Posted by: Hugh Griffiths | July 19, 2006

Israel – plea for Christianity to wake up!

Please excuse this longer post than usual but, like many of you, I have been deeply affected by the grief and anguish caused by Israel’s assault on Lebanon in response to the kidnapping of their soldiers.

In recent decades this country has endured civil war as well as multiple invasions and it seems that much of all they have achieved in the last few years is being obliterated by Israel’s current offensive. Israel attacked, conducted military action or invaded Lebanon in 1968, 1978, 1982, 1992 and 1996 and it seems they are again raining destruction not only against suspected terrorist activity but also against largely civilian populations.

Already news reports show that their massively disproportionate action has destroyed vital civilian infrastructure including roads, food and medical supplies and residential areas. A snap-shot of this heart-breaking and indiscriminate strategy was captured by the following entry in a victim’s journal published in today’s Guardian newspaper:

I don’t want to write about the tears that fell when I heard about how the Israeli army bombed wheat silos and vegetable stores. Now they want us to starve to death?

I don’t want to write about the cramp in my heart everytime I hear the death toll rising. So many children! I don’t want to write about how everything I have spent my whole life working for has disappeared in a matter of days.

Israel has changed my life because Israel is targeting me as a civilian.

I do not support or condone the violence and bloodshed of either Hizbullah or Israel. However, I do believe that this is the moment when Western Christianity has to wake up to the real state of the nation state of Israel. Regrettably the theology of many parts of evangelicalism affords this small country a status and place it does not deserve.

Yes, God loves them and has regard for them – but he also loves the Lebanese, the Palestinians and every other nation with the same measure. Israel might be a religious nation – but without submitting to Christ they are currently in exactly the same position as any other religious group on the planet.

The words of warning that the apostle James wrote almost 2000 years ago to those who had scattered from Israel come to mind:

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that .. and shudder (James 2:18)

While Israel continue to exercise a violent, unilateral policy against their neighbours and citizens, regrettably parts of Christianity are still pouring in their support without a word to condemn their godless behaviour. It must now stop.

The extreme violence, bloodshed and inhumanity shown by Israel at this time must be the wake-up call for Christianity to get its theology, teaching and values straight. The rose-tinted spectacles need to come off so we can see the ‘sacred cow’ of natural Israel for what it really is.

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Responses

  1. I agree wholeheartedly! Great post, Hugh.

  2. Yeah, Hugh. We can’t condone the wholesale slaughter of ANY people. Civilians are not the enemy. Terror is…and satan is. And a nation can’t fix its terror problem by blowing up civilians.

    You are also right about this: Much of Western Christianity believes that the nation of Israel can do absolutely no wrong. For example: Let me give you my background – briefly – and how my perspective on this issue is being shaped even now: I am a relative new-comer to British Restorationism. I have read stuff written by Bryn Jones, Arthur Wallis, Terry Virgo, and others, and have been deeply impressed, in Lord Jesus, by them all. I am grateful that Lord Jesus plopped me down in British Restorationism…and, frankly, I intend to stay here…and I am also blessed to be a member of a British Restorationist church, with the two totally best elders on the planet – OH – of course, not counting you, Hugh…Oh, yes, and you, Roger…Sorry…I forgot…Apologies…=-)

    I come from a Lutheran Charismatic background…and I VERY vaguely remember the flurry that happened when Bryn made the case for a Palestinian state. There was all kinds of flutter in the circles where I hung out. So I (regretably) fluttered, too. I listened very well to the doctrine that I was taught. It matched point-for-point much of the theology that is offered in most of the Western Church. And there is little or no tolerance for any other thoughts.

    On Sunday, after church, I was watching coverage of the war at my parents’ house, on CNN. And you know something, Hugh? I KNOW my elders’ positions on stuff. I have re-examined Bryn’s statements…I have found ALL those B.R. guys to be Godly men, full of love and grace for EVERYONE. But I noticed that there was still a little piece of me that bristled and became quite indignant whenever anything was said that was corrective towards the nation of Israel…anything. My thoughts were further aggitated, because a very lovely Messianic lady visited our meeting just hours before – I believe, looking for a home congregation…And so, everything Messianic was playing in my heart…and she was LOVELY.

