God's Politics

God's Politics


Deanna Murshed: Evangelicals and Israel

posted by God's Politics

I’ve gotta admit, it hasn’t been easy being a Christian Arab-American, much less in the evangelical church. How many times can you explain that Jesus wasn’t baptized in the Rio Grande, that there are tens of thousands of indigenous Palestinian Christians still living in the Holy Land, and that loving Jewish people and “blessing Israel” (as is oft cited from scripture) doesn’t mean giving the modern (and mind you, secular) nation-state of Israel a carte blanche on foreign policy or grant it some sort of biblical immunity from criticism? For too long, such criticism has been deemed by my fellow American evangelical brothers and sisters as not only unbiblical but sometimes even — yes, anti-semitic. (Notwithstanding the fact that Arabs are also Semites), the idea that Palestinians had any right to any part of the Holy Land has long been considered anathema by too many of my American kinfolk.
So you can only imagine how tickled I was to read about a letter to President Bush signed by evangelical leaders across America, encouraging a two-state solution. Read the letter published by The New York Times here.

We also write to correct a serious misperception among some people including some U.S. policymakers that all American evangelicals are opposed to a two-state solution and creation of a new Palestinian state that includes the vast majority of the West Bank. Nothing could be further from the truth.

What I appreciated even more about this letter was some of the theology they included to counter the notion that “blessing Israel” somehow means “letting Israel do anything Israel wants to.”:

As evangelical Christians, we embrace the biblical promise to Abraham: ‘I will bless those who bless you.’ (Genesis 12:3). And precisely as evangelical Christians committed to the full teaching of the Scriptures, we know that blessing and loving people (including Jews and the present State of Israel) does not mean withholding criticism when it is warranted. Genuine love and genuine blessing means acting in ways that promote the genuine and long-term well being of our neighbors.

Are my American evangelical brethren coming around? Hallelujah.
I hope through our efforts for peace, God will bless Israelis, Palestinians, and everyone else. Let’s just be careful not to define “bless” too narrowly.

Deanna Murshed is director of integrated marketing for Sojourners/Call to Renewal.



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Anonymous

posted August 6, 2007 at 10:12 am


No serious person wants to give Carte Blanche to Israel for anything.
“(Notwithstanding the fact that Arabs are also Semites)”
Webster’s Dictionary defines the term anti-Semitic as prejudiced against Jews. So this parenthetical is just snarky.
I think the only people opposed to a two-state solution are Palestinians. I am inclined to take Arab states at their word when they advocate the destruction of Israel (it being a secular nation-state and all).



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jurisnaturalist

posted August 6, 2007 at 10:20 am


The two state solution provides a promise of altercations in the future.
What is needed is a zero-state solution, though I know most of us lack the imagination and courage for it.
If some are going to exercise authority over others, the structure and limits of this authority need to be strictly delineated. I can only imagine justification for judicial actions designed to protect rights and enforce contracts. Any further set of laws will necessarily favor some individuals over others, creating incentives to manipulate the law.
If such a concept sounds other-worldly, it is.
Nathanael Snow



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Rick Nowlin

posted August 6, 2007 at 10:51 am


Webster’s Dictionary defines the term anti-Semitic as prejudiced against Jews. So this parenthetical is just snarky.
Webster’s definition of anti-Semitism is historically wrong.
I am inclined to take Arab states at their word when they advocate the destruction of Israel (it being a secular nation-state and all).
Part of that is because they see Israelis largely as European interlopers sent there by Western imperialists, who had exploited them for hundreds of years and so that they could deal with their own “Jewish problem.”
What is needed is a zero-state solution, though I know most of us lack the imagination and courage for it.
Not to mention that it’s non-sensical.



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Wolverine

posted August 6, 2007 at 11:02 am


Ms. Murshed may have missed the real story here. (quoting the letter to President Bush)
We also write to correct a serious misperception among some people including some U.S. policymakers that all American evangelicals are opposed to a two-state solution and creation of a new Palestinian state that includes the vast majority of the West Bank. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The question that pops into my mind is: where did this misperception come from? Did any evangelical leader of note come out against a two-state solution? Or is this an artifact of someone out there exaggerating evangelical support for Israel?
Wolverine



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justintime

posted August 6, 2007 at 11:05 am


A good letter, long overdue.
But I didn’t see Jim Wallis among the signatories.



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kevin s.

posted August 6, 2007 at 11:37 am


“Webster’s definition of anti-Semitism is historically wrong.”
That doesn’t make the people who use the term any dumber.
“Part of that is because they see Israelis largely as European interlopers sent there by Western imperialists, who had exploited them for hundreds of years and so that they could deal with their own “Jewish problem.”"
Be that as it may, it doesn’t bode well for a two-state solution.
“The question that pops into my mind is: where did this misperception come from? ”
I’m sure Pat Robertson said something about it at some point, which was sufficient to tag all of us with it.



