View the interview here
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.
Please do register for this important session.
An interview with Zeinab Al Saffar on Al Mayadeen TV, an independent pan-Arab satellite television channel based in Lebanon.
I am relieved to have completed an outstanding project – updating my Friends page of support statements repudiating the allegations made against me by the Board of Deputies. I am indeed blessed to have so many genuine friends.
One example reflects the tone of the other 40+ witnesses who spoke up on my behalf.
Antony Lerman was the sole expert witness at my tribunal. He is an international recognised expert on antisemitism. His succint comment posted on the Twitter feed of the Archbishop of Canterbury summarises his response to the tribunal decision.
“This disgraceful miscarriage of justice against someone who has never uttered a word of hate against Jews will be a permanent stain on the Church of England and the Board of Deputies.”
The Church of England’s own expert witness, who attempted to apply the discredited IHRA working definition of antisemitism (imposed coincidentally within days of the complaint against me by the House of Bishops without any synodical consultation), admitted under cross examination that he wasn’t an expert on antisemitism.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” (James 1:2)
“The central message arising from the tribunal is that the well-documented accusations of repeated antisemitic behaviour made over more than a decade have been dismissed! Only one allegation of antisemitism has been found to have substance – but that was dealt with quickly and effectively [in 2015] at the time by the Bishop of Guildford (as Jonathan Arkush accepts), Stephen apologising for his actions, recognising the deep hurt his actions had caused and stating publicly that his sharing of the material was ill-considered and misguided and that he “never believed Israel, or any other country was complicity in the terrorist atrocity of 9/11.”
“It is significant that not one word or statement from Dr Sizer has been shown to be antisemitic. There are none.” Stephen Hofmeyr KC
If you wish to read my witness statement, the expert witness report, the statements of witnesses, please follow the hyperlinks below:Continue reading
The above Tribunal will be held Monday 23 – Friday 27 May 2022 arising from a complaint made by the Board of Deputies of British Jews against the Revd Dr Stephen Sizer in 2018. The Tribunal will be held at St Andrew’s Church Centre Holborn, Central London. If you wish to attend for one day or more, please RSVP to Mr Darren Oliver, the Registrar of Tribunals, as seating is limited. His email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
A previous complaint by the Board of Deputies was resolved by conciliation in 2013. See below for further information about the previous complaint and its resolution:
There are two ways to learn a lesson: the hard way and the easy way. In this sermon we consider how Jonah had to learn his lesson the hard way – inside a great fish – so that we can learn our lesson the easy way.
We will explore where, what and why Jonah prayed.
To read the sermon see here
In Malachi 3 we are introduced to the Floodgates of Heaven. There is an unmistakable connection in Scripture between spiritual growth and material values. Israel’s giving patterns were a consistent thermometer of the nation’s inner spiritual condition. When the Israelites’ hearts were kindled with a spirit of worship to God, they overflowed with contagious expressions of generosity. But when Israel’s hearts turned inward to ingratitude, complaint and idolatry, their hands withheld. And the more their hands withheld, the more their hearts turned away from God.
With their hearts went their wallets. Malachi challenges their behavior and explains how God’s blessings are experienced. If we want to experience God’s blessing we must do three things.
1. We must turn back to God (3:6-7)
2. We must stop robbing God (3:8-9)
3. We must start trusting God (3:10-12)
Read more here
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.
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”. She has repeatedly claimed that footage of those injured in Israeli attacks on Palestinian areas has been “fabricated/faked”.
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”.
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”, 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“.
I think its time Melanie came back to church and stopped telling porkies.
For the official response from the Church of England – see here.
A teenager had just got his driving licence. He asked his father, if they could discuss the use of the car. His father took him to his study and said to him, “I’ll make a deal with you. You bring your grades up, study your Scriptures a little and get your hair cut and we’ll talk about it.” After about a month the boy came back and again asked his father if they could discuss use of the car. They again went to the father’s study where his father said, “Son, I’ve been real proud of you. You have brought your grades up, you’ve studied your Scriptures diligently, but you didn’t get your hair cut!” The young man waited and minute and replied, “You know Dad, I’ve been thinking about that. Samson had long hair; Moses had long hair, why even Jesus had long hair….” To which his father replied….”Yes, and they walked every where they went!”
I think we would agree that God wants us all to grow. It’s a no-brainer. But have you noticed how different the word “grow” sounds when someone adds that little word “up”? “Grow up” It has negative connotations. It implies a degree of immaturity. It suggests we are not there yet. And that is the point. We are not there yet. We have not arrived. There is work to do, growing up. The Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 2:1 and 5, “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ…In your relationships with one another, have the same attitude of mind Christ Jesus had.” (Philippians 2:1, 5)
Because we have some way to go, in our reading today, Paul introduces another “Therefore”. Verse 12, “Therefore… continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:12-13)
Our heavenly Father’s goal is that we mature and become like Jesus Christ. But spiritual growth is not automatic. It takes time and energy. We must want to grow up and we must persevere in growing. Discipleship is another word to describe growing up or working out our salvation. Salvation is actually three dimensional. It involves my past, my present and my future. Let me illustrate this…
read more here