Thursday, January 15, 2009
The War In Gaza: A Biblical Perspective & Plea
Here is a letter from a minister in Beirut who knows what he is talking about...
...please take the time to read it.
Until now I have refrained from sending out a missive on the tragedy of Gaza. This will be brief, for I plan to write a comprehensive assessment of the Middle East situation later.
I am livid over the unchristian statements of those perverters of biblical truth known as Christian Zionists. John Hagee, Benny Hinn, Pat Robertson, Hal Lindsey, and a host of others of that ilk, have little or no understanding of the biblical hierarchy of values, the role of Israel in prophecy, and Middle Eastern history, especially its history for the last 100 years.
Benny Hinn recently made a statement in an interview with Benjamin Netanyahu that epitomizes the twisted thinking of all Christian Zionists. He said, "The future of the United States depends on America's treatment of Israel."
Instead of stating biblical truth, he mindlessly mouthed this watchword of Christian Zionist ignorance, which is based on a radical misunderstanding of Genesis 12:3. The truth is that the future of the United States depends on America doing the right thing, which means getting back to the Gospel of Christ and consistently demonstrating the impartial justice and even-handed compassion to all people that the Gospel requires. Anything other than that is an implicit denial of the one true Gospel given by the one true God who "so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life."
Putting Israel above justice and love, as Christian Zionists do, is blatant idolatry. Israel treats the Palestinians as sub-human, as its Zionist founders have done from the time they conceived the establishment of the state of Israel by displacing the indigenous inhabitants of the land, which they succeeded in doing in the late 1940s.
I do not condone terrorist attacks perpetrated by anyone, including Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians. All hatred and murder are evil. I am also opposed to all antisemitism--recognizing that both Jews and Arabs are semitic--and I am equally opposed to the destruction of the state of Israel and to the destruction of the Palestinian people.
The ad nauseam repetition of the Christian Zionist refrain that "there are no Palestinians and there never was a Palestine" not only shows their ignorance about linguistic usage but also reveals their biased attempt to negate the personhood, dignity, and human rights of the majority of the people who lived in the land that the Zionists occupied in the twentieth century. Like all movements with an ungodly and perverted agenda, they find it necessary to make semantic and linguistic accommodations to suit their own agenda.
Since some will erroneously think that my perspective is partisan in favor of Palestinians and Arabs over against Israelis and Jews, I urge you to read the balanced, brilliant essay of one of the most highly qualified people in the world. He addressed the Israel-Gaza tragedy just last week. He is a Jew who served in the Israeli army and is now an Oxford professor of international relations. His name is Avi Shlaim, and I hope you will read every line of his brief essay. If you want to understand what is happening there today, you must understand why it is happening, and Professor Shlaim does a masterly job of explaining the context of this enormous Gazan tragedy. Here is the website where you can read his essay [DR: I am not endorsing this essay...but it is an interesting read].
Whatever one's views about prophecy may be, let us believe and act like Christians who represent the love of Christ for all peoples. Although loyalty to Christ does not exclude legitimate patriotism, it does entail the repudiation of the worship of Caesar in all forms. God's ultimacy and absolute claim to exclusive worship must never be subordinated to anything--any ideology, movement, institution, or state, including the state of Israel.
As Christians, we must earnestly and unswervingly seek to treat all people impartially according to the righteous standards revealed in the Bible. So-called Christian Zionism, which has aligned itself with anti-Christian, political Zionism, is an ideology and movement that blatantly contravenes this fundamental truth.
Compassion for Christian Zionists leads me to attribute their wrongheadedness not to evil but to ignorance. It would be hubris for me to claim that they are ignorant but I am not if the issue in question were complicated and subtle. But biblical teaching on this matter is so simple and perspicuous that even a child can understand it: God first, not Israel first.
God first means that His character and His ethical standards must not be compromised for the sake of Israel but must stand in judgment over Israel, the United States, and every other nation.
The obtuseness that prevents the understanding of this plain, biblical truth is enough to boggle the mind.
Christian Zionists can only be understood as the victims of long-term indoctrination in an aberrant eschatology. Contrary to the belief of many, that aberration is not advocated by dispensationalism or supported by it. Christian Zionists have abandoned normative dispensationalism and have replaced it with a radically warped reinterpretation of it.
I have sought to explain this in detail in other papers--which were sent to some of the main leaders in Christian Zionism--and so far no Christian Zionist has even attempted to refute my thesis. Like Ephraim (Hosea 4:17), they are joined to their idols and refuse to relinquish them. How sad for the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ and the witness of Christians to the world, which is often confused and alienated by the unloving, chauvinistic voices of Christian Zionists.
Let us stand firm for the cause of Christ,
January 14, 2009