Israel is the key to all end-time prophecy.

Keep your eye on Jerusalem  


 





Nov 19, 2012

The Six-Week War

Now that the death cult Hamas has decided to go out Bonnie and Clyde-style, word comes that Israel’s leadership is preparing for a two-month engagement. Let us all fervently pray that they completely destroy the terror entity that has plagued the region (including the Palestinians) for a quarter-century.

Others are writing very good reports on the fighting thus far—hundreds of rockets have landed in Israel, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem! The Hamas stockpiles are such that until the IDF gathers its full strength, some damage will be done. I left one friend’s home in Jerusalem last week to travel to another in Efrat, and I passed the Gush Etzion turn.

At least two rockets landed in Gush Etzion yesterday, with other reports that they landed in Jerusalem as well. You can’t imagine how small the country is if you haven’t been there. Imagine driving from Richardson, Texas, to Plano. Culver City, California, to Glendale. Washington D.C., to Silver Spring, Maryland.

What I want to spotlight this week at “Israel Watch” is the unfolding propaganda war, equally vicious and important. Within 48 hours of the terror war launched against Israeli civilians by Hamas, Israel’s tiny window of goodwill began to predictably shrink. Among those leading the charge—and I find this repulsive and ghastly in the extreme—are religious leaders in the West.

(An aside: as war raged in the Middle East, and much of the world burns, Rick Warren Tweeted more of his PDL pablum: 11/17/12, 5:09 AM

Like a great movie, for the story of your life to be great requires a great #character.)

On Facebook, I urged Christian Palestininiasts Lynne Hybels, Tony Campolo, Sami Awad, Shane Claiborne, Bob Roberts Jr., Joel Hunter, John Ortberg, Gary Burge, Jim Hanon, Bill Oechsler, Todd Deatherage, Jim Wallis, Porter Speakman Jr. to speak out unequivocally about the terror war against Israel. Hybels did on Twitter, after I asked her if she would.

I haven’t checked all those mentioned above, but it highly unlikely they can bring themselves to condemn this barbarism against the Jews, without shoving a word  like “occupation” or “settlements” into the statement.

On the contrary, Deatherage and Roberts were quite predictable in their social media comments; the following are via Twitter:

Todd Deatherage (@ToddDeatherage)

11/16/12, 9:33 PM

Over 500 rockets fired at Israel; over 500 airstrikes on Gaza; Israeli cabinet approves calling up 75,000 reservists including Telos friends 

Bob Roberts Jr. (@bobrobertsjr)

11/16/12, 10:03 PM

Push our leaders to deal w/crisis in Israel/Palestine - or get ready to send your sons & daughters to a 60 year unresolved conflict

Bob Roberts Jr. (@bobrobertsjr)

11/16/12, 10:00 PM

2 states - Palestine & Israel - Everybody agrees & knows it - Netanyahu / Abbas / Obama do it NOW! delay = death - why wait???? Be LEADERS 

Do you see what’s going on here? Deatherage, being the savvy and trained communicator he is, has injected the old tactic of “moral equivalency” into this story.

Deatherage wants you to focus on the fact that the sides are trading equal blows. Another way to put this will be to number the Palestinian deaths vs. the Israeli deaths. Hybels also engaged in a bit of this moral equivalency yesterday, but as I point out in these situations: who is responsible for this carnage? Why have their been hundreds of Israeli airstrikes?

And, please notice this important point: Deatherage does not reveal in his Tweet that Israel is launching surgical strikes against Hamas leadership. No, he would have you believe (as many of his friends and followers do) that both sides are pounding the others’ innocents. Let’s call that what it is: a lie.

Next, we see that Bob Roberts Jr., pastor of the megachurch NorthWood Church in Keller, Texas, evidently graduated from the Barbra Streisand School of International Diplomacy. From time to time, Streisand feels it necessary to call into question the foreign policy moves of various Republican presidents. Never mind the fact that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

Roberts, too, is so enamored of his Muslim friends, who feed him generous helpings of their own propaganda, that he advocates policies that are insane and unworkable.

