A friend this week alerted me to “TruNews,” a media outfit run by Rick Wiles. I had never heard of him, or “TruNews,” so I watched his take on the recently concluded “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference.
Wiles, who cut his media teeth working for Paul Crouch and TBN years ago, attempted to dissect Christian Zionism. His main assertion—that CZ is a fairly recently invented (British) concept—is a typical critique. He also blames the “Occupation” for Palestinian suffering.
What is interesting about him and his channel is that he doesn’t like Israel…and he identifies as evangelical. He noted that except for basically a few Southern Baptists and Pentecostals, “no one” in the American Church subscribes to Christian Zionism.
On this point, we are probably in agreement, although the generalization is too broad. There are still strong pockets of Israel support, but if you’ve read “Israel Watch” much, you know we are losing ground.
Naturally, I think Wiles is profoundly wrong in his worldview, but he is savvy enough to know how to bash Christian Zionists and appeal to a growing number of church members.
I’ll write more about Wiles later, but wanted to make the point that anti-Israel fervor in the American Church is metastasizing.
We’ve discussed at length the growing number of evangelical leaders who are anti-Israel. For example, within the Southern Baptist Convention.
Today though I want to concentrate on another effort to reach Millennials with the Palestinian Narrative.
Eugene Cho is pastor of Quest Church in Seattle. He is far more at home in a coffeehouse/social justice setting than he would be in a traditional church. He recently spoke at the “Christ at the Checkpoint” PLO-inspired conference in Bethlehem.
His network is being mobilized to oppose Israel.
A 2016 racial reconciliation conference at Biola featured Brenda Salter McNeil, who among other things is on staff at Quest Church, as an associate pastor. In fact, Cho just announced his resignation, so we will look for him to go deeper into the social justice hole.
For those who don’t know, “social justice” in this context is the effort to address societal issues. It is not a straightforward presentation of the Gospel. In this way, it is not unlike 19th century Protestant efforts to evangelize the Middle East. When Muslims and Jews did not embrace that message, it was left to church officials and missionaries to redirect their efforts. In this way, the churches operating today in the Middle East are largely leftwing and concentrate on “social justice.” In their neighborhood, that means almost exclusively opposing Israel.
In a few days, Salter McNeil will speak at a conference hosted by “Churches for Middle East Peace.” CMEP is really an Israel-bashing entity. The conference, “And Still We Rise,” will feature a plethora of speakers, including Mae Cannon (formerly of World Vision, now director of CMEP); Rev. Najla Kassab of World Communion of Reformed Churches, in Beirut; Farah Bayadsi, a Jerusalem-based Palestinian lawyer; and Sandra Van Opstal, executive pastor at Chicago’s Grace and Peace Community.
Notice this info from Opstal’s bio on the conference website:
“In her fifteen years with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Sandra mobilized thousands of college students for God’s mission of reconciliation and justice in the world.
“She has been featured at WheatonCollege, North Park University, The Justice Conference, Evangelical Covenant conferences, Willow Creek Association conferences, and various churches.”
Anti-Israel fervor is everywhere.
And here is a post from Cho’s Instagram account:
“People sometimes ask me, ‘Are you pro-Israel or pro-Palestine?’ Neither. Both. Thus, some become frustrated with me. Join the club. While there’s pressure to choose one side, I’m ultimately ‘pro Kingdom of God’ – and thus, for peace, truth, justice, and reconciliation.
“Having said that, I’m shocked to meet Christians around the world that don’t even know that there are Christians in Palestine…and they’ve actually been here for centuries upon centuries. It’s hard to articulate the weight, fear and anxiety that exists in the air because of the occupation – both in Palestine but also for Palestinian believers – truly a minority among minorities. So, it’s been a deep honor to be with Bible College students, pastors, activists, and leaders this week. Yes, it was a privilege to preach from the Holy Scriptures but more so, so good to listen and learn from the indigenous Palestinian church. And much love to my Israeli friends working for peace and justice. Oh, we have so much to learn from them.”
Boy, do we ever. This disingenuous bunch, schooled in propaganda techniques by the Yasser Arafats of the world, is turning entire generations against Israel.
If you are, say, a traditional Southern Baptist who is pro Israel, please understand that when J.D. Greear is installed as Convention president this month, the SBC will have its transitional candidate toward a full-on social justice entity. Just like the mainline churches have been for decades and so many evangelical congregations have become.
The SBC Elders have done nothing publicly to stem the tide of takeover of the Church by progressives. In fact, they feel that they have to adopt new methods for reaching people.
This is their Waterloo.
In the next few years, after the influence of pro Palestinian leaders like Jonathan Martin, Paul Alexander, Tony Campolo, and Brian McLaren are finished with it, the Pentecostal world will also stand strong with the Palestinians.
The door of the Trojan Horse of Palestinian Advocacy/Terrorism has been kicked open, my friends.
The soft approach I’ve recently written about, coming from pro Israel groups, is poison in our bloodstream. While Michael Brown boldly spoke to his audience after accepting a speaking slot from CATC organizers, he said this afterward (speaking about the Israel-hating PLO puppet, Jack Sara, president of Bethlehem Bible College):
“I really love Jack and am so glad we got some quality time together. And despite our deep differences on some key points, I appreciate the open door that was given to me and the warmth with which I was received.”
Is he serious? It is hard for me to believe that Brown isn’t aware that his hosts especially despise him…he’s Jewish.
The soft approach, developed and implemented by the current pro Israel Christian leadership—virtually across-the-board—is going to lose, huge. An epic historical defeat is coming.
Various Facebook postings by naïve Millennials after CATC reveal the scene Israel will face in the near future. After being influenced and mentored by Wheaton College’s resident Israel-basher, Gary Burge, a young woman named Ashley wrote:
“I was so impressed how passionate my Palestinian friends were, there was no hate, they only showed love. They never retaliate. For me, this means being more open to loving those who hate me.”
This is tragic. She is not equipped to understand that her Palestinian handlers, like their old Soviet counterparts who trained them in the art of duplicity, want her to believe they are mellow peaceniks. And notice her last sentence: she means that she has now learned to be more open to loving those beastly, jack-booted Israelis.
That’s what she means.
Her world is literally upside-down and she doesn’t realize it.
Another student from a college in Tennessee wrote:
“Now that I have seen everything with my own eyes, the least that I can do is advocate for you in the US. This experience has opened my eyes so much. How truly important it has been to meet and see you as human beings in Christ. Now I will have more passion in churches and in politics.”
This young man, Liam Wheeler, gushed over his meeting with “the world’s youngest journalist,” Janna Tamimi. Like many Palestinian terrorists, she has adopted a nom de guerre, Janna Jihad” (emphasis added).
Is this not mind-boggling? Does the gentleman from Tennessee not understand he had just met a 12-year-old soldier in the jihad for Palestine?
(By the way, Ms. Jihad has 270,000 followers on Facebook.)
This introduction took place in the village of Nabi Saleh, and to hear Mr. Wheeler tell it, the rainbows and daisies in gun barrels were thick:
“The entire town is dedicated to nonviolent resistance against Israeli occupation, and while the cost of their struggle is high, they are an inspiration to the world.”
No, no, no. The town is dedicated to jihad, Mr. Wheeler. Had you not been a young dupe from the States, you might have gotten the ISIS treatment.
Hatred of Israel is everywhere.