Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Anti-Semitic Church - Part 2

The Bible calls the land Judea in the time of Jesus (cf. Luke 23:5). Why? Because it was the place of the Jews. The name Judea is the Hellenized name for Judah, the land given to the tribe of Judah. By the time of Jesus Judea came to represent all the land of the Jews, including Galilee and the “whole Jewish country” (Acts 26:20). Even ancient secular writers like Strabo, Tacitus, and Philo use the name to include Samaria and Galilee.  The name Palestine was mandated upon the land after the Bar-Kochba revolt in A.D. 132-135 when the Roman emperor Hadrian banished the Jews from the land in an effort to remove any Jewish remembrance of the land. In that revolt a thousand villages and fifty fortress cities were destroyed. Jerusalem was renamed Aelia Capitolina, and for several centuries no Jew was allowed in the city (Mal Couch, The Birth of the Nation of Israel, p. 30).

Paul Wilkinson has worked hard to expose the Muslim influence in the Church. He identifies Naim Ateek as the Chief architect of what is called the Christian Palestinianism movement.  Naim established the Palestinian Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in 1994. He is the author of the book “Justice and only Justice: A Palestinian Theology of Liberation.”  The book lays out Naim's liberation theology for the Palestinian people saying: “Palestinian liberation theology focuses on the humanity of Jesus of Nazareth, who was also a Palestinian living under an occupation.” (Paul Wilkinson: Southwest Radio Ministries)

What is the problem with this statement? There was no such place called Palestine in Jesus’ day! What was the land called? As stated in the first paragraph, the Bible calls the land Judea in the time of Jesus (cf. Luke 23:5).

The ancient Church, the first 200 years of the Church, predominantly believed in historic premillennialism and interpreted Scripture literally, or what is called, the normal sense. But a shift of political power was moving in the world from the Greek speaking to the Latin speaking world. Indeed Irenaeus of Lyons (b. 140 A.D. died 202 A.D.) was the last of the Church fathers to write in Greek and Hippolytus of Rome (died 235A.D.) was the last Roman writer to write in Greek. After them, the Church communicated in Latin and moved from a literal Christ centered millennialism to an allegorical approach to future things. This shift to a different language combined with the early Church trying to make the Old Testament a “Christian” document moved them to the allegorical method (Bernard Ramm, Protestant Biblical Interpretation, p. 29). Dr. Ramm notes, “Two things may be said for allegorizing of the Fathers: (i) They were seeking to make the Old Testament a Christian document. With this judgment the Christian Church has universally agreed. (ii) They did emphasize the truths of the Gospel in their fancies. If they had not done this, they would have become sectarian.”  (Ramm, p. 29).   Today, the liberal Church is essentially sectarian. Their allegory, replacement theology, and pseudo-psychological bent has left them without truth, without the light of the world, and without the power of the Spirit.

By the time of Augustine (b. 354 A.D. died 430 A.D.) the Church was mostly Gentile.  First the Jews persecuted the church, then Rome.  This moved most Christians to distrust both. The spread of the Church into an organized entity was becoming increasingly political and Augustine’s “The City of God” provided a shift from a literal kingdom of God centered in Jerusalem to a spiritual kingdom. The chief mechanism whereby the literal kingdom based in Jerusalem was switched to a spiritual kingdom was by way of allegory.  

When Constantine the Great (272 to 337 A.D.) made his new faith the state religion of the Byzantine Empire a “savage and systematic persecution of the Jews began.” (Nathan Ausubel, Pictorial History of the Jewish People, p. 92). By the early middle ages, Emperor Justinian (527-565) issued what would be permanent Christian state policy: “They [the Jews] shall enjoy no honors. Their status shall reflect the baseness which in their souls they have elected and desired. Under those circumstances it was quite natural that the Church Fathers should have wished to purge Christian belief and practice of their original Jewish elements. For example, the Justinian Code, based on the earlier decisions of the Council of Nicaea and the Laws of Constantine, forbade Christians to observe Easter during Passover week. Even the Jewish Messianic doctrine of ‘The Kingdom of God’ on earth was fundamentally altered to ‘The Kingdom of God’ in heaven.” (ibid, p.92) 

It was not until the reformation age that the study of the original languages of the Bible became important and a return to the normal reading was renewed. However, anti-Semitism prevented the reformers from becoming completely literal in their interpretation of the Scriptures.  Meanwhile, Old Testament promises for Israel that were 'positive' continued to be for the Church while 'curses' were still meant toward Israel. Some exceptions existed, most notable, the great Sir Isaac Newton (1642- 1726), and the noted Baptist theologian and expositor John Gill (1697-1771; Gill’s research into “what did the Jewish sages say?” is still one of the biggest contributions to biblical exposition).