By the way, Roberts is a major figure in evangelical leadership circles in America, which should scare the daylights out of the rest of us. This is leadership in 2012 Christian America?

And what is Sami Awad posting on his Facebook page, as a major regional war started by Palestinians is going on outside his bedroom window?

Well, a few minutes ago, he posted a greeting-card-type affirmation from something called “Gypsy Spirit Wind”:

Laugh your heart out,

dance in the rain,

cherish the moment,

ignore the pain,

live, laugh love,

forgive and forget,

as life is too short

to be living with regrets.

Huh. Well, if one is a Christian Palestinian leader like Awad, one either endangers himself by speaking out against Hamas barbarism, or one keeps his trap shut and lets the propaganda flow. That’s when statements condemning the satanic-level violence of Hamas are never issued and in their place, New Age pablum reigns.

Indeed, the peerless Dexter Van Zile (www.camera.org) Tweeted the following to Awad yesterday:

When will @holylandtrust Protest Hamas rockets in Manger Square? @Sami_Awad

If you hold your breath waiting for Awad or any of his Religious Left friends in America to answer, you’ll be dead within minutes.

The point to all this is, if you are a supporter of Israel, or simply a supporter of basic human rights, you must realize that not only is there a war raging with bullets and bombs, but one for minds and hearts.

Do not be duped by the Left. Speak out for Israel and for our own country, both to date impregnable fortresses for freedom worldwide. With the re-election of an anti-American president, and with jihad spreading around the globe, we are in for the vicious fight of our lives.

And may God continue to bless Israel!

 

jim@prophecymatters.com






Nov 12, 2012

Permanent War

I am sitting on a balcony, overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem. I hear a cacophony of birds, bells, and car horns. The sun has come up, and I watch, as it now bathes the walls of the Holy City in gorgeous light.

There is no place like this place.

I sat the other morning with my computer and noted quickly that gloom still hangs over our White House, for another four years. Being in Israel, though, I am reminded time and again of the times in which we live, and how certain we can be that God alone is the architect of history.

Last night, I had the great pleasure of attending synagogue with a friend from Efrat, between Bethlehem and Hebron. We then enjoyed a Shabbat dinner I will not forget.

My friend and his wife have five daughters and one son, and they are living out their magnificent lives as Jews in the sovereign state of Israel. He noted this, and while he is a social liberal, he and I connect because we both understand what a miracle they are.

Just before sundown, he drove me through Efrat and showed me two places where homicide bombers entered the city a few years ago. One simply crossed through a field, from a neighboring Palestinian village, asked two ambulance drivers where he could buy cigarettes, then detonated as they pointed to a supermarket.

I have been attending a conference, and was pleased to meet Malcolm Lowe and his wife, the peerless Petra Heldt. They are pro Israel Protestants who work tirelessly to advocate for Israel. Malcolm’s recent essay for the Gatestone Institute (http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3430/gary-burge-wheaton-college) is simply brilliant. Malcolm has used a term, “permanent war,” to describe what is going on here regarding Palestinian propaganda.

It is an accurate description.

I will tell you, however, that miracles are so commonplace here (is that a contradiction? Probably.), one wonders why the Religious Left in America misses it on so grand a scale.

In Efrat in 2002, a bomber (who had been working on a construction project there) crossed over into the city on the eve of Shabbat. He entered a crowded supermarket as people shopped for dinner that evening. On a warm March day, he was wearing a long overcoat. He was going to kill a lot of people.

An Efrat resident happened to see him enter, and recognized him. Two things: A) no Palestinian had a reason to be there on Shabbat and B), more obvious, the overcoat. He opened his coat and pressed the detonator, as so many Hamas zombies had done before.

Nothing.

His bomb belt didn’t detonate.

The fellow who knew him raised his pistol and shot the guy dead.

