiers. I look forward to further conversations with Tony Higton on the case for Moderate Christian Zionism.

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Melanie Phillips: Beware The New Axis of Evangelicals and Islamists

Melanie Phillips’ article “Beware the New Axis of Evangelicals and Islamists” published in the Spectator last week is libellous. It contains untruthful statements about me which may injure my reputation or standing in the community.

I have never said that I wish Israel, in her words, “to be destroyed” or to “disappear just as did the apartheid regime in South Africa.” I have never believed this and categorically reject any position that threatens the integrity of Israel as a sovereign nation.

On the contrary I have repeatedly stated in writing (for example here, here and here) that I wish to see a safe and secure Israel with internationally recognised borders, alongside a sovereign, viable, independent Palestine.

I have, however, spoken out against Holocaust denial as well as religious extremism. I have also highlighted British involvement in saving Jewish people from the Nazi Holocaust. I have specifically challenged Christians who see nothing incompatible with membership of the BNP.

Far from seeking to “appease radical Islam”, I have criticised Islamist attacks against Christians in Iraq here and here, as well as in Afghanistan. I have challenged Iran’s human right’s record here and here and commended an important book about the Church in Iran here.

I have never knowingly, to use her words, “given interviews to, endorsed or forwarded material from American white supremists and Holocaust deniers”. My publisher in the USA, InterVarsity Press, occasionally arrange TV and radio interviews for me with Christian stations to promote my books. I trust their judgement.

On her use of the term “islamofacism“, I subscribe to the view of a leading authority on Fascism, Walter Laqueur, who concluded that “Islamic fascism, Islamophobia and antisemitism, each in its way, are imprecise terms we could well do without but it is doubtful whether they can be removed from our political lexicon.” The best piece of writing I have seen recently on “Radical Islam” is by Fareed Zakaria in Newsweek.

I keep an extensive and growing mailing list and am no more responsible that Melanie Phillips is for how others make use of material I write, or forward, which is invariably from mainstream newspapers and journals. Unlike those who choose to use anonymous blogs and websites to express their opinions, I have made my own views plain and my external ministry public.

“we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:2).

To clarify my position and to anticipate such criticisms, in my book Zion’s Christian Soldiers?, I wrote the following:

“It is true that at various times in the past, churches and church leaders have tolerated or incited anti-Semitism and even attacks on Jewish people. Racism is a sin and without excuse. Anti-Semitism must be repudiated unequivocally. However, we must not confuse apples and oranges. Anti-Zionism is not the same thing as anti-Semitism despite attempts to broaden the definition. Criticising a political system as racist is not necessarily racist. Judaism is a religious system. Israel is a sovereign nation. Zionism is a political system. These three are not synonymous. I respect Judaism, repudiate anti-Semitism, encourage interfaith dialogue and defend Israel’s right to exist within borders recognised by the international community and agreed with her neighbours. But like many Jews, I disagree with a political system which gives preference to expatriate Jews born elsewhere in the world, while denying the same rights to the Arab Palestinians born in the country itself.”

I endorse the position taken by the Heads of Churches in Israel regarding the need for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

Others such as former US President Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have made comparisons between Israeli policies in the Occupied Territories and South Africa under apartheid.

I do wish to see the present illegal occupation of Gaza, the Golan and the West Bank “disappear”, but only as a result of the peaceful implementation of all relevant UN Resolutions, the Roadmap to Peace previously agreed by the US, EU, Russia and UN in April 2003, and Annapolis Agreement of November 2007 and Quartet Statement of December 2008.

I have a high regard for Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali and the courageous stand he has taken on inter-faith as well as ecclesiastical issues. Indeed I helped organise and promote his recent visit to Guildford Diocese.

