Monday, November 30, 2015

An open letter to Stephen Sizer and the "Christians" of the BDS Movement

Stephen Sizer,  et al, I Think You May be in Trouble
Everyone in the whole world needs a place of refuge… where they can feel safe.   When the Children of Israel left the slavery of Egypt, God intended to take them to the Promised Land which was a place they could call their own, but, admittedly because of their sin, it took them 40 years to arrive there in what would have ordinarily taken only 17 days.  Nevertheless, they did finally arrive.  Along the way, however, they ran into Amalekites and Moabites.  The Amalekites went to war against Israel, and the Moabites wouldn’t provide them with hospitality and allow them to pass through their land.  As you may recall, God declared permanent war on the Amalekites.  Likewise, God cursed the Moabites.  They were neither willing to allow the children of Israel a place of refuge nor were they willing to show common courtesy.  In the case of the Amalekites, it was the very antithesis of common courtesy.  It was war!

The modern Children of Israel have just returned from a metaphorical Egypt… the four corners of the earth.  In Spain and the northern Mediterranean region, they had to endure the Spanish Inquisition in which Jews were forced to convert to Catholicism or be tortured and burned at the stake.  One might say that the Jews of that time and place genuinely were introduced to a form of Christianity which Jesus never would have endorsed or tolerated because, in your own words, Jesus is, indeed, the God of Love and peace.

In Russia and northeastern Europe, the Jews there endured pogroms.  “Nice Christian” people would come out from attending passion plays.  Worked up into a frenzy, having been taught “Jew hatred”,  they would seek out Jews to kill and Jewish houses to destroy and burn to the ground.  Only until the time of Moses Mendelsohn were the Jews of Europe allowed to ascend to any status within European society.  Mendelsohn, of course was German, but it only took a century to dispel any notion that the German people were benevolent towards Jews.  Hitler began his “Reich” with an effort to take over the world and, in the process, kill every last Jew on the planet.

South of the Mediterranean, of course, the Jews were dhimmis… subject to the whims of Islam.  They had to pay the Jiizhad (tax) and if they weren’t victims of capriciously executed Arab-style pogroms, they nevertheless, were relegated to second class citizenship for the exception of a brief period during the reign of Rahman, Caliph of Cordova, in, interestingly enough, Spain (north of the Mediterranean) of all places.  From Islam’s inception it began the active destruction of the Christian world south of the Mediterranean either by killing Christians or forcing conversions.  As an aside, I would argue that it was the genuine Christians who would not convert but suffer death instead, because only the false ones would deny Jesus in the face of persecution, and, as you may recall, both Jesus and Paul said some pretty harsh things about people who wouldn’t confess Jesus until the very end, but would deny Him instead when things got “tough”.

Even as the Crusaders fought back the expansion of Islam into Europe, all along their route into the “Holy Land” they slaughtered Jews.  When they reached Jerusalem, they herded all the Jews they could find into the great synagogue and burnt it to the ground with the Jews inside while singing “Christ we adore thee”.

And so, like the Jewish slaves of Egypt, the Jews of the world, for 1800 years, had no place that they could call their own… where they could govern themselves and not have to worry about when their host country would turn on them.

Yes, Theodore Herzl, around the turn of the 19th Century became a spokesman for the Jewish people to return to ”the land” in light of this history of persecution.  But it was only in the aftermath of World War II, in which the Jewish population of the world, which had been targeted for annihilation, that the United Nations finally declared the Palestinian Mandate west of the Jordan River to be a Jewish homeland.  Let me reiterate.  In no other place were Jews safe!  Jews who returned to their alleged homeland in Poland after the war were slaughtered.  England and the United States did not welcome them as refugees.  Jews who fled to the Palestinian Territory were herded into deplorable detention camps which best resembled filth riddled tent cities.

Immediately upon Israel’s declaration of statehood, she was attacked by the trained armies of five established Arab nations.  Their survival of that conflagration alone was a miracle! Those Jews living in Arab lands were either slaughtered or expelled and their belongings were confiscated.  They fled to the fledgling Jewish state.  As a side note, it is worth mentioning that today, Jews comprise less than 0.1% of the population of Islamic countries.  In contrast Arabs (mostly Muslim but some Christian) comprise 20% of the population of Israel.  Israel absorbed the fleeing Jews.  None of the Arab countries in the comparatively vast and under-populated Muslim territories was willing to absorb those Arabs who fled the 1948 war for Israel’s survival.  And so today, we see a densely populated Israel rivaled only by a yet more densely populated Gazan territory.