The bleeding-heart, faux-humanitarians who visit Israel in order to go home and bash the Jewish state after consuming a week-long diet high in propaganda calories are morally bankrupt. They willfully refuse to acknowledge the Jews’ historic right to the land, and they are dismissive of efforts by Israelis to preserve their lives in the midst of a barbaric enemy.

My friend and his family laughed and talked and sang last night, around the table. They are living witnesses to the majesty and power of the living God.

This war is permanent until it ends. This morning I am full of contradictions. Yet I know that while the world waits with high anticipation for the end of the Jewish state, Israel’s glory is ahead of her. The war will end one day, and, to hugely paraphrase the Rolling Stones, Israel will discard the dead flowers her enemies have handed her, while she places flowers on their grave.

jim@prophecymatters.com






Nov 5, 2012

The Coming Earthquake

Much is made of earthquakes, prophetically. Christians have watched for increased earthquake activity for a couple generations, especially since the re-establishment of Israel. Zechariah and other prophets discuss these natural disasters in the context of the last days.

As a matter of fact, much mockery comes our way for believing these passages are literally true. For example, in Zechariah 14:4,5 we read of a great geological upheaval that splits the Mount of Olives in two. There is also a reference to this in Revelation 16:18,19.

The peerless scholar Henry Morris wrote this note in his Defender’s Study Bible, regarding Zechariah 14:4—

“The great splitting of the Mount of Olives, beneath which are known to exist even now great fault lines, will probably result from the global earthquake of Revelation 16:18,19.”

So it is interesting that Israeli Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter said this past week that if an earthquake were to occur in Israel—and most geologists say a “big one” is just a matter of time—the damage would cost the country perhaps $100 billion.

Dichter also speculated that thousands would be killed.

In Matthew 27, in the account of Jesus’s death on the cross, we also learn of an earthquake in Jerusalem that opened the graves of “the saints,” who were then seen by many in the city.

 

Jerusalem is not Kansas. An earthquake in the city would be quite dangerous, given the sharp peaks and valleys, and the enormous number of rocks everywhere. Interestingly, with regard to the passage from Matthew 27, there is a vast Jewish cemetery on the western slope of the Mount of Olives; indeed, the city is full of ancient graves, and so it is not hard to imagine the sight of hundreds of people coming up out of their graves.

 

This is what Scripture teaches, and so while we are mocked and scorned for believing in Jonah and the great fish, the Flood, and yes, the Resurrection, we know a future resurrection is coming.

 

That day will be the biggest earthquake the world has ever seen.

 

And it is coming soon.

jim@prophecymatters.com




Oct 28, 2012


The Innovators

My friend Marcella Rosen sent me an advance copy of her new book, Tiny Dynamo: How One of the World’s Smallest Countries is Producing Some of Our Most Important Inventions.

The subtitle isn’t tiny, and neither is the sum of what the Israelis are producing in the field of burgeoning technologies.

It’s astonishing, really.

While certain groups, individuals, and states are busy thinking up ways to kill them, the Israelis are making the world a better place for all of us. I cannot over-emphasize how remarkable their achievements are.

For example, in Tiny Dynamo, we read about medical breakthroughs, drip irrigation techniques, and efforts to prevent SIDS. These projects, and many others, are staggering in their implications. And again, the Jewish state is achieving this while also shooting from behind barriers.

With regard to hospital infections, wrap your mind around this statistic: every year, one million people around the globe die from hospital infections. In the U.S., very surprisingly, 90,000 people die from infections!

Now consider that while there are myriad reasons for this (unsterilized instruments, for example), Israelis have determined that a key culprit is…textiles. Listen to this:

“But the biggest culprits couldn’t be more mundane: Pajamas. Sheets. Pillowcases. Gowns. Curtains.”

Turns out that such are carriers of bacteria that produce the deadly infections. Turns out that Aharon Gedanken is on the case, and has developed “a method for making anti-bacterial fabrics” that he believes will reduce such infections.

And while an increasingly desperate Barack Obama throws the kitchen sink at the electorate, by promising “alternative energy initiatives,” the Israelis are actually doing something about it.

