Standing With Israel: how bad theology duped us into supporting terrorism and oppression

Stand w-Israel

Not many days go by without seeing some sort of “Stand with Israel” image pop up into my Facebook news feed. And, each time it does, my heart grieves over the fact that so many of my fellow Christians have been taken in by this new and dangerous theology, and in so duped into supporting terrorism and oppression… all in the name of God.

I grew up believing that Israel was God’s favorite country (also commonly expressed as “the Jews are God’s chosen people”), and the center of all God’s activity in humanity. Not only were they considered God’s “chosen” people, but we were taught that failing to support the nation of Israel would result in being cursed by God, whether you were an individual or an entire nation. This has caused much of American Evangelicalism to develop a blind love affair with the modern nation of Israel, who they see as the center of God’s past and future activity in the world.

I believe that this theology of the “Church and Israel Distinction” is actually one of the most dangerous and destructive theologies in the world today. It is unlike many of the other “secondary” theologies that are privately held beliefs which do not impact others one way or another. Conversely, this theology is causing a great many Evangelical Christians to embrace violence, condone oppression, support torture, and is actually creating terrorism. Ironically, this theology leads one to support not Godly behavior, but instead embrace behavior that is anything but Jesus-like.

The purpose of this post is to explain why this “pro-Israel” theology is ridiculously unbiblical, and how “standing with Israel” ironically causes one to stand opposed to God. I will give a brief overview of the basic tenants of this theology, the history of how it became popular within American Evangelicalism, why this theology is blatantly opposed to scripture, and why it is a major cause of terrorism in the world today.

Overview & History of Pro-Israel Theology (the Church and Israel distinction)

This theology is premised upon the promise God made to Abraham in Genesis 12, when God said “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

2013-07-20 10.03.28From this verse, and other passages from the OT, this theology states that there are two covenants in the world today, one with the ethnic descendants of Abraham and one with everyone else. Essentially, it claims that God has two plans, one for Jews and one for Gentiles. As a result, this theology necessitates that all of the promises God made to Israel in the OT must only be fulfilled via the ethnic descendents of Abraham. This theology, at the core, differentiates God’s plan for humanity based upon race.

Beholders to this theology see the modern political state of Israel as the recipient of the promise God made to Abraham, and as a result, believe that we must unwaveringly support them lest we experience the wrath of God. Such attitudes have become deeply ingrained into Evangelical culture; I recall recently reading a Facebook post of a minister who said he was going to vote for the candidate that was the most “pro-Israel”, and “Stand with Israel” type rallies are quite common in Evangelical churches. Oftentimes in such culture, your level of support for Israel can be used as a litmus test as to how “Christian” you are.

History

For those who grow up in churches that preach the Church and Israel distinction, this theology seems as if it is a normal part of orthodox Christianity, and never gets questioned. However, the truth is that this theology is a new theology and is not part of orthodox Christianity.

This theology was popularized by denounced heretic John Nelson Darby in the 1800′s. Darby is considered the father of dispensationalism, which is a dwindling subset of American Fundamentalism. Dispensationalism is a collection of extra-biblical beliefs (such as the “rapture”) which is typically known by a preoccupation on the end of the world, and a pessimistic worldview. Among Darby’s heresies included this new idea that God had two, simultaneous covenants, one for Jews and one for Gentiles. Sadly, much of Darby’s teachings caught hold in the UK and eventually America, and turned much of American Evangelicalism from an optimistic, social justice focused movement into a pessimistic, end-times movement.

However, Darby’s theology on Israel didn’t really take radical root in American culture until after the political state of Israel was born in 1948. Even then, the theology wasn’t all that popular until end-times writers created an entire new genre of literature in the 60′s and beyond, such as Hal Lindsay and Tim Lahaye. Once their books became popular, this new theology spread with such fervor that many now simply assume it has always been a central part of orthodox Christianity.

But, it hasn’t.

It’s a new theology, and besides being an extremely racist theology, it is a very dangerous and destructive theology as well.

Why It’s Biblically and Theologically Flawed

Yes, it is true that in the Old Testament, Israel was the group of people God set apart and through whom he fulfilled his promise to bless the world. However:

1. The “seed of Abraham” or the descendants of Abraham, have always included those outside ethnic Jews (i.e., converted Gentiles)

The pro-Israel theology is based upon the premise that the group referred to as “Israel” or the “seed of Abraham” was a racially pure group, but this was never true. Beholders of this theology read the OT through an extremely racist lens, even if they are unable to realize such a lens exists. Just a few examples of how Israel was a racially diverse group:

Ex. 12:38 says it included a “mixed multitude” and that Israel included those who were not ethnically of Abraham but who had converted.

