Tag Archives: Stephen Sizer

The Church of England’s Complicity in the Gaza Genocide

“Gaza today has become the moral compass of the world”, insisted the Reverend Dr. Munther Isaac in his 2023 Christmas sermon, entitled, “Christ in the Rubble.” After his sermon went viral, his words were subsequently quoted by UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed.

A short video introduction to the article – viewed 18k times in the first week.

Lamentably, many Christian leaders in the USA and Europe have stood by, silent and complicit, unwilling to criticise Israel for what is increasingly recognised as a genocidal campaign against the Palestinian people. 

This article will analyse the Church of England official statements about Gaza since 7th October 2023, together with criticisms, and provide an assessment of the Church’s moral integrity in its stance on Gaza.

Download the complete article – or continue to read the summary conclusions:

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Justice for Everyone, Injustice for No One: A Christian Perspective

In this short presentation, I will be reflecting on the life and teaching of Imam Ali al-Reza,[1] from a Christian perspective. This will not however, be an exhaustive or comprehensive analysis of Islamic and Christian ethical codes, but rather a comparison of some of the examples contained in the Rezavi Codes of Ethics and Selected Sayings of Imam Reza, with similar statements found in the teaching of Jesus. 

Given that you will likely already be familiar with the example and teaching of Imam Reza, I will elaborate more on the teaching of Jesus to illustrate similarities and differences, recognising that Imam Reza, living many centuries after the New Testament was written, may well have been influenced by it, consciously or otherwise. 

However, I am not a specialist in Islamic studies, or indeed of comparative religion. Nevertheless, I have helped organise, or have contributed to, several international conferences on Christian-Muslim dialogue, for example, with the World Islamic Call Society, Libya (2009), Fuller Theological Seminary, USA (2009); the League of Arab States in Qatar (2012) and Iraq (2013), the New Horizons conference, Iran (2014), and the Institute for Advanced Islamic Studies, Malaysia (2023). 

In my own engagement with Muslims, I am deeply indebted to the Syrian Christian scholar, Chawkat Moucarry. In his life and teaching, he promotes Christian-Muslim dialogue, as well as challenges many popular stereotypes held by Christians of Muslims. In a paper entitled, “A Plea for Dialogue Between Muslims and Christians[2], Moucarry defines dialogue in these terms:

“I take dialogue to mean a deliberate effort to engage genuinely and respectfully with each other; willingness to listen and understand; a readiness to learn and be challenged; a desire to relate to, communicate with, and be understood by one another. In Christian-Muslim dialogue, the focus is the Christian and Muslim faiths and their implications for individuals and communities in this life and the next.

For many centuries Western Christians have ignored or confronted the Muslim world. Ignoring Muslims is no longer an option in our “global village” where Muslims and Christians live next to each other. Some Christians seek to reach out to Muslims in confrontation, attacking Islam in a war of words. This approach is counterproductive as it usually inspires Muslims to become more radical in their beliefs, and often provokes an offensive reaction, too—Muslims attacking Christianity even more vehemently. A polemical engagement with Islam is also incompatible with “the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15), which is about love, reconciliation, and forgiveness… Even in a heated debate the Christian apologist must refrain from polemics, personal attacks, and derisive arguments about Muslims and their religion.”

Dialogue should be understood more broadly than verbal engagement. It is a way of life: an open attitude toward others, seeking to reach out and to welcome people, including those who are different or even antagonistic.” [3]

With that objective in mind, let us now compare the example and teachings of Imam Reza and Jesus Christ.

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Prepared for the Fifth Global Congress on Imam Reza, held in Mashhad, Iran, 13-14 May, 2023


[1] Rezavi Codes of Ethics: A Glance at Imam Reza’s Personal and Social Behavior (The Islamic Relations Office and Foreign Pilgrim’s Affairs of the Astan Quds Rezavi); Selected Sayings of Imam Reza by Mohammad Hakimi (Behnashr Co, Astan Quds Rezavi Publications)

[2] Chawkat Moucarry, “A Plea for Dialogue Between Muslims and Christians” (Fuller Theological Seminary)  https://fullerstudio.fuller.edu/a-plea-for-dialogue-between-muslims-and-christians/

[3] Ibid., pp. 2-3.

Red Heifers from Texas: The Destructive Consequences of Christian Zionism and Third-Temple Extremism (Video)

In anticipation of the forthcoming launch of the newly established Institute for the Study of Christian Zionism (ISCZ), you are invited to an important conversation, ‘Red Heifers’ from Texas’ & Misguided Attempts to Build the Temple: Countering the Destructive Consequences of Christian Zionism and Third-Temple Extremism, a conversation taking on a new urgency in light of recent events.

View the whole webinar here

Read the chapter The Coming Last Day’s Temple: Ready to Rebuild? from my book, Zion’s Christian Soldiers on which this PowerPoint presentation given in the webinar is based.