The rest of the book is equally fascinating, and I can’t wait for it to come out. Israelis are doing lots of other things in the way of improving life.

A recent Jerusalem Post article revealed a funding source for important research:

“Scientists across Israel will be receiving portions of a $15 million gift to develop solar energy and biofuels research, in a project overseen by the Weizmann Institute of Science and the Technion- Israel Institute of Technology.

“Dispensed over the course of three years, the $15m. will fund the work of scientists developing renewable energy from a variety of fields, initially focusing on biofuels, photovoltaics and optics for light harvesting, according to information from the Weizmann Institute.”

Most people are unaware of the enormous benefits to mankind that have come from Israeli ingenuity. From cellphones to alternative energy, Israel is a bright shining light.

That makes her numerous enemies’ murderous goals all the more shameful.

jim@prophecymatters.com





Oct 22, 2012

First the Jews, Then the Christians

During the second presidential debate, a man stood to ask the President of the United States about reports that embassy officials in Libya had asked for increased security…more than once.

Astonishingly, Obama never answered the question, instead using the question to flaunt his own status as “commander-in-chief.” It was a given the moderator wouldn’t challenge him on his non-answer, and even Mitt Romney failed to pursue this White House weakness.

Yet events on the ground are going a long way in explaining the mindset of a president who is woefully weak on foreign policy, and whose lack of real engagement with the jihadists endangers us all.

According to a just-released report from the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, global terror is a fierce enemy. Obama’s Apology Tours, White House Ramadan dinners, and myriad other surrenders are emboldening our enemies. Those enemies start by engaging our allies and friends. From the report, we read:

“On 27 July, the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem posted a video online taking responsibility for an attack on 18 June 2012.The video featured Khalid Salah Abd Al-Hadi Jadallah and Adi Saleh Abdallah Al-Fudhayli Al-Hadhl, who said they had carried out the attack. Dressed in military attire, they are shown choosing an Israeli security patrol and a border town as the targets of their attack, which they said was meant to avenge "Muslims' blood"; they dedicated the attack to Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahri. The video also showed the attackers planning their attack using a model of the Sinai Peninsula; receiving training in bomb-making; and learning how to use live ammunition in the desert. Egyptian security officials, who offered little information about the group, said it was unclear where this training had taken place.”

Too many don’t care if Israel is in danger—including growing numbers of evangelical leaders enamored of the Palestinian narrative and claim of victimhood. Some prominent evangelical leaders are engaged in dangerous outreach to Muslims. Our diplomats and elected officials have long been under the sway of Islamists. If we listen to and give credence to a president who inverts the truth, we tend not to know about this ferocious enemy that poses an existential threat to every man, woman, and child on the planet.

Consider only a handful of other terror activities around the world; this sampling is a tiny fraction of the collective.

• On 1 July, 17 people were killed and 60 others injured when armed militants carried out a coordinated attack on two churches in Garissa, Kenya.

• On 5 July, six people were arrested on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack in London, UK.

• On 7 July, a Swedish Lebanese man, 24, was arrested in Limassol, Cyprus on suspicion of collecting information on Israeli flights to Cyprus and bus tours catering to Israeli tourists.

• On 23 July, 113 people were killed and 299 injured in a series of coordinated attacks in Iraq.

Israel of course is the epicenter, yet the Religious Left in America attacks the Jewish state! A recent letter was circulated to members of Congress, from prominent mainline church officials; the letter alleged Israeli abuses of Palestinians, and represents a forceful call to cut aid to Israel. Among the gems in the letter:

“Accordingly, we urge an immediate investigation into possible violations by Israel of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act and the U.S. Arms Export Control Act which respectively prohibit assistance to any country which engages in a consistent pattern of human rights violations and limit the use of U.S. weaponsto “internal security” or “legitimate self-defense.”More broadly, we urge Congress to undertake careful scrutiny to ensure that our aid is not supporting actions by the government of Israel that undermine prospects for peace. We urge Congress to hold hearings to examine Israel’s compliance, and we request regular reporting on compliance and the withholding of military aid for non-compliance.”