The faithful spies in Numbers 32. Only two were faithful, and Caleb was an Edomite.

Othniel, the first judge, was not an ethnic Jew.

Moses was in an interracial marriage with a Cushite.

Rahab was a Canaanite

Ruth was a Moabite

Esther 8:17 describes the inclusion of many other nationalities

Zechariah chapter 2 prophesies that Israel will include even more nationalities in the future.

Simply put, the Old Testament never makes “Israel” an issue of race, as most Evangelicals do, but instead describes a group of people who have decided to follow God. Any person, of any race who decided to follow God, was included in Israel. It was never a race, but a religious community.

2. The New Testament affirms and teaches that the people of Israel are not those Jewish by blood but those who have decided to follow Jesus.

Romans 9:6 “For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel… In other words, it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.”

Romans 2:29 tells us that the true Israelis are not so ethnically, but spiritually:  “A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code.”

However, the “stand with Israel” movement rejects what is plain in scripture, instead insisting that God has a very specific, chosen race of people for which he has a special plan. Instead of the God who is not a “respecter of persons”, this theology creates a god who is severely racist- receiving people not on the basis of their hearts, but on the genetic origins of their DNA.

3. The New Testament teaches us that Jesus created a new humanity.

As Paul says in Gal 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

This passage is perhaps as clear as it gets, that there is no longer a distinction or separation between Jews and Gentiles; the previous barrier has been removed.

Furthermore, Paul ever so clearly states in Ephesians:

“Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.” (emphasis mine)

In this we see, that it was God’s intention to completely remove any separation which once existed between the categories of “Jew” and “Gentile” and that as far as God is concerned, there is a new humanity where all are included together.

However, the Stand with Israel movement rejects these passages, instead insisting that a barrier still exists, where God has one distinct plan for ethnic Jews and a separate plan (covenant) for Gentiles. I can think of no other more racist position that stands opposed to the truth of scripture.

4. Jesus was the fulfillment of the Old Testament, including God’s promise to Abraham.

In fact, even Abraham himself knew this– in John, Jesus tells the religious leaders that Abraham “rejoiced to see my day”. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus was a blessing to the world more than any other event in all of human history– and this was the fulfillment of God’s promise to bless the whole world through Abraham.

 However, this theology argues that the promises to Abraham have not been fulfilled, and that they will only be fulfilled in the future, via his own bloodline. Such a position completely reduces the purpose and work of Christ, as if it wasn’t enough to fulfill the promises made to Abraham.

While there are many additional theological arguments against this position, it is important to understand that:

(a) This is a very new theology, and is not part of historic, orthodox Christianity.

(b) This is a theology based upon race, even though Israel in the OT was not a pure race.

(c) This is a theology which in many respects, argues that there are two paths to God- one path for the Jews, another for Gentiles.

(d) This is a theology which requires one to completely dismiss countless New Testament teachings which, very clearly state, there is no longer a separation between Jews and Gentiles.

If this were all there was to it, you wouldn’t hear a complaint from me because it would be a relatively harmless theology. However, this is actually a damaging theology that is making the world more dangerous, violent, and oppressive.

2013-07-20 10.08.20Why “Stand with Israel” theology is literally destructive

1.By saying that you “Stand with Israel” you are, by definition, saying that you “stand against” the Palestinian people. Jesus calls us to love our neighbors, not to stand against them.

2. By supporting Israel as she has continually taken land away from the Palestinian people, we have contributed to a massive crisis of refugees without a home. This has led us to stand with the oppressor, not the oppressed, as scripture commands us.

3. By supporting settlement expansions in Israel, we are supporting the Israelis breaking the law. We cannot say that undocumented immigrants in our country need to “respect the law” while supporting Israel’s daily refusal to obey international laws. That is ridiculously hypocritical.

4. This theology requires you to reject the role of “peacemaker” as Christ commanded. Almost every time the US has attempted to broker a peace deal in the middle east, I’ve seen the pro-Israel folks take to the internet to condemn western leaders for making any compromises or dividing any land. I’ve heard preachers say that to obey the Bible (citing Joel) means that we are forbidden from sharing the land with outsiders. In fact, many churches in America actually donate money to help fund these illegal and oppressive settlements. These attitudes do not reflect the love of Jesus, the role of peacemaker, and are not “Christian” attitudes.

5. This theology requires us to oppress other Christians. There are more Christians living in Palestine than in Israel, and when we support violence and oppression against the Palestinians, we are supporting the oppression of our own brothers and sisters.

