Interesting article today at Mondoweiss. If you’re not familiar with the blog, it is ran by a small group of (Jewish) journalists who stand opposed to many actions taken by the Israeli government. Today’s post appears to be written by guest author John Wagner.
On October 26, 2014, the Jerusalem Post carried an article entitled “Bethlehem Bible College – purveyor of anti-Israel propaganda” in their Christian News section. The Rev. Alex Awad, a Baptist minister who works both for Bethlehem Bible College and The United Methodist Church, was personally named as part of a “a blatant attempt to demonize Israel.” The article goes on to denounce a video the college produced on the bombing of Gaza. Though not immediately apparent, the writer of the article is on the staff of “Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting,” a controversial US based pro-Israeli organization.
That the Jerusalem Post felt it necessary to publish this frontal attack on a well known Bible college is actually a good sign.
The mainstream Israeli press, and no doubt Israeli policy makers themselves, are now having to deal with the fact that unqualified support for Israel’s territorial expansion can no longer be assumed even among US Evangelical Christians. While it is certainly true that many of the most ardent supporters of the occupation are Christian Zionists, there are growing numbers of theological conservatives, including some who might be included among the “Christian Right,” who are viewing the human rights situation in the Holy Land in a far different light.
Much of this change has to do with a greater variety of trips to the Holy Land, trips that include the West Bank and encounters with an indigenous Palestinian Christian community. Tourists who in years past might have been limited to visiting Holy sites are now returning home with a sense of profound indignation at the way Palestinians have been treated. I am one such tourist myself; I’ve taken sides on this issue whereas before I was quite neutral. I also know my experience is not unique.
There is also increasing opposition among Evangelicals to a Biblical understanding that gives modern day Israel the right to all of historic Palestine. According to Dr. Gary Burge of Wheaton College, such interpretations have trumped the teachings of Christ (PDF):
“Christian Zionists believe in Jesus, but I wonder if they are always thinking like Christians in this matter. They have uncritically inherited the territorial world view of Judaism and wed this to prophetic predictions that are unsupportable.”
Dr. Burge is one of a growing number of critics of Christian Zionism among moderate and conservative Evangelicals.
Hope you will continue at the link. Personally, I’m overjoyed to read many Evangelicals are beginning to question their long-held position concerning this situation; it would appear many are doing just that in light of what God’s Word has to say. Praise the Lord! That many of these Evangelicals are just now becoming aware of the existence of Palestinian Brethren, is astounding on one hand but understandable when you consider all agency-led tours (or tours led by US Christian Ministries) of the “holy land” never (NEVER!) included visiting the areas in which these Churches and people reside. This was no doubt purposefully done.
Again I say Praise the Lord! Thank you Father for beginning to wake up those who have an open heart and a desire to follow the teachings of your Son…