Here’s where the story becomes troubling, when one considers the engagement now going on among Emergent-types who have infiltrated the Evangelical Church, and who call themselves evangelicals. Notice this rant from a 2011 blog by bestselling author Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz):

“An evangelical position on Israel must evolve from a simple, ignorant “Israel is a Biblical good luck charm” to an understanding of a sacred and sovereign state that is capable of mistakes, and in need of mediation from an outside perspective in exchange for billions (Israel gets nearly 4 Billion from America each year) in aid and support. This, it seems to me, is God’s position on Ancient Israel in scripture, that they were his chosen people, and like any people group, were imperfect and in need of occasional rebuke and correction. Why the evangelical church sees the state as perfect, now, is beyond me. Much of the anger pointed at Israel in the Middle East, though hideous, wrong and indefensible, is not without provocation.”

Notice that Miller cleverly appears to throw some balance in, by pointing out that “anger” toward Israel is wrong, etc. Yet, anger isn’t the problem, murder is the problem, and Arabs in the Middle East have been murdering Jews for over a century. Of course, Miller—known among fans for his introspection—really reveals his animus for the Jewish state, and his views here are identical to those sent to Congress in the aforementioned letter. This is just one clear indication that the corrosive liberal theology of the mainline, a century old, has now infected the New Evangelicals.

This endangers us all because a false reading of international terror places blame on Israel and the U.S.  The anti-Israel Religious Left in America—of which Miller is a member, make no mistake—enjoy trotting-out alleged Israeli abuses, yet they are strangely silent about the systemic terror campaign Muslims have waged against Israel for decades.

Will Miller blog about missing aviator Ron Arad? Will he muse about the butchering of the Fogel family? Will the mainline church leaders offer a contextual picture of the current Middle East? Would Brian McLaren travel on a profitable book tour and discuss the fact that the Palestinian Arabs gleefully worked alongside the Nazis during World War II?

You know, I doubt it.

From Bulgria to Indonesia, and everywhere in-between, a bitter campaign of jihad is being waged against innocents. Our religious leaders turn a blind eye and accuse a tiny country of widespread abuse of Muslims and Arabs.

I know from my December 2011 interview with Jim Hanon, director of the Palestinian propaganda film “Little Town of Bethlehem,” that he met with Hezbollah’s Sheik Nasrallah and personally found him to be an engaging guy. They say Ted Bundy was an engaging guy, too.

Nasrallah has been plotting the murder of Americans and Israelis for 30 years and his wholly violent nature is a curious thing, next to the leaders of the Religious Left who claim they are about non-violent solutions for the Middle East.

Recently, a Canadian woman was arrested in Quebec for attempting to smuggle assault weapons to Hezbollah. The Quebec resident, Mouna Diab, 26, has a reputation for fighting the stereotyping of Muslims!

Diab had been sending packages via friends and the packages contained parts for weapons.

Maybe Hanon could film that, and Miller could blog about it.

Don’t hold the proverbial breath.

What these leaders of the Religious Left fail to understand is that rapprochement with Muslims is not possible so long as they fail to truly address their own shortcomings. First they came for the Jews.

Now they’re coming for the Christians.

What a sick world.

jim@prophecymatters.com


Oct 15, 2012

All That Jazz

While sitting on my deck earlier this evening, I watched a savage thunderstorm gather, then dump high winds, lightning, and sheets of rain on the trees and hills.

I watched the storm for some time, as it came near.

About the same time I noticed on my phone a Twitter message from Cameron Strang. It was a photo of the Relevant magazine publisher with author Donald Miller, in Jerusalem. The whole thing intrigued me, because only a week before, I’d attended the Catalyst East conference, where thousands of young evangelical leaders met to hear speakers like Andy Stanley, Jen Hatmaker, and Lynne Hybels.

Strang was there to promote his magazine. The public didn’t know at the time that in a few short days, he would join other progressive evangelicals and members of the Religious Left for a tour of what they refer to as Israel/”Palestine.”