6. This theology is making the job of missionaries throughout the middle east and Muslim world, more difficult. Because Christians consistently and blindly support Israel, regardless of how oppressive they are towards the Muslim community, we have damaged our witness within the Muslim community. As if missions to Muslims were not difficult enough already, our support of their oppression only adds to the level of mistrust and resentment– making the job of our missionary brothers and sisters all the more difficult.

7. By supporting Israel, we are supporting a nation that is consistently guilty of torturing children and other human rights abuses. According to a recent UN report, over a period of 10 years, thousands of Palestinian children have been kidnapped, tortured, used as human shields, and killed by the Israelis.  In addition, they have also been found to have forcibly sterilized Ethiopian immigrants which has reduced the Ethiopian community in Israel. If these sorts of human rights abuses were happening in any other country, the United States would be pursuing sanctions, or war. However, the fact that this theology has been forced into national discourse as a litmus test for many politicians, we continue to support this abusive nation.

 8. This theology is one of the root causes of the world’s terrorism problem. Why do “terrorists” hate us? Well, it’s not because of “freedom” as many politicians will tell you– it’s actually because of the US foreign policy towards Israel. Israel has become a bully in the middle east, killing and oppressing Muslims without even a hint of accountability from the west. The Muslim world has watched us support a bully, all in the name of our “God”, and it has grown to hate us as a result. This theology is actually creating and fueling terrorism- the same terrorism that caused 911. It has played such a significant role, that I hold preachers like John Hagee as responsible for terrorism as the terrorist themselves.

Really, you ask? Yes. The very powerful evangelical voter block, which largely has been infiltrated by this bad theology, insists that the candidates they support be unwavering supporters of Israel. As a result, US foreign policy towards Israel has been built on bad theology instead of sound reasoning.

Want to curb terrorism? We have to stop blindly supporting Israel and start caring about the rest of the middle east. We have to get people like John Hagee off the air before he incites World War III over bad theology, and little more.

9. Stand with Israel theology is causing church’s in America to funnel money to illegal terrorist activities (expanding Israeli settlements) instead of using that money to help the poor and oppressed. We have been duped into sinning by misusing our money and neglecting the needy among us. In the year 2010 alone, American Christians gave over $100 Million to charities in Israel- funding terrorism and oppression instead of tending to the poor and needy in our own communities.

 

In summary, maybe you or someone you know is caught up into this “pro-Israel” theology. If that’s the case, I would challenge you to consider that such a position is incredibly racist, and if true, makes God a racist too.

You must be willing to consider, that simply because you have been taught this theology your whole life, does not make it true.

God does not have two-plans, one for a specific race of people, and one for everyone else. He has one plan, and his name is Jesus.

While some “secondary” theologies are harmless, this one is not. This theology is a new, and dangerous theology which has created, and is directly responsible for, a great deal of terrorism in our world today.

Embracing this theology, means that one must embrace things that are not of God- violence, oppression, theft, torture…

and we must reject those things.

We must reject this theology.

Should we “stand with Israel”?

Yes…

But ONLY if that also means we stand with Palestinians, Iraqis, Syrians, and everyone else in the world.

______

A great documentary on this subject is the movie “With God on Our Side”. You can watch it, here:

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About Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey, is an Anabaptist author, speaker, and blogger. He is a two-time graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Theology & Missiology), is currently a 3rd year Doctor of Missiology student (a subset of practical theology) at Fuller Seminary, and is a member of the Phi Alpha Chi Honors Society. His first book, Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus, is available now at your local bookstore. He is also a contributor for Time, Sojourners, Red Letter Christians, Evangelicals for Social Action, Mennonite World Review, has been a guest on Huffington Post Live, and is one of the CANA Initiators. Ben is also a syndicated author for MennoNerds, a collective of Mennonite and Anabaptist writers. Ben is also co-host of That God Show with Matthew Paul Turner. Ben lives in Auburn, Maine with his wife Tracy and his daughter Johanna.

You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

  • http://faithlikeaman.blogspot.com Ryan Blanchard

    Ballsy! Sharing this one with my Quaker meeting. Well done!

  • http://www.fellowshipofthecup.com John Carothers

    Gutsy post

  • Phil Ireton

    “Paul said…” not Jesus said. I do recall that Jesus said to the woman (Matthew 15:26) “…it is not meet to take the children’s bread and cast [it] to dogs.” (although He did heal her daughter anyway after she said that dogs are allowed the crumbs from the table.)

  • http://www.formerlyfundie.com Benjamin L. Corey

    @Ryan @ John, True.