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Moderatelad

posted August 6, 2007 at 12:11 pm


Posted by: kevin s. | August 6, 2007 11:37 AM
Thanks – I could not have said it better.
Have a great day!
.



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justintime

posted August 6, 2007 at 1:53 pm


Kevin, It’s not just Pat Robertson.



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justintime

posted August 6, 2007 at 1:59 pm


“Rapture Ready: The Unauthorized ‘Christians United for Israel’ Tour” by Max Blumenthal
http://www.talk2action.org/story/2007/7/27/22848/0528/Front_Page/Rapture_Ready_The_Unauthorized_Christians_United_for_Israel_Tour



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kevin s.

posted August 6, 2007 at 2:12 pm


Is that a site calling for a one-state solution?



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Rick Nowlin

posted August 6, 2007 at 2:34 pm


Did any evangelical leader of note come out against a two-state solution? Or is this an artifact of someone out there exaggerating evangelical support for Israel?
Until a few years ago I didn’t even find an evanegelical who openly supported a two-state solution.



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kevin s.

posted August 6, 2007 at 2:52 pm


“Until a few years ago I didn’t even find an evanegelical who openly supported a two-state solution.”
That didn’t answer the question.



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justintime

posted August 6, 2007 at 3:57 pm


Max Blumenthal writes:
‘I attended the Christians United for Israel’s annual Washington-Israel Summit. Founded by San Antonio-based megachurch pastor John Hagee, CUFI has added the grassroots muscle of the Christian right to the already potent Israel lobby. Hagee and his minions have forged close ties with the Bush White House and members of Congress from Sen. Joseph Lieberman to Sen. John McCain. In its call for a unilateral military attack on Iran and the expansion of Israeli territory, CUFI has found unwavering encouragement from traditional pro-Israel groups like AIPAC and elements of the Israeli government.
But CUFI has an ulterior agenda: its support for Israel derives from the belief of Hagee and his flock that Jesus will return to Jerusalem after the battle of Armageddon and cleanse the earth of evil. In the end, all the non-believers – Jews, Muslims, Hindus, mainline Christians, etc. – must convert or suffer the torture of eternal damnation.’
Like I said, Kevin, Pat Robertson is not the only evangelical opposing accommodating the Palestinian effort for statehood.



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Moderatelad

posted August 6, 2007 at 4:11 pm


Posted by: justintime | August 6, 2007 3:57 PM
And your point is…
I read in my Bible that the final battle is Armageddon. That Christ will rule after the battle and that there will be a final judgement. I believe that many church leaders and believers understand this from the Book of Revelation. God will be the final judge over all. We can speculate – but He is the judge.
Have a great day -
.



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Rick Nowlin

posted August 6, 2007 at 4:13 pm


“Until a few years ago I didn’t even find an evangelical who openly supported a two-state solution.”
That didn’t answer the question.
Considering that until the last couple of years when it came to supporting Israel I found no evangelical who wasn’t staunchly pro-Israel über alles, I thought it was a fair statement.



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Eric

posted August 6, 2007 at 4:19 pm


“How many times can you explain that Jesus wasn’t baptized in the Rio Grande, that there are tens of thousands of indigenous Palestinian Christians still living in the Holy Land, and that loving Jewish people and “blessing Israel” (as is oft cited from scripture) doesn’t mean giving the modern (and mind you, secular) nation-state of Israel a carte blanche on foreign policy or grant it some sort of biblical immunity from criticism?”
Talk about a straw man! Yes, I know, there are a few evangelicals out there who actually would love to see Israel take over the Middle East and kill all the Palestinians. But if you think that this is what “evangelicals” think than you need to get out more. Most evangelicals I’ve come into contact with support both Israel’s right to exist and support a state of their own for the Palestinians. Most evangelicals want peace between these two groups.
The only people I hear regularly arguing for a one-state solution are radical Islamists.



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jurisnaturalist

posted August 6, 2007 at 4:33 pm


Okay, so the zero-state solution won’t happen. Ever.
But what position should Christians take?
If we are dealing with two nation-states fighting over territory to the detriment of individuals on both sides, where should our allegiance lie?
Dispensationalists, per the previous thread, have eschatological reasons for favoring the nation-state of Israel, and for supporting nation-states in general. This perspective is ultimately manichean, and must be rejected.
While searching for historical consistency is to be highly regarded, when ethical consistency is sacrificed in order to make things work out right, we must reject these conclusions.
If we give ethics a higher priority, we must place individual sovereignty first and accept a principle of non-aggression. This disallows support for a state which imposes arbitrary standards on non-aggressive innocents. Instead we are guided by Christ’s example to minister to individuals with both the physical substances which meet their immediate needs, and with the gospel message which meets their eternal needs.
But there is no mandate for action through the state. If anyone can direct me to a passage which contradicts this point, I would be most grateful.
Instead we are called to renounce political manipulation as evil, and to operate on voluntary grounds alone.
Every perversion of the gospel involves a Gnostic adoption of pagan means for achieving monotheistic ends at some point. Let us not fall into that trap.
We must not support the state of Israel or the Palestinian state (or the United States Government for that matter.) We must support a limitation of all government for the sake of the liberty of all individuals. We must work to make our own laws more closely parallel natural law, and to eliminate privilege wherever it occurs, whether in the corporate sphere or on an individual level. We must encourage adoption of similar limitations on government among all peoples in all places. We must not allow our voices to be put to work for the purposes of those few who would have the state grow ever larger.
Nathanael Snow