Miller, who wrote Blue Like Jazz a decade ago, has seen his star rise among younger, progressive evangelicals. Think of the book as sort of a Catcher in the Rye manifesto for 20-somethings who lean somewhere left of center both politically and religiously.

This is all Relevant because these individuals met up in Israel, to take part in ongoing efforts at “peacemaking,” an agenda driven largely by Hybels and her Palestinian friend, Sami Awad. The addition of Miller to the traveling party is significant, since he is listened to by growing numbers of Millennials, those who have largely abandoned their parents’ way of “doing church.” Among the things jettisoned is a commitment to support Israel.

On October 7, Miller tweeted:

“Off to Israel in the morning. Blogs are all lined up for the week. Can't wait to tell some stories when I get back. Will miss y'all.”

From that, we can expect a whole raft of “stories” which will present the Palestinian narrative against a backdrop of alleged Israeli abuses. Make no mistake, Donald Miller’s newfound interest in “Palestine” will open up a new front in the propaganda wars being waged against the Jewish state.

No one is denying that there are plenty of sincere, well-meaning people in the peacemaker movement. The problem is, they are being schooled by the Palestinians themselves. The so-called Palestinian narrative, coming in via people like Sami Awad, isn’t different from the agenda of former PLO chief Yasser Araft, in any real sense. The Palestinians then wanted to eliminate Israel any way possible; today’s “two-state solution,” “one-state solution,” etc., is simply window-dressing for the goal of eliminating the Jewish state.

Professing to be concerned about Israel’s security, while devoting every waking moment to undermining it totally is textbook disingenuity.

One can safely say that Strang, Hybels, Miller & Friends (including Todd Deatherage) will not hear about the Savoy Hotel massacre, or the Ma’a lot Massacre (a 1974 terrorist attack on an Israeli school, carried out by the so-called “Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine,” in which 25 hostages were killed). They won’t hear about Ron Arad, or the Fogel family.

Strang tweeted a couple days ago that he was preparing to visit an Israeli “settler’s” home. Hybels in particular has opened a clever strategy of emphasizing the balance of her visits; for example, she will talk with members of the Israeli Knesset, Palestinian families, Israeli and Arab peace activists, “settlers,” etc.

The reality is the striking imbalance of these tours/visits, because no doubt the “settlers” will make all sorts of provocative statements that the Western peace activists can use to demonstrate that these folks are extremists.

Visits are also made to Israel’s Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem. This can be useful in equating Jewish suffering at the hands of the Nazis, with that of the suffering of the Palestinians at the hands of the Israelis: the abused becomes the abuser, in other words.

Bottom line: the result of these tours—stacked with evangelical leadership from America—is that more Americans will hear subtle and overt claims that the absence of peace in the Middle East is Israel’s fault. They will hear that biblical support for Israel is illegitimate, even a “sin,” that Bibi Netanyahu loves war, that Israeli communities in the country’s heartland are illegal, etc.

This narrative is being soaked up by a generation raised on The Simpson’s, multiculturalism, appeasement, socialist/Marxist ideas, and the mocking of the Bible, among many other things.

The propaganda forces arrayed against the Israelis right now is the most sophisticated the Jews have ever seen. As I’ve been writing for some time now, a key (but greatly overlooked) front in that information war is the Evangelical community in America. Pro Israel activists are waking up to this reality very late.

I invite you to read online just a few articles from Relevant magazine—www.relevantmagazine.com. If you “search” for articles about Israel/”Palestine,” you will find a leftist view of the conflict. Right now, Cameron Strang has staff members over there with him, and the reportage will be decidedly different from that of evangelicals a generation ago.

Recently, another Twitter message summed-up this strategy quite well:

Tell your story, don't preach. Your audience will know what to do with it #PearlsOfWisdom @US_PNB Entrepreneurs delegation #Palestine

 

Notice the emphasis on storytelling. Narrative. The dislike of “preaching.” Younger generations today don’t like to be preached-at; they’ll tell you that. They want to hear, rather, “story.” Your experience. My experience. A downtrodden people’s story.

