When a college forum talks about being pro-peace and pro-Jesus, why
do I become suspicious? When the event is sponsored by a
Department of Reconciliation Studies, why do I become
uncomfortable? The answer is, in part, that I graduated from
this once rock-solid school in prehistoric days when Christian
colleges were a safe bet.
Bethel University in St. Paul,
Mn. is like most Christian schools today. They are trying to be
cutting edge and they are trying to tell the truth from their
perspective. But when the forum is about leaving the,
"traditional pro-Israel stand," and learning to embrace the
tormented Palestinians instead, you will begin to understand the
dilemma. The attempt at "reconciliation" is disingenuous. The
whole truth won't be told.
And Bethel University's "Hope for the Holy Land"
offered no hope and didn't tell the truth.
The speakers were
on tour promoting Christian engagement in Palestine and Israel.
They included Lynne Hybels from Willow Creek Church in Illinois,
Sami Awad from the Holy Land
Trust, and Mae Elise Cannon from
I'll say it right up front: All participants represent
outfits that are openly Replacement Theology: The church is the
new Israel. Do you suppose their proper and Biblical
perspective of Israel is going to be diminished and thus right
from the start, the debate won't be balanced? If you said 'yes,'
you would be dead-on.
I did not know that at the same time my friend and fellow
journalist Jim Fletcher was attending "Catalyst East"
in Atlanta, one of the greatest gatherings of young evangelicals in
America. And, they are largely pro-Palestinian. I shudder as I
compare notes with Fletcher because the conclusion is obvious:
Israel's days of enjoying unquestionable support from the
evangelical community is eroding. He heard a few of the same
voices as I did.
Fletcher writes, "Lynne Hybels presented no context with regard to
physical conflicts between Israel and her Arab neighbors. For
example, in her admittedly brief overview of the region, war
seemed to spring up out of nowhere. No mention of Arab invasions
of Israel in 1948 or 1973, or the cataclysmic decisions of
Egypt's Nasser in 1967, which led to Israel administering the
disputed territories of Judea/Samaria, or as the world largely
knows it, the West Bank."
He continues, "For example,
Hybels and others have begun framing the issue in terms of
'pro peace, pro Israel, pro Palestinian, and pro Jesus.'
Other speakers such as Glenn Stassen, David Gushee, Brian
McLaren, and Tony Campolo, savage Christian Zionists in the most
odious terms. Hybels presents a softer, gentler side of
I made the same conclusion about
Lynne Hybels. If you have to listen to Palestinian propaganda,
it is nice to hear it in a soft-spoken voice. The same can be
said for Christian Arab Sami Awad. Both are people you would
like to get to know better. Both are sincere Christians who just
happen to believe what Palestinian Christian leaders have said
more than they choose to believe many verses in the Bible as it
concerns God's land and people. Lynne and Sami aren't being
disingenuous. They have different interpretations of the Bible,
theology, and the facts on the ground.
The problem is
they are speaking into the minds of young people who may not be
able to properly process the information. These same young
people will soon become pastors and teachers to the church at
large and the untruths will be further implemented in the
How can you genuinely be pro-peace if there is no
truthful talk about the following:
* The wall of
separation between Israel and the Palestinian territories that
saves tens of thousands of Israeli lives from Palestinian
Islamic terrorists is called the "apartheid wall." The wall is
compared to a bully to the Palestinian people when it is saving
Israeli lives. Why not suggest that all other nations can have
barriers to protect their people except Israel?
is no reference to the victims of Palestinian terror such as the
Fogel family, slaughtered like pigs in March of 2011, or the
dozens of victims of other terror activities that have left
Israelis maimed or killed.
* The devious "two-state
solution," that is no solution, is heralded even though it boots
Israel off of their God-given land and it gives legitimacy to
terrorists. The same could be said about all references to
"land-for-peace" efforts that are praised, yet the Palestinian
leaders reject these efforts and return to terror.
plight of Christians in the region is ignored or underplayed.
Tens of thousands of Christians are running for their lives and
that includes a decimation of Palestinian Christians who once
made up 20% of the Palestinian population. That number is now
down to 1%. Israel has not driven them out. Fellow Palestinian
terrorists as well as Fatah and Hamas leaders have done it. Why
At the "Hope for the Holy Land" forum, no
Jewish history was cited, no Scriptures were quoted, and no
pro-Israel position was allowed into the forum and was
discouraged in the Q & A.
At the close, the president of
Bethel University, Jay Barnes, closed with his pro-Palestinian
position while almost denouncing the pro-Israel view under which
he had grown up.
Clearly, the prophesied abandonment of
Israel is hastening. If the Lord tarries, when these young
leaders mature, they will form a legion of people who will
abandon the traditional pro-Israel stand found within
evangelicalism for 65 years. This trend is in keeping with the
"new way of doing church." Younger people continue to break
tradition but contemporary ways are often not sound. The call of
the "social justice" gurus are getting stronger and the
Palestinian issues fall into that.
Jim Fletcher reached
the same conclusion at his "Catalyst East" event. He says,
"Everything I saw at Catalyst confirmed this drift. In dozens of
random conversations, I noted that 'Millennials' -- the
20-somethings who are quickly dominating the evangelical scene
-- expressed solidarity with the Palestinians and annoyance with
Israel. This is a seismic shift in the American church and a
serious threat to Israel's one traditional area of support."
He concludes, "No one is denying that there are plenty of
sincere, well-meaning people in the peacemaker movement. The
problem is, they are being schooled by the Palestinians
themselves. The so-called Palestinian narrative, coming in via
people like Sami Awad, isn't different from the agenda of former
PLO chief Yasser Arafat, in any real sense. The Palestinians
then wanted to eliminate Israel any way possible. Today's
'two-state solution,' 'one-state solution,' etc., is simply
window-dressing for the goal of eliminating the Jewish state."
It is very true that Christians do need to care about the
souls of everyone in the Middle East. While these young people
are "pro-peace," God is "pro-salvation." God cares for the
It's just that Israel is not
oppressing them nor tormenting them. Their own brothers are.
Let's at least tell this truth.
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