I also deeply regret hearing that Patrick Sookhdeo has received a death threat as a result of writing his recent book, Global Jihad. Unfortunately, it is increasingly common. I have too. Veiled threats even feature on pro-Zionist Christian websites that seem to want me dead. Another example on the same website has the author lament, “Unfortunately (in my opinion) we no longer publicly and immediately stone false prophets to death.” then a few sentences later asserts, “One of the latest in a very long line of succession is a false teacher by the name of Stephen Sizer.” Thankfully, the police take these threats seriously and have arranged a measure of additional protection for my family also.

Back to Melanie Phillips. Her inflammatory alleagations about my involvement in interfaith conferences or TV programmes, alongside Jewish or Islamic leaders, is a tried and tested method intended to alienate, isolate and silence the views of those deemed critical of her own. Prior knowledge of, or agreement with, the views of others invited onto radio or TV programmes or conference platforms is not a significant criteria I use to decide whether to participate. Gaining a hearing for an explicitly Christian perspective committed to peacemaking and non-violence is.

What saddened me most, however, about Melanie Phillips’ article, were her concluding remarks criticising the Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of England. This is what she wrote:

“Many will be deeply shocked that the Church of England harbours individuals with such attitudes. But the church hierarchy is unlikely to act against them. Extreme hostility towards Israel is the default position among bishops and archbishops; while the establishment line is to reach out towards Islam in an attempt to accommodate and appease it. With Christians around the world suffering forced conversion, ethnic cleansing and murder at Islamist hands, the church utters not a word of protest. Instead, inter-faith dialogue is the order of the day…”

I have been a Christian minister for just short of 30 years but have yet to meet a priest, let alone a Bishop or Archbishop who displays, “extreme hostility towards Israel” or who wishes to “accommodate and appease” Islam. Just the reverse. While there is clearly a spectrum of opinion on the best way to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict within the House of Bishops, and the most appropriate way to present the good news of Jesus Christ in a multi-faith context, they are nevertheless united in opposing racism and religious intolerance whether directed toward Jewish people or Muslims.

One has to ask what has motivated her to compose such a mendacious and libellous caricature of Christians within the Church of England concerned for justice and peace in the Middle East? Is it to deflect attention from Israel’s recent wanton killing spree in Gaza? Or was it written out of frustration at the decision of the Church of England Synod to divest its shares in Caterpillar? Or just part of the wider Zionist lobby targetting Barak Obama’s new Administration? Or is it perhaps a precursor to an imminent pre-emptive attack against Iran? Lets hope not otherwise it won’t be the libel or calumny we are debating but whether her friends who seem anxious for Armageddon are right after all.

For answers – check out Melanie’s Wiki entry – that bastion of ‘objectivity’ and truth. It alleges,

“Phillips strongly defends Israel and its actions. She argues the Palestinians are an “artificial” people who can be collectively punished for acts of terrorism by Islamist terrorists because they are “a terrorist population”. She believes that while “individual Palestinians may deserve compassion, their cause amounts to Holocaust denial as a national project”.[12] She has repeatedly claimed that footage of those injured in Israeli attacks on Palestinian areas has been “fabricated/faked”.[13][14]

She frequently accuses Israel’s critics (including many Jews) of being motivated by anti-Semitism. She has described the paper “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” written by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt as a “particularly ripe example of the ‘global Zionist conspiracy’ libel” and expressed her astonishment at what she calls “the fundamental misrepresentations and distortions in the paper”.[15]

In a recent article, she criticised the membership and leadership of the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches in Britain, and specifically the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, accusing them of antisemitism because of remarks made by the Archbishop about the plight of Bethlehem Christians under Israeli occupation; another factor was an opinion poll showing that the majority of Anglicans were opposed to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. The article ended with a condemnation of what she sees as the churches’ failure to criticise the President of Iran’s desire to “destroy Israel”,[16] and that “the churches in Britain are not only silent about the genocidal ravings emanating from Iran but are themselves helping pave the way for a second Holocaust“.[17]

I think its time Melanie came back to church and stopped telling porkies.

For the official response from the Church of England – see here.

