Aug 18, 2014
Gabe Lyons seems to be a thoughtful sort. The founder of
“Q Ideas,” a seminar model based in Nashville, Lyons and
his wife, Rebekah, work mightily to bring important
issues to growing audiences…mostly the “new
generations,” the Millennials.
I would encourage you to
check out Q Ideas at
From the website, we learn:
“Q was birthed out of Gabe Lyons’ vision to see
Christians, especially leaders, recover a vision for
their historic responsibility to renew and restore
cultures. Inspired by Chuck Colson’s statement,
‘Christians are called to redeem entire cultures, not
just individuals,’ Gabe set out to reintroduce
Christians to what had seemed missing in recent decades
from an American expression of Christian faithfullness;
valuing both personal and cultural renewal, not one over
the other. Re-educating Christians to this orthodox and
unifying concept has become central to the vision of Q.
“Together, we explore topics that fall into four broad
themes: culture, future, church, and gospel. Q
facilitates the investigation of deeper engagement and
responsibility in each of these areas. As we continue to
work through these ideas on a deeper level, so grows our
commitment to equipping innovators, social
entrepreneurs, entertainers, artists, church-shapers,
futurists, scientists, educators, historians,
environmentalists, and everyday people to do
extraordinary things. At Q Ideas, you’ll see a broad
spectrum of content represented in our small group
curriculum, essays, videos, blog articles, and podcasts.
These are all contributed and commissioned to shed light
on unique areas of culture and the church.”
(An initial thought: our only “responsibility,” as given
by Jesus Christ, is to follow His command: “And Jesus
came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given
unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and
teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching
them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded
you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of
the world. Amen. —Matthew 28:18-20. Redeeming entire
cultures, while sounding like a worthy goal, is not the
mandate, yet this subtle shift in thinking has brought
us the Ideas of Men, such as Rick Warren. The call to
“redeem entire cultures” and “change the world” has
gotten the Evangelical community in America off-track.)
With Q Ideas, one really
does not see a “broad spectrum of content” with regard
to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Lyons has, for example,
been instrumental in helping distribute the so-called
Palestinian narrative — via such speakers as
“non-violent” activist Sami Awad — to vast numbers of
evangelicals, especially young people. I’d like to show
you an example of how a one-sided view of the
Arab-Israeli conflict shapes opinion. Witness a link to
a St. Louis
Post-Dispatch article, written by Aisha Sultan. Note
the opening paragraph:
“Before bombs started
falling on Gaza or a massive ground invasion began,
before rockets launched at Israel, I had invited a
handful of close Jewish friends to my home for an iftar,
the evening meal when Muslims break their fast during
Pay careful attention to
the chronology: Israel bombs Gaza and sends in a
“massive” ground invasion (the IDF actually sent 40,000
troops in to engage at least 20,000 terrorists). Only
then were rockets launched at Israel.
Do you see? Sultan (and, by
extension, Q Ideas?) wants readers to believe that for
some reason, Israel decided to invade the narrow and
congested Gaza Strip and only then did nameless,
faceless responders desperately launch rockets to repel
the marauding invaders.
Now, let’s read on:
“Almost a decade ago, I
overheard a group of older Jewish men at a suburban St.
Louis grocery, sitting, eating and loudly agreeing with
one another that all Palestinians were less than dogs
and needed to be wiped out. At the time, I was rattled
and quickly left the store. For years since then, I have
chastised myself for not having the courage to say
something polite to them, to perhaps challenge the
narrative in their minds.”
“The words and actions of
some Israeli politicians and the actions of Israeli
Defense Forces do not represent some monolith of Jewish
opinion. Just as the hateful rhetoric of anti-Semites do
not represent the diverse group of people sympathetic to
the plight of Palestinians.”
Now, notice the
progression. Groups of Jews favor genocide. Wipe out all
the Palestinians. They are dogs, not even human. Sound
familiar? Of course it does, because this is Nazi
propaganda of 80 years ago. Now practiced by, ironically
and tragically, Israel…
Next, we see that Sultan
condemns the decisions of Benjamin Netanyahu and the
IDF, as if they do not represent their own people. I can
promise you, they do represent their people, and the
decisions to degrade the capacity of Hamas to murder
Jews was overwhelmingly supported by the citizens of the
state of Israel.
Sultan is wrong. Gabe Lyons
is wrong to impose this extreme bias on unsuspecting,
earnest young people who want to live in a better world.
He and his Christian Palestinianist friends sanitize the
entire other half of the narrative, in order to lift up
the Palestinians as being under the heel of a Nazi-like
blitzkrieg of death and mayhem.
The efforts to push Palestinian propaganda on the
American Christian community, specifically evangelicals,
is so strong, well-funded, and choreographed that I
suspect within just a few years the people in the pews
will turn on Israel as much as the regime in Washington
The God of Israel is watching.
Aug 11, 2014
This won’t be a classic “Israel
Watch,” but I think the topic is important (obviously)
for understanding why international dislike of Israel is
so intense. Painfully, we start with our own evangelical
community. I’ve written about this many times.
In late September in Florida,
“The Gathering” will take place. From the group’s
“The Gathering is a community of Christian givers
actively providing comfort, challenge, and cheering on
to people all over the world, as well as, one another.”