    I might have to rename the blog “man without a tribe”.

  • Jake

    Keep it up!!!

  • http://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/ jesuswithoutbaggage

    I feel your passion and I share it!

    I was raised a dispensationalist, but rejected it when I was about thirty. I agree with pretty much everything you said and I will be sharing your post around. This is one of the most dangerous theologies in American Christianity.

    Thanks for a well-written article!

  • The Irish Atheist

    It’s not like this is the first time this has happened. American churches funded the terrorists in my own homeland as well, on both sides.

  • Sam

    To # 3: read it again

  • http://www.monio.info Michael Monikowski

    The problem is that alone the inclusion of the “Old Testament” produced a plethora of tragic results:

    http://www.monio.info/2012/03/17/the-churchs-historic-error/

  • http://humbleunderstanding.wordpress.com humble understanding

    Pro-Israel theology is the result of misinterpreting certain verses as applying only to a select group of people. (Genesis 12:3, Genesis 15:18 etc) All those promises were made specifically to Abraham and includes ALL his descendants from all his wives.

    As for the land of Israel…one verse can perfectly sum up the whole deal…

    the land is mine and you reside in my land as foreigners and strangers.

    - Leviticus 25:23

    Yes. God owns that land, just as he owns the entire universe.

    The Jews/Israel were only allowed to reside there as foreigners and strangers. Furthermore, their residence was purely conditional and depended solely on their obedience to God. Jews and Christian Zionists who make over confident assertions regarding Jewish inheritance of the land need to remember that God who let them have the land, could also take it back. There is plenty of scripture to support this.

    You rely on your sword, you do detestable things…. Should you then possess the land?’ – Ezekiel 33:26

    A modern interpretation of that could be “You live by your hi-tech military and weapons, you are nearly 30% secular atheist, you hold gay pride parades, prostitution is rampant in you, you have rejected the messiah… should you then possess the land?”

    Christian Zionists don’t seem to realize that modern Israels godlessness has disqualified them from possessing the land. Even to this day they have failed to show obedience to God. Should they then possess the land? In fact, the whole of Leviticus 26 outlines how their possession of the land and their blessings solely depended on their obedience to God. Going by modern Israels godlessness, perhaps they have been regathered on that land for one more round of punishment.

    Warm Regards.

  • http://www.wideopenground.com Lana

    I burned out of dispensationalism on my own when I was 14, which led me into Calvinism. It blew me away when I read in the Bible that Israel had been given all the land she was promised.

  • Rachel

    Thank you for this article. I was raised on this stuff. My dad is a Jewish convert to Evangelical Christianity and then to the Catholic Faith after I converted to the Catholic faith in 1999. I admit to having a visceral reaction to this terrible theology. In conjunction with it was the constant talk about the end times, the rapture/tribulation, etc. All it did was strike fear in my heart as a child and I am still dealing the the residuals. I am very concerned about this theology’s impact on our foreign policy. It is hurting Christians in the Middle East. Of course, to many of these evangelicals, Middle Eastern orthodox and Catholics are not even considered Christians. That could explain the tepid response. The Israeli/Palestinian conflict has instigators on both sides but I agree that what Israel is doing is bullying, etc. In addition, their policies toward Iran are very scary. The last thing we need is for a major regional war to break out if Netanyahu has his way and sadly there are politicians here in the US, backed by some of these evangelical groups who are salivating at the thought of pushing a red button and blowing up Iran. Btw, have you seen the documentary called Waiting for Armageddon? It explores the connection between pro-Israel fervor and dispensationalist/pre millienialist theology.

  • David Cohen

    Incredibly off the mark post. You take expansive intellectual liberties to justify your pacifity in regards to war. That’s fine. But God doesn’t see that way. Israel IS His chosen nation, His chosen people, His tool of redemption and dispensation of grace for all the world to see (one day) and to think anything less then that makes me see the red flag warning signs of a liberal, watered down, democratic, toothless and people-pleasing gospel. We ALL our His children, but Israel as a nation will forever be His CHOSEN example.Your post sickens me not only as a Jew, but as a Messianic Jew who is tired of Israel being ignorantly slammed. We defend our land against the true terrorist outfits and in return, we are the one made to be terrorists. We have our children blown up, our women raped and our nation threatened by Al Qaeda sympathizers and you actually have the nerve to downplay our need for defense. And war! Justified war so as to defend our borders and our people. Ironically, you live in a relative safety net, and I would challenge you to live under the bombing raids, air sirens and body part sightings and see how much of a pacifist you’d remain to just lie there and take it. Unbelievable.Wake up man. WAKE UP.