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Statement by the Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem on the current devastating situation in Gaza


Photograph: Adel Hana/AP

We, the Patriarchs, Bishops and the Heads of Christian Churches in Jerusalem, follow with deep concern, regret, and shock the war currently raging in the Gaza Strip and the subsequent destruction, murder and bloodshed, especially at a time when we celebrate Christmas, the birth of the King of love and peace. As we express our deep sorrow at the renewed cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians and the continued absence of peace in our Holy Land, we denounce the ongoing hostilities in the Gaza Strip and all forms of violence and killings from all parties. We believe that the continuation of this bloodshed and violence will not lead to peace and justice but breed more hatred and hostility – and thus continued confrontation between the two peoples.

Accordingly, we call upon all officials of both parties to the conflict to return to their senses and refrain from all violent acts, which only bring destruction and tragedy, and urge them instead to work to resolve their differences through peaceful and non-violent means.

We also call upon the international community to fulfill its responsibilities and intervene immediately and actively stop the bloodshed and end all forms of confrontation; to work hard and strong to put an end to the current confrontation and remove the causes of conflict between the two peoples; and to finally resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a just and comprehensive solution based on international resolutions.

To the various Palestinian factions we say: It is time to end your division and settle your differences. We call on all factions at this particular time to put the interests of the Palestinian people above personal and factional interests and to move immediately toward national comprehensive reconciliation and use all non-violent means to achieve a just and comprehensive peace in the region.

Finally, we raise our prayers to the Child in the manger to inspire the authorities and decision makers on both sides, the Israelis and Palestinians, for immediate action to end the current tragic situation in the Gaza Strip. We pray for the victims, the wounded and the broken-hearted. May the Lord God Almighty grant all those who have lost loved ones consolation and patience. We pray for all those living in panic and fear, that God may bless them with calm, tranquility and true peace.

We call on all to observe next Sunday, January 4, as a day for justice and peace in the land of peace.

+ Patriarch Theophilos III, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
+ Patriarch Fuad Twal, Latin Patriarchate.
+ Patriarch Torkom II, Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarchate.
Fr. Pier Battista Pizzaballa, ofm, Custody of the Holy Land
+ Anba Abraham, Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate.
+ Archbishop Swerios Malki Mourad, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate.
+ Abune Matthias, Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate
+ Archbishop Paul Nabil Sayyah, Maronite Patriarchal Exarchate.
+ Bishop Suheil Dawani, Episcopal Church of Jerusalem & the Middle East.
+ Bishop Munib Younan, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan & the Holy Land.
+ Bishop Pierre Malki, Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate
+ Bishop Youssef Zre’i, Greek Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate.
Fr. Raphael Minassian, Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate

Read John McArthy If it were your home, what hope restraint? and Ilan Pappe Israel’s Righteous Fury and its Victims in Gaza

The Narrow Gate of Justice: Sabeel Statement
Pirates of the Mediterranean: Gaza Update
Photos of Gaza

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The Christians of Gaza

Photograph: Musa Al-shaer/AFP/Getty Images

A little known fact is the presence of a small but significant Christian Palestinian presence in Gaza. Gerald Butt wrote about them in Life at the Crossroads: History of Gaza. Read a review here.

Carl Moeller of Open Doors has just sent this news and prayer update on their plight.

“As an estimated 10,000 Israeli ground troops invaded Gaza today, the small community of Christians are drawing strength from their faith in God. Last week’s attacks left over 400 dead and 2,000 injured and the numbers are expected to dramatically increase.

According to reliable reports, the Gaza Baptist Church building was still standing this morning but has had some of its windows shattered by the bombings. Some Christian families left Gaza for Bethlehem over the holidays and are now separated from their loved ones with the border sealed. Many of the hospitals, already lacking basic medicines and medical equipment, are overwhelmed with the casualties and often are without power.

This is serious trouble for Christians in Gaza. Even before the recent end to the ceasefire (December 19) and the bombings, the estimated 3,000 Christians in Gaza have been living in fear from threats from Islamic militants.