Additional information is also available:
“Almost every day there are stories in the media about
philanthropy, major new foundations, and celebrities
supporting causes. Still, people don't feel they have
any usable knowledge about their giving coming from
unbiased sources. And many people don't know anyone else
in their same situation…but would like to. They just
don't know where to start. That's a good description of
why we started The Gathering in the first place. It's
not about high visibility giving. It's about your having
access to information and perspective that is useful to
you. It's about being part of a network of other
individuals, families and foundations who are all
committed to giving in the Kingdom.
“What does this look like? Primarily, it looks like our
annual conference called The Gathering. Here we bring
committed Christian givers together in a setting that
allows for learning, worship, new ideas and fellowship.
Above all, it is a safe place to meet with others. From
the moment you walk in you know you are in the right
place for conversations that matter. We do not solicit
funds for particular ministries and we do not steer each
other in any direction. We don’t pressure people to give
or knowingly convict people to give more. People coming
to The Gathering make their own decisions. We’re a
Community of Givers who are connected like a family
taking joy in partnering with God in what he is doing in
the world at this time in our lives.”
For those of you interested in “New World Order”
subjects, I would submit to you that this is an example
of such. The Gathering is a gathering of religious (and
secular) elites who share information and worldviews.
The September conference features media leaders,
business and finance experts, and mainline church
Fascinating note: the conference registration is a
staggering $1,750 per person! You get it, don’t you?
They are locking-out, in effect, those who do not have
access to such funds for a conference. It ensures that
only those who would share the worldview of The
Gathering will attend. I see this trend developing all
over the country, which precludes conservative bloggers,
pastors, and apologetics ministries from likely
My point in all this is that anti-Israel folks are
attending and/or speaking. We see Cameron Strang,
publisher of Relevant and staunch pro Palestinian
advocate; Sarah Pulliam Baily, national correspondent
for Religion News Service and buddy of Jonathan Merritt,
fellow writer and speaker at the Telos Group boot camp
(my term) last fall, in which strategies were developed
to advance the Palestinian narrative. Bailey appears to
have a center-left worldview;
Greg and Susan Jones, United
Methodist ministers currently serving at Duke Divinity
School (The UMC is among the most anti-Israel
denominations in the world); andRussell D. Moore, the
president of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty
Commission, who has made troubling statements about
Israel in the context of Replacement Theology.
Smith, who guides The Gathering, is described in the
“Fred Smith is a graduate of Denver University and
Harvard Divinity School. He spent several years as
teacher and administrator at Charlotte Christian School
and The Stony Brook School before joining Leadership
Network, where he served as President for 12 years. Fred
is the President of The Gathering, an international
association of individuals, families and foundations
giving to Christian ministries. As well, Fred is the
Chairman of The Fourth Partner, a non-profit
organization focused on Christian philanthropy and
community development within the East Texas area.”
Leadership Network spawned,
among other things, Catalyst. All these groups are
stocked with people who have a center-left worldview,
which is why their burrowing-into the evangelical
community is highly significant and damaging.
They do not “see” the world they way we do. They read
the Bible differently. For example, in Smith’s July 17,
2014 blog, “Earthquakes in Diverse Places,” he is not
discussing eschatology per se, but rather noting
philanthropical acts around the globe. Note how he wraps
up the blog post:
“When Christ was asked what the signs of the end will be
he includes the phrase, ‘earthquakes in diverse places’
as one of them. As I listened to Jacquelline speak about
the global examples of disruption and spent time with
these 12 fellows from all across the world it started me
thinking that, in a way, I am experiencing earthquakes
and disruptions in diverse places.
“The people I am privileged to meet with here are
fundamentally shifting how we do our work, challenging
the old solutions and charting new courses through
social enterprises. Maybe earthquakes in diverse places
are signs of new beginnings as well?”
In other words, Smith, like other change agents who
identify as evangelicals (ex: Margaret Feinberg, Donald
Miller, Todd Deatherage), minimizes the significance of
Bible prophecy and Israel, relegating both to symbolism,
metaphor…anything but what it really is.
The Gathering will no doubt feature at least private
discussion of the Arab-Israeli conflict. No doubt Gaza
will be discussed.
When these subjects do come up, Israel will not be
talked about in a positive light. This is but one
example (but an important one, as it happens in an
“evangelical” context) of the information war Israel
Along with us, the friends of the Jewish state.
Aug 4, 2014
The Demon Hordes Advance
In this week’s Jerusalem Post, Jonathan Spyer rightly
points our attention to the ghastly advances being made
by the Terror Group Formerly Known as ISIS — now simply
“IS” — as they seek to establish a caliphate (complete
Islamic rule) in the region. At best, most media have
been focused on their own propaganda/reporting about the
fighting in Gaza.
Yet IS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) is now
growing stronger than the regime troops they are
fighting in the two dark holes known as Syria and Iraq.
Remember just a few short years ago when the future was
rosy for Iraq? Not now. Hindsight is always 20/20, but
removing Saddam Hussein from power blew the lid off the
fish kettle, and now the brutality Saddam waged on his
own people is being widened to include the entire Middle
IS, according to the JPost, is growing in its ferocity:
“There is mounting evidence
that IS has obtained a chemical weapons capacity of some
kind, and has utilized it on at least one occasion
during intense combat against the Kurdish YPG militia in
northern Syria. The organization has achieved signal
successes against regime forces in Raqqa and Hasakeh
provinces that culminated in the capture of the Division
17 base, and the subsequent gruesome execution of over
200 members of the garrison.”
