Commonsense Christianity

Commonsense Christianity


Are We Being Bullied to Think a Certain Way?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Think of the term, Judeo-Christian values.

We bandy it about, especially we Christians, and the idea is that, because Jews and Christians share a common heritage (the Old Testament, and Abraham as our collective father), we should support one another, without question (although I’m not sure if the road runs both ways).

Enchanted inspirational oil painting of young woman girl in green dress in sunlight and garden by Steve Henderson

As intelligent, spiritual human beings, we must take time to think about life, spirituality, and the human experience, and not allow someone to make a one-size-fits-all approach for us. Enchanted, original oil painting by Steve Henderson. Licensed, open edition print at Great Big Canvas, iCanvasART, and Framed Canvas Art.

How that “somehow” plays about these days is that Christians, unequivocally, are told to uphold everything the state of Israel does politically, because if we disagree, we’re not supporting God’s people. Frequently, we are bludgeoned with this verse from Genesis 12: 2-3 in which God makes His promise to Abraham:

“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.”

Read and Research

This is a time when regular reading of the Bible comes in handy, because if we aren’t familiar with the overall book, individual verses can easily be brought out and slapped across our face. Generally, it goes like this:

“You can’t disagree with anything Israel does, or God will curse you. The Jews are God’s people!”

Well, let’s think about this:

Free to Disagree

1) Disagreeing with somebody is not the same as cursing them. While the future King David in 1 Samuel chapter 24 refused to touch God’s anointed Saul, he did not refrain from taking him to task:

“I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life.

“May the Lord judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you.”

David’s support of Saul did not include blinding himself to the man’s faults.

Gentiles Are Abraham’s Children, Too

2) We, too, are God’s people, and that promise in Genesis 12 applies to us as well:

“The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’ 

“So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” (Galatians 3: 8-9)

Ephesians 2: 11-22 goes even further, calling to mind the Gentiles’ initial state of being far away, “excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.” (verse 12)

But in Christ that changed, and we are now “fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles (New Testament) and prophets (Old Testament) with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” (verse 19-20)

Lumping Us All into One

Only an idiot would blanket all Christians into one group, and add that anything this composite group does is right — but this what Christians are expected to do with the Hebrews, or more accurately, the political state of Israel. Logic tells us that not all people who claim to be Christian actually are, and in a similar vein, not all those who claim to be Jewish, actually are:

Phonograph Days inspirational oil painting young woman girl in 1940s nostalgia hat and dress next to piano by Steve Henderson

Every human being on earth is unique, born in a specific time and place, created by God in the safety of the mother’s womb. We even like different music. Phonograph Days, original oil painting by Steve Henderson.

Revelation 2:9 and 3:9 both mention the synagogue of Satan, describing “those who say they are Jews and are not,” and both John the Baptist (Matthew 3: 7) and Jesus (Matthew 23: 33) referred to various leaders of the Jewish sect as a “brood of vipers.”

Imagine how that would go over on the evening news?

“And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our Father,”‘ John the Baptist speaks to the brood. “I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.” (Matthew 3: 9)

And He did — He opened the doors of the kingdom to the Gentiles. It wasn’t a particularly popular move in some quarters — John lost his head; Jesus, well, most Christians know what happened to Jesus, and this brings us back to the term at the beginning of the article: Judeo-Christian values.

Christian-Judeo Values

What if we flipped it, and called it Christian-Judeo values: do both sides fully agree that we have God the Father, and Abraham our father, in common, or are we Christians deluding ourselves into thinking that we have a mutual, equal relationship, and one in which we both support the other?

“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two (Jew and Gentile) one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations.” (Ephesians 2: 14)

This describes a veritable and true Judeo-Christian, or Christian-Judeo, relationship, but I can’t help but think that we’re not quite there yet.

When it comes to the news, make sure the information you’re getting is accurate, don’t be bullied into thinking a certain way, and remember that “No one is good — except God alone.” (Mark 10: 18) God does not call us to blindly accept, or patently reject, everything about any group of people.

Someday, Christ will return, and He will tell His children — Jew and Gentile:

“Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25: 40)

There are a lot of “least of these” people in this world. Let’s find, support, speak up for, love, and take care of them.

Thank You

Thank you for joining me at Commonsense Christianity, where I look for truth in God and the Bible alone, and question everything I am told by human beings with the thought in the back of my mind, “What is it this person wants me to believe, and why?”

If you feel as if you are being pressured to believe a certain way, you probably are.