Indeed, it was not until the popularity of dispensationalism that anti-Semitism waned substantially within Christendom. Early dispensationalism was a popular movement that included all the mainline denominations because dispensationalism is the logical outworking of inductive Bible study using a normal reading hermeneutic. Dispensationalism, like Judaism, sees a literal reign of Christ on earth for a 1000 years. The Old Testament foretells a future Great Tribulation, the “birth pains” (Jer. 4:31; 6:24;  22:23; 30:6; 49:22-24; 50;24; Mic. 4:9-10) where both Jews and gentiles will be judged but that a remnant of Israel will be saved and enter into 'rest' in the Messianic kingdom.

With this normal reading of Scripture, the Bible speaks clearly and anti-Semitism is no longer seen on the pages of the Bible. As such, mainline denominations, for the most part divided with Churches that were dispensational and they kept their anti-Semitic stance. So it is today, most of Christendom is still anti-Semitic and has a perverted way of reading the Bible. They do not read any other document the way they read the Bible. This perversion of interpretation helps the Arab hatred of the Jews as they can have a common enemy – the Jew.
Paul Wilkinson presents the following points concerning the beliefs of the Christian Palestinianism movement:

The Bible:                    Christian, not Jewish
The Church:                New Israel, not a new people
The Land:                    Palestine, not Israel
The Holocaust:            Resented, not remembered
14 May 1948:              A catastrophe, not a miracle
State of Israel:             Illegitimate, not prophetic
Israeli Jews:                 Illegal occupiers
Bible Prophecy:           Moral manifesto
The Lord Jesus:           Palestinian, not Jewish

It is easily understood that the movement is anti-Semitic, moving beyond replacement theology of most of the Christian Church of the past, to a pro-Arab and, hence, pro-Muslim stance. Among the world Christian leaders that support the “Freedom for Palestine” movement is the noted Archbishop Desmond Tutu, an Anglican bishop who said, “what is happening in Gaza and the West Bank could describe events in South Africa.” (Wikipedia)

The most active Christians promoting their agenda are Steven Sizer and Porter Speakman who travel extensively speaking against Israel and promote those who commit terrorist acts. Though they would deny promoting “terrorists”, they insist they are supporting the people not the terrorists. After all, Israel has an unfair advantage and when conflict arises, they engage with disproportional force.  

It is understandable why the liberal Church is attracted to this anti-Semitic movement. They have traditionally aligned themselves with any personal-struggle 'cause', whether that cause is just or not. Truth, and what is right, is replaced with emotion and when suffering is seen, the Christian must offer support. But is that what Scripture says? Tough-love is not found within the liberal’s worldview. Are we to ignore sin? Are we to let sin reign, or are we to try to correct the situation by pointing out the wrong and letting God’s Word and Spirit work in the situation?

One can understand the liberal Church stance with the pain of the Palestinian people, but the unimaginable is occurring - the movement has gained ground with the evangelical Church! Liberation theology is popular among the liberal Church. However, those among the modern evangelical Church that support this movement include such recognizable names as Hank Hanegraaff, Tony Campolo, John Stott, N.T. Wright, and Brian McLaren. Is there something in common with all these leaders? They are all replacement theologians – the Church replaces Israel and there is no future for Israel. And they are all against Christian Zionism – the belief that God is not through with Israel and His promises to Israel for a land and a Messianic Kingdom are yet to be fulfilled.

For the anti-Semitic evangelical Church, Zionism is racism. Though Christian Palestinianism condemns the Palestinian violence, they support their cause both financially and through anti-Israel promotions. For example, when Hamas fires rockets into Israel (2500 in 2014 thus far), this group is silent. When Israel takes out rocket launch sites that are placed in civilian areas thus incurring civilian death, Israel is condemned first by the Arab, then by the world who echoes the vial hatred of the Arab league.

Another factor influencing anti-Semitism among the evangelical Church is the shift to mysticism. When the cold hard truth is pushed aside for emotionalism this world is in trouble, and we are deep into emotionalism today. Needs based (psychology based) preaching moves the message away from the grammatical-historical context to whatever emotionally moves the crowd. History is irrelevant, only today and tomorrow matter and what we see on television today is the pain and suffering of Palestinians as they live a life of pain.  But Israel has no voice, and the Church has turned her back.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Anti-Semitic Church – Part I

Most of the organized Christian Church is openly Anti-Semitic. How is it possible to make such a statement? Because, most mainline Christian denominations around the world have voted for an Israeli boycott. They have done this even though boycotting Israel is illegal according to section 8 of the 1976 US Tax Reform Act (TRA).   This includes the majority of the Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians in the United States.