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Ted Voth Jr

posted August 6, 2007 at 6:15 pm


Ms Murshed is nothing but right.



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eileen fleming

posted August 6, 2007 at 9:22 pm


I have been to Israel Palestine five times since June 2005 to bear witness and report on the Christian EXODUS from the Holy Land which has rendered the Christian witness from 20% of the total population to less than 1.3% since 1947.
The reasons are many, but primary is the 40 year occupation, oppression, lack of economic opportunity, daily humiliations and frustrations at checkpoints and Terminals, denial of human rights, corrupt and ineffective PA and growing fundamentalism within all religions that fuels more violence.
The consensus among Palestinian Christians-who are the indigenous descendents of first century Christians is wonderment and sorrow over how few of their sisters and brothers in Christ in the west have about the real facts on the ground in the Holy Land.
They still have hope though, that when American Christians know the truth; they will demand justice for them and that would lead to equal human rights for all.
e
http://www.wearewideawake.org/



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justintime

posted August 6, 2007 at 11:05 pm


Eileen,
Thanks for your witness and first hand account of the Christian exodus from the Holy Land.
Something for all Christians to think about.
Very informative website as well.
What do think the evangelical Christian community can do to bring peace to Israel / Palestine?



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Robert Alu

posted August 7, 2007 at 3:41 am


My reading of the Scriptures informs me that God has no favourites. Not a nation, not a race, no individual, no religion even, for that matter, is regarded higher than the other by God.
If anything the kingdom of heaven belongs, not to a chosen race, but to Christians, followers of Christ. We, especially, are to be cognizant of fellow Christians wherever they may be from – Gal. 3:26-29. With respect to Arab countries, and not just Palestine/Israel, we largely seem to have failed to love.
Yes, there happens to be a land across the seas from Palestine, with many powerful professing Christians who have something to gain from acting as if the present day State of Israel were God’s chosen land for His chosen people. Whether the gain is political or whatnot I do not know …
These are people whose Christianity is a strange religion that seems not to include taking care of widows and orphans in their distress. Or, rather, they practise their compassion discriminately, seeing only the suffering of the Israelis; never that of the Palestinians.
Go to the Bible and you will see that it has always been so. The powerful have suppressed justice for the weak throughout human history – and justified their actions by any means necessary, including, of course, quoting the word of God. For the Jews the tables have turned, as only a few generations ago religious Christians (like you and I) used the same Bible to behave unjustly towards the Jews. The tragedy is that so many Jews who know what it is like to be downtrodden can stand by as the Palestinian people, their brothers and sisters, go through this occupation.
The good thing is that there are many Jews, some of them Israeli, who speak out against injustice, as do many Christians.
The letter by the 34 evangelicals in The New York Times is very reasonable, and the theology sound. But, those who ‘call the shots’ in the media, and therefore, form the public opinion in America (sadly many of them also ‘evangelicals’) generally have the last word. However, as we all know, God makes a way where there seems to be no way.
If it is God’s will there will be peace in the Middle East again, with the Palestinians and Israelis living side by side.
- Alu
Dar es Salaam
Tanzania



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Eric

posted August 7, 2007 at 10:04 am


Alu – What concrete steps should the state of Israel take to reduce the suffering of the Palestinian people?



