Hollywood screenwriter William Goldman was famous for saying, “Nobody knows anything.” The writer of The Princess Bride and All The President’s Men meant that in his profession, no one knew whether a film would do well or not. No one. Our forward-looking vision is so limited. Goldman’s sentiment perfectly fits one of the Bible’s most […]
The Bible often refers to “watchmen” and “watchmen on the wall,” the latter specifically in place to protect Israel in a variety of ways. In our own day, that involves advocacy work.
In the American church, that role is less popular than it used to be. In fact, a watchman for Israel is seen too often as divisive and politically incorrect. Sadly and ironically, the Evangelical community in America is hyper-vigilant about being politically correct. One of those slices of PC is that we must temper our support of Israel. After all, goes the conventional “wisdom,” Israel is not and has not tended enough to the needs and aspirations of the Palestinian people.
What though are the aspirations of the Palestinian people? I well remember an interview with a journalist years ago. He was asked what the Syrian people want (in the context of Israel returning the Golan Heights). He said, “Who knows what the Syrian people want? We know what Assad wants.”
So true. I don’t quibble that the Palestinian people probably want their own state. The problem is, the leadership is corrupt and still an enemy of the Jewish people. But until practical leadership emerges among the Palestinians, I believe the two-state solution is a catastrophe waiting to happen.
But I digress.
There are several marvelous pro Israel groups that cater to an evangelical audience. I applaud the wonderful work they do. I do take exception in one area, however.
People “on the right” or “conservative” tend to be less confrontational than their left-wing counterparts. Put another way, one conservative icon once told me that conservatives don’t like to fight.
Correct. For the most part.
That mindset has caused us to shrink from aggressively advocating for Israel, while the so-called “Christian Palestinianists” viciously and relentlessly oppose Israel. They do this through publishing, conferences, and ministry focus.
Some will take issue with my claim that we aren’t advocating aggressively enough for Israel. Let me be more specific.
I am convinced that a huge key to advocating for Israel in the church is to name names of those who oppose God’s people. Most if not all of my compatriots disagree.
Two years ago, two large pro Israel groups asked me to write an article for them, outlining the problems with the erosion of support for Israel in the church. This necessarily involves naming ministry names, etc.
I was shocked (I could still be shocked then) that both groups passed on the articles I submitted. Keep in mind, they came to me. Both told me that in essence, the articles were too “hot.”
This mindset is why we are seeing an erosion of support for Israel. To shine a light on Lynne Hybels’ advocacy for the Palestinians (she masks it with her “pro, pro, pro” clap-trap) is to poke the eye of the monolithic Willow Creek Association. To point out Russell Moore’s social progressive agenda, and his silence about Israel is to incur the wrath of his friends in the Southern Baptist Convention. Citing the anti-Israel writings of Millennial leaders like Cameron Strang and Donald Miller invites criticism from their followers. Pointing out the anti-Israel stance of World Vision brings out those who accuse me of opposing relief efforts for the poor.
That last point, of course, is classic deflection. I don’t oppose helping the poor in other countries. I do oppose WV’s opposition of the Jewish state.
Until we are willing to expose the villains in this drama, things will continue as they are.
Within one more generation, support for Israel in America will look very different from its predecessors.
And we wonder whether certain prophetic passages in the Hebrew Scriptures are meant for our time?
For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. (Zechariah 14:2,3)