    Evangelical perspectives DO have a firm grip on the Western Church. We need to come to terms with this: Lord Jesus DOES love the non-Jewish Semitic people – every bit as much as He loves Israel…and Mynamar…and Chile…and Cuba….and Romania…and….and…and…And…the Jewish nation, as of yet, does not acknowledge the Lordship and Deity of Messiah Jesus, and so does not have Holy Spirit to take control of her actions. She IS most certainly capable of making poor decisions.

    You are right, Hugh. We need to wake up.

  3. The Government of Israel is one that doesn’t even care for it’s own people. It is either blind or simply doesn’t care that this sort of response will only increase tension and terroists attacks. They may weaken one terrorist group but at the same time they are only strengthening another. History has proved that the only way to stop terrorism is to try and solve the problems that drive it. That doesn’t mean giving into terrorist demands but it does mean identifying the deep and very real underlying problem which feeds the hatred.

    Israel expects terrorists groups like Hezbullah to be disbanded in accordance with UN security council resolutions yet they completely ignore other resolutions from the UN condemming them for their own behaviour. Israel’s actions speak in no way of the love that Jesus shows to mankind and yet as you say some Christians treat Israel as some sort of special holy people.

    Jesus encouraged us to turn the other cheek when faced with hatred, to not retaliate even though it might put an end to the hatred itself. Without Jesus, Israel lack two of fundamental qualities of forgivness and compassion.

  4. Dear Hugh,
    Although I agree with you that the violence in the middle east that is being shown on the T.V. news and in the newspapers is extremely upsetting, no one can doubt the sincerity of the ordinary palestinian people’s desire to better their daily lives ,but now we see this new round of escalating violence between Israel and the Palestinians.
    Actually, Israel has no bone to pick with the palestinian people. Rather, Israel’s contention is with the leaders of those people, The Military Group Hamas, who want to push the Jew’s into the Mediterranean. Yet Israel would make peace with the Palestinian people, throwing generosity into the bargain.

    We as Christians must consider that prior to the palestinians possession of that land, God gave it to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob as an eternal possession, and that,s why some of us as Christians are a little cautious in our comments of the Israelis right to exist and live in peace. Israel’s sons and daughters are also losing their lives in this new conflict.To say their Government doesn’t care about their own people, Wow! what a statement !

  5. How should Israel respond? Should they give more land to the Palestinians so they can be close enough for thier rockets to strike the heart of Israel?

    I would really like to hear some men of God give clear direction on how they would tackle the issue. It is easy to have an opinion as I sit in the comfort of St.Louis, but what would I think if my family and friends lived with the very real threat of terror every day? (by the way, terror is a tactic not an enemy)

    Hizbullah wants to distroy the nation of Israel. I do not support Israel wholesale , however, I do support their response. My support does not come because I hold to a dispensational theology, but from the belief that Israel has the right to secure peace for their people” by the sword.”

  6. Dear Hugh
    I agree with what Gavin said , ( How are you Gavin,? Greetings from South Wales)
    But Huw what are the people of Israel to do? I too have a work friend who’s family
    live in that country, and what is happening there is not really show on the BBC news.

  7. Just a quick reponse to Elwyn. Just to make it clear, the statement about Israel’s government not caring about it’s own people was mine not Hugh’s. I do stand by it though. Regardless of whether I agree that Israel has the right or not to take the action they have, there is a very strong opinion across the world that the action they have taken, whatever the intentions will have a negative effect. It will increase support for the terrorists thus jeapordising the chances of more morderate people to assert their view. The inevitable response will be an increase in terrorist activities. It may be quiet for a while longer but eventually the whole problem will return worse than before. The fact that the terrorist organisations wanted this response should ring alarm bells. At present it’s universally recognised that the of the 300 odd Lebanese people killed, the majority of them are innocent bystanders. Pictures of children killed only plays into the terrorists hands. The simple fact is that in the years to come, this response is going to have serious consequences for Israel itself.


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