Please join me in prayer for these brave Christians in Gaza in the wake of this new outbreak of violence. Pray that the war between Israel and Palestine is shorter and less devastating than what military and political speculators around the world are predicting. Pray that Christian families will be reunited. Pray that the Gaza Baptist Church building will be spared from the bombs.

Earlier this year one believer in Gaza stated: “Seventy percent of the Christians want to leave Gaza because they are very afraid. But we love Gaza. It’s our country, we have roots here, our homes are here. We will not know anyone if we go somewhere else.”

Pray that the seeds Brother Andrew sowed with Hamas and other prominent militant groups and the Gazan Christians sowed throughout the years when the Palestinian Bible Society actively shared God’s love with Muslim friends and neighbors will bear fruit. May their offerings of Christ’s love result in peace and God’s glory. Please check our website at http://www.opendoorsusa.org/ for updates.

In Christ our hope,
Carl Moeller

Dr. Carl A. Moeller
Open Doors USA President/CEO

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Read John McArthy’s excellent piece in the Independent If it were your home, what hope restraint?

Also:

The Narrow Gate of Justice: Sabeel’s Statement
Statement by the Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches

Pirates of the Mediterranean: Gaza Update

More photos of Gaza

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Globalising Hatred: The New Antisemitism

Denis MacShane is the Labour MP for Rotherham, and was the Minister of State for Europe at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office until the ministerial reshuffle that followed the 2005 general election. His book “Globalizing Hatred: The New Antisemitism” was published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in September 2008.

This week Newsweek published an article by MacShane entitled, ‘Europe’s Jewish Problem‘ It makes sober reading. This is from the introduction.

As Europe faces up to its old demons of financial breakdown and job losses, a wind from the past is blowing through the continent. The politics of moderate center-right and left-liberal democracy that took power after 1945 are giving way to a new old populism. The extravagant rhetoric of the demagogic left and right is gaining ground, and the most obvious manifestation is the return of anti-Semitism as an organizing ideology. Consider the numbers: according to a recent Pew survey, the percentage of Germans who hold unfavorable views of Jews has climbed from 20 percent in 2004 to 25 percent today. In France, which has the largest number of Jews of any European nation, 20 percent of people view Jews unfavorably—up from 11 percent four years ago. In Spain, the figures are even more striking: negative views of Jews climbed from 21 percent in 2005 to nearly one in two this year. In Britain, where the numbers have remained around 9 percent for some time, anecdotal evidence of increased animosity abounds: youngsters returning from the Jewish Free School in middle-class North London are now frightened to go home on public buses on account of anti-Jewish attacks. Their parents hire private buses, as the London police seem unable to staunch anti-Semitic assaults on their children. In Manchester, a Jewish cemetery had to have a Nazi swastika hurriedly cleaned off its walls before a VIP party arrived.”

MacShane concludes, “As jobs are lost and welfare becomes meaner and leaner, the politics of blaming the outsider can only grow. The hard-won European politics of breaking down frontiers and trying to legislate for tolerance will get harder to defend, still less to promote. European populism and the anti-EU nationalism of both the right and the left is now the politics to watch. As America celebrates its first nonwhite president and the hope of a new politics, Europe may be beginning to revisit its past.”

MacShane’s new book has been reviewed by Rafael Behr in the Observer/Guardian, Alasdair Palmer, in the Telegraph, and Geoffrey Alderman in the Jewish Chronicle.

With the recession beginning to bite harder and forecast to last at least a year, with the steady rise in radical political and religious extremism, anti-social behaviour and the threat of terrorism ever before us, the temptation in 2009 will be to retreat into our shells or begin to blame others for our woes. Remember Oswald Mosley and his Black Shirts that fed off the back of the Great Depression? How do we avoid it ever happening again?