Boycotting Israel was begun by the Arab League after the formation of the state of Israel in 1948. After the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, Palestinian political action groups initiated a resurgence of the boycott in 2005. This group of 22 nations makes up the Arab League which also supports the boycott. In addition to the boycott, most of these nations will not accept an Israeli passport. We shouldn't be surprised that Arab influence continues to spread to many governmental agencies around the world. It is becoming increasing popular among universities to support the boycott, even denying Israeli researchers the opportunity of participating in academic conferences.

Palestinian political action groups have managed to influence several church groups.  For example, the Church of England has voted for disinvestment and in 2010, the British Methodist Church voted to join the boycott as did the World Council of Churches.  Not to be outdone, in 2012, the United Church of Canada (UCC) supported the boycott. All are liberal. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that they all hold to replacement theology, i.e., that the church has replaced Israel. This is the natural outcome when one interprets Scripture loosely, when one spiritualizes some areas of Scripture, picking and choosing Scripture ignoring context whenever it proves a favored theological perspective.

In the U.S., the Presbyterian Church USA has supported the boycott since 2004. Also supporting the boycott is the United Church of Christ, the United Methodist Church (2012), and the Episcopal Church (2012). Again, all these church organizations are liberal and teach the church has replaced Israel as the “True Israel.”  They interpret the promises given to Israel in the Old Testament as given to the church because of Israel’s rejection of Jesus as her Messiah. The positive promises are thus given to the church while the negative promises are for Israel. Talk about picking and choosing! 

Systematized Interpretation is when the interpreter approaches the text with a theological bent.  Those who utilize Systematized Interpretation call this method the historical-grammatical-theological interpretation. But adding “theological” to the grammatical-historical method destroys both the historical and the grammatical elements. This leaves only the theological intact - a perverted theology.  

Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Commerce is “charged with administering and enforcing the Antiboycott Laws under the Export Administration Act. Those laws discourage, and in some circumstances, prohibit U.S. companies from furthering or supporting the boycott of Israel sponsored by the Arab League, and certain other countries, including complying with certain requests for information designed to verify compliance with the boycott. Compliance with such requests may be prohibited by the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and may be reportable to the Bureau.” (From www/

“During the mid-1970's the United States adopted two laws that seek to counteract the participation of U.S. citizens in other nation's economic boycotts or embargoes. These "antiboycott" laws are the 1977 amendments to the Export Administration Act (EAA) and the Ribicoff Amendment to the 1976 Tax Reform Act (TRA). While these laws share a common purpose, there are distinctions in their administration. The antiboycott laws were adopted to encourage, and in specified cases, require U.S. firms to refuse to participate in foreign boycotts that the United States does not sanction. They have the effect of preventing U.S. firms from being used to implement foreign policies of other nations which run counter to U.S. policy.” (From www/

As easily seen from this antiboycott law, it is against the policy of the US to participate in a boycott against Israel. Yet universities and other groups have begun boycotting Israel, including many church denominations.

Why do these institutions participate eagerly with this Muslim influenced boycott? Because the Christian world is shifting away from truth to misplaced emotionalism. From absolute truth to post-Christian mysticism. We have moved from solid literal Biblical truth to maybe we don’t really know because supposedly the Scriptures are 'full of error'. The liberal church interprets Scriptures outside the normal rules of reading for the same reason the ancient Greeks did – they did not like the message! The ancient Greeks had their stories of gods that did unimaginable immoral deeds . Thus in an effort to make the stories acceptable to their world view they created a new way of reading – allegorical. Therefore, they could claim that the god’s incest did not truly happen for it was allegory not literal.

This same concept has gained acceptance into liberal churches. The Bible is not literal but allegory. Thus, everything in the Bible is now fair game to be turned into fable. They teach that the plain literal is the “milk” of Scripture fit only for the layman, but the meat is the allegory. Thus, two levels of Scripture are found with the liberal camp: “the literal was on the surface, but the allegorical represented the deeper, more spiritual meaning. Therefore, anyone who simply interpreted the Bible in its most natural, normal way was simple and missing the great meaning of the Scriptures.” (Mal Couch, Hermeneutics, p. 97)
For the liberal church, Israel has no eternal promise in the Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 12,15, 17). Israel has no future of peace and rest, no promise of a Messianic kingdom, no land, no ethnic people, no King in the land, and no personal relationship with God. Instead, Israel is reduced to being a bland race of people with no specific rights to the land. This thought has unfortunately been the historical teaching of the Christian Church since around A.D. 250.

What happened in A.D 200 to move the Church into this anti-semitic point-of-view? In the next article I will examine what happened and expose the satanic Arab influence in today’s western societies.