by Jim Fletcher
At this year’s General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), delegates voted to divest from three companies that do business with Israel: Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard, and Motorola Solutions. The diabolical “BDS” movement (Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions) is intended to hurt Israel economically. In fact, it is one element of the larger war against the Jewish state.
A lesser-known resolution was no less sinister. From a piece in Jews News, we read that some will no longer accept acknowledgement of Israel’s biblical history:
“According to a report in The Algemeiner, the Church’s proposed resolution, which was rejected, stems from a complaint filed by a ‘Palestinian American Presbyterian’ who is an Elder in the church.
“The new Presbyterian Hymnal, Glory to God, published in 2013, contains a section of hymns under the heading, ‘God’s Covenant with Israel.’ The Elder who filed the complaint stated, ‘Because I am a Palestinian Christian, I am uneasy with the word ‘Israel’ in ‘God’s Covenant with Israel.’
“In an effort to deal with the situation, the resolution proposed a re-education process regarding the difference between ‘biblical Israel’ and the modern State of Israel. This included printing up stickers to be placed in all the hymnals.”
That last paragraph is chilling.
You need to know that key American Christian leaders have for some time helped spread the diabolical lie that modern Israelis have no connection to the ancient Israelites. The Palestinians came up with this totalitarian-style propaganda to drive a wedge between Christians and Israel. If the modern residents of Israel are not really Jews, then how can they lay claim to the land?
The whole premise is wholly absurd, and yet it has gained traction in some shocking quarters.
Two decades ago, I received a letter/reply from Dr. Maxie Dunnam, then president of Asbury Theological Seminary (probably the only “conservative” seminary within the United Methodist Church).
When he addressed the issue of modern Israel and the ancient Israelites, Dunnam told me that he didn’t believe there is a connection. This from a leading member of the Confessing Movement, the effort to turn the UMC back to its biblical roots!
Dunnam, though, is far from alone in his thinking. The late D. James Kennedy made similar statements, and such faulty worldview has made its way into evangelicalism, big-time.
All across the board, evangelical leaders are allowing such trash to be part of the curriculum within denominations.
When studying this phenomenon, which is anti-Semitic to the core (can you imagine denying that modern Chinese have no connection to ancient Asian cultures, or that Coptic Christians have no relation to the ancient Egyptians?), it is also important to understand this: the anti-Israel networks are so vast and layered within evangelicalism, it would take a miracle of biblical proportions to reverse the problems. One must follow the networks.
For example, back when Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd’s Cross Church had a LifeWay bookstore in the church building, just two of the books offered were authored by Gary DeMar, the well-known preterist, and Carl Medearis, perhaps the leading channel between evangelicals and Muslims. Both authors have many friends and associations that deny Israel’s biblical heritage.
It should be obvious that I don’t mean Floyd would subscribe to the disconnection theory between Israel and the Israelites. He does however associate with plenty of people who do. And, I also recognize that a pastor’s first role, especially the head of a denomination, is to lead evangelism efforts — not promote Zionism.
However, the anti-Israel feeling among evangelical elites/leadership is now systemic.
(And before you fault me for using “guilt-by-association” tactics, consider that such a method of “discovering the networks” is legitimate. Only those who don’t want the rank-and-file in the pews to figure out what’s going on whine long and loud about being criticized through guilt-by-association.)
Here is another example of how this network operates.
Recently, Gabe Lyons, the founder of “Q Ideas,” a center-left leadership entity within evangelicalism, tweeted:
“Summer parenting book I can’t put down? #NeverSayNo by our mentors Jan and @markhforeman. So, so good.”
Foreman is the pastor of North Coast Calvary Chapel in California. Two years ago, he hosted a “Hope for the Holy Land” event, featuring Mae Cannon of World Vision, Lynne Hybels, and Sami Awad — three anti-Israel speakers. Among those Foreman follows on Twitter: Shane Claiborne, Rachel Held Evans, and Joel Hunter. Each has expressed sympathy for the Palestinian cause.
Foreman is something of anomaly within the Calvary Chapel system.
For his part, Lyons has used his forum to host anti-Israel speakers like Sami Awad.
Everywhere, rising stars in the evangelical leadership universe are abandoning long-held positions, including solid Israel support. That these young leaders and their mentors (think Bill Hybels and Rick Warren) allow the “Israel bears no connection with the biblical Israelites” tripe to continue reveals much about their ultimate agenda, which I maintain focuses-on transforming the Evangelical Church into a leftist entity.
It is a fact that among American Christian leadership today, evangelical leaders are much, much closer to the radical views of people like Jim Wallis, Shane Claiborne, Tony Campolo, Marcus Borg, and John Shelby Spong — among many, many others — than they are to the views of Adrian Rogers and Chuck Smith.
It is an outrage that Christian leaders do not clearly stand with the Jews on this issue. The denial of the Jews’ biblical heritage is a spiritual nuclear weapon aimed at destroying Israel.
At the same time, American political and religious leaders stand (with a straight face) with PLO leaders who claim they are descended from the Canaanites.
You get that, don’t you? If the Palestinian Arabs could prove they are the direct descendants of the ancient pagan culture, then they can make some claim to the land of Israel. By the way, show me any scholar anywhere on the planet who would subscribe to such a theory, and I’ll show you a scholar who got his academic training from a box of Cracker Jacks.
The whole re-education model smacks of Soviet-style methods for forcing people to change long-held views. It is fiendish, sinister, and anti-biblical.
Any seminary president, pastor, or ministry leader who doesn’t unequivocally affirm the obvious truth that today’s Jews are direct descendants of the ancient Israelites forfeits his credentials and should get into fast-food management or banking, or general contracting. Anything but sitting as a phony teacher/leader.
Until the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in AD 70, the Jews’ genealogical records were kept in Jerusalem. In other words, everyone knew where he came from. That’s how Paul new he was from the tribe of Benjamin, for example.
Since that time, wherever the Jews were dispersed around the globe, they maintained their Jewish identity. The famous phrase “Next Year in Jerusalem” has been a plaintive cry from Jews around the world, longing to return to Zion.
Their return — surely the greatest single miracle in 2,000 years — has happened in our time.
Eternal shame on evangelical leaders in America who not only fail to affirm this reality, but work to undermine it.