Israel is the key to all end-time prophecy.

Keep your eye on Jerusalem  



Sep 5, 2011

The American Theatre of War

A group I was invited to join a few years ago (through David Lewis), the National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel (NCLCI), is a fascinating group. A group you should know more about.

Its uniqueness comes from the fact that NCLCI is comprised mostly of mainline folks who are pro Israel. Dave Blewett, the fabulous director, is Lutheran, as is JoAnn Magnuson (one of the most learned people I know on these subjects). Bill Harter has a wonderful testimony of lifelong pro Israel activity, from his Presbyterian roots.

You should know about NCLCI (, and I encourage you to investigate the group’s activities. They are, for example, actively involved in opposing the infamous divestment campaign against Israel. NCLCI members run in—I don’t know another way to say this—intellectual circles, and their formidable brainpower and sophistication is invaluable in opposing the hatchet-jobs that most mainline sources use against Israel and Zionism.

They were doing important work decades ago, working with the likes of former Congressman Jack Kemp, and Jewish groups maintaining ties on Capitol Hill.

Gary Green of NCLCI also works with another important group I’d encourage you to check out—Presbyterians for Middle East Peace ( Gary is well-informed about issues facing Israel.

I was reminded of the importance of NCLCI recently when noticing the destructive work of groups like Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding, which roughly would be the mirror image of NCLCI—mainline groups working for Israel’s destruction (although they wouldn’t frame it that way, obviously). Churches for Middle East Peace is another that opposes the work of pro Israel activism.

These groups that stand apart from NCLCI and are representative of liberal, mainline Christians are made up of folks like Alex Patico (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America); Michael Kinnamon (National Council of Churches); Gary Burge (Wheaton); and Stephen Sizer (pastor of Christ Church, Surrey, UK).

Sizer in particular is involved in confronting Christian Zionists; you should check out his website at

The EMEU folks are also involved with the so-called “Christ at the Checkpoint” initiative, designed to bash Israel over the security fence (that has, as I like to point out, stopped the murder of Jews by Palestinian homicide bombers). If you go to, you will there discover in part just how deeply entrenched Palestinian propaganda is in the American Church, for the “checkpoint” website published a piece by Lynne Hybels, wife of Willowcreek founder Bill Hybels.

In part, Lynne Hybels wrote:

I’ve met with both Palestinian and Israeli faith leaders committed to using nonviolent resistance to end the occupation. Most recently I spoke at a conference hosted by Christians in Bethlehem. The conference, called “Christ at the Checkpoint: Theology in Service to Peace and Justice,” challenged evangelicals from North America and Europe to stand with the Christians of Palestine. The conference was inspiring, but for me the highlight was the three post-conference days I actually spent with Palestinian Christians.”

She went on to state:

“I am still pro-Israel, but I’ve also become pro-Palestine. Pro-peace. Pro-justice. Pro-equality for Jews and Arabs living as neighbors in the Holy Land. And bottom line, pro-Jesus.”

Okay, let’s break this down:

•She met with the people of the region in order to help “end the occupation.” Her worldview had already been formed, and it says that Israel is oppressing the Palestinians. This is typical of mainline churches, but now we are seeing the Hybels—ostensibly evangelical—bring-in Palestinian propaganda into evangelical churches like a flood. More on that in a minute.

•She believes in and affirms a place called “Palestine.”

•She is “pro-Jesus.” I wonder if she affirms this to be the Jewish Jesus of Nazareth?

I want to say this clearly: Lynne Hybels is not pro Israel. When one takes sides, he or she is one or the other. This malevolent, subtle message that Hybels and her friends are promoting in evangelicalism is anti-Jewish, anti-Israel, anti-peace. It is also anti-Bible.

Hybels and like-minded friends who are outright liberals, such as Tony Campolo, Brian McLaren, Jim Wallis…like to confuse people by claiming to be also concerned for Israel’s security and well-being.

Don’t believe it. One cannot have it both ways when it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict. To link arms with the barbaric Palestinian society is to oppose Israel to the hilt.