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John

posted August 7, 2007 at 10:58 am


My reading of the Scriptures informs me that God has no favourites. Not a nation, not a race, no individual, no religion even, for that matter, is regarded higher than the other by God.
I’m not sure how many times it is written in scripture where God speaks, “I will be their God, and they will be my people.” I could be wrong, but I think He was referring directly to the children of Israel. I don’t recall reading in Scripture where God says, “The children of Israel are not my Chosen ones anymore.”
When Israel rejected Jesus, that opened the door for us Gentiles to be accepted by God (as Paul wrote “He has given us the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, “Abba! Father!”). This is confirmed in the parable of the king who hosts a wedding and his invited guests don’t show up for a bevy of excuses, so he sends his servants out into the streets to invite people to the feast. After that he sends them out in to the countryside because there’s still room and provisions. The invited guests are the children of Israel who chose not to come. We Gentiles are the ones in the city streets and the countryside who have been invited to partake because of the spurning of the Israelites (the invited guests).
In simple terms Christianity is Judaism with revelation of who Jesus is. In this favor with God is found. He favors the obedient.
I’m not going to quote chapter and verse, but I believe that my God is also a jealous God who commands us to have no other gods before Him. I believe this would apply to Budhism, Hinduism, Marxism, Communism, Islam or any other religion that does not worship and glorify Him, Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit. “Ye worship what ye do not know. When ye worship God ye must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.” In Spirit- the Holy Spirit. In Truth-Jesus Christ, who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh to the Father but by me.”
He also has commanded me to not worship or even make with the intent to worship any graven images (of stone, metal or wood). Maybe it’s my loose interpretation of the written Word, but as I understand what the Bible says, to do either of these things (ie: participate in false religion or worship graven images) is an abomination in His sight. If taht’s not playong favorites, I’m not sure what is then. I just know I want God’s favor on me, my family and my children to the tenth generation, so I’m going to do what pleases Him.
As far as a one nation solution, that’s Aldous Huxley’s brave new world. And that’s coming. That will be a sign of the end times and the soon coming of Christ. The two state solution is the way to go, unless iSrael wants to rise up and commit genocide. God gave them the opportunity to do that when He gave Israel the Promised Land, but they didn’t obey, and they lost the opportunity. God then told them that the nations they did not utterly destroy while taking the Promised Land would remain a thorn in their side. Palestine deserves to exist, and Israel deserves to deal with them.
As for peace, that will only ever be tenuous at best. God promised Rahab that of her son He would make a great nation, too, but that Ishmael and his sons would be cursed to always contend with his brothers. That’s why Israel is always at odds with Arab nations (decendents of Ishmael), and Arab nations are always at odds with one another.
I just take comfort in knowing that God will make right come out right everytime. He will do what He says He will do. His promises are, “Yes and Amen.” His Word is true and has not been contradicted. It does not contradict itself. 300+ prophecies written by a multitude of authors over a 1000 year period all came true and were fulfilled in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Archaelogy has only confirmed, not contradicted the Bible.
Sadly, there are not many evangelicals in control of the media in America. The majority are secular humanistic in nature and lean toward the liberal ungodly trends at work in the US. That’s what is on TV, newspaper, magazine and other print and most radio.
To have no government as someone implies above is ungodly. God is a God of order. The bible says that He orders everything and puts in positions of rule who He desires. God emands order. It’s the people in the positions of power who lose sight of the God who put them there that mess everything up. As Christians we are tod to obey them and also pray for them, that they may lead us in the way God has intended.
It’s nice to have a place to voice opinions, but as Christians, we should base our opinions on a clear understanding of the Word “rightly dividing the Word of truth” so we can be a true witness of God in the world.



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jerry

posted August 7, 2007 at 11:49 am


rick nowlin please try to be funner. this is a good discussion but you are soooooooo negative.
what’s your solution? did God choose the isrealis or not?



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justintime

posted August 7, 2007 at 12:15 pm


Jerry says:
“what’s your solution? did God choose the isrealis or not?”
You tell us Jerry.



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Rick Nowlin

posted August 7, 2007 at 12:49 pm


Jerry — The real question is: WHY did God create ancient Israel? Ultimately, I believe, to show the world Who He is by creating a people specifically for Himself, to show what He’s about, to demonstrate His holiness (that is, His “difference”) so that it could bless the world down the road. The Hebrew Law makes absolutely no sense outside of this concept. The same goes for the Church of Jesus Christ, which was and is to operate within totally different parameters than the rest of the world.
Given the above, you can then answer the question you raised.



