Archives For Israel

World Council of “Churches” (WCC) Commission moderator of International Affairs, Frank Chikane equated Israel with demons in a recent online address.

Chikane told those in attendance that he was “convinced that [Palestine] is dealing with the same demons we dealt with in South Africa. Except that in their case the demons have invited other demons to make their struggle much more difficult…It’s almost like the whole world is against the Palestinians; nobody cares.”

He then asserted his belief that “the whole world seems to be conspiring against them. Trump’s administration came with what was called the deal of the sanctuary; which was really an entrenchment of the oppression and brutalisation of the people of Palestine, permanently robbing them of their rights.”

As The Algemeiner’s Dexter Van Zile retorted,

‘Chikane levelled a hostile incendiary assault on the legitimacy of the Jewish State, and an implicit threat against those who support it. Chikane, who offered not one word of criticism toward the Palestinians, made it perfectly clear that he is devoted to using his position of influence within the WCC to portray the Jewish state as a singular source of violence and sin in the Holy Land.’

Algemeiner explained that ‘the list of participants on the Zoom call included anti-Israel activists and anti-Zionist authors.’

According to Van Zile, Chikane’s address was organised by Christian organisations who have a ‘well-documented history of singling Israel out for condemnation while downplaying Palestinian hate, incitement, and violence towards Israel’ Such as ‘Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, Christ at the Checkpoint, Kairos Palestine, and the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation.’

In response, the much-respected Jewish human rights organization, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre called on Christians to show their disagreement, writing on a Facebook link to The Algemeiner,

‘Wanted: Christians who will declare to WCC “not in our name!” Medieval Christendom Jew=Devil dehumanized our people, paved the way to blood libel pogroms and Auschwitz. Now WCC declares Israel=Devil as the Jewish state is threatened by Genocidal Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah?’

The WCC’s ambiguity about where it stands when it comes to Arab-Israeli conflict is renowned. Specifically, the WCC’s clandestine support for BDS – The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions protest movement designed to pressure Israel into conforming with its stated ideals, by ending international support for Israel.

Van Zile was right to state in a February 18 follow-up piece, with Frank Chikane voicing support for the misleading, and emotionally charged widespread claim, that “Israel is practicing Apartheid” there’s no doubt to where the World Council of Churches stands.

He adds that WCC advocacy against Israel, while not speaking out against ‘actual crimes against humanity in China and Syria’ – only adds to Jewish suspicions about Christians.

I flat-out agree. The caveat being that the WCC left Christian Gospel orthodoxy for the social gospel of progressive leftism years ago.

It’s best not to equate Leftist “Christianity” with Biblical Christianity.

To qualify terms, Leftist “Christianity” generally rides the Liberation Theology victim train, replacing God’s justice with social justice, and Christ with Marx.

To be blunt about it: Liberation Theology is not a theology of Christian liberation.

As was brilliantly explained by Karol Wojtyla (Pope JPII) in his 1979 Address to Latin American Churches, and Joseph Ratzinger in ‘Theology of Liberation’ (1984) and ‘Christian Freedom & Liberation’ (1986).

All three remain vitally relevant to a Biblical Christian framework of true Christ-centred liberation. The context of which is the self-revealing God, who, in, through and with Jesus Christ, makes Himself known, and makes clear His existence, along with the important distinction between God setting humanity free from sin, not setting humanity free to sin.

Although, WCC members have in the past called their apparent, Marxist “upgrade” of the Gospel, and observable strands of apostasy, “a myth” (see ‘National Council of Churches Faces a New Type of Critic,’ NYT, 1982), they are open advocates of asinine movements such as “Climate Justice,” calling it a ‘the focal point of the WCC advocacy’ in its participation with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Chikane accusing Donald Trump of protecting Israel’s ‘oppression and brutalisation,’ along with there being no mention of peace deals that the Trump administration orchestrated between Israel, and some predominantly Muslim countries, also shows that the WCC has taken a hard lean to the Left. Many of whom mock those peace deals, laughing them off as ‘dodgy.’

In an op-ed for the Christian Post Rabbis Cooper and Alderstein responded, saying,

‘The WCC’s moral blindness means that it serves as an expression of Christian love about as successfully as ISIS can raise the banner of Islamic compassion…‘the time has come for Christians to declare “Not in our name.” For their good, more than ours…The WCC’s moral failure is not limited to Israel, however, and that is why it is a danger to those who take their Christianity more seriously than something to use as a political football.’

Fall back on what Eric Metaxas suggested this week and see the dangers for what they are: Americans (and I’ll add Australians) turning-a-blind-eye to CCP human rights abuses, in exchange for cheap Chinese made, Communist Chinese owned, tech – like Hisense big screen TVs and white goods – is in the same ball-park as German society conveniently ignoring the smoke stacks, trains, and violent removal of Jews.

Tack onto this any leap-before-you-look support for dubious schemes like BDS, “Climate Justice,” and support for equating Israel with white supremacy; the concerns of Van Zile, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, and the Jewish community find sound justification.

It’s right to stand with Israel, on the proviso that Israel maintains its gracious humanitarian outreach to those who identify as Palestinians, hand-in-hand with Israel’s right to self-defence.

The WCC supporting a one-sided political narrative demands the strong rebuttal: not in my name!


First published on Caldron Pool, 19th February, 2021.

©Rod Lampard, 2021.

One of the key themes throughout the Pentateuch (the first five books of the bible), is that in delivering His people, Yahweh fights for His people. This homeschool term brings us into the book of Joshua where this theme continues.

Yahweh doesn’t abandon Israel rather He goes with them. He is committed to the covenant and expects the people to also remain committed.