For decades, such animosity towards Israel was mostly confined to the mainline. The very serious problem we are now confronted with, however, is that what was once a gathering of 15 Episcopalians sipping brandy and discussing the evils of capitalism and the “military industrial complex” has now mushroomed into a sizeable and formidable opponent for American Christian supporters of Israel.

And Bill and Lynne Hybels are conduits for bringing young evangelicals into this community of haters of Zionism. How?

Bill Hybels recently hosted his “Global Leadership Summit,” which included Steven Furtick as a speaker. Furtick, pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, is a young, Emergent leader. Exhibiting charismatic roots (he has just invited T.D. Jakes to his own conference), Furtick has quite a personality and if you want to be scared, just watch a short video that Furtick produced and hosted in which he arrogantly denounces “haters” (that would be you and me):

Hybels is cleverly and strategically including up-and-comers like Furtick, as he extends his sweep to blanket the American Church with liberal theology.

Sadly, this networking is much deeper. I recently saw a “tweet” from Rick Warren (he posted a short message on Twitter), in which he said:

“I LOVE these pastors & deeply believe in their ministries: @perrynoble @PastorMark @steven furtick @JudWilhite @judahsmith”

So, Warren and Hybels, who move in the same circles and believe the same things (primarily now, social justice issues) are reaching-out to and mentoring these young guys who are building their own huge churches through the cult of personality. Perry Noble, by the way, Warren’s good buddy, recently called his critics “terrorists.” This “terrorist” language, I can document, is coming directly from Palestinian Christian groups that are really front groups for the PLO.

(You might recall, too, Rick Warren’s shameful, affirming meeting with the murderous Bashar Assad of Syria a few years ago. These American Christian leaders long ago abandoned Israel.)

Be warned.

So it is critically important to “follow the money” and discover for yourself the roots and networks of anti-Israel work in America.

These young, Emergent leaders would not first talk about Israel or the Middle East. They are heavily promoting “social justice” talk (which has roots in Soviet propaganda, by the way), as they move away from “the old-time religion.” But if you were able to ask them, I am quite confident they would echo almost exactly what Lynne Hybels said above. No longer are evangelical pastors in America largely pro Israel. If Bill Hybels (whom Steven Furtick calls ‘Bill Freaking Hybels,’ so worshipful is his gaze) told Steven Furtick that the original apostles were really Jedi warriors, Furtick would create a whole sermon series based on Star Wars and the Gospels.

That really isn’t tongue-in-cheek.

We are living in extremely dangerous times. Yet, through it, we still glory in the God of history. He alone directs eras and people. He will see this through.

In the meantime, I urge you with all possible haste to educate yourself  as to the threats to the faith, so that you and your family are not among even the elect who are being deceived in what is being waged on a weekly basis in the American Church.

It is war.


Aug 29, 2011

The Jackal

According to Wikipedia, the jackal is a species of “the wolf genus of mammals, Canis.” This menacing scavenger often hunts alone.

Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, the Venezuelan terrorist involved in murderous acts decades ago (a Marxist, Sanchez joined the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine—PFLP—in 1970), was nicknamed “Carlos the Jackal.” The jackal has always been associated with evil, a creature who wreaks havoc and is a born killer.

I was reminded of this yesterday, during an email exchange with a former associate. I had pointed out—documented—his growing involvement with the Emergent community. We had once been close.

His response accused me of being judgmental. He told me I didn’t know what I was talking about, etc. There was more.

I was almost physically sick when I finished reading his response. I shouldn’t be shocked anymore. And all this has everything to do with Israel, the Jews, and the core of our faith. I have begun heavy research into the Emergent worldview, and it is deeply disturbing. As Roger Oakland points out:

“As the world becomes more and more resentful toward Israel, the view that the church takes the place of Israel, leaving Israel no prophetic significance (replacement theology), will become increasingly accepted within Christianity at large. Those who believe the Book of Revelation predicts an apocalyptic future will be considered a danger to society and the well-being of this new kingdom of God.”

Roger’s book, Faith Undone, tracks the harm done by the Emergent community, and he is describing one aspect of their theology that distorts reality.

The editors at Lighthouse Trails are also courageous enough to call it what it is:

“…a flood of Christian leaders are turning their backs on Israel merely by promoting the emerging/contemplative spirituality.” (www.