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John

posted August 7, 2007 at 2:46 pm


I’m not sure how many times it is written in scripture where God speaks, “I will be their God, and they will be my people.” I could be wrong, but I think He was referring directly to the children of Israel. I don’t recall reading in Scripture where God says, “The children of Israel are not my Chosen ones anymore.”
When Israel rejected Jesus, that opened the door for us Gentiles to be accepted by God (as Paul wrote “He has given us the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, “Abba! Father!”). This is confirmed in the parable of the king who hosts a wedding and his invited guests don’t show up for a bevy of excuses, so he sends his servants out into the streets to invite people to the feast. After that he sends them out in to the countryside because there’s still room and provisions. The invited guests are the children of Israel who chose not to come. We Gentiles are the ones in the city streets and the countryside who have been invited to partake because of the spurning of the Israelites (the invited guests).
In simple terms Christianity is Judaism with revelation of who Jesus is. In this favor with God is found. He favors the obedient.
I’m not going to quote chapter and verse, but I believe that my God is also a jealous God who commands us to have no other gods before Him. I believe this would apply to Budhism, Hinduism, Marxism, Communism, Islam or any other religion that does not worship and glorify Him, Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit. “Ye worship what ye do not know. When ye worship God ye must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.” In Spirit- the Holy Spirit. In Truth-Jesus Christ, who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh to the Father but by me.”
He also has commanded me to not worship or even make with the intent to worship any graven images (of stone, metal or wood). Maybe it’s my loose interpretation of the written Word, but as I understand what the Bible says, to do either of these things (ie: participate in false religion or worship graven images) is an abomination in His sight. If taht’s not playong favorites, I’m not sure what is then. I just know I want God’s favor on me, my family and my children to the tenth generation, so I’m going to do what pleases Him.
As far as a one nation solution, that’s Aldous Huxley’s brave new world. And that’s coming. That will be a sign of the end times and the soon coming of Christ. The two state solution is the way to go, unless iSrael wants to rise up and commit genocide. God gave them the opportunity to do that when He gave Israel the Promised Land, but they didn’t obey, and they lost the opportunity. God then told them that the nations they did not utterly destroy while taking the Promised Land would remain a thorn in their side. Palestine deserves to exist, and Israel deserves to deal with them.
As for peace, that will only ever be tenuous at best. God promised Rahab that of her son He would make a great nation, too, but that Ishmael and his sons would be cursed to always contend with his brothers. That’s why Israel is always at odds with Arab nations (decendents of Ishmael), and Arab nations are always at odds with one another.
I just take comfort in knowing that God will make right come out right everytime. He will do what He says He will do. His promises are, “Yes and Amen.” His Word is true and has not been contradicted. It does not contradict itself. 300+ prophecies written by a multitude of authors over a 1000 year period all came true and were fulfilled in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Archaelogy has only confirmed, not contradicted the Bible.
Sadly, there are not many evangelicals in control of the media in America. The majority are secular humanistic in nature and lean toward the liberal ungodly trends at work in the US. That’s what is on TV, newspaper, magazine and other print and most radio.
To have no government as someone implies above is ungodly. God is a God of order. The bible says that He orders everything and puts in positions of rule who He desires. God emands order. It’s the people in the positions of power who lose sight of the God who put them there that mess everything up. As Christians we are tod to obey them and also pray for them, that they may lead us in the way God has intended.
It’s nice to have a place to voice opinions, but as Christians, we should base our opinions on a clear understanding of the Word “rightly dividing the Word of truth” so we can be a true witness of God in the world.



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jurisnaturalist

posted August 7, 2007 at 4:34 pm


John,
“To have no government as someone implies above is ungodly. God is a God of order. The bible says that He orders everything and puts in positions of rule who He desires. God demands order. It’s the people in the positions of power who lose sight of the God who put them there that mess everything up.”
To have no centralized state is different from having no law. Neither does it necessarily imply a lack of order. When you go to a store to buy a widget and “you pays yo money and you gets yo stuff” there is an implied order that does not require authority. It is a cooperative voluntary order devoid of coercion. It is peaceful. Hayek calls it a “spontaneous order” and we all use it every day.
God manipulates kingdoms and rulers according to His decrees, and He is God. But centralized governments create incentives for those who work within them to do evil. Once force has been initiated, the entire system is corrupt. Only a Christian, and only rarely then, or an individual whom God is manipulating (for lack of a better way of describing this) can be doing good under such a system, and the good that they could be doing under a peaceful arrangement would be better.
Jerry,
“did God choose the Isrealis or not?”
God chose the Jews. He chose the Israelites. He did not choose the nation-state of Israel.
I choose to be an American. That is different from choosing to serve the USG. There were many Germans who were not Nazis. And there is more than just my car in my garage. I challenge you to re-identify yourself with your God rather than with the government of the nation you live under.
And please, everyone, try to think with a little more sophistication here!
Nathanael Snow



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Hali

posted August 7, 2007 at 4:54 pm


Nathanael Snow wrote:
“And please, everyone, try to think with a little more sophistication here!”
Ever the optimist…. ;)



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Rick Nowlin

posted August 7, 2007 at 5:33 pm


To have no centralized state is different from having no law. Neither does it necessarily imply a lack of order. When you go to a store to buy a widget and “you pays yo money and you gets yo stuff” there is an implied order that does not require authority. It is a cooperative voluntary order devoid of coercion.
Not quite, Nathanael. For openers, even that system still has to be taught. And you don’t account for the fact that every nation in the world has a law that theft is wrong — how then you do back it up? With force, if need be.



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Mick Sheldon

posted August 7, 2007 at 5:59 pm


“But what position should Christians take? ”
Praying for peace is a cliche answer , but the right one . It appears more complicated to me the more I learn about it , history , spirtual , and the various times both sides have been right or wrong . One side causes the other side to respond , therefore injuring more innocents , thus those innocents forever are thrus into a conflict being the ones who were attacked first .
I listen to a conservative Jew , Orthodox , Michael Medved at work sometimes on talk radio . He is very conservative , and a bit of a republican cheer leader at times , but has an encloopedia mind , and speaks on this issue quite often .
I never see his points ever represented here , which makes me wonder why Sojorners appears to ignore some of the Muslim extremism in regards to military tactics and such ? Obviously Israel is not perfect , they have elections , and have a more open society and a better record on human rights then their neigbors . Democratic countries tend to .