Like the Moabites and the Amalekites of old, the Arabs refused to grant the Jews a place of solace.  I would hold that it is because the false ideology known as Islam refuses to allow any non-Muslim political entity to exist.  Like the Third Reich, Islam wants to take over the entire world and the tiny spec of land called Israel is like a sliver in the finger of Islam.  And, as tiny as that sliver is, it is irritating, even painful.  So what do you do?  You do whatever you can to remove it!  I would hold that the Islamic ideology is even such that it’s willing to throw the Palestinian people under the proverbial bus in order to accomplish that goal.  Allow me to say that another way: In order to remove Israel from the Middle East, and dare I say, the world, the ideology known as Islam will resort to the callus use of Palestinians as pawns which are disposable and can be thrown under the proverbial bus in complete disregard for their welfare.

Mr. Sizer… Do you believe that Islam is a false ideology?  Jesus said “No one comes to the Father except by Me”.  In light of that, do you believe that Islam is a false ideology and if so, why do you not denounce it with the same passion that you do Judaism or the Jewish people?

Hopefully you are aware that true faith in Jesus is not religion but a relationship.  In fact Jesus denounced people who were given to religiosity.  Coming to Christ is an introduction into a family which has adopted you.  If, indeed, you are a Christian, you have become part of a family.  Jesus is the head of that family, but I dare say, the Jewish people are the prodigal son.  They’ve rejected the head of their family but the head of that family, Jesus, loves them, still and will always want them back.  It was the Jewish people for whom the Apostle Paul was willing to go so far as to relinquish his own salvation for their sake (Rom. 9), and over whom Paul warned the Gentiles of the Church at Rome not to boast against the “natural branches”.  If indeed you are a genuine Christian, then you would be pursuing after the heart of the Father… praying for the salvation of the Jewish people and seeking their well-being a safety.

If you really were a man of peace and a Christian as you claim to be, you would want what is best for both the Jews and the Palestinians.  You would be shouting from the mountain tops that “there is no name under heaven by which we might be saved, save the name of Jesus.  But, like the brother in the story of the prodigal son who stayed at home with his father, you’ve been condemning the prodigal son.  Furthermore, you’ve given ascent and credibility to a false ideology that has been responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of Christians throughout history. 

I, like you, am grieved by the plight of the Palestinian people.  But they are not so much victims of the Jews as they are victims of the false ideology which, like the Amalekites and Moabites of old, will not allow Jews a place where they can find solace.  What have you done or said to cause the Palestinian people to question the veracity of this demonic ideology? 

When you love someone, you seek to learn their likes and dislikes.  If you love Jesus you need to recognize that Jesus loves the Jewish people and desires their return to Him.  You don’t condemn them.  You seek their salvation. 

I cannot, nor am I in any place to judge you, but I do question the authenticity of the faith of much of Christianity throughout history.  It’s easy to claim to believe in Jesus when life is easy or it benefits your status within a culture.  I would also argue that it’s easy to proclaim a false Jesus by denial of the cultural and religious context into which He made His appearance as a man.  Like Joseph, son of Jacob, Jesus is willing to forgive His wayward brothers who abused Him because they were his brothers.  Are the Jewish people like family to you?  I’m of the opinion that the Jewish people are family… wayward perhaps, but family nevertheless, to the authentic Christian because that is a reflection of the heart of God.  Likewise, I’m of the opinion that someone who professes Jesus without that sense of family is a false Christian and God knows the heart of men.

I can go into greater depths of scriptural proof texts to support my position, but for us to venture along that path would only take us down a rabbit trail of endless polemics.  I think it’s worthwhile, however, to end by quoting Jesus who said “… many will come to me on that day and say to me ‘Lord, Lord, did we not do this in Your Name and did we not do that in Your Name?’  I will say to them ‘Depart from Me.  I never knew you’”.  And for that reason, I think you may be in trouble… with God.

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