Saturday, 23 April 2011

Jacob Prasch and Why Christian Zionists Shouldn't Throw Stones

Jacob Prasch at Moriel Ministries, a strong supporter of Christian Zionism, has written against modern revivals, and has now posted a link by Philip Powell relating to an attack on Elim and the Assemblies of God. Prasch also seems to have a book out in May that may look at these issues in further depth. and

I have also recently heard other attacks on people such as Rick Warren and his 'Purpose Driven Life,' and Nicky Gumbel and the 'Alpha Course', particularly from those with an interest in the End Times and who support the modern State of Israel. The basis of such attacks is that person A met person B, and we think person B is involved in the New World Order, so person A must be also, or any move of God must be of the devil because God doesn't work that way anymore.

The evidence presented against such people and ministries is highly subjective, and a poor argument to dismiss a whole ministry and it doesn’t hold well with the injunction to love our brothers and sisters in Christ. These attacks are very conspiratorial, but without much substance – in other words, the evidential case is not strong enough to justify such claims. Having read a lot of conspiracy theories when bored it is easy to get carried away, but we need to weigh carefully evidence against Christian ministries and ministers and remain rational. Not that there aren’t theological issues that need to be addressed (around prosperity teaching for instance) but this needs to be done in a more reasoned and loving manner. The danger is that if we don’t those making such attacks may become like the Pharisees who accused Jesus of being possessed by Satan because He cast out devils.

The irony is that although such people are quick to defend the theology of Christian Zionism, even though it is a recent development in Christian thinking, they are quick to jump on anyone who they think steps out of line in other areas. As the saying goes ‘people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.’

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Let us Pray for Peace in the Middle East

With all the news in the Middle East it is time to pray for peace. With war in Libya, Jewish settlers murdered in their beds, and Palestinian homes bombed and children on both side killed there are no winners. Genuine peace talks seem as far away as ever and even Christians are encouraged to take sides for or against the State of Israel or Palestine. But Christianity is a faith of hope in the ressurection in Jesus Christ. It is a faith of life, of forgivness and love.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Israel threatens military action against Iran for its continued nuclear programme

This report has appeared in the Daily Mail today. I guess with the all instability in the Middle East and worries in Japan now might appear a strategic time to act, but it might in the medium term harden Islamic resolve and resistence against it.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Response to Paul Taylor

Paul Taylor of Answers in Genesis has written a review of my book, but given no right of reply on his blog. [Edit - Paul has now posted it on his blog - thanks Paul] So I am adding my comments here.

Firstly, Paul Taylor says that AiG takes no position on this question (which is I guess true), but then asserts that someone with my beliefs is below the standard of a true creationist, which implies he doesn't really accept AiGs position to be valid [Edit: Paul objects to this comment, see his reply below, so I accept that he does fully support the ministry and position of AiG and CSE].

But anyway, I believe that my beliefs set out in the book Zion’s New Name about Israel and the Church (and also Creation) closely reflect the teachings of St Paul in the New Testament, and the Protestant Reformation through Calvin. Calvin believed in a literal creation and that the Church was the continuation of Israel’s promises in a literal sense because the Church was founded by Jesus with a few Jews as the legitimate obedient root of Israel (read carefully Isaiah 1-10). Many Gentiles have been grafted into the Church as Israel, but I believe it remains the true expression of Israel in the world today.

He is of course free to disagree with me, but I don’t think it is fair to suggest my interpretation of Scripture is somehow below the standard of a creationist when I am closer to Calvin and the Reformation in these positions than Christian Zionists. I believe that evolution and Christian Zionism grew up at the same time in the 19th C and both were departures from good sound Protestant beliefs.[1]

The global Judeo-Christian meta-narrative involves Creation, Fall, Redemption through Christ as the fulfilment of Israel’s promises, and the final consummation of all things in Christ.

Now let me give a few Scriptures from St Paul (NIV). He first explains his concern that people were turning away from the true Gospel because of Judaisers in the Church, a concern I share when I hear Christian Zionist theology.

Gal 1:6-7 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.”