Slaughter, slaughter, and
slaughter are the hallmarks of these thoroughly
committed Islamic terror groups, and they are killing
scores of Christians and Jews are in the crosshairs,
Where is the outcry from
the “evangelical” peaceniks like Brian McLaren, Shane
Claiborne, and Lynne Hybels, just to name a few?
You answered correctly:
there isn’t any.
The inexcusable silence
from the leftists in the American Evangelical community
is a stain on church history, and on their personal
Interestingly, reports are
that Palestinians are fighting in IS groups in Iraq and
Syria. That, coupled with the fact that the Hamas
capability in Gaza has extended farther than many
thought possible, and Hezbollah is busy in the north,
signals a new chapter in Middle East tensions. In the
past, Israel engaged conventional armies that were not
always heroic to the international community (even the
media) and they always defeated them, decisively.
Now, Israel is faced with
complex terror wars that operate on many levels:
military, political, even cultural. And make no mistake:
the Media Wars have become savage and out-in-the-open.
We also know that the Obama administration loathes
Israel and makes no real attempt to mask that contempt.
It is fascinating to note how far American political
discernment has fallen regarding Islamic terror in the
In Colonial times,
one-fifth of American exports were bound for ports in
the Mediterranean. When American shipping was threatened
by Muslim pirates, Thomas Jefferson sent the navy to
eliminate that threat.
During World War I, a
combination of Islamist and military forces butchered
Armenians. The United States sent battleships
to the Turkish coast.
Today, Obama and Secretary
of State John Kerry extol the virtues of Islam (a
contradiction in terms) and demand that Israel negotiate
with terrorists who really do want to kill every Jew in
the Middle East.
As IS continues to murder
Christians and plan strategic military operations in
order to wrest control of Syria and Iraq from secular
governments, it “appears” the noose is tightening around
Israel. Stated earlier, Hezbollah is watching Gaza very
closely, and reports this week of noise under the homes
of Israeli citizens in the northern part of the country
would suggest that the same serpent-like tunnel system
Hamas has used to great effect is also being implemented
in the north.
Should Syria and Iraq fall
to the worst form of Islamist terror, Israel will be
forced to go even deeper in its multi-layered attempt to
protect its citizens.
Only a month ago, IS
launched an attack on a Kurdish enclave in the northern
part of the country, and used U.S.-made Humvees,
captured in Mosul, in the attacks. Frankly, the botched
withdrawals ordered by Obama have cost many innocent
lives, with more to come.
As for Israeli hard
choices, now more than 60 young men have lost their
lives as the IDF has sought to destroy the tunnels of
Gaza. Again, added to this is the growing threat of
Al-Qaida affiliated terror groups operating on Israel’s
borders and possibly even within the country. From the
“As far as IS links to Gaza: An
identifiable Gaza contingent named the Sheikh Abu al-Nur
al-Maqdisi Brigade is active with IS forces in northern
Syria, and photographic evidence has emerged of this
group’s activities. This group is named after a
well-known Salafi sheikh from southern Gaza, killed in
an abortive revolt against the Hamas authorities in
“IS also has an identifiable
franchise within Gaza and northern Sinai itself,
according to a prominent researcher of the IS
phenomenon, UK-based Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi; the name of
the group in question is Ansar al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi
The immediate future is very
uncertain on many fronts. But one constant remains: we
who cling to the Bible as the Supreme Authority know
that Israel will survive and endure. We don’t know the
methods the Lord will use to bring this about, but he
has promised this and in fact miracle stories are now
emerging from sources within the Israel Defense Forces.
This will be our topic this coming Tuesday night on
RaptureReady’s “Israel Watch” radio program. Join us at
Jul 28, 2014
“We Will Succeed”
Perspective is everything, as they say. In the terror
war forced on Israel, perspective is important as we
struggle to wade through the media chaos about exactly
what is going on in Gaza.
So it was that I greatly benefited from the update by
Major General Yaakov Amidror, the former Israeli
national security advisor, who took time out of his now
busy days last Thursday to provide a briefing to friends
of EMET (Sarah Stern’s fantastic think-tank based in
The general’s insights into Israel’s Operation
Protective Edge (preventing Hamas rocket fire into
Israel) were fascinating and the greatest takeaway was
this: ignore the media reports that Israel is in a
precarious position, or is in any way unsure of what is
happening. Amidror made it clear during the conference
call briefing that Israel clearly maintains its
qualitative edge in the conflict. At one point, he
answered a caller’s question about the possible need to
finish the job by destroying Hamas:
destroy Hamas, we have to re-enter the Gaza Strip…to
fight around 20,000 members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
At the end of the day, we will succeed. It will take six
months or a year to clean up the area. At the end of the
one-year operation, Gaza will not be a threat to Israel
Keep in mind, that’s if the Israelis decide to do that specific
operation. At the moment, as Amidror noted, the
government is committed to erasing the rocket threat and
the infiltration threat that has made kidnappings a
major component of the Hamas strategy:
prime minister was clear from the first: not to destroy
Hamas, but ‘quiet for quiet.’”
Some of us have a problem with this, with the current
Israeli strategy of containing Hamas. Remember, the U.S.
followed a policy of containment against Communism for
And there’s this: none of us have any clue what the
Israelis have up their considerable sleeve. This is
about strategy and tactical maneuvers and winning.
It is the tunnels
that are the key part of Operation Protective Edge.