If we are tempted to think it could never happen here, we need to think again. The Holocaust Research Centre of Royal Holloway University are collaborating with German educational institutions in a conference 27-29 January in Berlin on holocaust perpetrators. The conference will address how and why ‘normal’ people become genocide perpetrators. History must not be allowed to repeat itself.

While MacShane does not address the correlation between Antisemitism and anti-Zionism, or between Antisemitism and Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories, at least not in the Newsweek article, the two issues are clearly linked. But legitimate criticism of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians must not be used as an excuse for racism or attacks against Jewish people. What ever the causes of the rise of the new Antisemitism, it is totally unacceptable and must be repudiated unequivocally.

Adapted from an article in the January edition of Connection, the community magazine of Virginia Water.

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Weird and Wacky Theology 3: Armageddon out of here

John Hagee wrote to me again today. He writes most days. Today he wrote to remind me, “As Christians we have a Biblical obligation to defend Israel and the Jewish people in their time of need. Israel’s time of need is now. There is a new Hitler in the Middle East –President Ahmadinejad of Iran — who has threatened to wipe out Israel and America and is rapidly acquiring the nuclear technology to make good on his threat. Tragically, 2008 has been a year of steady progress for President Ahmadinejad and his nuclear ambitions.”

In case I missed it, John’s email contained not one but two requests for money – in between the paragraphs so I would not miss it, like I’m doing here, except you don’t need to send me any money.

Then John went on to warn me, “As Iran gets steadily closer to obtaining nuclear weapons, we get that much closer to the possibility of a second Holocaust. The risk that Israel and her six million Jews might be “wiped off the map” is too great for us to sit silently by as the world does nothing. As 2008 ends and 2009 begins, we must redouble our efforts to stop Iran. In particular, we must combine fervent prayer with urgent action.”

How John, how?

“In addition to prayer, we must also act to make sure that our fellow citizens and our government recognize the urgency of this threat. Christians United for Israel is determined to focus intensely on the issue of Iran in 2009. We plan to educate Christians across America about the threat of a nuclear Iran. We intend to help our members speak out in their communities and churches to raise awareness on this issue. We plan to communicate the urgency of this issue to our leaders in Washington and demand that they act with greater resolve to stop this threat to America and Israel.”

I knew prayer wouldn’t be enough. If that was all John was asking for I certainly wouldn’t have written this piece, and you wouldn’t be bothering to read it either, but you are and that’s because you know by now that John has other ideas of how to ‘stop Iran’ and being the pastor of an 18,000 member church he doesn’t need to beat around the bush.

At the July 19th, 2006 Washington DC inaugural event for Christians United for Israel, after recorded greeting from George W. Bush, and in the presence of four US Senators as well as the Israeli ambassador to the US, John stated :”The United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God’s plan for both Israel and the West… a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation, and Second Coming of Christ.”

Well that’s everything isn’t it? The whole caboodle as we say in O’l Blighty. Now I don’t want to see anyone ‘wiped off the face of the earth’ least of all my Jewish friends, but bombing Iran back to the stone age won’t win us any friends in the Middle East, John. Trust me, I’ve asked them.

Your friend Ann Coulter suggested something similar after the tragedy of 9/11. She said, “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren’t punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That’s war. And this is war.”

We tried it a thousand years ago. It didn’t work then and it won’t work now. John, I’m struggling a bit with your theology. I’ve read the Bible a few times over the years but I just can’t find that verse you must have in mind that says this is our ‘biblical obligation.’ I thought our ‘biblical obligation’ was to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:43-48). Paul said our ‘obligation’ is to tell them about the love of God found in Jesus (Romans 1:14; John 3:16-17). Maybe I’m just reading the wrong translation.

Grace Halsell put her finger on it when she wrote: “Convinced that a nuclear Armageddon is an inevitable event within the divine scheme of things, many evangelical dispensationalists have committed themselves to a course for Israel that, by their own admission, will lead directly to a holocaust indescribably more savage and widespread than any vision of carnage that could have generated in Adolf Hitler’s criminal mind.”