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jurisnaturalist

posted August 7, 2007 at 6:15 pm


Back it up with force, indeed. But when? Before the fact or after it?
Those who love security will say before.
Those who love liberty will say after.
The trick is to make sure that torts are enforced and that the sentence brings restitution to the victim. Most centralized states collect tort fines and keep them for themselves, then impose unfitting punishment on those who have committed vices or crimes, hoping to generate an artificial deterrent.
NS



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Susan

posted August 7, 2007 at 9:36 pm


Antisemitism has consistently meant the hatred o Jews or the belief in a set of stereotypical and inaccurate view of Jews. It has never meant the hatred of people who speak Semitic languages. The idea that Arabs can’t be antisemitic because they are Semites is disingenuous at best. Antisemitism permeates the Arab and Muslim world. Normal middle-class people beleive that the Holocaust never happened. The belief in all kinds of antisemitic conspiracy theories also pervades the Arab world. You can find well-educated Arabs who believe in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a Russian forgery created by the Czar’s secret police in the early 1900s. You can buy it in any Arab bookstore. It’s just that “God’s Politics likes to pretend that it doesn’t exist.
I don’t trust anyone who wants to convert Jews whatever their politics. That runs the gamut from so-called Christian Zionists to the anyone on the left who want to evangelize to Jews. Amy-Jill Levine has a chapter in her book, The Misunderstood Jew called, “With Friends Like these…”. Jews are being squeezed by both sides.
The Christian Zionists want a Jewish state with no Jews in it. This is a rather strange for of Zionism. I can tell when legitimate criticism of Israel crosses the line into antisemitism and anti-Judaism.



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Rick Nowlin

posted August 7, 2007 at 10:18 pm


Back it up with force, indeed. But when? Before the fact or after it?
Both, and during as well — you see, breaking the law should have consquences. I don’t know if you have children or not, but when they go against the rules you set down, and if the age is appropriate you give them a swat on the behind. That’s called discipline. (Some parents, of course, take that too far, and it becomes abuse.) The same is true for the state. Again, Paul said, my paraphrase, “It doesn’t wield the sword for nothing!”
I listen to a conservative Jew, Orthodox, Michael Medved at work sometimes on talk radio. He is very conservative, and a bit of a republican cheer leader at times, but has an encloopedia mind, and speaks on this issue quite often.
Medved does not represent most Jews — even Orthodox Jews are ideologically liberal in many ways; in fact, most tend to support abortion rights (e. g. Joe Lieberman).



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Mick Sheldon

posted August 7, 2007 at 11:02 pm


Rick,
This from the on line Enclopedia . Using political religious figures usually will give you an un Bibical understanding of many issues I have found . Just like many Christians that are liberal support candidates who support abortion I suppose .
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism generally prohibits abortion in any other circumstance than to save the woman’s life, in which case it might not only be permissible but required. Although a recent rabbinical authority holds the minority view that a child with known Tay-Sachs disease may be aborted due to its dismal prognosis, this view has not been accepted as of 2005 by most Orthodox rabbinical authorities. Psychiatric disease in the woman and rape as the cause of pregnancy are debated by the Acharonim (post-1550 authorities), but generally abortion is permissible or required only if there is actual danger to the life of the woman.



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Robert Alu

posted August 8, 2007 at 4:40 am


Eric,
I do have my thoughts on what Israel can do.
However I worry more about what Christians can and should do and that is to fearlessly pursue the truth at all times and, as Micah 6.8 says: “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Incidentally Israelis who happen to be Jews should know that Scripture).
For practical steps that the Israeli government can take you can check out the website of Israeli human rights’ group, B’tselem (“in the image of”). The name is derived from Gen 1:27.
There you will find links to a lot more sites who are on the ground and are always calling on this or that action to be taken. I have picked B’tselem because they are equally critical of Palestinian crimes as they are of the wrongdoings of the Israeli government.
Now, of course, there is no reason for us Christians to expect the Israeli government to uphold ‘Christian ethics’. First, they are NOT believers – and, secondly (possibly more importantly), us Christians clearly have a long way to go before we agree on what the right thing to do in particular problem situations is.
We may not even have the moral right to tell anyone what to do. After all Christians supported colonialism, slavery etc. We even had a part to play in the Holocaust … We have opposed fellow Christians who advocated peace, or fought against injustice, on many occasions siding with the world against them. Somewhere on this blog I read that MLK was not a prophet …
Some of the entries on this page are very disheartening, considering that they are representative of the way some Christians think. For instance how does one interpret ‘the chosen people’ of the Old Testament, as a Christian, without reading it through New Testament lenses?
Anyway … Eric, supposing us Christians lived according to the way we were commanded by Christ:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
What do you think would happen then? Christians, who should be leading both Muslims and non-Messianic Jews to Christ, need to exhibit the love of Christ. That is a romantic notion, I know … I too have seen some of our Christian ‘leaders’ on tv!
But, God has never been stopped by human beings, His own ‘chosen’ or otherwise, from accomplishing His goals.
Shalom!
- Alu