    I furthermore should remind you of the fundamental BIBLICAL truth that applies to you=

    Genesis 12:3

    “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

    I really hope you don’t continue to water down God’s unshakable truths by trying to compromise with the world. Liberalism and Fundamentalism are ill bedfellows and this site is prime example. Sickening.

  • David Cohen

    How can the American Jewish community disregard Mr. Obama’s “naivete” in regard to the Middle East and his contempt for Israel and for Netanyahu? Two years ago Mr. Obama first met with Prime Minister Netanyahu at the White House in Washington. The president’s treatment of the leader of one of America’s closest friendly nations was deplorable. Prime Minister Netanyahu was quietly led into the White House through a side door and he was treated more like a stranger than a friend. There was no media attention and no photo-op. However, when Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas visited the White House shortly afterward, he was treated as an honored guest with photo ops and a smiling president giving him one hundred million dollars of hard-earned American taxpayer dollars.

    Then you have to remember when Mr. Obama made good on a campaign promise “to give a major address to Muslims from a Muslim capital.” In that speech in Cairo, Egypt his stated objective was to repair ties that were supposedly severely damaged under his predecessor George W. Bush. For the record, we all know that those ties were severely damaged when 19 Middle East Muslim terrorists turned jet planes into missiles killing 3,000 Americans.

    Mr. Obama also stated in that speech that “there have been times when America has shown arrogance.” The problem with Mr. Obama’s speech was his naivete to think that Muslim anger toward the U.S. was because of President Bush or American arrogance. He obviously failed to understand that the issue is not American arrogance but Muslim religious fanaticism.

    Recently on U.S. television Mr. Obama stated that “Israel is one of our closest allies in the Middle East.” Based on my observations, Israel is America’s ONLY true friend and ally in the Middle East. Israel is the only country in the Middle East which shares our same democratic values and Israel is definitely America’s only trustworthy ally in the region. All the surrounding Arab countries are Muslim who consider the U.S. to be the “Great Satan” and their supposedly holy Koran instructs them to hate and kill Americans yet somehow President Obama considers them to be close allies.

    And remember the G20 summit last year in Paris when French President Sarkozy “privately” said to Mr. Obama being unaware that his mike was still on, “I cannot bear Netanyahu.” And Mr. Obama responded, “You’re fed up with him, but I have to deal with him more than you do.” It is also important to recall when recently Prime Minister Netanyahu announced plans to build new Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria and Mr. Obama commented, “Israel doesn’t even know what its own best interests are” to which Prime Minister Netanyahu responded, “Over the past four years Israel has withstood tremendous diplomatic pressure from the White House. They insisted that we curb our demand for action on Iran, that we withdraw back to the 1967 border lines, that we divide Jerusalem, and that we stop building in Judea and Samaria. Only the people of Israel will determine what best represents the State of Israel’s vital interests.”

    President Obama has repeatedly called for Israel to implement “a two-state solution” and to return to the suicidal borders of 1967. The realities are that the Palestinians don’t want a two-state solution and there were no defined borders in 1967. There was no peace treaty and no border agreements then or since. None of the Arab nations have recognized Israel as a state with any borders. Israel legitimately gained the territories of Judea and Samaria in a legitimate war victory. So the many Jewish communities, or so-called settlements, constructed in Arab occupied Judea and Samaria, the so-called West Bank, are on legitimate Jewish property.

    When Jordan attacked Israel in the 1967 Six-Day-War, Israeli military forces pushed Jordanian forces out of Judea and Samaria and back across the Jordan River. Why should Israel have to give that war-gained land back for nothing and be left with only a ten-mile wide territory along the Mediterranean coast, just because Mr. Obama wants it that way? Now, incomprehensibly, President Obama is providing Egypt, which is governed by the Muslim Brotherhood, with 20 fighter jets. In light of the fact that Egypt has broken their treaty with Israel, and with tensions in Egypt so high among its own population, this seems a very foolish move and one which surely signals to the Muslim-Arab Middle East that Obama stands clearly on the side of Egypt’s President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. With Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in control of Egypt, it is for certain that Egypt is not an ally of America. The war planes Obama is sending to Egypt will be delivered this year and are reportedly in fulfillment of an agreement made with Mubarak who upheld Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel and who was considered an ally of America. Now that everything has changed, it seems a very troublesome move especially should a conflict erupt between Israel and Egypt. True allies cannot be purchased. A true ally of America is one which shares our core beliefs and values which clearly Egypt does not. When you add it all up, it just MAY be that President Obama is indeed the most anti-Israel president in the history of the United States. May G-d help us.