The book of Joshua is a continuation of Yahweh’s war against the gods of the Ancient Near East.

The commands given to Israel to remember “the one who brought them out of Egypt” are to safeguard Israel from the seduction of the culture which surrounds them.

Yahweh’s actions are not without mercy. The twelve tribes face their own failings and are brought back through repentance and correction. In addition, foreigners are accepted and some adopted into Israel without overwhelming prejudice. Such as the descendents of Zipporah (the Midianite wife of Moses), Rahab (the Canaanite prostitute), her family and all who were with her.

Yahweh is at war with the gods of the Ancient Near East, He is at war with those who place these idols of clay, stick and stone at the centre of ANE culture. Yahweh is at war against the superstition that has inflamed the hearts of the people with perverted passions. Passions that include human sacrifice. Chief among them was the ritual murder of innocents.

As with Pharaoh, Yahweh reaches forth in righteous judgement against each city-state because He is righteous and is committed to His people. One of the primary messages communicated by Exodus, up to Joshua and beyond, is this:

where men or women raise themselves up as god, their human throne and the empire it represents become enemies of God.

Man provokes God to anger, and in doing so brings about his own judgement.

It is true that the Israel of today is not the Israel of Joshua’s day. The latter was made up of the twelve tribes of Israel, and it would be difficult to prove that the former is also. What exists is a remnant. It would be careless than of me to say that the history of modern Israel reflects God’s commitment to Ancient Israel, without the above qualification.

It is enough, though to say that biblical prophecy regarding the promises made to Ancient Israel, do appear from time to time to be on the front page of the news. If we cannot give a definite “yes” to this, we still do well to at least pay attention to it.

One of those examples came up today as we reached and read through Joshua 11. Once again we hear the message “Yahweh fights for His people”. If we don’t hear that as a direct word today, we can hear today echo of that message.

The 1967, Six Day War is considered by many to be a miracle. Israel was outnumbered and outgunned. It had no strategic advantage or strategic strongholds, and was threatened on three fronts by a coalition of oil producing nations who had the power, means and motivation to wipe Israel off the map. They failed.

In an excellent series of short videos Jerusalem U sums up the events and consequences of that attempt. I used these for the first time today as part of our lesson in order to show how the biblical texts parallel some events in the world around us. They’re worth checking out.

‘..It was indeed necessary that they should serve as soldiers, and fight strenuously with the enemy, but still they were to depend only on the Lord, to consider themselves strong only in his might, and to recline on him alone…Hence the saying of Psalm 20:7, “some may trust in chariots, some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God”
(John Calvin, Commentary on Joshua 11)


 

 

This is the closest I might come to writing an old-school, blues influenced, straight-up, Gospel song. It was written in 2013 and still holds an element of relevance.

“Everlasting Father[i], Son and Holy Spirit, divine
You are ‘I am’…Yahweh…pure breath…pure life.

Help me to hear your encouragement and receive
the whispers…that silence my pain

Help me to be set free
From the words that have hurt me
From the wounds and rage that won’t let me go
Help me to see your version of me, not the version I see reflected by others.

Striking healer; mighty God, accept my response

I confess that I have shown you contempt
I confess the pretence of my “worship”, and the self-absorbed pretence that enters my prayers.

Holy One of Israel you are great in our midst,

I acknowledge your complete presence.
“Show me how to kneel” …I surrender my brokenness.
I know you have not abandoned us
I know I need to be more vulnerable. Help me  speak precisely from your heart.

Father God; creator; redeemer; sanctifier
You ‘do not grow weary’ (Is 40:28)

Thank you for ‘good news’ (Is 61:1)
Thank you for ‘uniting the pieces of my broken-heart’ (Is 61:1)
Accept my brokenness and tears
For this, Lord, ‘you do not despise’ (Psalm 52:17, NLT)

Let your blessings that shine through provision bring us to say:

With you, I rise and speak to the calamity in Jesus name ‘peace, be still’ (Psalm 107:29)
With you, I rise and speak to the conflict in Jesus name ‘peace, be still’
With you, I rise and speak to the suffering caused by misunderstanding, in Jesus name ‘peace , be still’ (Matt.8:23/Mk. 4:39/Lk 8:24)

……worthy is the lamb….may the  lamb that was slain receive the reward of his suffering‘.

Amen.”

[Isaiah and the Gospels speak into our lives. They suggest that rescue  will only come from the ‘serenity that results from Jesus’ intervention’ (Green 1997, p. 331).

This is ‘Jesus acting as God acts’…it is Jesus looking for my ‘faith to show itself in those circumstances’ (ibid 1997, p. 333), by gifting me with the patience and ability to forgive.

A faith that looks to His resurrection, as a signal fire that points me to Isaiah’s Yahweh, as the ‘wounding healer’ (Baer 2010). The one who dynamically responds in grace to my inconsistent gratitude.

‘God gives himself to sinners and sinners cannot escape that gracious decision…the sinner who refuses this election of grace resists that grace and is resisted by it…Humanity is not sheltered from God but exposed to him and bound to him as never before in a bond of forgiveness and reconciliation’
(Torrance, ‘Incarnation’ 2008 pp.110 &113)

References:

[i] ‘He predestined us for adoption as sons & daughters through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace’ (Eph.1:5-7 ESV)

[ii] Green, Joel 1997 NICNT: The Gospel of Luke Wm. B Eerdmans Publishing Co. Grand Rapids, Michigan

[iii]  Baer David, ‘Praying through Isaiah’ lecture notes October 2010, Tabor Adelaide