She is right isn’t she? Such a fatalistic view of the future, with its prewritten script, is inherently suspicious and pessimistic about anything international, ecumenical, or involving the European Community or United Nations. Efforts to achieve a lasting peace in the Middle East are spurned as counterfeit and a satanic ploy to beguile Israel. Such paranoia might be deemed a sick joke were it not so pervasive and influential, it seems, in shaping US foreign policy with its perpetual war against the ‘Axis of Evil’. Its greatest danger is surely that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Maybe to call it ‘weird and wacky’ is a little understated.

For further examples of wacky theology see:

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Weird and Wacky Theology 1: Israel and the Church

As a taster for my new book on the use and abuse of the Bible in relation to Israel and the Church, I plan to highlight examples of eccentric interpretation that lead, at best, to dubious theology, and at worst, to heresy.

Jacob Prasch is a good example. Described as an “authentic Messianic teacher” on the anonymous Seismic Shock blog, Prasch uses the story of Rachel and Leah from Genesis to teach that Jesus did not desire the Church as his bride.

“Jacob came for a bride from his own people. He desired Rachel, but he did not get Rachel at first, but Leah. After he learned to love Leah as much as he did Rachel, he got Rachel as well. In the beginning Leah had all the babies, her womb was most fruitful. But then Rachel conceives. Israel shall be a fruitful vine. Jesus came for Israel. He wanted to marry Israel, but He did not get Israel. He ends up with the bride He did not desire at first, the Gentile church. After He learns to love the Gentile church, then He gets Israel. In the beginning, the church has all the babies. But in the end, Israel becomes a fruitful vine.” (Jacob Prasch)

You can read the context here.

Here’s another example from John Wilkinson, Founder and Director of the Mildmay Mission

“ … the Jewish nation as such is shunted to a siding until the times of the Gentiles run out, to allow the express train to pass, stopping here and there to pick up the Church, and then the Jewish nation will take her place on the main line of the Divine Plan, stop at all stations and take on the world.” (Israel my Glory, 1893, p.134).

As Kevin Daly observes, “In other words what Jesus failed to do by pouring out the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the Jews will succeed in doing much better once the church is taken out of the way.” Gilbert Bilezikian rightly characterizes this theology as turning the Church into the ‘concubine of Christ‘.

David Brickner, revives J.N. Darby’s eccentric dispensational scheme, suggesting the last two thousand years history of the Church is merely ‘a parenthesis’ to God’s future plans for the Jews, who remain his ‘chosen people’. (see Future Hope, p. 18, 130; J. N. Darby, ‘The Character of Office in The Present Dispensation’ Collected Writings., Eccl. I, Vol. I, p. 94).

By contrast, the Apostle Paul describes the extent of Jesus’ love for the Church in Ephesians 5:

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 5:25-27)

Jesus himself said, ” Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” (John 15:13-14).

Just before he washed his disciples feet, the Apostle John writes so movingly, “Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.” (John 13:1)

Why was Jesus willing to die? The apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 2 that Jesus died to reconcile both Jews and Gentiles to God the Father.

“His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:15-18)

The Lord Jesus has broken down the barrier between Jews and Gentiles who recognise him as their Lord and Saviour. It is tragic when some of his followers, Like Prasch, it seems want to focus on that barrier.

Perhaps just as revealing, is the fact that the anonymous author of Seismic Shock, who calls himself the Maverick, regards Prasch as an “authentic Messianic teacher”. He must therefore be a Messianic believer himself (i.e. a Jew who believes in Jesus). No secular Jew would describe a Christian leader in this way. If true, I find this very, very sad, that so-called followers of Jesus would choose to use an anonymous blog to to discredit other followers of Jesus in this way. The Apostle Paul insists,

“Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:2)

It seems sad that their love of Zionism appears greater than their love of Jesus.

For further examples of wacky theology see:

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