Amidror said that Israel has not had any intelligence
surprises since the operation began (70 percent of the
country’s population has been within rocket range, and
as of last week, 2,100 rockets have been fired by Hamas;
that brings the grand total to around 12,000 since the
Gaza pullout in 2005).
He said that when Israel destroys a tunnel, it takes
Hamas two full years to rebuild it. He said that the IDF
is identifying new tunnels every few hours and that so
far, 30 had been found and destroyed. The destruction of
these extensive and sophisticated tunnels is extremely
complex and daunting, but the IDF is well capable.
All of us who support Israel are concerned about the
situation, but let’s trust the Israeli leadership to do
what is necessary to win this thing the right way, the
way they deem best.
After all, we also know Who fights for them.
Hamas is in a lot of trouble.
Jul 21, 2014
A Protective Edge
A few days ago, at the outset of Operation Protective
Edge, IDF troops targeted the home of Islamic Jihad
commander, Ibrahim al-Shawaf. Incredibly, in this terror
war Israel seems to be fighting with two hands and two
legs tied behind its back, the IDF sent a warning to the
residents that the house was going to be targeted.
Still, the Jew-hating fury that is (predictably) rising
around the world demonizes Israel for the inevitable
civilian casualties that are resulting from fighting in
the densely packed Gaza Strip.
Al-Shawaf, commander of the “Jerusalem Brigages,” was
storing explosives in his home, and encouraging the
participation of human shields.
According to a report by the Meir Amit Intelligence and
Terrorism Information Center:
“Using the houses of terrorist operatives to store
weapons and carry out military-terrorist activities is
familiar from the past. The extensive use of houses for
terrorist purposes was exposed in Operation Cast Lead.
For example, on December 27, 2008, the Israeli Air Force
(IAF) attacked a Hamas weapons cache stored in the house
of a terrorist operative in the Zeitoun neighborhood of
Gaza City. The previous day the IDF had warned the
residents of its intention to attack the building and
they were told to vacate the premises to prevent harm to
uninvolved civilians. Not only did they not leave the
house, but civilians mounted its roof to serve as human
shields. In view of the situation the IAF fired warning
shots with a different kind of ammunition to encourage
them to leave the roof. Only after they left did the IAF
attack the target.
“A strong secondary explosion proved that the house had
in fact been used to store weapons.”
As in operations to clear-out terror nests in 2002 and
2008, Israeli forces are fighting a fanatically hostile
population, in order to protect their own people. It is
a horrible reality, and one can only think that Ariel
Sharon would have realized the mistake in pulling out
from Gaza. For more than eight years, since the 2005
Gaza pullout, the “Strip” has been used as a lethal
terror base against Israel.
The Jerusalem Post is also reporting similar tactics:
“Hamas is an expert at embedding itself in the midst of
the Palestinian civilian population and using it as
human shields, to seek immunity from the army.
“In recent days, IDF sources reported spotting Hamas
gunmen boarding ambulances in Gaza filled with children.
“Hamas urged residents of northern Gaza to remain in
their homes, and provide cover for its concentration of
rocket launch squads in that area.”
The grotesque nature of Hamas—murdering their own
people—seems lost on the international community and, as
I often maintain, the immoral stance by many evangelical
leaders actually gives aid and comfort to the enemy.
Palestinian terrorists have long known they can rely on
gullible Western religious leaders to provide them moral
Many have criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu for not launching a ground invasion earlier.
However, it must be remembered that Israel’s forces
fight when they are ready to fight, not when public
opinion wants them to. They have been “getting their
ducks in a row.”
Already, the Israelis have severely depleted the rocket
supplies of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. More than half
their rockets are now eliminated. The Jerusalem Post
report in fact shows just how successful Israel has
already been in Operation Protective Edge:
“On the defensive front, Iron Dome continues to
frustrate Hamas and Islamic Jihad’s attempt to inflict
mass carnage and large numbers of casualties in Israeli
“Hamas invested years in building up its offensive
assets; tunnels, the rockets arsenal, and command and
control centers. Yet efforts to activate these have
mostly ended in failure.”
Let us pray this continues, and that Israelis will feel
safe in their homes again.
Jul 14, 2014
The Rockets’ Red Glare
Since Israel withdrew from Gaza
in 2005, Hamas has fired a staggering 10,000 rockets
into Israel. When the world hasn’t been silent, it has
Now the terror group can reach
Israel’s major cities, including Jerusalem. This is an
epic escalation, further upgraded due to Hezbollah’s
capabilities in the north. The world awaits Israel’s
probably invasion of the Gaza Strip and while the
government of Benjamin Netanyahu is being criticized for
not moving sooner.
I suspect the Israelis are lining
up their ducks.
And this time they won’t worry
about world opinion.
At Lamb & Lion’s marvelous annual
conference in Richardson, Texas this past weekend, Jan
Markell of Olive Tree Ministries delivered a brilliant
and impassioned talk on the various American presidents
who have dealt with the Jewish state.
Beginning with Woodrow Wilson
(who supported Zionism) and finishing with the
present-day Regime, Jan laid-out devastating contrasts
between several presidents. It is instructive for the
Let’s pick it up with Franklin
Roosevelt. The war president largely ignored Jewish
plight in Europe, but his successor did not. We know
that Harry Truman gave critical early support for the
new state of Israel.