Individual human experience, story, narrative can depart from biblical truth. I’ll give you an example.

Ten years ago, I had a lengthy email experience with one of the Palestinian leaders now educating the Blue Like Jazz generation. He finally told me that Palestinians, particularly Palestinian Christians, simply don’t like the Old Testament. Why? Because of the promises to the Jews! Keep in mind, all totalitarian regimes loathe the Bible, especially the Old Testament.

Let’s look at this another way. Let’s say that I disagree with the biblical command to love my wife as Christ loved the Church (and gave Himself for it). That isn’t my story. I like a story in which I dominate my wife and belittle her and refuse to honor her.

I just reject that part of the Bible, because it doesn’t fit the narrative I’m after.

An entire alternate reality is being created for Israel as we speak. Replacement Theology, Liberation Theology, the Palestinian narrative.

If you were the Arabs, and you’d been blown off the battlefield a few times by the Israelis, what would you do?

The Arabs aren’t stupid. They simply internalized and refined the Soviet propaganda that Arafat learned, and decided to try and defeat the Jews in the realm of ideas and principles. Arafat, who found that overt terrorism landed one in a Tunisian desert, with lizards and sand, began cultivating mainline Church officials in the 1980s and 1990s. Now, younger Palestinian leadership, even that of NGOs like Sami Awad’s Holy Land Trust, have refined the strategy and message even further.

They are influencing your kids.

When I was at Catalyst, I had 57 individual conversations with attendees. I asked them about their views of Israel and the Palestinians. Not one advanced what I’d call a pro Israel view. Yet when I asked them for specifics: can you tell me why you believe Israel’s communities (“settlements”) are illegal and illegitimate? Do you know why the security fence was erected? Do you know what the ’67 borders are? The 1949 Armistice Lines?

Not a single young person I asked could answer the questions. They could only tell me that IDF soldiers detain pregnant Palestinian women at checkpoints, and that Israel would not engage in serious peace talks with the Palestinians. Curiously, when I asked them how they knew that, they told me that’s what Lynne Hybels, Shane Claiborne, Tony Campolo, and Jim Wallis say.

Don Miller might be the most sincere guy of all time. Lynne Hybels might believe everything she’s spreading about peacemaking in the Middle East. It’s possible Cameron Strang is attempting to use his powerful bully pulpit among young evangelicals to effect positive change.

The real question, though, is what is the Palestinian leadership up to in this regard? Said another way, who is telling the truth in this…story?

When one considers the Palestinian leadership’s agenda, coupled with the interconnectedness of America’s young evangelicals, one must face up to the fact that the image of Israel in the United States is heading in a darker direction.

In Blue Like Jazz, Miller wrote about—and made famous—“Mark, the Cussing Pastor.” This refers to Mark Driscoll, of Seattle’s Mars Hill Church. Driscoll’s often profane, provocative approaching to preaching had made him a hit with Millennials.

Recently, Driscoll taught from the book of Esther. At one point, he said that there are no miracles in the book!

There are no miracles, because Driscoll and his legion of friends minimize the role of Israel in the Bible. Whole generations have now been raised on biblical minimalism, moral relativism, and totalitarian propaganda.

Targeting America’s young evangelical leadership is the smartest the thing the other side has done in decades.

That’s why a seemingly winsome chap like Donald Miller can travel to a place called Palestine, and believe he just experienced reality.

jim@prophecymatters.com

 


Oct 8, 2012

Pro Peace. Pro Palestinian. Pro Jesus. Pro Israel?

I attended Catalyst East this week, in Atlanta. It is one of the largest gatherings of young evangelical leaders in America. Catalyst had its genesis with The Leadership Network, a key group aligned with Rick Warren, Andy Stanley, and others.

My primary interest was to observe up-close new trends toward Israel, among evangelical leadership. I’ve been writing about this for some time. To paraphrase a description once of James Cagney, these young evangelicals are what they appeared to be.

That is, largely pro Palestinian.