The mainline has always hated Israel. Now the evangelical world is joining them.

Contemplative spirituality, of course, is a hallmark of Emergent. This emphasis has infected every denomination in America, and the overthrow of orthodox Christianity in our beloved country is almost complete. Think I’m a melodramatic alarmist?

As I type this, I am listening to a radio program from Compassion International, and the host is interviewing Leonard Sweet. For the purposes of this column, I won’t go into detail, but just do a web search about Sweet.

Right now, Sweet is discussing “JDD,” what he calls “Jesus Deficit Disorder.” He is talking about the fact that there is now too much emphasis on leadership—leadership conferences, etc.—but not enough emphasis on simply following Jesus. He said that everyone wants to attend the popular leadership conferences, but how many would attend a “followership [of Jesus] conference?”

Sounds good and spiritual, right?

Yet Sweet is a fixture at these leadership conferences, including The Nines.

Why the double-speak?

The email exchange I mentioned at the outset was prompted by a Twitter message from my former colleague’s new friend. The new friend said that imagination is more important than knowledge.

This is an obvious absurdity, as discussed in Scripture:

And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” (Jeremiah 3:15)

The person who tweeted this quote about imagination also expressed his enthusiasm about attending the upcoming Catalyst conference in Atlanta (October 5-7). Dominated by leaders like Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel, the speaker list has such names as Mark Driscoll and Dave Ramsey.

It also will be a venue for one Cornell West, professor at Princeton and an avowed socialist. Let me say that again:

Cornell West is a self-described “non-Marxist socialist.” He is also a key contributor to the infamous divestment effort against Israel. The Twitter messenger specifically mentioned his giddiness at being able to see Cornell West.

•A new “sermon” series from Emergent leader Erwin McManus, kicking off September 11, sounds like a primer for one-world religion. He briefly mentions, twice, faith in Jesus, but he spends most of his time in the trailer grinning and talking about linking arms with people of other faiths.

Called “Truth Between Us,” the video trailer is all you need to know:

My former associate’s personal attack on me for bringing these things to his attention grieves me deeply. In the community of “new thought” (my term) within American Christianity today is a swirling mixture of Marcus Borg, Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet, Bill Hybels, Steven Furtick…Cornell West…one reels at the implications.

Because, you see, a key feature of the apostasy that is now entrenched is the willingness of solid teachers to have fellowship with false teachers. I suppose one could question whether they are “solid” teachers anymore.

Many of the aforementioned “leaders” in the Church are mentoring a group of rising young turks.

Perry Noble, pastor of NewSpring Church in South Carolina, blogged this week (August 24) the following:

“People who truly embrace grace will be quick to offer that grace to others…and a critic who always wants to attack and tear down through any means possible is nothing more than a terrorist that, if you allow them, will consume your life and get you off mission.”

The blog was titled, “The Type of Person You Should Never Listen To.” Noble’s blog is titled, “Perry Noble—Leadership, Vision & Creativity.”

Calling discernment ministries “terrorist” is leadership, vision, and creativity? Why is this outright hate speech allowed to flourish in the evangelical world today? Who will denounce this outrageous propaganda? Will Noble’s mentoring handlers take him aside and demand that he stop using hate speech to describe Bible-believing Christians? Will Craig Groeschel suggest to Noble that calling Bible-believing Christians “terrorists” (others in the Emergent community are using identical terms and labels, in order to marginalize and defame their critics) is unacceptable?

(Under the “About” section on Noble’s website, he writes: “These are the writings of a man who is out of his mind.” Just, wow. I know that Noble would obviously say he is writing tongue-in-cheek, but…wow.)

How about Andy Stanley? Bill Hybels? Gentlemen? Will you caution your protégés that terrorists are murderers and Bible-believing Christians are humanitarians?

At the very least, these young turks who defame their critics are devoid of maturity. Yet they are self-appointed, self-described leaders. They lead whole congregations. And believe me, they will tout the numbers and their models.

The narcissism is breathtaking, and the emphasis in this group on leadership has reached worshipful status. Leadership techniques are all the rage. Yet—again, the irony—they are not practicing biblical leadership. It is a secular, corporate-structure leadership model that is anathema to biblical Christianity.

