Aug 21, 2017

The Palestinian Man

This past week, Danny Akin, a Southern Baptist bigwig and president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (Wake Forest, NC), liked a tweet by Michael Bird, a lecturer in Theology and New Testament at Ridley College.

Now that I have the credentials out of the way, the tweet itself:

“White Christians should remember that they worship a brown-skinned Aramaic-speaking Palestinian man seated at the right hand of the Father.”

To which Akin replied:

“Good word and reminder @mbird12. Thank you!”

No, not a good word at all. And Bird should remember—or know in the first place—that we worship an ethnic Jew. Akin should know that, too. He leads a major seminary? That’s literally shocking.

But this reality is hateful for much of today’s evangelical leadership.

In a May 6, 2016 op-ed in the New York Times, Russell Moore said this:

“The man on the throne in heaven is a dark-skinned, Aramaic-speaking ‘foreigner’ who is probably not all that impressed by chants of ‘Make America great again.’”

(By using the word “foreigner,” Moore was also able to insert his leftist, open-border worldview into the discussion.)

Moore, like his friend Akin and others in key leadership positions within Evangelicalism, are loath to mention the Jewishness of Jesus. “Aramaic” and the grotesquely wrong “Palestinian” are actually used now to identify the man born into a Jewish family in Jewish Bethlehem. Jewish lineage.

Jesus is Jewish is the same as the sky is blue, but in today’s evangelical world, the sky is purple, or red, or no color at all.

Now, it’s at this point that people like Akin and Moore and Bird would use their deflection spin to ask me, “Why are you over-emphasizing the Jewish background and Judaism? Are you a Hebrew Roots convert?”

Or something close to that. This allows them to deflect from the important issue at hand: Jesus Christ is a Jew.

These men don’t like that and my proof is their public comments, such as above.

(Comically, Bird sits on the “Editorial board for Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus.” My goodness, if that board thinks Jesus was a Palestinian, they need to be educated.)

Part of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Bible problem is the ecumenical nature its leadership has pursued for a very long time. This brings much “diversity” into the tent, and theological diversity is poison for Bible teaching. A couple generations ago, Christian leaders would have thoroughly rejected the “Jesus was a Palestinian” nonsense.

But today’s leaders like it. They spread this falsehood.

Remember, such “evangelical” outsiders as Philip Yancey began the “Jesus is a Palestinian” nonsense two decades ago, just as Yasser Arafat did. Isn’t that disturbing?

Here we have in 2017 a Southern Baptist seminary president spreading the same anti-Semitic propaganda that the PLO chieftain did. And again, I know what the response would be: “Oh come on, you can’t be serious; that’s a serious leap and ‘guilt by degrees of association.’”

To which my reply is: If the keffiyeh fits…

I have spoken and written for a few years now that pro Israel support in the American Church is slipping. I now feel it’s in danger. We tried to be nice to the other side and be reasonable (at the same time legitimately good advocacy was done on behalf of Israel), but our ideological opponents are vicious and relentless. Those pro Israel leaders in the Church who were too nice about it—I could name them—have presided over, in my opinion, the demise of Christian Zionism in this country as a hegemonic movement.

I stand by that statement.

One has only to watch the demonic and ludicrous atmosphere of “protest” against Donald Trump and his agenda to see that we are not going back to some idyllic past.

And it is evangelical leaders who are either standing-down or are complicit when it comes to leftist ideology being promoted, right in the pews. They are certainly doing it at their conferences.

The evangelical leadership, in its arrogance, bares its fangs at “critics,” such as the author of this column. In this way, they detract from the real issues that are raised. In general, though there are still marvelous numbers of Bible-believing people in the pews, the basic laity is either clueless about these things, or embrace Replacement Theology themselves.

The recent flap within the Assemblies of God, regarding pro Israel support, is another indication that the traditional champions of the Jewish people are now under assault by leftists who believe Jesus was a Palestinian.

I no longer believe in “hoping for the best.” What I’ve written here today is simply factual, and without too much emotion, honestly. I expect strong pockets of pro Israel Christian support will go on until the end. Yet the majority of the American Church, with much help from the Danny Akins and Russell Moores of the world, will sooner-rather-than-later embrace the poison of a Palestinian state and many other threats to the Jewish state.

It’s simply where we are.

Aug 14, 2017

Bouncing Bibi?

Lots of fears out there that corruption charges will topple Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, and even perhaps repeat the fate of former premier Ehud Olmert, who went to prison for similar things.

The global community is actually watching a potential indictment of Netanyahu with great interest. The Likud leader has been hated for years by Western diplomats and politicians. His political head on a platter would delight many.

Christian supporters of Israel of course have long loved “Bibi,” but in my view, too many are too worried about his political fate. For one thing, remember that only two years ago, he roared back from “certain defeat” in early elections to vanquish his rival, Isaac Herzog. One of Netanyahu’s enemies, the New York Times, took of the surprising results:

“TEL AVIV — After a bruising campaign focused on his failings, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel won a clear victory in Tuesday’s elections and seemed all but certain to form a new government and serve a fourth term, though he offended many voters and alienated allies in the process.

“It was a stunning turnabout from the last pre-election polls published Friday, which showed the Zionist Union, led by Isaac Herzog, with a four- or five-seat lead and building momentum, and the Likud polling close to 20 seats.”

A wily veteran like Netanyahu has been in the battles many times, even many of them being real battles. A man who fights for his country and puts his life on the line is not a slender branch trembling in the wind.

I think his friends and supporters should follow his example. If he were driven from office, what can we do about it? Frankly (and I was guilty of the following for years), many Christian Zionists have it backwards: events and dark forces control things.

The opposite is true.

When the Israelites were shrieking and screaming at Moses for “dragging” them into the desert, God pushed Pharaoh’s face into the toilet and held it there until the Egyptian quit kicking.

When the world mocked after the dispersion of the Jews from their homeland, God preserved them for 2,000 years around the world.

When a joint Syrian-Egyptian sneak attack knocked the Israelis off their feet for 24 hours in October, 1973, the Lord sent them packing.

Time after time, God proves faithful and little men quack and snort for a little while, then blow away with the wind.

Look, I don’t want Netanyahu to leave office until he wants to and at 67 that might not be for a long time (he’s already served what is an eternity for Israeli premiers, spending most of the past decade in power). His father lived to be 102.

But civilization won’t collapse if a new leader emerges in Jerusalem. Iran won’t destroy Israel if even the weakest ninny sits in Jerusalem.

Interestingly, one legitimate name thrown around as a potential replacement for Netanyahu is very intriguing:

Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett.

The rightwing, nationalist Bennett is a combat veteran and a hawk. He might be an upgrade from Netanyahu in certain aspects.

We won’t know for a while yet whether the politically motivated charges against Netanyahu will stick. I well remember during his first term two decades ago, folks were squawking because he spent $30,000 a year on cigars. I once met with Olmert in his office and when the door was opened, I couldn’t see him for five seconds while the cigar smoke dissipated.

Politicians do certain things and frankly, they all do certain things they probably shouldn’t. Just know that a leader like Netanyahu will always be opposed by his sinister ideological enemies, precisely as Donald Trump is being opposed by enemies right now, including those in his own party.

Please stop worrying about the outcome of the latest Bibi saga. Enjoy your life a little, read the Bible, decorate your home for fall. Bounce the grandkids on your knee.

Just don’t wring your hands over a blip on the eternal clock.