An Open Letter to Jacob Prasch

Dear Jacob,

I have read with sadness your comments about me on your website. In obedience to
our Lord’s instructions in Matthew 18, I am willing to meet with you privately or with a mediator and seek reconciliation as brothers in Christ.

I realise you are disappointed at not being able to debate me on television. I was willing to do so until I read what you had written about me, especially the imprecatory associations with Menelaus. That was also the legal advice I received.

Through an intermediary I merely requested a postponement of the debate. Without knowing my reasons, rather prematurely you wrote, “I have nothing to say to such an utterly contemptible servant of hell, and I am not interested in hearing anything from him. He is of his father the devil.”

In response to my attempt to make contact with you, you wrote, “It is too late for that. That twisted snake should not have agreed to the television debate to begin with if he was going to run scared or back down.”

I suggest this is not especially edifying language and indeed may undermine the credibility of your ministry. I have recently debated both Geoffrey Smith of Christian Friends of Israel and David Pawson both on Premier Radio. Both conversations were constructive and honouring to the Lord.

I readily concede that you will not be happy with my critique of your interpretation of the relationship of Israel and the Church. However, on this occasion, the only one I can think of, I have not slandered you, questioned your motives or denigrated you personally.

Initially you were critical of me for being an Anglican. I am guilty as charged. In my defence I am part of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans committed to reforming the church on biblical grounds.

More recently you have criticised me for visiting Iran and for sharing a platform with an IRA member. You are wrong to assume that in doing so I am in agreement with the policies or actions of the Iranian government or the IRA. On the contrary I have made my own views plain through my writings, website and lectures, on the illegitimacy of the use of violence as a means of resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Jesus himself was accused of being “a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.” ’ (Luke 7:34). As one myself, I am grateful to know him as my friend, and desire to share that friendship with those who at present are outside his family, even at the expense of being maligned or misunderstood by others.

As Paul says in Romans 10, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:13-15)

I believe I have been ‘sent’ as I know you do too. We have clearly been sent to different people. We stand or fall before our Sovereign Lord to whom we are accountable not each other.

Like you, I care passionately for the Jewish people and pray for a secure Israel, as well as the fulfilment of the legitimate aspirations of Palestinians to an independent, sovereign and democratic state. I believe justice for Palestinians will bring peace for Israel, reconciliation with their neighbours and the marginalisation of extremists.

So Jacob, thank you for reading thus far. I repeat, I am willing to meet privately or with a mediator as our Lord instructed. While I may disagree with you theologically in the future, I will continue to pray for you and ask God’s blessing on your ministry.

Yours in Yeshua,
Stephen

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