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Bryan Runnels

posted August 8, 2007 at 7:35 am


Zec 11:14 Then I cut asunder mine other staff, even Bands, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.
The fact is that there is a difference between Israel and Judah. This difference was so great that they could become completely dissociated from each.
The endless misinterpretation of prophecy begins with the dirty secret that no one talks about. God was divorced, and remarried. (Jeremiah 3)
His first wife was Israel, and, after the divorce, He promised to marry her, again. (Hosea 1, Isaiah 54) But, in the meantime, He married her sister, Judah, and began scattering the children of Israel all over the earth. (Zech. 10)
Then, He came in the flesh, and His second wife killed Him.
Thus, both, Israel and Judah, broke covenant with God.
In the last event, the crucified one was raised from the dead and sent His apostles out to find the children of Israel, present the evidence of their redemption, and adopt them- reconstituting a holy nation, the house of Joseph (another name for Israel).
The children of the house of Judah and the children of the house of Israel will, together, appoint that resurrected One as their Head, and they will no longer be two nations at all. (Hosea 1, Ezekiel 37)
Eventually, the Lord brings the Christians (the reconstituted nation of the house of Joseph) to Lebanon and Gilead. (Zech. 10)
At some point comes the remarriage to His first wife as promised. (Marriage Supper of the Lamb)
Any of the gentiles who cames under the covenant that makes the Holy Nation will enjoy all benefits that are enjoyed by the children of Israel and the children of Judah. But the nations and kingdoms that do not serve us will be destroyed. (Isaiah 50, Matt. 25)
Palestine, Moab, Edom, and the children of the Ammonites will, all, be subjected to the authority of that Holy Nation when Ephraim (yet, another way of addressing Israel) and Judah come into harmony, again



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jurisnaturalist

posted August 8, 2007 at 9:09 am


Rick,
The state is not my daddy.
Who’s your daddy?
Should thinking about breaking the law be illegal?
If a father disciplines for foolish rules then he is provoking his children to anger. We call that child abuse. The state has extended its sphere of influence too far. I’m angry, and I know you are too.
What does “backing it up with force” represent?
Under a rule of law all participants agree not to encroach on others’ rights. If anyone violates this non-aggression principle, they step out from under the protection of the law and they are outlaws. They enjoy neither protection of their life their property or their liberty.
The criminal in this case may make an appeal to the court to come back under the protection of the law by paying restitution to the injured party. Thus they are restored.
This and the enforcement of voluntarily agreed upon contracts is the full extent of the law.
If once the law has been perverted in such a way that it allows one person, or agency, to take from another and give to whom they please, the protections of natural law are nullified and the law has done that which it was designed to prevent.
Redistribution of wealth falls into this category, as does awarding privilege to large corporations, etc.. In any way that the law goes beyond protection of rights and enforcement of contracts it is perverted, and then who can know it?
The lack of predictability in regards to the law disturbs the transactions made voluntarily amongst individuals. How can they agree upon a contract if they do not know it will be enforced? How can they agree upon a price if they do not know whether the state will impose a price control on one of the factors of their production?
Backing the law up with force actually means the restraint on force – lawful behavior – is forgone by the perpetrator, and he brings the violence upon himself. The state wields this sword for us collectively so as to prevent abuse or misunderstandings by individuals – to give the accused the benefit of the doubt and a way of being restored. It is actually a manifestation of grace.
But if the law be perverted, the grace becomes absent, and all that it represents is violence to all, on the behalf of the state itself instead of on behalf of the individuals supposedly under the protection of the law.
For a much more eloquent discussion of these principles see Bastiat’s The Law, available at sfd.
Nathanael Snow



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Rick Nowlin

posted August 8, 2007 at 10:37 am


Should thinking about breaking the law be illegal? If a father disciplines for foolish rules then he is provoking his children to anger. We call that child abuse. The state has extended its sphere of influence too far. I’m angry, and I know you are too.
Temptation is not itself a sin. Did you know that?
The criminal in this case may make an appeal to the court to come back under the protection of the law by paying restitution to the injured party. Thus they are restored.
What about crimes like rape or murder, where there is no “restitution”?