  • David Cohen

    “””President Obama has repeatedly called for Israel to implement “a two-state solution” and to return to the suicidal borders of 1967. The realities are that the Palestinians don’t want a two-state solution and there were no defined borders in 1967. There was no peace treaty and no border agreements then or since. None of the Arab nations have recognized Israel as a state with any borders. Israel legitimately gained the territories of Judea and Samaria in a legitimate war victory. So the many Jewish communities, or so-called settlements, constructed in Arab occupied Judea and Samaria, the so-called West Bank, are on legitimate Jewish property.

    “”””-The problem Mr. Cory is that you neglect the aforementioned FACTS and instead configure your liberal uptopian ideals. And I am through with this post. I’ve emphasized some sincere and serious points that demonstrate the facts of Israel’s “racist war”, as you call it. It’s so incredibly naive for you to think you have one iota of legitimate understanding into the reality of what we experience as Jews…but judging from your essay, it’s unbearably clear that you don’t.-

    David R. Cohen

  • lvjstcmrcy

    @david. It is clear that you are an angry and scared man. If radical is liberal to you and living for Jesus is liberal I am all in. watered down, confuses me. How so? Is being a democrat an issue? Toothless and people-pleasing gospel. Wow. Clearly you were desperately trying to bash “Mr Corey” in your uncomfortableness. Truth is truth and can make us squirm. It’s hard to change long held beliefs. Trusting you will discover truth if that is what you truly desire. Challenging when it rocks our worlds.

  • orland

    … when one understands that ‘there is neither jew nor greek’, and ‘only fthose who are of faith are sons of Abraham’, then one can understand these verses :

    ““I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.” (Revelation 2:9, NKJV)

    “Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” (Revelation 3:9–10, NKJV)

    … when one supports violence and abuse and calls themselves a ‘christian’, are they not ‘of the synagogue of Satan’ ?

  • David Cohen

    Mr. Corey, I want to apologize.I got very defensive and overzealous in regards to the inherent conflict with Israel that I as a Jew have had to wrestle all my life, that I really lashed out. Honestly, I realized that after the fact. I made my point about the need for Israel to defend her borders (and I do abide by that) but I was not right, loving or Godly to lash out and accuse/judge you. I was wrong to accuse you of ‘watering down’ the gospel. That came from my lips, not Gods.The Holy Spirit convicted me of that Mr. Corey. If you can forgive me, I pray you would. Honestly, I get riled up in the context of political affairs ( such as Israel, war, ect.) and sometimes I forget to put a human balance on it. Furthermore, I don’t take into account the consideration of the person’s perspective or their heart. I simply draw up a face value black and white assessment, and without knowing you, I judged you and accused you. In a way, honestly, I slandered you. I want to ask for forgiveness. I was wrong. I’m going to publish this I think on your site at the end of the comments as I feel bad about how I let my perspective on Israel come across. I also have been judged and I did the same. So I’m sorry. I know the feeling and in my zealousness, balance, compassion and common sense were lost. I had an entire night to reflect on this issue and spent time in prayer realizing the power of the tongue. It can divide or can bring life. While I still have my convictions, I was in the wrong. I accused you. God knows your heart Mr. Corey. After prayerful consideration, I realize that I judged it. So forgive me please. It’s a learning experience for me. Israel, especially being a Jew, is a hot button issue for me, but I must learn to engage in a thoughtful, balanced and mutually beneficial DIALOGUE instead of a judgmental rant. Lesson (being) learned. God’s best and blessing to you and my humble apology. I truly am sorry.

  • http://www.formerlyfundie.com Benjamin L. Corey

    That’s crazy big of you, David. Apology accepted.

    I hope you’ll be able to notice that I love Israel, and just want her to be treated like any other nation, nothing more, nothing less- and that we’d fully embrace that the wall between Jew and Gentile was removed by Christ.

  • David Cohen

    Thanks for accepting my apology Ben. I wish you God’s best. I do whole heartedly agree with you that Christ is our portion, whether Jew or gentile. I see where your heart and perspective are coming from and it’s an honorable thing. Thanks again and God’s best.

    David

  • http://Steve.Ranney.myopenid.com/ Steve Ranney

    A book on the history of dispensationalism which I read a while back, having grown up in that world (and gone to Dallas Theological Seminary, the bastion of dispensationalism) – When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture (Studies in Cultural History) by Paul Boyer

  • Pingback: The Promised Land, part 1: Origins of Christian Zionism | Holy Spirit Activism

  • James

    Concerning the theology of the Israel/Church distinction, I am in 100% agreement with you. It’s amazing how dispensational eschatology even got off the ground, much less gained the acceptance it does today. Thankfully, I’m finding that even in the conservative circles in which I tend to run, this theology is being questioned more and more.

