A Model of Civility
If the last 20 years in Israel advocacy have taught me anything, it is that people on opposite sides of a fence can almost enjoy shooting at each other. Divergent views have a way of doing that.
Recently a reader alerted me to a blog post by a person who takes issue with pro Israel Christians invoking Genesis 12:3 (“I will bless those that bless you…”) to defend Israel’s right to the land, etc. I read the piece and got a check in my spirit, but not for the reason you might be thinking.
I began to get a feeling that the writer was from a Reformed background; that is, he is probably Presbyterian or Lutheran and this goes a long way in informing his views of Israel in prophecy. Just as, I might add, to some degree my Baptist background informs my view of the same issue.
So I read the post with some objectivity. I did not disagree with everything the writer wrote.
Then I contacted him.
Happily, he wasn’t defensive, and I told him upfront where I am coming from. I asked if he is from a Reformed background and he said that he is. I told him my background. We had a pleasant, brief conversation and ended it kindly.
I won’t here go into the theological stuff regarding Genesis 12:3, but rather want to point out that we can advocate for Israel and for the wonderful element of predictive prophecy…without rancor.
I have also been dismayed to see how even those in the pro Israel camp can tear at each other. There are different views on how best to advocate for Israel. I disagree strongly with some approaches, but try to deal in factual things, not ad hominem arguments.
When we have agendas—and we all have them—often we cannot or will not be objective. People are so entrenched in their positions, and so arrogantly confident of their own powers of reasoning, that nothing good comes of it.
In fact, it is common for evangelical leaders in America to so dislike their “critics” that they resort to calling them “trolls” and “slanderers.” In this way, they actually avoid defending their own position on a topic, a classic red flag that their position is probably indefensible.
I have been criticized for referring to some as “useful idiots.” However, I use it because it is a precise term that has an actual definition, as supplied by Vladimir Lenin. It refers to those in the West who are wittingly or unwittingly used by foreign totalitarians to advance said totalitarian’s agenda through propaganda. I do not use such terms merely because I don’t like an opponent.
Back to my specific point: my correspondent today could have resorted name-calling without a point, except to express his annoyance. He did not.
We were then able to have a reasonable discussion about Israel and prophecy and I hope we will again. And I am appreciative to the reader of “Israel Watch” in alerting me to the post.
I believe in balance. On the one hand, I believe in fairly aggressively defending Scripture, Israel, the Jews, etc. But even in this, it does no good if I tear the other person down.
Let’s keep that in mind as we debate and discuss on Facebook, Twitter, and other forums.
Truth always wins in the end.