Monday, 24 January 2011

Middle East peace talks leak out

The details of peace talks between the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority have apparently been leaked, although it is not entirely clear they are real.
Palestinians question 'offers' leaked by al-Jazeera

But if valid, it shows the Palestinian Authority was willing to make major concessions to the State of Israel concerning East Jerusalem, although seemingly this was rejected with nothing offered in return. Such concessions were also perhaps more than the Palestinian Authority could deliver. But when we hear the Zionist narrative that Palestinians are the intransigent ones and not interested in peace talks we may ask whether the truth is different.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

The Telegraph - The Rise of Israeli Extremism

Julian Kossoff writes that Israeli extemism is leading 'anti-Zionists' to delegitimise Israel. The rise of fanatical 'Israeli ayatollahs' is a godsend for anti-Zionists

Kossoff believes that there are two aspects to Israeli extremism. One is Ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties, "The other half is the brawny nationalism of Lieberman (aka “Israel’s Milosevic”) and his Israel Beiteinu party supported by Russian Jews, now gunning for left-wing Israeli NGOs and human rights groups with McCarthyite fervour."

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Pastor John Hagee rejects a peace deal that divides Jerusalem

This news, that John Hagee has repeated his belief that God does not wish a peace deal that divides Jerusalem, comes from a report in the Christian Today website. Hagee says dividing Israel is not God's will but other evangelicals disagree

In a webcast for the New Year Hagee applied Genesis 13:14-17 and Genesis 17:7-8 to the present day situation. The first passage reads as follows, “The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, ‘Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.” Genesis 17 claims that the land will be an “everlasting covenant” to Abraham and his offspring, and Hagee applies this to the present day State of Israel.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Is Hamas planning terror in the State of Israel ?

Israel arrests two staff members at the British consulate office in Jerusalem on terror plot charges

A Daily Mail news report notes that "Two staff members at the British consulate in Jerusalem [have been] arrested...on terror charges." "Israel’s Shin Bet security service accuses them of supplying weapons for a planned attack on the city’s Teddy football stadium."

Knesset to investigate Jewish Human Rights NGOs

Former Knesset speaker urges Israeli human rights groups to shun Knesset probe - Avraham Burg criticizes committee that is expected to be set up to investigate left-wing groups that allegedly take part in delegitimization campaigns against IDF soldiers.

The Haaretz report comments that "Avraham Burg, an ex-Knesset speaker and former head of the Jewish Agency, called on Israeli human rights groups not to cooperate with the Knesset committee expected to be set up to investigate them."

"The chief executive of the New Israel Fund, Daniel Sokatch, warned that Israel was on a dangerous path. “A healthy democracy respects and protects human rights,” he said. “It does not attempt to put out of business human rights organizations that enjoy international respect. Human rights groups operate freely in a democracy, and this message has clearly not reached Yisrael Beiteinu.” "

Richard Falk thinks Gaza is facing another war - Cast Lead II

Israel Prepares Major Offensive against Gaza: Hopes of Gaza Cast in Lead

He writes that "Israel is gearing up for another major offensive into Gaza, yet the world community still remains bafflingly silent."

Richard Falk is Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is currently serving his third year of a six year term as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights.

Israeli woman who prayed at the wailing wall faces jail.

The Telegraph reports that a Female Israeli activist could be sent to prison for praying at Wailing Wall

Anat Hoffman led a group of women, in defiance of Ultra-Orthodox Jews, in a time of open prayer at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall. She has been told that she possibly faces years in prison because this action was considered a breach of the peace.

The Telegraph writes that; "Mrs Hoffman's case is a stark illustration of the growing power of religious groups in Israel, particularly in Jerusalem where the segregation of the sexes is becoming more common. She and her followers have been taunted and even assaulted by ultra-orthodox men at the Wailing Wall."

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Fears grow for Christians in Pakistan after assassination

There is growing concern for the safety of Christians in Pakistan after a human rights judge was murdered there this week. There is a need to pray for peace, and for Aasia Bibi
Pakistan supporters fear for safety of Aasia Bibi after Taseer killing

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Israel-Palestine - Between a Rock and a Hard Place ?

A Guardian Comment is Free blog highlights the difficulties faced by international recognition of Palestine - Now it is Palestine's turn to create facts on the ground - by Simon Tisdall

Tisdall believes recognition of Palestine might improve peace prospects as otherwise he believes the region is heading for another war. Although he acknowledges and provides a link to another article that argues that recognition of Palestine will itself lead to war because of the 400,000 Jews already living on Arab lands who will not take kindly to being placed under Palestinian rule. A Palestinian State Means War - by Jonathan Schanzer