    But I disagree with your insinuation that to reject dispensational eschatology means that you can’t support Israel. I support Israel, not for theological reasons, but for political reasons. Surely, you realize that the whole conflict is complicated, and that complete innocence is nowhere to be found on either side. But given that Israel is the only liberal democracy in the middle east, giving full rights to its Arab citizens (82% of which say they’d rather live in Israel than in any other Middle Eastern nation), I think it’s naïve to suggest that America treat it just as any other nation over there. What would happen if the U.S. suddenly dropped its support of Israel? Hamas’ slogan is “We love death as much as the Jews love life.” Iran has repeatedly threatened to wipe it off the map. Every day, Palestinian propaganda asserts that Allah wants the Jews exterminated. That little democracy the size of New Jersey in a sea of militant Islamic nations wouldn’t stand a chance, if it weren’t for the big guy on the other side of the world backing it up, and the only nation with any semblance of civil rights in that region would vanish.

    Another question to ask is, What if all Islamic nations suddenly decided to drop their arms and call for peace? What would happen? On another scenario, what if Israel suddenly decided to drop its arms and call for peace? What would happen? I think one of those scenarios would lead to peace, and one to the violent destruction of a nation.

    Regarding your point #7, the U.N. for all intents and purposes regards Israel as an apartheid state (which it isn’t), and between 2006 and 2010, condemned Israel in 20 out of 25 resolutions. It condemned North Korea only once. Once! I hope you’re aware of the horrible oppression going on in North Korea – a comparison with the pluralistic, liberal democracy of Israel is laughable! Yet the U.N. is virtually silent. So, I wouldn’t trust everything the U.N. says, especially when those same actions are being reported by Palestinians and other Muslims throughout the Middle East. You say, “If these sorts of human rights abuses were happening in any other country, the United States would be pursuing sanctions, or war.” Those things ARE happening in other countries, and the U.S. isn’t mounting a call to war or even calling for sanctions on all of them, so your generalization may be a bit much there.

    To make a long post short (or longer!), thank you for your theological reminder of the church/Israel relationship. But to imply that Israel is the oppressor over there (and say nothing of Hezbollah or Hamas, or Syria!) is at best inaccurate, when its citizens by far have the most freedoms and civil rights of any Middle Eastern country. I could just as easily argue that not supporting Israel means that you don’t support civil rights in the Middle East. I won’t argue that, because I know you support civil rights; my point is that I don’t think you’ve represented the whole situation over there very well, implying that Israel is just like any other country in the Middle East. 82% of Arab-Israeli citizens would disagree.

  • Caleb

    This article contains one of the largest conglomerations of straw men that I have seen in a long time. If it wasn’t so dangerous, it would really be laughable. Congratulations to you for “graduating” from fundamentalism.

  • http://faithlikeaman.blogspot.com Ryan Blanchard

    Gotta love accusatory pot shots with no specifics but plenty of sarcasm. March on, keyboard soldier.

  • md3ooo

    irresponsible and child-like fundamentalism….Islam is Satan’s greatest toy and those who would kill and maim in its name do so at the unction of the devil…murderers,while “loved” by God are not treated like peaceful,law-abiding people,even though Christ is risen…….it was ,in fact anti semetic …with your reasoning pedophiles should be allowed to baby-sit cause “Jesus loves them”

  • md3ooo

    Mr. Corey: you, sir, are awesome.

  • http://www.formerlyfundie.com Benjamin L. Corey

    Mr. DeMaio,

    Thank you for the kind words. Peace be with you.

  • Jane Hunt

    Powerful article. I am not sure about some of your “facts”. I agree with much of comment # 23. My question is what do we do for Christians in the Middle East. They seem to suffer regardless of our policies.

  • Pingback: Has bad Theology duped us into supporting Terrorism and Oppression? | Sola Dei Gloria

  • Jorgen Schmidt

    Why would you justify a rebuke invoking “human rights” or the “U.N.” in lieu of the gospel of Christ?

    Why would you suggest that “we” have to take John Hagee off of the air instead of making one’s own stand on the air in parallel, is not God in control? Are not Christians moved by the Holy Spirit? (and not by John Hagee). Are Christians so stupid (duped as you say) that it’s up to us smarter people to step in and manipulate them using censorship?