Mentoring leadership, such as that of Lynne Hybels, contributes to this. Hybels presented a workshop based on her understanding of the Arab-Israel conflict. We disagree on a great many things but to her credit, she agreed to an interview with me in several weeks, after she returns from a heavy travel schedule.

Among other things, Hybels presented no context with regard to physical conflicts between Israel and her Arab neighbors. For example, in her admittedly brief overview of the region, war seemed to spring up out of nowhere. No mention of Arab invasions of Israel in 1948 or 1973, or the cataclysmic decisions of Egypt’s Nasser in 1967, which led to Israel administering the disputed territories of Judea/Samaria, or as the world largely knows it, the West Bank.

I also spoke with Bobby Gruenewald, a leader with LifeChurch.tv, in Edmond, Oklahoma. LifeChurch is perhaps the fastest-growing church in America, with its emphasis on video links with satellite church locations. Gruenewald and Hybels were willing to engage me in conversation about this subject although, to be fair, the Palestinian issue is not Gruenewald’s issue. One of his passions is the furtherance of “YouVersion,” Bibles people can download to reading devices, including their smartphones. Gruenewald told me that last month, Lifechurch tracked two billion minutes of reading time among YouVersion readers.

All that is to be commended.

For the purposes of this discussion, though, it is quite clear that evangelical leadership (Bob Roberts, Jr., Shane Claiborne, Lynne Hybels, etc.) has moved away from the pro Israel leadership exemplified by folks like Jerry Falwell. I have noted a strong affinity with the Palestinian position in churches like LifeChurch, WillowCreek, and others.

Everything I saw at Catalyst confirmed this drift. In dozens of random conversations, I noted that “Millennials,” the 20-somethings who are quickly dominating the evangelical scene, expressed solidarity with the Palestinians, and annoyance with Israel. This is a seismic shift in the American Church, a serious, serious threat to Israel’s one traditional area of support.

For example, Hybels and others have begun framing the issue in terms of “Pro Peace, Pro Israel, Pro Palestinian, and Pro Jesus.” Others, such as Glenn Stassen, David Gushee, Brian McLaren, and Tony Campolo, savage Christian Zionists in the most odious terms. Hybels presents a softer, gentler side of Palestinian advocacy.

One area of dispute I have with Christian Palestinianists like Hybels is that if one is “Pro Palestine” in the sense of embracing the diabolical “land for peace” initiative, or even the “two-state solution,” one cannot in any real sense be pro Israel. There are myriad issues related to Israel’s security that simply don’t square with this latest plank in the PLO strategy to destroy the Jewish state.

That is a bridge I’m not confident we can build together.

Several young people I spoke with at Catalyst displayed little actual knowledge of the conflict, yet they soak up “story” and “narrative.” In other words, facts no longer work. Some data I read from LifeWay indicates that 71 percent of Millennials don’t read the Bible. This is probably similar to that of the rest of the country, but it represents a reality that leaves me dismayed.

If you ask a person like this if they know the PLO was formed in 1964, three years before the Six Day War, they stare at you and blink. After a moment, though, they will begin to rattle-off the usual list of alleged Israeli “crimes,” such as detaining pregnant women at checkpoints. They have absorbed the talking points put into their hands by Palestinian change agents.

But they don’t understand reality.

Couple this with an alarming trend of what I’d call quasi-Replacement Theology, in which celebrity pastors like Steven Furtick lift OT passages dealing with the Jews and Israel, and use them to stoke the already growing narcissism present in humanity. In other words, the story of God’s protection of His Chosen People in the example of Joshua becomes, in Furtick’s hands, a lesson in self-help and reaching for God’s “Greater” vision for your life!

Or in the account of David and Goliath, we see evangelical leadership now teaching congregations how to “slay the giants in your life.”

On and on it goes.

Pro Israel leadership has a serious problem on its hands in America. Unless Millennials can be reached with the message and legitimacy of Zionism, Israel will see her allies in America dry up to nothing.

jim@prophecymatters.com