Dwight Eisenhower, though known
somewhat as the chronicler of the Holocaust (he demanded
his troops take photos of the death camps, lest the
world deny it), sharply divided with Israel over the
Sinai Campaign of 1956.
John Kennedy was a staunch
supporter of Israel, tripling aid to the young state; he
broke ranks with his odious, anti-Semitic father.
Lyndon Johnson appeared to have
had a somewhat emotional attachment to the Jews; his
father reminded him of the biblical promises and LBJ
himself saw the horrors of Europe. Yet in the lead-up to
the Six Day War, he urged Israel to show restraint.
Adding to the complex layers of this complicated man is
the fact that he apparently counseled Levi Eshkol
privately to keep all the captured territories.
Richard Nixon, who uttered
grotesque anti-Semitic statements on tape, still
airlifted desperately needed munitions to Israel during
the Yom Kippur War. Golda Meir said later that Nixon
saved Israel from annihilation.
Jimmy Carter. This anti-Semite
(and Southern Baptist Sunday school teacher) was
dismissive of Israel, and laid the groundwork for future
recognition of the PLO. A stain on our nation’s history.
Ronald Reagan was very friendly
to Israel, though he was furious over not being alerted
to the attack on Iraq’s Osirik nuclear reactor in 1981.
George H.W. Bush was a mixed bag,
according to Jan Markell, although I believe his circle
of advisors included anti-Semites who were the
architects of the disastrous Oslo Accords.
The thoroughly self-absorbed Bill
Clinton coldly sought a legacy by forced the “peace
process” through numerous times. His tenure weakened
George W. Bush I do not believe
had much interest in the biblical Israel (led to the
United Methodist Church by his wife. The UMC is
officially anti-Israel, in my view), though he seems to
have had sincere motives and tried to help Israel,
particularly Ariel Sharon. Still, his endorsement of a
Palestinian state leaves much to be desired.
Barack Obama is a totalitarian
and wants to dismantle the U.S., including the historic
relationship with Israel. In the latest conflict with
Hamas, the White House officially states that Israel has
a right to defend herself, but in the next breath, John
Kerry urges “restraint” on…Israel.
This means that the White House
does not support Israel’s right to defend itself. This
is classic double-speak from Team Obama.
We are where we are. At the end
of the day, though, I am optimistic. There are still
Bible-believers in the United States, our beloved
country, and we will never abandon Israel.
I think of my friends like Jan,
Dave Reagan, and those who attend these conferences. A
shout-out to my Texas buddy, Robert Ellis, whose
impassioned faith in these dark times is one of the
reasons I think we will weather these storms and emerge
into the Glory of the Lord…in His timing.
What a wonderful time to be
alive. History is not guided by presidents or kings or
dictators, but by the Lord of History.
Jul 7, 2014
as it is to believe, there seem to be degrees of
brutality among jihad groups. For the longest, Hamas has
been the “worse” option among Palestinian leadership
cadres. The Palestinian Authority, as the quasi
government of the Arabs who live in Israel, were the
suits and “diplomats,” while Hamas favored homicide
bombings and on-the-ground operations.
we see the Middle East burning (due in large part to the
feckless American president. Debates arise as to whether
he is helping his Muslim brethren or merely sympathetic
to their cause) and the astonishing lack of leadership
in the West has directly contributed to this cauldron.
Obama’s hands-off attitude as the worst jihadists
rampage across North Africa and the Middle East is a
central problem. It has emboldened formerly rag-tag
fighters into more cohesive units. Splinter groups off
the mother ship Muslim Brotherhood are now beheading and
crucifying Christians all across the Middle East.
Obama plays golf.
comes the chilling word that ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq
and Syria) is operating in the Gaza Strip. What this
means is that the barbaric gangs literally slaughtering
people elsewhere are wresting control from…Hamas.
Israel has always had to contend with cross-border
terrorism and, in recent decades, homegrown terrorism
since the Arabs are so populous in the tiny country. Yet
I believe groups like ISIS present a higher challenge.
piece for Gatestone Institute, journalist Khaled Abu
Toameh, paints a picture:
“Hamas seems to be losing control of the dozens of
terror cells in the Gaza Strip.
“Hamas prevented local journalists from covering the
ISIS rally in the Gaza Strip last month as part of its
effort to deny the existence of ISIS in the Gaza Strip.
But Hamas seems to be trying to cover the sun with one
Gaza Strip is no longer only a threat to Israel, but
also to Egypt. The only way to confront this threat is
through security cooperation between Israel and Egypt.”
only Palestinian but also Israeli security forces
believe ISIS is responsible for some of the rocket
attacks into Israel. And get this, according to the
Toameh report, ISIS considers Hamas “too moderate”!
These developments will bear watching, obviously, in the
coming months. The idea that the most extreme of the
jihad groups operating globally are in Israel is a
Jun 30, 2014
Europe is Impatient. Well.
No one is quite sure how long of a shelf life the
Holocaust had, but I’d say around 1990. That’s when
things really began to turn against the Jewish state, as
the international power community decided it was time to
impose a Palestinian state on Israel.
Since then, we’ve watched two decades of futility and
lunacy become the norm, as the West has pumped billions
of dollars into Palestinian infrastructure, only to see
it stolen and mismanaged. Parallel to that has been the
establishment of an establishment terror entity, known
as the Palestinian Authority. Now that the unity
government with Hamas is signed and delivered, terrorism
will only increase.
