I can kind of empathise a little with John Wesley, the 18th Century Anglican cleric, theologian, and evangelist, who founded the Methodist movement within the Church of England. When they locked him out of churches, denying him a pulpit because of his biblical theology, he preached in the open air instead, in cemeteries, fields and marketplaces. Given the vagaries of English weather, I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to expound the Scriptures each week as well. In my case, through the marvel of the internet. Ironically, I am now reaching many more people than before my suspension, especially since being appointed Chaplain to the former Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem. My Zionist critics, however, continue to try and isolate me by intimidating others. Although we never publicised details of our local church family, my critics found out and targeted the leaders and members. To avoid embarrassment to them, we withdrew our membership. So, at the moment we are technically spiritual orphans.Continue reading
Overcoming Christian Zionism in the Quest of Justice
The launch of the Sabeel Booklet on Overcoming Christian Zionism in the Quest of Justice will take place on May 9th 6pm Jerusalem Time.
Please join us on the 9th of May 4pm London, 6pm Jerusalem, 11am New York, 8am Los Angeles.
Listen to the reflections of Rev. Don Wagner and The Revd Dr Stephen Sizer on the Launching of Sabeel Booklet on Overcoming Christian Zionism in the Quest of Justice
Please do register for this important session.
Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14)
Are you old enough to remember life before Sat Nav? Remember when you relied on using a road map lying precariously on the passenger seat beside you. If you were like me, you got lost frequently. Now you simply type in a postcode or a road name on your phone or sat nav and you’ll be guided all the way to your destination. But do you know how GPS works? You turn it on and type in the post code. No, that is not what I mean.
The Global Positioning System(GPS) is a constellation of 30+ Earth-orbiting satellites. Weighing around 3,000 to 4,000 pound each solar-powered satellite circles the globe at about 12,000 miles (19,300 km), making two complete rotations every day. The orbits are arranged so that at anytime, anywhere on earth, there are at least four satellites “visible” in the sky. Your GPS receiver in your sat nav locates four or more of these satellites, figure out the distance to each, and uses this information to deduce its own location. This operation is based on a simple mathematical principle called trilateration. In order to make this simple calculation, then, the Sat Nav or GPS receiver has to know two things: The location of at least three satellites above you and the distance between you and each of those satellites.Continue reading
The Great Shepherd of the Sheep (John 10)
One of the most memorable scenes in Palestine is the journey from Jerusalem to Jericho. This road cuts a giant gash through the Judean Wilderness. The hillsides are covered with open fields, bare, dry and parched, dotted with herds of sheep and goats, and lonely shepherds leading their flocks. As the road descends with dozens of hairpin bends from 1000 feet above sea level to nearly 1000 feet below you catch a glimpse of many Bedouin encampments just off the main road on the hill sides.Continue reading
The Five Marks of a Healthy Church (Acts 2)
Let me ask you a personal question. Do you love your family? How do you show it? Do you have an annual health checkup? You know – blood tests for your cholesterol, PSA for your prostate, blood pressure, weight, etc? When is your next one? Is it in your diary? It’s not? But you love your family right? Do you service your car regularly? Which is more important?
And assuming you do see your doctor regularly, if you were given advice on diet or exercise, are you following it? And if you were prescribed medication to lower your cholesterol, or reduce your blood pressure, are you taking them? And are you encouraging your family to have their health checked regularly as well? If you really love your partner, or your children, or your parents, I suggest it is more important to have an annual health check, than remembering their birthdays or your wedding anniversary. It shows you care more about their future than about your past. Proving you love those closest to you may mean making a phone call tomorrow morning.Continue reading
The Bible and Zionism: An Interview with Mark Braverman
Mark is Executive Director, Kairos USA and Research Fellow in Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology, Stellenbosch University.
These are the questions asked in our interview (paraphrased):
How do we reconcile the biblical texts promising the land to the descendants of Abraham with the call of the Palestinian Christians for sharing the land of Palestine?
The modern Jewish Zionist program calls the land “Israel.” And the settler movement, with the support of the Israeli government, is committed to Jewish hegemony over the entire land from the river to the sea (indeed, from the Nile to the Euphrates!). They justify this biblically. Is this claim consistent with biblical promises?
Is it theologically sound to use the Bible to argue land claims and human rights issues of equality? How do we read the Bible today confronting issues of racism and colonialism? What does Jesus have to say about this?