For discernment ministries and other Bible-believing Christians, I think there is a growing sense that the Jackal is circling our camp. For a long time, he was only there in the night.

Now he has come out in broad daylight.



Aug 22, 2011

When Friends are Enemies

On the same day news broke (Thursday) that a deadly attack from Egypt had killed Israeli civilians near the resort town of Eilat, Ha’aretz carried a column by Gideon Levy in which he decried “swinish Zionism.”

Yes, you read correctly.

Zionists, according to Levy, are greedy, hungry swine. Allegedly, Israel “gobbled-up” territory during the Six Day War, and has been insatiable ever since.

It’s the old lie that Israel is an expansionist, regional bully in the Middle East. That Levy’s comments appear the day several Jews were murdered by terrorists operating from Egyptian territory is a cruel irony. It is also unacceptable. Israel’s deranged enemies need no help in demonizing the Jewish state, but Levy is an example of a traitor in the midst of his brethren.

It is beyond the pale that, as Jews are slaughtered by ancient enemies, the victims are compared to swine. Remember, it is a hallmark of jihadist literature that from the beginning, “the Jews are the offspring of monkeys and pigs.”

I kid you not, more than a dozen years ago, I happened upon a book published a few miles from where I live—published by a white supremacist group—and this outrageous language was used there! This is proof that the sick propaganda hatched in the sands of the Middle East is truly global. When a group residing in America’s Bible Belt is in league with jihadists in the Koran Belt committed to murdering Jews…the world is surreal in the extreme.

Evidently, though details are sketchy at the moment, civilian buses were fired-upon from Egyptian territory; incredibly, the Egyptians are saying that the attacks did not originate from Egyptian soil!

The first attack happened just after noon, when Egged bus no. 392 was a target of drive-by shooters. This was near the town of Netafim. Soon after, another attack took place, including the firing of mortars from Egyptian territory. In the aftermath, several dead and wounded testified to the fact that Israel is surrounded by barbarians who have lost their moral compass.

I have traveled on those buses and seen the many young Israeli soldiers who ride them on their way home, and to their bases.

The jihadists have plenty of help in the West.

I am currently doing research for a book, and have come across the Soviet roots of the American Christian Left’s obsession with “social justice” issues.

I mention this because it is clear that many American religious leaders have also lost their moral compass, if they ever had one. You will hear no outcry for the Jewish victims near Eilat, at least not from the Christian Left. You will hear about alleged Israeli expansionism (even though Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt, 30 years ago, and withdrew from the buffer zone in Lebanon, and turned over administrative authority to significant areas to the Palestinians). Still, the lie about Israeli aggression continues.

And, do you see that Israel is accused of grotesque human rights violations…at the same time its citizens are being butchered? This is really unprecedented in history, that a nation so hated would be so defamed, as it simply struggles to defend its citizens.

Here’s an exercise for you; access the following websites:

(Special, limited-time offer! Sojourners is giving away a poster of Gandhi, with every subscription!)

In the next week, if you see a genuine display of concern for the recent Israeli terror victims—from any of these sites—I will arrive at your home the following Saturday to wash your car and babysit your kids.

The world’s pathetic view of Israel and the Jews cannot be discussed enough. There is also the announcement, again, that negotiations between Israel and Hamas over kidnap victim Gilad Shalit have broken down. Where oh where is the outrage over this man’s five-year captivity at the hands of these beasts?

And if I use several descriptive terms for Palestinian (and other Arab) terrorists, that no doubt offends the Left.

Bill Hybels’ recent, vacuous “leadership conference” at Willow Creek certainly did not address human rights abuses generated by the jihadists (although Hybels and his wife, Lynne, are increasingly vocal about their pro Palestinian activism).

You will hear no condemnation from “moderates” in the evangelical world, of the terrorism near Eilat.

Israel is besieged from without and from within. Let us continue to fervently pray for them, and stand with them against those who enjoy their suffering.

God will not be mocked, and He will not be silent much longer.

Check out Jim's new blog for Beliefnet at  Also, follow him on Twitter @jim1fletcher

Aug 15, 2011

The Enemies of Prophecy

In my continuing effort to embrace new technologies, I downloaded a new book from a major apologetics organization, onto my smartphone. The book gives evidences that the Bible is true.

