Apr 23, 2008

If You're Being Misrepresented -- Do Something!

By Jan Markell

There has always been a home and a refuge for the nation of Israel among evangelical Christians -- until recently. While there remain ministries and pastors who will stand with her, many are now bailing out on God's chosen people.

The proof of this is illustrated starkly by the position of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), a ministry that since 1942 has been a voice for millions of Christians. It was originally created to be a conservative representation for Christians in contrast to the notoriously liberal National Council of Churches (NCC), which has always focused primarily on the social gospel instead of the gospel of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

Some are asking if there's much difference between the two organizations, an issue that has arisen only in recent years. The following paragraphs may better explain that.

Pro-Israel evangelicals aren't asking for much from the NAE. All they're asking for is that the organization make a statement that evangelicals as a body stand with Israel and her right to exist and defend herself. It's that simple. Such a statement need not come off as anti-Muslim/Palestinian as many fear -- or endanger missionaries working in Muslim countries. All believers have a concern for the plight of the Palestinian Christians.

The NAE's response is that they wish to focus heavily on "creation care" (a euphemism for global warming). Richard Cizek, Vice President of Government Affairs with the NAE, has been in the news due to his strong stand on global warming. This has painted the entire NAE as a pro-man-made global warming organization.

There are clearly many members of the NAE who don't hold to that position although they would not deny that God has asked us to take care of His creation. But some contend that of greater importance to God, as evidenced by a large portion of Scripture, are the Jewish people -- Israel -- and God's plan for them through the ages -- past, present and future. From Genesis 12:3 where God says that He will bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse her and forward throughout the whole Bible, God's love and protection for His people are obvious.

Recently a similar, though lesser-known ministry, the World Evangelical Alliance, issued a statement that the Jewish people should be evangelized. In addition, the statement asserted that Jews who believe in Jesus are still Jews. This statement was in response to assertions to the contrary. But the NAE would not sign this statement.

And several conservative Christian leaders have signed a letter to the NAE stating that there is not enough evidence supporting man-made global warming to make it an issue the NAE should support, and that the NAE "lacks the expertise to settle the controversy." Signers include Dr. James Dobson, Gary Bauer, Don Wildmon, Tony Perkins, and Paul Weyrich.

Israel may not be on the NAE's agenda, but she is on God's agenda. In the past the NAE has always been a friend of Israel, and proudly stated so. This stance has clearly been diminished very recently.

You and your church may be represented by the NAE. If their position of silence against Israel troubles you, we encourage you to let them know! Please contact the NAE by writing NAE President Leith Anderson at president@nae.net, or the chairman of the executive board, Roy Taylor, at rtaylor@pcanet.org.

Don't just sound off but, in addition, constructively pray for NAE leadership, because the influence of the organization can be great and has been a positive influence that is sorely needed in a day of growing apostasy and leftist causes. When contacting them, do so in Christian love.