A 4 page summary of the book

Bible Study Guide

Organized by the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Centre in Jerusalem, Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA), and the Israel-Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) of the Presbyterian Church USA, this online conversation was birthed in response to an OPEN CALL from Palestinian Christian leaders to the global church as well as all persons of good will. This event is cosponsored by our dear friends with the Disciples Palestine-Israel Network (Disciples PIN), United Church of Christ Palestine Israel Network (UCC PIN), and Unitarian Universalists for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (UUJME).

As detailed in the letter, the extremist Temple Institute, aided by Christian Zionist extremists in the United States, aims to sacrifice a “red heifer,” claiming that such a sacrifice is necessary to purify a priest who would then be designated “clean” to enter the Holy of Holies of a rebuilt Jewish Temple.

The group’s plans would require the relocation or destruction of Masjid al-Aqsa, including the Dome of the Rock, within the Haram al-Sharif. Such a plan is not only a great affront to the hope of multi-religious coexistence in Jerusalem but an invitation to regional, if not global, warfare. In the face of this madness, Palestinian clergy have called upon all persons of goodwill to condemn this plan because actions like this accomplish nothing except for escalating hatred, instability, and violence.

As such, it is imperative that we inaugurate a global intra-Christian dialogue focused on the repudiation of Christian Zionism among other forms of political extremism. No religion has a monopoly on extremism, and it is the responsibility of the faithful first to challenge extremists within their own traditions. Today, the Christian Zionist promotion of violence alongside the genocidal assault on the people of Gaza presents an urgent challenge to Christians around the world.

We have been called to reject in the strongest terms any effort to make Jerusalem into an apocalyptic playground. Furthermore, the anti-Jewish and anti-Islamic apocalyptic fantasies promoted by many Christian Zionists view the Holy City as a place of war when God has called it to be a house of peace. What does this look like, and what can be done to confront the catastrophic consequences of Christian Zionism and Third-Temple extremism?

View the whole webinar here

Does God Have One People or Two? (John 15)

A homily given at the weekly Sabeel Jerusalem Service 25th April 2024

 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:1-7)

Who are God’s ‘chosen people’? Does God have one people or two? A simple question. In our gospel reading today, the Lord Jesus is crystal clear as to the answer. I am sure you have heard numerous sermons on John 15. We rightly focus on Jesus profound description of himself, “I am the Vine”. It is the last of the seven great “I am” statements Jesus made recorded uniquely in John’s gospel. What is the context? In Exodus 3, when Moses asks God his name, the Lord says “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3:14). The website Got Questions has a helpful explanation.

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Mardin Artuklu University: Courage Award

The 24th International Beth Al-Maqdis Academic Symposium was held at Mardin Atuklu University, Turkey, 18-20 April 2024. The conference theme was “Zionism and Academia: Pressures, Fears and Challenges”. Besides giving a presentation entitled, “A Biblical Refutation of Christian Zionism”, during the conference, I was also honoured to receive the Mardin Artuklu University Courage Award.

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European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP)

As chair of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions(ICAHD-UK), I am pleased to represent them on the ECCP committee.

The ECCP is a network of 43 European organisations, NGOs, trade unions and solidarity groups from 18 European countries,  dedicated to the struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom, justice and equality.

Red Heifers From Texas and the Jewish Temple

Register for this important Sabeel webinar here:

In anticipation of the forthcoming launch of the newly established Institute for the Study of Christian Zionism (ISCZ), you are invited to an important conversation, “‘Red Heifers’ from Texas’ & Misguided Attempts to Build the Temple: Countering the Destructive Consequences of Christian Zionism and Third-Temple Extremism”–a conversation taking on a new urgency in light of recent events. 

Organized by the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Centre in Jerusalem, Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA), and the Israel-Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) of the Presbyterian Church USA and sponsored by a diverse coalition of movement partners, this online conversation was birthed in response to an open call from Palestinian Christian leaders to the global church as well as all persons of good will. 

As detailed in the letter, the extremist Temple Institute, aided by Christian Zionist extremists in the United States, aims to sacrifice a “red heifer,” claiming that such a sacrifice is necessary to purify a priest who would then be designated “clean” to enter the Holy of Holies of a rebuilt Jewish Temple. The group’s plans would require the relocation or destruction of Masjid al-Aqsa, including the Dome of the Rock, within the Haram al-Sharif. 

Such a plan is not only a great affront to the hope of multi-religious coexistence in Jerusalem but an invitation to regional, if not global, warfare. In the face of this madness, Palestinian clergy have called upon all persons of goodwill to condemn this plan because actions like this accomplish nothing except for escalating hatred, instability, and violence. 

As such, it is imperative that we inaugurate a global intra-Christian dialogue focused on the repudiation of Christian Zionism among other forms of political extremism. 

Featuring: Alex Awad, Shadia Qutbi, Stephen Sizer, Addie Domske

Jerusalem Day Rally: Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

View my short presentation at the Jerusalem Day Rally held in Whitehall, London, here. The text is below.

What does the word Jeru-salem mean? It means “city of peace” In the Psalms we are told to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6). Why are we told to pray for the peace of the city of peace? Perhaps because God knew people would interpret the word “peace” in contradictory ways. That is why the prophet Jeremiah warned “‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 6:14).

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