Posts similar to this one are

Christianity Is Not a Political Party

What Is the Christian Response to the Israel Hamas Situation?

The Misfit Christian (from the time we enter pre-school, we are taught to succumb to peer pressure, and this does not stop once we are adults. If you don’t fit into the establishment church culture, stop feeling bad about being an independent thinker. My book encourages you to follow Christ, not the crowd)

 

 



  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    You have a unique and beautiful perspective of knowing actual human beings in the issue — they are not just “Palestinians,” or “Israelis” for which we must choose a side, but they are PEOPLE.

    In all wars, the innocents suffer, and we tend to gloss this over when we set up one side to be all good, and the other side to be all bad. Sadly, Christians are easily influenced to choose sides because they listen to conservative news commentators (I won’t use the term Christian with these people because they are pseudos) who work everyone up to a frenzy, and encourage listeners to hate a composite group of people. “It doesn’t matter if their children die,” people (Christians!!!!!) come to say. “They’re wrong and evil and they deserve this.”

    And then people like you come around, who have family members on the “wrong” side. Oh, how awkward to have to shake their heads and face the fact that your grandson is a child, like any other child. And your daughter-in-law is the wife of your son. Putting faces on people, and giving them lives and emotions, derails the vitriol that passes for news commentary in too many circles.

    We can do something about this, you know — we can turn off the corporate news and refuse to allow its droning influence into our homes. Blessings upon you and your family as you pull away from the madding crowd and walk the narrow path Jesus sets before you.

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    “The ends justify the means.” When we operate on this assumption, we incur all sorts of violations against people, which is why it’s so important, in any debate, for one side to incontrovertibly be “in the right.” Then, it is justified to cajole, push, ridicule, harass, or manipulate others into seeing its side, because it’s “right,” and “rightness” is more important than civility, or a willingness to look into all sides of the matter.

    Actually, it doesn’t even matter if one side were completely in the right (which is rare, rare indeed) — when it uses the same subversive techniques generally associated with the wrong side, in other words, when it acts pretty much like the other side, then how is it good?

    You are so right — we are called to be Berean believers, to test everything against the word of God — and to read that word for ourselves! More Christians are coming awake to this concept, which means that more people will start to question why things are the way they are — and people in power won’t like that.

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  • http://www.garnergoingson.wordpress.com/ Garner Goingson

    I really appreciate this post. When serving as a member of the UMW (of the UMC) there was a big push by the Women’s Division to marginalize anyone who supported Israel. One of the “exercises” at a retreat involved putting participants through check-point activities (by obnoxious teenagers). The pro-Hamas, pro-Palestinian leader asked a series of loaded questions designed to separate participants. Three of us who understood basic geography and traveled and read extensively on the issue, disagreed with the rather belligerent premises being preached, and subsequently were required to stand on one side of the room while the leader jeered at us sarcastically, and his more obedient followers smiled condescendingly.
    We are called to be Berean believers; to test everything, and everyone, against the Word of God – all of the Word of God. In my experience there are several denominations guilty of selective Scripture, who pick and interpret verses to serve their political leanings rather than surrendering their politics to Christ the King.

  • http://faithfulmomof9.com/ Sylvia

    Thank you so much for this post! This issue has long been on my mind. You have hit the nail right in the head for me. I have believed that as a Christian I must just automatically support Israel or be sinning. My daughter in law and thus my grandson are Palestinian! I do not like feeling as if I am going against them and began questioning this belief. It is okay to think for myself on this issue and not just go along with the crowd!

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  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    Thank you. I was actually reluctant to jump into the issue, because it is so sensitive. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and being frustrated at the continuous pressure to just shut up and believe what I’m told.

    I see Christians doing this all the time, on so many matters. They’ll ask, in wonderment, “Why is thus and so happening?” and never question their sources in the first place. Pastor said it. Or the corporate news media. Or a celebrity Christian author. And they accept it. They just accept it.

    It is most frustrating to see the Christian community played in this matter, and the people who are supposed to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves are looked on as pigeons for the picking. And they let themselves be so.

    But there are people like you who give me hope — people who think, question, meditate, speak out and up, and don’t attack automatically because someone says something different than what the voices who control them say.

  • ghartwell

    I am somewhat awed by the care and thoroughness of your dealing with this matter. Very well done on a controversial matter. And, yes, the pressure to enter into unquestioning ‘support’ of the nation called Israel is intense. Peace,

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