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How to Treat a Rebellious Israel | Christianity Today

Jews for Jesus Director David Brickner has an online conversation with John Piper, author and pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis and speaker at Christ at the Checkpoint Conference.  This online conversation centers on the Jewish people’s divine right to the land of Israel.  ScriptureSolutions highly recommends to its readers to check out these articles and read the Christian ZIonism side represented by Brickner and the anti-Christian Zionist side explained by John Piper.

How to Treat a Rebellious Israel | Christianity Today.

Are American pastors dismissive of Arab Christians in Israel? Should Christians treat the Israeli-Palestinian dispute differently than other conflicts? As pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, John Piper has been addressing these contentious questions for years. After he began informally discussing them with David Brickner, executive director of Jews for Jesus, we invited them to share some of their discussion with our readers. We continue today with Piper’s response to Brickner’s question, “Do Jews have a divine right to the Promised Land?” and will continue tomorrow with Brickner’s response.

Pastor John Piper

Pastor John Piper

Dear David,

Thank you for taking this happy initiative. I am eager to discuss Israel and the Promised Land with you. I love Jews for Jesus. Your leadership, and Moishe Rosen’s before you, have been for me a cause for continual thanksgiving. “To the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16) has never ceased to carry weight with me. I pray we will never lose Paul’s passion in Romans 10:1: “My heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.”

We both agree that the way God chose to bring all the nations under the sway of King Jesus is astonishing. After sketching it, Paul praised God, “How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Rom. 11:33). (more…)

The Seed of Abraham and the Middle East Part 3

Christians are confused about the place of Israel in the New Testament.  Some believers are not sure if  God has a plan for Israel as He did in the Jewish Scriptures. Others think the only plan God has for Jewish people is their salvation and nothing further.  Still some Christians do not think Israel is a legitimate entity, having been replaced by the Church aka replacement theology.

Fact it, Christians are confused because their pastors are confused and pastors are confused about Israel because their seminary professors are confused.

God’s Promises to Israel Are Not Cast Aside in the Face of Israel’s Unfaithfulness

The assumption of many anti-Christian Zionist advocates is that Christians who believe God has promised the Jewish people the land of Israel as their homeland also maintain the government of Israel can do no wrong. As one anti-Zionist advocate told me,  Israel seems to think since God gave them the Ten Commandments they can now make up any law they want  . . . . Most of this comes from fear which they need not have since American is their number one protector and God is also on their side, according to Christian Zionism (paraphrased).

It is the belief of anti-Christian Zionists since I believe God promised the Jewish people the land of Israel that no matter what they do, God will always back Israel. Nothing could be further from the truth. The nation is still accountable to God.

When the Bible student reads through the Jewish Scriptures, he discovers the Lord God of Israel never ignored the sins of Israel. Even in the face of the Lord’s  commitment to give the title deed of Israel to the Jewish people, He also removed the people of Israel from the land on many occasions due to their transgressions.  In spite of the Assyrian Captivity in 721 B.C.,  the Babylonian Captivity in 586 B.C. and the conquest of Jerusalem and Israel in 70 A.D. by the Romans, there is no place in the First nor the Second Covenants of the Bible where the God of Israel revokes His promise to the Hebrews to give them the land and to expand the nation as stated in the covenant He made with Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3:

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

“I will make you into a great nation,

and I will bless you;

I will make your name great,

and you will be a blessing.

I will bless those who bless you,

and whoever curses you I will curse;

and all peoples on earth

will be blessed through you. ” (more…)

Where is the Love in the Kairos Palestine Document?

In my previous blog I introduced the Kairos Palestine Document (KPD).  KPD,written by an ecumenical group of Palestinian Christians, was released publicly on December 11, 2009.  This manifesto was released by the PCUSA to let the world know what is taking place in Palestine, according to Palestinian Christians.

The KPD was previously mentioned on a CBS 60 Minutes segment called “Christians in the Holy Land” aired in March 2012. In the segment’s attempt to demonstrate that the Christian population in the Holy Land is shrinking due to Israeli policies, the KPD was mentioned as a “good faith” example of how Arab Christians are attempting to practice non-violence in the face of IDF pressure and duress.

