I quote my good friend and ministry colleague Jim Hutchens of "The Jerusalem Connection International" when he says, "The veiled anti-Israel action by the Presbyterian Church USA is nothing less than blatant anti-Semitism." I also agree with him. So what is the issue?
As I write truthful but unpleasant comments about the Presbyterian Church, I know many Presbyterian readers of this do not agree with their church leadership. But at the recent Presbyterian Church USA annual meeting a number of Presbyterian leaders pled passionately for a declaration of solidarity with the Palestinian Arabs. The appeal included a recommendation to adopt a series of anti-Israel measures, including proposals for divestment and for backing a suspension of American military aid to the Jewish state. In essence they called for Presbyterians to side with the Palestinians and take serious shots at the Israelis.
"The situation in Palestine is dire. The call from our Palestinian brothers and sisters has fallen on deaf ears," a Presbyterian minister, Reverend William McGarvey of San Francisco, said. "The American Christian church has largely watched this catastrophe continue as if we did not care."
Some Presbyterian leaders spoke out against the anti-Israel proposals and offered alternatives calling for a "nonpartisan" approach to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. But a Palestinian religious leader attending this annual meeting said, "I urge you to get your hands dirty, to take sides."
Six senators who are Presbyterians urged the church not to endorse the proposal to cut off defense help to Israel. "We are adamantly opposed to the call for the U.S. government to temporarily suspend military aid to Israel," Senators Kyl of Arizona, Bond of Missouri, DeMint of South Carolina, Carper of Delaware, Shelby of Alabama, and Inhofe of Oklahoma wrote. "We ask that you take no action that would make a case for moral equivalency between the Israeli military, which is fighting to keep Israel safe, and Palestinian terrorists, who seek to destroy it."
A former American negotiator in the Middle East, Dennis Ross, also warned against taking the Palestinian side in the long-running dispute. "If your church is going to adopt a position that is one-sided in favor of the Palestinians, it takes no account of what the Israelis have done," Mr. Ross said in a videotaped message to delegates. "I find the resolution on divestment from companies doing business with Israel and the others who criticize Israel to be divorced from reality. They don't take into account the price the Israelis have paid or the concessions they made or the many times the Israelis in negotiations have been prepared to go very far and not found responsiveness on the other side."
With these men weighing in with truth, doesn't this all sound just a bit delusional?
So, in a sense, whether any bill passes this year or next, the Presbyterian Church USA has declared war on our only ally in the Middle East. This is what happens when denominations hold to Replacement Theology; that is, that the Church is now Israel. The Church has replaced Israel in all New Testament references. It remains a mystery to me how they deal with Romans 9 - 11.
But the Presbyterian Church USA and others who think like they do miss the most important point. It is not Israel making the Palestinians miserable; it is the Palestinian leadership and the United Nations who keep them in bondage so they can be political pawns.
Also, it is difficult to find a more neglected story than the relative satisfaction of Palestinian Arabs living in Israel -- about 20% of the population in Israel -- as revealed by a recent Harvard study. Researchers asked Palestinian Arabs if they would rather live in Israel than any other country in the world. Dream away, folks. You can fantasize that they said they would rather be in Dubai or the U.K. or the U.S. But nearly 80% said they like Israel best. These are Arabs living in Israel who are under Israeli rule, not corrupt Palestinian rule.
Arabs in Israel are not subject to compulsory military service though they may volunteer to serve in the military and some do. So we have some Arabs living in Israel serving in Israel's military while the Presbyterian Church USA suggests America suspend all military aid to Israel! Have I fallen into Alice's Wonderland or has the Presbyterian Church USA fallen down the hole? Where's the Mad Hatter?
This issue will not die. Other denominations are following suit and making similar proposals at annual meetings. In the past there have usually been enough in high church leadership to denounce these proposals, but it is my belief that will not always be the case.
Is it any wonder that the church today is in a mess? All Mainline Protestant denominations hold to Replacement Theology. I am not saying all Mainline Protestants hold to the proposals stated above. But Mainline Protestants and Catholics today almost universally adhere to the false teaching that the Church today is the new Israel. A remnant in these categories would disagree with this theology.
The Bible says, "I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spoke, they did not hear: But they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not" (Isa. 66:4). So it begs the question: Did God send them this delusion because in their hearts they just have serious issues and are blind to the truth about Israel's miraculous rebirth? The Bible indicates that when one remains firm in a lie and rejects the truth, they will become blinded. (2 Thess. 2:11)
The desire to harm a nation that is a friend and ally and a nation that remains God's Chosen People, makes little sense in the natural.