The true story of the “land-for-peace” initiative has
been one of disingenuous behavior by the PA and horrific
terrorism aimed at Israeli citizens. Through it all, the
international community in general—along political,
religious, and cultural lines—claims it’s Israel’s
So then, this past week, word came that European leaders
are “losing patience” with Israel over “settlements.”
In recent days, as well, the Presbyterian Church (USA)
voted to divest from three companies that do business
with Israel, operating in Judea and Samaria. Those
companies are Caterpillar, Motorola, and
Eerily, the European warning/threat runs along parallel
lines. In a stunning display of arrogance, the European
Union’s ambassador to Israel, Lars Faaborg-Anderson,
said that the Union is upset by Israeli expansions in
the “West Bank.”
Sadly, France, Italy, the UK, Germany, and Spain warned
“their citizens against engaging in commercial ties
with West Bank settlements.”
According to a report in
The Times of Israel:
“’These warnings don’t
surprise us,’ Faaborg-Andersen told journalists at a
Geneva Initiative event on Friday. ‘The states [of the
EU] are losing patience when it comes to continued
construction in the settlements, and if the trend
continues, more countries will join these warnings
against businesses operating over the Green Line,’ he
An Italian statement
regarding this issue claims that business done in the
“settlements” only benefits Israelis. This is profoundly
untrue. It is common knowledge in the region that things
such as construction projects provide income and job
stability for Palestinians. This is rarely reported,
because it doesn’t fit the leftist narrative.
There are also rumblings
that companies that do business with the Israelis might
be guilty of human rights violations!
What kind of world are we
Further in the Times’
report, we learn:
“The Spanish Foreign
Ministry, which placed the warning on its website
Thursday, cites European Union policy which deems
illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, eastern
Jerusalem and the Golan. These settlements ‘constitute
an obstacle to peace’ and the two-state solution to the
Israel-Palestinian conflict, the statement said.
“’The potential buyers and
investors should know that a future peace accord between
Israel and the Palestinians, or between Israel and Syria
could have consequences both for properties acquired and
for economic activities promoted in said settlements,’
the Spanish statement said. ‘In case of litigation, it
could be very difficult for member states to guarantee
the protection of their interests.’”
These cold winds blowing
signal a real uptick in the hostility growing for the
The EU warning is, in my
view, much more damaging than the Presbyterian vote,
although the mainline denomination’s decision will
further help shape the next generation’s view of Israel.
Last week, a key Christian
Palestinianist, upset with something I had written in
the Jerusalem Post, referred to me on Twitter as that
“Rapture Ready tool.”
It doesn’t bother me in the
least, especially to be associated with this community.
For one thing, if we don’t understand world events in
light of prophecy—which clearly tell us that human
civilization will reach its end with an evil hatred of
Israel—then we cannot discern much of anything.
The EU and Presbyterian
decisions are distressing in one sense, but we must keep
our eye on the fact that God is in control.
He said it would be this
Jun 23, 2014
(Contact us at Prophecy Matters about having a “Why
Israel?” or a “Prophecy Matters” seminar at your church
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Some longtime members of the Presbyterian USA are waking
up to a new reality, only days after the conclusion of
the denomination’s General Assembly. There, a slight
majority voted in favor of divesting from three
companies—Hewlett-Packard, Caterpillar, and
Motorola—that do business with Israel.
The divestment strategy, part of a broader “BDS” agenda
(Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions), has been coordinated by
a relentless wing of the PC-USA, the left wing.
The victory is a real one for opponents of Israel and
Christian Zionists. Make no mistake: Christian
supporters of Israel are in the crosshairs of the haters
of Zion. In fact, one can track the parallels as Israel
is (astonishingly) castigated internationally…in the
wake of the Hamas kidnapping of three Israeli youth.
Just as the Jewish state is villainized while being a
victim of Middle Ages-level anti-Semitic incitement, so
too are Christian Zionists vilified at every turn.
My friend Brian Schrauger was hauled into Palestinian
Authority headquarters last week and questioned. Brian,
a freelance journalist who has provided some of the only
reporting of anti-Israel activity (including the
infamous “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference in
Bethlehem), was warned that he wasn’t safe living in
Beit Jala, a village outside the famous biblical town.
PA/PLO officials told him that “locals” and
“internationals” had complained about his reporting.
What this means is that they put his life in danger.
Is anyone else outraged about this?
The Jew Haters in the Church are feeling giddy now, what
with divestment now enshrined in the PC-USA. All these
other wins for the other side have emboldened folks like
British activist Stephen Sizer and American filmmaker
Porter Speakman, Jr., who both lobbed hateful jabs at
Brian, via Twitter. Sizer asked if he had enjoyed the PA
Is anyone else outraged about this?
These events are happening at the same time Israeli
forces search for the three youth (Naftali Fraenkel,
Eyal Yifrah, and Gilad Shaar). On Thursday of last week,
U.N. chief Ban Ki-Moon said there was no “concrete
evidence” the three boys had “actually” been kidnapped!
What kind of world are we living in?
The effrontery of Ki-Moon, evidently just another
garden-variety diplomatic hack, is still shocking. One
would expect such a punkish response from a terror
entity, but for the head of the global body to show such
indifference to Jewish life and suffering is
When Israel is perceived to be on the ropes, her enemies
rub their hands together and laugh.