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kevin s.

posted August 8, 2007 at 11:24 am


“The idea that Arabs can’t be antisemitic because they are Semites is disingenuous at best.”
And exceedingly disrespectful at worst. Anti-semitism has wrought unimaginable tragedy for the Jewish people.
However, I think it is just another semantic dance, not unlike the use of “pro-life” to mean “pro-choice, but not liking abortion”. The person making the point gets to feel smart without having actually said anything.
“The Christian Zionists want a Jewish state with no Jews in it. This is a rather strange for of Zionism. I can tell when legitimate criticism of Israel crosses the line into antisemitism and anti-Judaism.”
Not to defend the dispies here, but I think you are conflating two ideas. For me, I want a Jewish state because that is what is right on principle. Israel should exist because its inhabitants out to be able to live peacefully.
From a Christian perspective, I want what is best for all people. If I am right about the redemption offered by Christ’s death and rebirth, then I should tell everyone about it, regardless of their religious traditions. That is not an attempt to wash away ethnicity, or to make everyone like me, but an effort to steer people toward the truth about God.



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jurisnaturalist

posted August 8, 2007 at 1:13 pm


“What about rape and murder where there is no restitution?”
There may be no re*trib*ution, which is really revenge, but there may be restitution. Can it be in full? Of course not. But what is the alternative?
Joe kills Bob. Bob cannot be paid back his life. But Bob’s wife Mary is now without the financial support she received from Bob. Shall we kill Joe? Shall we put him into prison? Or, perhaps we can send him to work, and have him pay Mary. Or, if he is wealthy, he can pay Mary now, and enjoy restoration.
Of course if Joe appears to be dangerous and likely to hurt someone else, we might prefer that he face capital punishment. I’m reluctant to go there.
The case for rape is similar.
The common law had most of this well worked out in the 1800′s but we have since abandoned it in order to make room for the more arbitrary legislated law. Now, we lack even the means to discover what the law ought to be in many cases.
Nathanael Snow



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thom

posted August 8, 2007 at 1:14 pm


I cannot believe that no one caught the ignorance of the evangelical who wrote that Rahab was the mother of Ishmael. She was the grand mother of David. Hagar was the mother of Ishmael.



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Susan

posted August 8, 2007 at 5:34 pm


Kevin, I meant the Evangelcal Christians who think that Jews in Israel need to be converted for the End Times to begin.
Nearly half of all Israeli Jews were born in Arab countries or are descendents of Jews born in Arab countries. There are more Jewish refugees from Arab countries than Palestinian refugees from Israel. There are also Jews in Israel from other countries like Ethiopia and India.
John, you said, “In simple terms Christianity is Judaism with revelation of who Jesus is. In this favor with God is found. He favors the obedient.”
This is just not true. Jews have never thought that the Messiah was a a personal saviour, nor have Jews ever believed that Jesus was God, a part of God, or the son of God. Jesus never thought that he was any of the above either. That was added after his death. I’m not going to get into an argument about Jesus. We’re just going to have to disagree on who Jesus really was. I also disagree that God or Jesus favors the obedient, or at lest favors the blindly obedient.



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Rick Nowlin

posted August 8, 2007 at 5:57 pm


Nathanael — Let me break it down for you. The punishment for rape and murder, after the charges were brought and all relevant testimony was delivered, was death.



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Elvis Allen

posted August 8, 2007 at 7:18 pm


I have the short and sweet answer to this palestine/israel dillemma. The answer my christian brethren is this, nuke israel for crimes against humanity, and the attack on the U.S.S Liberty in 1967, there sentence is death. Send these pseudo-judeans to there eternal resting place in hell.



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jurisnaturalist

posted August 8, 2007 at 7:52 pm


Rick,
“Let me break it down for you. The punishment for rape and murder, after the charges were brought and all relevant testimony was delivered, was death.”
So I’ve read. And the judge always had the option of showing mercy. And the victims always had the option of dropping the charges.
NS



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tony

posted August 9, 2007 at 4:21 pm


All this talk of two-states assumes one Palestinian state. Who will control it? How can we expect Fatah and Hamas to work together now that they’ve finally split? I think we need new ideas for this new situation.



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lawandland.net

posted September 22, 2007 at 3:27 pm


Christians have been mistreating Jews for thousands of years and I am not only talking about crusaders or anti-Semites – I am talking about segregating Christianity from God’s chosen people, from God’s Law and miss-interpreting numerous promises that God made to Israel and claiming that they apply to the Church.
How many pastors really teach and practice the Law?
Matthew 5:17-19 – “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
How many Churches teach replacement theology in one way or another?
Rom 11:11 – I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles.
Rom 11:12 – Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness?
How many Churches donate money to Jews?
Rom 15:27 – For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.
If you really want to know what would Jesus do, here are just a few things:
He would not eat bacon; he would observe all the Jewish holidays; he would worship in the synagogue and not in the church, and he would do it on Saturday, not on Sunday. In other words, Jesus would observe the Jewish Law as found in the Torah (Pentateuch ). Just because we don’t have to observe the Law in order to be saved, does not mean that we shouldn’t. Just like our children do not have to make good grades to be loved and to be part of our families, but they sure need at least try to be successful at school.
Check out http://www.lawandland.net



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