Jul 13, 2009

The Crusades

Jim Fletcher
By Jim Fletcher

Like the army from Rome, which decided to “liberate” the Holy Lands a thousand years ago, there is a new Christian initiative to bring peace to the region. This time the sword has been replaced by the pen, blogs, and the microphone.

Despite the head-in-the-sand attitude of some of my pro Israel friends, it is clear to me that liberal Christians are making inroads into American churches, regarding Israel and the Palestinians. One such group, Churches for Middle East Peace, recently held a conference that professed concern for “both peoples,” Israelis and Palestinians. As usual, it’s quite a bit more one-sided than that.

Episcopal Bishop of Maryland Eugene Sutton was one of the CMEP participants, and his obvious dislike for Israel came through:
"Reflecting on his travels to the Holy Land and the impact of the separation barrier that cuts through Jerusalem, Bishop Sutton remarked that while the Israeli government built the wall ‘ostensibly to give to its people its desired and well-deserved security, there is every indication that that wall won't do what it set out to do because walls never do.’"
This is classic disinformation. It impacts Christians who have never been to the region who, after reading Sutton’s statement over their morning coffee, decide that, by golly, the “wall” does fail in its objectives.

No, it doesn’t fail. And not by a long-shot. The security barrier in Israel has prevented countless deaths and that should be preeminent in our minds. Sutton’s statement is either disingenuous, or ignorant.

Anyone who’s seen the security barrier knows that it is a solid wall around Israeli communities, and wire everywhere else. Does anyone seriously believe the Israelis would go to such extremes and such expense because they just don’t like Arabs? Please.

I received this week a communication from a friend with ties to Israel, who said:
“the only reason there has been a shut-down of terror attacks in Israel is because of the incredible ability of the IDF [Israel Defense Forces].
These liberal American Christians who like to bash Israel are able to do this from the safe confines of America; would that they actually took notice of the terrible danger Israel finds herself in.

Further from the CMEP Advocacy Conference, June 7-9 in Washington:

Something called the Christians Support Bold Action for Holy Land Peace campaign was launched; a letter signed by 50 leaders included Tony Campolo, Joel Hunter (president of the NAE); Bill and Lynne Hybels; Richard Mouw, President of Fuller; and David Neff, editor-in-chief CT.

This, my friends, represents a thrust deep into the heart of evangelicalism, a community that by and large supported Israel. That support is no longer guaranteed, and the presence of Hunter and Hybels cements the fact. It matters little that neither is a classic, Bible-believing leader; they represent organizations that ostensibly are evangelical. This makes hay with pro Palestinian factions.

I visited this week with a dear friend in Washington, one who has a hand on the pulse of the American Jewish community. My friend also lamented not only that community’s wavering on Israel, but acknowledged my statements in the same vein regarding evangelical support for Israel.

It is necessary for all of us to educate ourselves as much as possible in these days, these last days, as Israel is squeezed even further. We must meet the liberal efforts with efforts of our own, including educating all those within our circles of influence. You can do it, no matter where you are.

My friend, who knows, told me that, yes, American government pressure on Benjamin Netanyahu is unlike anything anyone has ever seen aimed at an Israeli prime minister. These forces are incredibly emboldened by anti-Israel forces within the evangelical community. Many of these people also have roots in the power centers of our country, especially Washington.

Our world has changed forever, and we are hurtling toward the conclusion that Bible-loving Christians have longed for. Israel stands at the center of end-times events, and we should all resolve to watch.