Christian Zionism provides the basis for many Christians’ commitment to and activity in support of the State of Israel. It is also being challenged, as biblically erroneous, theological unsound, and unacceptable on moral grounds. Is it Biblical? Indeed, what is its provenance with respect to the political and historical contexts in which it was conceived, took shape, and has been applied, right up to the present day?
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A Dossier on Israeli Apartheid: A Pressing Call to Churches Around the World
We, members of Kairos Palestine and Global Kairos for Justice, have created a theological study for Christians and other civil society organizations who want to learn more about the crime of apartheid and why Palestinians and a growing number of churches and human rights organizations are using the word to describe Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.
Spanish: Download Full Dossier
Bishop’s Chaplain: A New Appointment
Re. Bishop’s Chaplain
Salaam in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose resurrection from the death we celebrate these days ever proclaiming: “Jesus Christ is risen”.
In recognition of our long-standing relationship of over thirty years, I am writing to formally invite you to become my chaplain in the UK, to assist me when I am visiting, or to advise me in the fulfilment of my episcopal duties, albeit in retirement.
My dear Stephen, you are a person of integrity and forthright views with the courage to express them.
At the same time you have always shown the utmost respect for the adherents of different faiths, in particular to Jews and Moslems, while advocating for Christian presence in the Land of the Holy One, Israel and Palestine, and campaigning for Palestinian Human Rights.
I wish more servants of Christ, bishops and clergy, Anglicans and others, were as courageous as you in challenging the destructive effects of Israeli apartheid and Christian Zionism on both Jews and Palestinians.
I appreciate your prayers, your advocacy and solidarity with the Church in the Holy Land.
Know this comes with my prayers and my sincere thanks in advance.
+Bishop Riah Abo El Assal
I have been assisting Bishop Riah in the fulfilment of his episcopal duties in an informal capacity for decades. It is a delight and honour to have that role more formally recognised.
Redeeming Israel? Confused on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24)
If you went in search of the village of Emmaus today, you would not find it. This Sunday, literally hundreds of millions of Christians around the world will hear the Easter story of the encounter between two disciples and the risen Lord Jesus on the Road to Emmaus. Few however, will hear mention of Emmaus today, or what has happened there in our lifetime. In an article published by If Americans Knew, Sacred Christian Site Emmaus Destroyed by Israel, Alison Weir writes,
“In 1967, after Israel launched its Six Day War, Israel expelled the inhabitants of Emmaus and obliterated almost all traces of the village, along with two other Palestinian villages nearby. This was part of the Israeli strategy, in the words of an Israeli historian, “to take over as much of Palestine as possible with as few Palestinians as possible” Israeli journalist Amira Hass describes Emmaus before it was levelled:
“Schools, mosques, an ancient church, olive presses, paths to fields and orchards, bubbling streams, mountain air, sabra bushes, carob and olive and deciduous trees, harvested fields, graves, water cisterns.” Israel then “brought in the bulldozers and destroyed and detonated and trampled. Not for the first time, not for the last. And the owners of all that beauty – the elderly, the children, the infants – heard and watched the explosions from a kilometre or two away.”Continue reading
This Is Where We Stand: A Sabeel Reflection on Antisemitism
Why then do we write about antisemitism? The answer is simple.
The foundations on which we struggle against Palestinian oppression are the same foundations on which we are committed to fighting against antisemitism. Furthermore, if it is wrong of the state of Israel to deny our full humanity, it is futile and unacceptable for us to do the same. There will be no peace in our land until all of us recognize the full humanity of all who live here – especially Palestinian refugees, forcibly exiled who wish to return and have been denied that right.Continue reading
United Against Apartheid: Jerusalem Day
John Wesley preached outdoors because the Church of England denied him a pulpit over his evangelical theology. He could have left the Anglican Church but didn’t. They didn’t want him. His theology was too evangelical. His love was too extravagant. His methods too unorthodox. So they shut him out of churches and pulpits. They could not silence Wesley. Instead he preached in the open air – in fields, markets, and cemeteries and the crowds loved him.
Today it was my privilege to read and expound the scriptures in the open air in Whitehall outside Downing Street before an estimated 15,000+ Jews, Muslims, Christians and those of no faith, all with police protection. It was truly one of the highlights of my ministry. (click on the photo above to watch my presentation). The text of my presentation together with photos and more short videos may be found below.Continue reading