Their discussion of Bible prophecy would fit on a postage stamp.

Israel’s role would fit on the corner of a postage stamp.

Where to begin…

We live in an age so hostile to biblical truth that I am still surprised on a weekly basis by the attacks on Scripture and the faith. As we discussed last night on RaptureReady Radio, I guess I never expected to see such opposition from within the Church! One sort of expects atheists and humanists and secularists to mock and scoff. It is disheartening when Christians do it.

At least monthly, I am seeing old friends and associates disassociate themselves from Israel and Bible prophecy teaching. For some it is embarrassing (“anti-intellectual,” as the center-left critics would say). Others say it is “controversial” and “divisive.” Personally, I am convinced many hate Bible prophecy teaching because it is so dominated by the special-ness of Israel and the Jews.

As I thumbed through the “phone book” and became more chagrined that prophecy is treated so shabbily—in a day when it can be such a powerful evangelism tool!—very few ministries or pastors emphasize it at all.

There are plenty of reasons for it. One of the biggest is the presence of what I call Rick Warren, Inc. The famous California spiritual guru had this to say about Bible prophecy in his mega-selling Purpose Driven Life:

“If you want Jesus to come back sooner, focus on fulfilling your mission, not figuring out prophecy.”

“He said in essence, ‘The details of my return are none of your business. What is your business is the mission I have given you. Focus on that!’”

“When that happens, remember the words of Jesus: ‘Anyone who lets himself be distracted from the work I plan for him is not fit for the Kingdom of God.’"

See? Warren first shows his contempt for prophecy teaching. Then he makes up quotes from Jesus, who allegedly tells us to disregard Bible prophecy. He finishes with a threat that to building the Kingdom of God.

Many thousands of pastors have abandoned prophecy teaching for this reason alone.

Another reason is the steady drip, drip over the years of books like The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, by Mark Noll. A former professor at Wheaton—where theistic evolution and a chilly attitude toward Bible prophecy teaching are the norm—Noll makes clear his impatience with both creationists and dispensationalists. He and his ideological soulmates at Christianity Today have long lamented what they view as the absence of “careful thinkers” among evangelicals. What they really mean is that they believe Bible-believing Christians have checked their brains at the door as they insist that the supernatural elements of the Bible are actually true.

Noll has now secured a coveted teaching spot at Notre Dame, and, one hopes, the kind of academic credibility he so craves. There are many like him in the Christian world of today. You really should get a copy of that book and internalize just how marginalized Bible prophecy adherents are treated today.

Another factor is the nasty, sustained attacks on Bible prophecy teachers by men like Tony Campolo and Brian McLaren. They have spawned a whole generation of spiritual groupies, who have fanned-out across the country and established social gospel churches. Chief among the bogeymen they shun is the community of Bible prophecy teachers.

And when I say “Bible prophecy teachers,” we know of course that that primarily describes the Dispensationalists. The Tim LaHaye brand of prophecy teaching, while profitable for Tyndale House and the Left Behind franchise, has been met with derision by the careful thinkers in the Church. I remember, more than 10 years ago, telling a major Bible prophecy teacher that Christianity Today had run a mocking cover story—complete with caricatures of people like LaHaye and Jerry Falwell and Benjamin Netanyahu(!). I told him this was the mood out there even in the evangelical world. He dismissed it, saying, “At least they’re paying attention to us!”

No, you don’t get it. The cover story was part of a systematic, sustained attack on the credibility of not only prophecy teachers, but prophecy itself.

A key strategy of the careful thinkers is undermining Bible prophecy itself, by pointing out the fallible nature of men who teach prophecy. Harold Camping is the obvious example.

However, there are many more. When Gary DeMar suggests that “end-times” prophecy has already been fulfilled, a big part of his strategy is to lambast men like Tommy Ice and Tim LaHaye, and point out the failed predictions of the Second Coming (or the Rapture) by a whole host of people like Camping.

Listeners are rarely able to distinguish between what Scripture says and what some undisciplined teachers teach. There is also guilt by association. Tommy Ice is an astute researcher, yet he gets lumped-in with the Campings of the world, by the Nolls of the world.