As mentioned in a previous blog about the KPD, the document portrays Palestinian Christians as peaceful and steering away from any form of revenge of terrorism in dealing with Israel. Once again, here are the words introducing the KPD from the 60 Minutes transcript:

In 2009, this group of Christian activists did something unprecedented. They published a document called Kairos, criticizing Islamic extremism and advocating non-violent resistance to the Israeli occupation which they called a sin against God. It was endorsed by the leaders of 13 Christian denominations including Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Anglican.  (more…)

The Truth about the Kairos Palestine Document

In the 60 Minutes report “Christians in the Holy Land” in March 2012, CBS correspondent Bob Simon attempted painted Palestinian Christian leaders with as non-violent brush towards Israel especially the Israel Defense Force (IDF).  Simon’s goal was to pin a “I support Martin Luther King” button on Palestinian Christians and  portray Israelis as evil ” segregationists” standing in the way of Palestinian civil rights. Nothing could be further from the truth once we delve outside the small box of  the 60 Minutes report.

Here are the words from the 60 Minutes transcript:

In 2009, this group of Christian activists did something unprecedented. They published a document called Kairos, criticizing Islamic extremism and advocating non-violent resistance to the Israeli occupation which they called a sin against God. It was endorsed by the leaders of 13 Christian denominations including Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Anglican.

The CBS correspondent continued to explore the Kairos Palestine Document by interviewing Mitri Raheb, a Palestinian Christian, the pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem:

Mitri Raheb: They [the Israelis] are fearful of this document because they are afraid this might influence the Christian world

Reverend Raheb, who helped write the document, says it’s anything but anti-Semitic.

Mitri Raheb: This document is– doesn’t ask for violent. It doesn’t ask for revenge. The most powerful thing in this document actually is that asking for hope and love and faith.

But is this document merely asking for “hope and love and faith”? How much do we as Christians in the Western World know about the Kairos Palestine Document? (more…)

Arab Christians Rewrite the New Testament on 60 Minutes

From the 60 Minutes report “Christians of the Holy Land”  last Sunday night [April 22, 2012) moderated by CBS reporter Bob Simon, the viewer was fed the idea that Palestinians started Christianity and gave faith in Christ to the world.

Mitri Raheb, a Palestinian Christian and a Lutheran minister from Bethlehem accurately claimed, “Christianity started here.”  Then Raheb adds, “The only thing that Palestine was able to export so successfully was Christianity.”  Yet no where in the New Testament is name “Palestine” is ever used. The closest we come is in Matthew 15:22 where a Canaanite woman came to Jesus seeking healing for her daughter, “A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

According to Wikipedia, “The first clear use of the term Palestine to refer to the entire area between Phoenicia and Egypt was in 5th century BC Ancient Greece.  Herodotus wrote of a ‘district of Syria, called Palaistinê” in The Histories, the first historical work clearly defining the region, which included the Judean mountains and the Jordan Rift Valley.”

In the Bible Palestine is never mentioned as another name for Israel or the original name of Israel prior to the Jewish exiles from Egypt entering the land under Joshua around 1400 B.C.  We read, “The Hebrew name Peleshet (פלשת Pəlésheth)- usually translated as Philistia in English, is used in the Bible more than 250 times. The Greek word Palaistinē  is generally accepted to be a translation of the Semitic name for Philistia; however another term – Land of Philistieim  was used in the Septuagint, the second century BCE Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, to refer to Philistia.  In the Torah / Pentateuch the term Philistia is used 10 times and its boundaries are undefined. The later Historical books include most of the biblical references, almost 200 of which are in the Book of Judges and the Books of Samuel, where the term is used to denote the southern coastal region to the west of the ancient Kingdom of Judah.”

Getting back to Mitri Raheb, he has the nerve to say, “Christianity has actually on the back a stamp saying, “Made in Palestine.”  Raheb could not be more mistaken.

Given the tenor of the entire article, it appears that Arab Christians are the original followers of Jesus in the Holy Land. I find it odd that Bob Simon did not interview the other Christians living in the Holy Land – Jewish people who have embraced Jesus as the Messiah aka messianic Jews. (more…)

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