A Religion News Service article about the divestment
victory in Detroit (ironic location) hit on a key point,
one I’d like to develop:
“But the vote also bodes ill for Presbyterian-Jewish
relations, which are particularly fragile since the
publication in January of ‘Zionism Unsettled,’ a booklet
produced by the church-chartered IPMN and sold on the
PCUSA website, which argues the right of a Jewish nation
to exist in the Holy Land is based on bad theology.”
A host of anti-Christian Zionist/Israel activists
promote this idea that we have “bad theology.” Stephen
Sizer, Gary DeMar, Colin Chapman, Gary Burge, Brian
McLaren, Lynne Hybels. The list goes on.
But I want to make a point here that I hope you will
take to heart: a person who appears to speak with
authority is not the same as a person who speaks with
Brian McLaren is feted by much of the religious world.
Gary Burge has an advantageous perch at Wheaton. Sizer,
somehow, finds the money and time to globe trot to bash
Israel. Hybels uses the powerful bully pulpit of the
Willow Creek Association to spread her activism.
Yet critical thinking is required here. I point you to a
short essay that Hybels wrote for a Catalyst-distributed
“Known.” The booklet was printed specially
for the Catalyst Dallas event in May, 2014.
Listen to her faith journey, which took her from the
“old-time religion” to…something else.
“In my early forties I experienced a crisis of faith.
The Christianity I’d grown up with was about being good
and working hard and following the rules in order to
placate an angry God. It was about being an athlete
winning the prize and a soldier advancing the work of
the Kingdom, thereby avoiding hellfire and damnation. A
sensitive little girl, I took it all to heart and did my
best. But after nearly four decades of striving to earn
God’s love, I was exhausted. God had become a burden I
no longer had the energy to carry.
“So I quietly turned by back on God.”
Bill Hybels is now 62, so his wife is, I believe, in her
late 50s. One of the interesting elements of her story
is that she turned her back on God relatively recently.
Let’s say that was 15 years ago. By that time, Willow
Creek, both the local church near Chicago and the
gargantuan Willow Creek Association (a coalition of
7,000 churches, from 90 denominations in 90 countries)
had become perhaps the leading influential body with the
That means that Lynne Hybels pretended to be what
everyone thought she was. For some time, she and her
husband had associated with left-leaning thinkers. They
have hosted Bill Clinton, Tony Campolo, and T.D. Jakes,
among others. A little-known fact is that this dynamic
ministry duo has been mentored since the 1970s by
anti-Israel propagandists, as well.
Further in the “Known” article, Lynne Hybels reveals
that in her faith crisis, she began to read the works of
folks like Julian of Norwich and Thomas Merton. She
began moving more to the left. Eventually, she says, she
became “thankful” for turning her back “on my childhood
god.” She emphasized that she had come to also turn her
back on “words” by which she must mean Scripture alone.
Hybels has stated since then that when it comes to the
“theology” of the Christian Zionists, well, she simply
rejects that particular brand of theology.
See how clever this is? For those who don’t dig deeper,
Lynne Hybels sounds like a great spiritual leader.
In point of fact, she rejects what the Bible says about
Israel and the Jews in prophecy because she wants to
Do you see?
She decided not to accept the biblical promises to the
Jews. That’s why she fits in so well with her friends,
the Awad family of Bethlehem. I’ve had conversations
with them and with other Palestinian Christians who have
told me they simply “don’t like the OT promises to the
So they ignore and sanitize those ubiquitous passages
from sermons, lectures, books, and blogs. They advocate
for a worldview that parallels that of the PLO, which is
sworn to Israel’s destruction.
A quick aside: I’m aware there are different views of
the origins accounts in Genesis, among Christians.
However, it is incredibly fascinating to learn that
Darwin and his friends in England in the mid-19th
century did not arrive at their naturalistic conclusions
because of “science.” Various modern scientific fields
such as geology, astronomy, and biology were in their
Rather, Darwin and his “X-Club” associates—men like
Thomas Huxley, Herbert Spencer, and Joseph Dalton
Hooker, who met regularly for dinner for 30 years in
London—came to their personal views because they wanted
to disbelieve the Bible. It’s as simple as that. Why do
you think evolutionary philosophers like Charles Lyell
arrived at an age for the earth of hundreds of thousands
Because they were making it up! Why did not Lyell assign
an age to the earth that fits current evolutionary
thought, 4.5 billion years? He knew that such vast ages
would never square with his contemporaries, so he said,
in essence, “Look, go ahead and believe in Genesis, the
flood, etc. It’s just that the scientific method today
shows us clearly that the earth is much older than the
biblical chronologies allow.”
This was the beginning of widespread disbelief in the
Bible, in the Western world. Compromise with Genesis led
to compromise elsewhere. Those long ages? Lyell, Huxley,
and Darwin knew perfectly well they had cooked and
manipulated the data, for
reasons. They then sold it to the masses as fact.
The point I’m trying to make is that all anti-Bible
philosophers simply decide not to believe some or all of
it, and because they sound like authorities, many
Those who created “Zionism Unsettled” and their friends
do not reject Christian Zionism because it is “bad
They reject it because they want to.
Millions are being deceived
by the deep and dark associations that have now
infiltrated evangelicalism. (You can read my latest blog
at the Jerusalem Post here, for added detail:
The hatred of Israel, Jews, and their friends the
Christian Zionists is accelerating. It is in large part
because advocates of the Palestinian Narrative are
demonizing folks like us 24/7. We have different
ideological views because we make choices. We decide
what to believe. It really is as simple as that.