I implore Bible prophecy teachers to think about this: audiences today do not understand why prophecy is relevant. We have spent so much time calibrating the time of the antichrist’s entrance onto the world stage that we can’t see the forest for the trees. There is too much Christian and prophecy jargon being presented today, and college-age students today do not live in the world we grew up, or the world our parents and grandparents knew. They do not understand terms like “eschatology,” “dispensationalism,” or “Daniel’s 70 Weeks.”

There is a major disconnect there.

Meanwhile, the “progressives,” those Emergent guys who loathe the “Bible literalists,” do communicate with the younger generations, and they are doing it with social media.

You don’t know what “social media” refers to? Then find out.

Our ideological opponents in the Church in America are using Twitter, Facebook, and more to reach young audiences with their message.

I am writing a book on this subject, and in my research, I have come across the website of one of these Emergent guys. On his Facebook page, there are hundreds of photos of…him. His blogs are vicious in their denunciations of “the Pharisees” who embrace the old-time religion. He actually calls us “morons” and “terrorists” and he mirrors Rick Warren’s rule: get rid of the dissenters. If someone in their church questions the new methods, well, he or she gets shown the door. Or, they are shunned until they leave of their own volition.

Why am I mentioning these things? A pastor posts hundreds of pictures of himself? He says mean things about Bible-believing Christians? Is that a big deal?

Yes, it is.

Self-love in the American Church is so omnipresent, it requires Bible-believers to develop an apologetic (a defense of the faith) that will rescue some of these young people brainwashed by the Emergents and their outright unbelieving spiritual friends and gurus.

I am encouraged that there are at least some successors to the LaHaye generation. We should be excited by “emerging” (in a good way!) teachers, like Nathan Jones at Lamb & Lion Ministries. Mentored by the peerless David Reagan, Nathan has many years of teaching ahead of him, I pray.

Ron Bigalke, Jr. Jack Hibbs. Don Perkins. Britt Merrick. Mark Hitchcock. Brian Thomas.

These guys proclaim Bible prophecy, and thank God for them. Daymond Duck has a sensational presentation on RaptureReady, explaining why Bible prophecy is important. Thank God for men like Daymond.

My co-host on Tuesdays for RaptureReady Radio, Chris Quintana, is a bold defender of the faith. There are more like him.

Yet, don’t expect the leading apologetics ministries today to join the battle for Bible prophecy teaching. Many of them have abandoned that. Odd, isn’t it? Such a powerful evidence for the truth of the Bible, prophecy is shunted to the side by many of these ministries.

Recently, three people have suggested that I take “prophecy” out of Prophecy Matters. They suggest I could reach more people if I don’t heavily emphasize Bible prophecy.

Get behind me, Satan.

Why did they suggest that? Because they buy into the propaganda that prophecy is too controversial, to narrow a focus.

I don’t know much, but I know this: there has never been a time when prophecy was more relevant, in terms of understanding the world around us and reaching people for Christ. That’s why I reject the advice. In fact, I am running, sprinting in the opposite direction.

Lean-in. Embrace the marvelous ability of Bible prophecy to reveal the majesty and power of the living God.

This is what our young people need to hear. It’s what they long to hear, I am convinced.

Brian McLaren’s theology of despair (because in his world, one cannot know ultimate truth) will fail. Narcissistic pastors will ultimately fail. Emergent cleverness and light shows and hard rock bands will leave their audiences ultimately dissatisfied. Why?

There’s no Bible there. No quenching of spiritual thirst. A distorted view of God and reality are offered.

The Apostle Peter was a great Bible prophecy teacher. He understood it:

“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Peter 1:19-21)

Peter was not ashamed of it. Neither was Job. Neither was Paul. Neither was John. Neither was Jude. Neither was Jesus Christ.

We who are privileged to live in this age must embrace the teaching of Bible prophecy teaching as an evangelistic tool.

To those who denigrate us and mock us and seek to blunt the effectiveness of Bible prophecy teaching, I feel sorry for you. I really do. Your hateful denunciations of Bible teachers are tough to take right now. But I choose to plow on.

Too much is at stake.