by Jim Fletcher
There is a relatively famous poem by Gen. George S. Patton — the poem was made much more famous by the 1970 film starring George C. Scott — that I think speaks to the spiritual warfare that has seemingly erupted in just the last few years. When I think of Scott striding across an ancient battlefield, pulling on his leather gloves and squinting at Gen. Omar Bradley, I think of our ultimate enemy, as Patton speaks lines from “Through a Glass Darkly”:
“So as through a glass, and darkly
The age long strife I see
Where I fought in many guises,
Many names, but always me.”
The poem itself is about a (happy?) warrior, convinced he is doing God’s bidding. Of course, that fallen angel, Lucifer, struggles for himself, but I think those lines perfectly capture the multi-pronged attack he has waged, and ratcheted-up, for millennia.
Nowhere is this more evident than in his twin attacks at the moment: rising pressure on Israel from the international community (biblically, “the nations”), and the choking apostasy plaguing in particular the American church.
Those of us who advocate for Israel wonder daily how the world can be so blind. Inversions of the truth happen every second. This is especially true in the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict. The European Union recently dropped Hamas from its list of terror organizations; for some time before that, international leaders like Jimmy Carter had fought to legitimize the murderous terror group, and this kind of madness is difficult to fathom.
A Palestinian terrorist this week firebombed an Israeli car, burning an 11-year-old girl over 50 percent of her body.
Little outcry from the international community, and that kind of indifference, which is evil, is commonplace these days.
One wonders how Benjamin Netanyahu can remain upright every day.
The Israeli premier is now forced to go to early elections, set for March, and at the same time wage war on the diplomatic and military fronts 24/7. His clear denunciations of Palestinian terror groups should be, in a sane world, sufficient for allies to rise up and crush these terror groups.
Yet, not only is support for Israel slipping, it is slipping in areas previously unthinkable.
Regular readers of “Israel Watch” know that I like to know why things are the way they are, and why Israel is disliked by so many in the church. Let me repeat myself yet again: it is the evangelical leadership community in America that is all but waging war on Israel today, and that is a mind melt for many of us who grew up in the shadows of “The Late, Great Planet Earth” and the heyday of dispensationalism.
To the point of this column: rarely do we look at the last 100 years of American Christianity when trying to understand our present situation. Yet I fervently believe it is the key to recognizing why things are happening the way they are.
A book I’ve referenced before, “Beyond the Point of No Return,” by Calvin Johnson, analyzes the decline of the Methodist Church. What, you might ask, does that have to do with eroding support for Israel?
Quite a bit, actually,
The late Johnson was a Methodist minister for 40 years, and was evangelical to the core. His book is a chilling account of how men who had crept into the church dismantled every viable effort for evangelism, over a period of at least 70 years. Men who knew what they were doing, and who are the spiritual forefathers of the Brian McLarens, Tony Campolos, and Marcus Borgs who day and night wage war against biblical Christianity.
Israel is naturally a large target. Early on in his book, Johnson discusses the attacks on Genesis, and then presents some key data. In a publication called “Adult Student” (April, 1951), we read, concerning Genesis:
“The second section, Chapters 12 through 50, is made up of hero stories out of the semi-legendary past of the Hebrew people.”
No, it isn’t.
Yet look at how much damage has been wrought by bizarre and blatantly false statements such as this.
When the Jewish people are reduced to myth and nationalistic “hero stories,” then it is a short step to making their present homeland illegitimate. That is what is happening on a massive scale across the globe, as Arab propaganda has found willing dupes in the West who love to have it so.
If God did not give the land to the Jews in perpetuity, then they are squatters, settlers, occupiers.
The American church’s grotesque abandonment of Israel and the Jewish people is a stain that cannot be cleansed.
Johnson’s book goes on in horrifying detail about the liberal destruction of confidence in the Bible, touching on our own Christian doctrine and, ultimately, the spiritual wellbeing of countless souls.
Consider his remarks about the efforts to subtly destroy evangelistic programs:
“We sent missionaries out to administer medicine, fill teeth, dig wells, teach sanitation, teach agriculture, and show love, but we thought it unnecessary to tell the people that Jesus was the only means of salvation and, of course, to tell them they were sinners and lost, was unthinkable. That’s what happened to evangelism.”
This is why young, influential leaders like Cameron Strang, Donald Miller, and Shane Claiborne have bought into leftist “justice” issues, and it is no surprise each of these men is also pro Palestinian. A century of liberal/leftist ideology, first infecting the seminaries, has now spread to all quarters of evangelical thought.
It is why some of us struggle to understand exactly what is going on. We see through a glass, darkly.
Through the ages, the devil has fought in many guises, under many names, but always as himself. His ancient hatred of the Messiah and His people is reaching full flower.
We just happen to be alive right now to see it unfold.