Palestinian propagandists would have you believe they
arrived at their worldview because they are just seekers
Those who support divestment,
demonization of Israel, and mainstreaming Palestinian
propaganda should at least be honest enough to tell
their constituencies that they arrived at their
worldview because it a
Don’t expect them to do that, however. Such an admission
would neutralize their propaganda.
Jun 16, 2014
(Contact us at Prophecy Matters about
having a “Why Israel?” or a “Prophecy Matters” seminar
at your church or community center. You can reach me at
pro Israel activist for the past two decades, I’ve
listened to a great many conversations about Israel and
the Jewish people, from every conceivable angle:
religious, cultural, political.
Prophecy Matters, we have developed a seminar series
that explains—both in big picture and in detail—the
story of Israel and the specialness of the Jewish
people. I am convinced that while much of the American
church is asleep with regard to these subjects (and the
growing intensity of fulfilled prophecy), I also know
from experience that all age groups are engaged during
such presentations. They want to know what the Bible has
to say about the future, and they are profoundly curious
about the relevance of Israel.
also have the conviction that our lack of understanding
in these areas contributes to a weakened Christian
community overall. At a time when celebrity pastors
(many of whom quietly dislike Israel) feed the
congregation sugary nothingness (self-help “sermons,”
increasingly sophisticated tithing pitches, and plain
old heresy), the people are starved for hope and meaning
properly understood, the story of Israel and the Jewish
people can serve as a lighthouse for people whose faith
has been shipwrecked, or never left port to begin with.
I’ve seen it time and time again. Conversely, I am
astonished at the current evangelical leadership, at a
discernment level. Here is an example of the drift
currently happening within evangelicalism:
just finished reading a paper, presented in November
2000, by Dr. Russell Moore, to the Evangelical
Theological Society. Moore, you will recall from “Israel
Watch,” is the new head of the Southern Baptist
Convention’s “Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.” He
replaced Dr. Richard Land, who—among other things—was
always pro Israel.
Moore is not that.
ERLC chief issues somewhat ambiguous statements
regarding the role of Israel in modern history and in
prophecy. But several points in his ETS paper telegraph
where he’s coming from. Try this one:
the influence of Reformed theology has increased at the
popular level of contemporary evangelicalism, so has the
tendency to dismiss a future for Israel as a
long-discredited chestnut from the notes of the Scofield
believe the answer to ‘What about the Jews?’ is, ‘Here
we are,’ writes Reformed apologist R.C. Sproul Jr. ‘We
deny the church is God’s ‘plan B.’ In a more scholarly
treatment of the issue, O. Palmer Robertson asserts,
‘The future messianic kingdom will embrace equally the
whole of the newly created cosmos, and will not
experience a special manifestation of any sort in the
region of the ‘promised land.’”
Moore himself is careful not to completely tip his hand
as to his personal views on the matter, but the fact
that he quotes folks like Sproul, Timothy Weber, and
Craig Blaising speaks volumes.
my view, a man who cannot properly articulate the
meaning of the whole of Scripture will grope about as he
tries to face the increasingly pagan culture. Prophecy
makes up about 35 percent of the Bible, and the Jewish
people figure prominently from Genesis to Revelation.
You wouldn’t know it from America’s current crop of
is exactly where Moore is standing at the moment. In
effect, he speaks for the SBC and wields tremendous
influence as far as that goes. Yet the SBC, by its own
statistics, has lost 700,000 members in the last few
years. This is stunning, because the world’s largest
Protestant denomination was never mentioned in the same
sentence as the United Methodist Church, or any number
of other mainline denominations that have been
hemorrhaging members for decades.
believe the “Church Visible” (the large,
mega-church/church growth entity dominated by Rick
Warren methodology) is profoundly weak in American
culture, right at this moment. You will notice that its
leaders do not speak with any sort of moral clarity at
all. Controversial, cultural-battle topics are rarely
mentioned by this crowd.
notice that none of America’s evangelical leaders speak
out about the demonic hordes of Islamist terrorists now
rampaging across the Middle East and elsewhere. Does
anyone know if Warren, Andy Stanley, Bill Hybels, Bob
Roberts Jr., Hank Hanegraaff, or Shane Claiborne has
issued statements about Boko Haram, or ISIS? Probably
not, since this would rub against their friendliness
with Palestinian, Muslim Brotherhood, and Iranian
the wake of the kidnapping of three Israeli yeshiva
students, by Palestinian terrorists, we hear zero
statements from any of the aforementioned “leaders.” One
of the youths is an American citizen. Right at this
moment, the IDF is conducting a massive search to find
the boys. Claiborne & Friends have gone silent in the
face of this humanitarian outrage.
point in all this is, our national leaders at all levels
are failing us, including in their worldview regarding
Israel and the Bible. Think of the many billions of
dollars given to corrupt Palestinian leaders. Think of
the colossal blunders in foreign policy and diplomacy,
all from leaders in this country—very much including
evangelical leaders—who do not discern the role of
Israel, the Jews, and predictive prophecy in our era.
Think of the influence on our political leaders by
leftists like Jim Wallis.
That’s why it’s critical that we network together. Our
presentations at Prophecy Matters are engaging,
thorough, and prayerfully designed to help your
congregation discern the times. Our “traveling exhibit”
of artifact reproductions, historical documents, maps
and more bring a visual dimension, as well.
hour is late.