    If I didn’t know who wrote it, I would be convinced this article was written by an atheist secular humanist at worst and a man who’s lost all faith in God’s omnipotence at best. Perhaps this has a lot more to do with the friction you may encounter with other Christians over this topic.

  • Lem Niere

    Right on, Ben! It’s time the truth be told. The new Israel are those who lived by faith, like father Abraham!

  • Md3ooo

    I see a comment attributed to me that I never posted….if you look at my previous post you will clearly see that I could never have posted such praise for you…if huff post has embraced you ,then you,even by association,support baby murdering and perversity,and ,you are definitely not awesome

  • Steve

    Here’s a great scholarly article on this subject even though it’s published by the hyper-fundie Churches of Christ:

    http://www.apologeticspress.org/rr/reprints/Middle-East-Crisis-in-Biblical.pdf

  • Steve

    Is it not ironic that the main founder and first Prime Minister of the modern state of Israel was an atheist?

  • Cynthia Mahan

    The documentary “With God on Our Side” is absolutely perfect and should be copied and shown to everyone. I have only one comment on the documentary, in that it failed to show this one thing.

    It failed to show that there is a difference between the Promise of Gen 12:1-3 and the Land Covenant of Gen 15.

    Gen 12:1-3 is a promise for the entire world available to any of the Abrahamic Faith regardless of race, and is without borders. It applied before the cross to all those who had the Abrahamic Faith regardless if they were Jew or Gentile, and regardless if they converted to Judaism or not. After the cross, it applies to any Christian, regardless of race.

    Gen 15 Land Covenant was a covenant to Abraham Isaac and Jacob with specific borders provided. It was made conditional under the Mosaic Law and the land would be taken away from Israel if they were disobedient to God. Today, those who practice anything other than Christianity are in disobedience to Christ and the gospel.

    No religious body of people has a valid claim on the land of Palestine/Israel today. Religion should not be involved in making political or social decisions in that region. Only the rule of law applies, and if Israel has to build a wall to prevent 98% of suicide bombers, then they have a right to build the law for security. But they do not have a religious mandate to occupy any land not given to them lawfully.

  • moral soldier

    You sir, are awesome.

  • Hollis

    In all this rampage I can simply say this, Jesus Christ states in the end of days he will send his messengers to gather his elect from the four corners of the earth and bring them back to the land of Israel. The bible states I know those who are Jews and are NOT but a synagogue of Satan, these two verses come against fundamental Christianity and mainstream Christianity.

    Another is the rapture of the church, in fact I’d like to point out the whole New Testament is for both church and synagogue since both really mean the same thing (assembly). Jesus Christ when he came, came for both Jew and Gentile at the same time some Jews accepted others rejected same with Gentiles. For God to turn back to the Jews and give them a second chance to accept Christ after the many times he gave the Gentiles until the rapture is kind of racist. No it is racist.

    Christians have been too influenced by movies and books by Tim LaHaye and other people that they are just basically a corporate Christian meaning they are not really christians they look like one but aren’t and that’s the problem. If people studied the bible by themselves or with friends and family they would basically be more biblical than anything else.

    -Besides that I’m glad I don’t really consider myself Christian anymore, it’s a slap in the face to think that just because I read the bible I am Christian. I am biblical not Christian.

  • classical_hero

    There is one verse that blows this article to smithereens. 1 Corinthians 10:32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:

    Paul clearly states that their is still a difference between the three groups. While those who are in Christ are no longer divided and are part of the same family, those who aren’t, are still separate from us and we have to be reminded of that.

    I see that many times you repeat that Israel “oppress and torture” and yet you don’t give examples of such a thing happening. Their is a reason why you can’t do that, is because it simply doesn’t happen in Israel, but it does happen in the nations around.

  • Virginia

    Bravo Mr. Corey. Well said. Especially point number 8. We must treat all people equally, and cannot favor a bully. Christians in Palestine and Israel have suffered the most. Yet if you go there today and ask him who do they support in the political mess of the middle east, you will find a VERY strong support for the oppressed Palestinians. I believe that is because they see what happens first hand.

    Good luck to you Mr. Corey, I am sure you knew that you will be called anti-Sematic and that you you will be facing a ton of criticism for this. I commend you for writing it anyway.

    Keep the faith, and lets hope all Christians learn to keep their focus on Jesus.

  • Virginia

    As a Christian Palestinian / American, I thank you for sharing. My family hails from Palestine going back hundreds and possibly over a thousand years. Christians all the way. They were thrown out in 1948, and became refugees. We were the lucky ones who ended up moved to the US, got Citizenship and fell in love with a Country that Treats everyone equally.


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