Last weekend I traveled up to one of England’s most well known cities, Oxford. The reason? A new generation of young Christians were gathering for a conference on Israel.
This may not sound like a big deal to those outside of the UK. Surely all evangelicals love and support Israel? If only!
While the UK has a heritage of Christians who in the past argued for the creation and support of a Jewish state, Great Britain has since dropped the ball.
Thanks to the heresy of replacement theology, (which claims the Church inherits God’s promises and blessings that were originally Israel’s) Christian support for Israel can no longer be guaranteed in my home country.
From Stephen Sizer to Ben White, (who wrote a book on so-called “Israeli apartheid” and once said he “understood” why some people were Anti-Semitic) some Christians don’t just view Israel as irrelevant. They view her as inherently evil.
Sadly this anti Israel behaviour has even spread to the Anglican Church’s decision-making body General Synod. Just last month the Church voted to adopt EAPPI – Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme to Palestine and Israel. The problem with EAPPI is that its name bends the truth. It could really be called EAPP as the “Israel” part of the visit lasts hours and the “Palestine” lasts months.
No wonder those the clergy who go on the tour come back with a skewed and bias picture of the Middle East – they’re only hearing one side of the story. (If anyone is disputing my claim that EAPPI is one sided, I encourage them to read popular Christian blogger Cranmer on the subject.)
But enough negativity.
A generation is emerging that refuses to believe everything the mainstream media tells them. Come to think of it, this same generation is refusing to believe everything the Anglican Church tells them too!
As a journalist myself, and having looked at the ethics of reporting, problems around objectivity and the Israel-Palestine situation in depth during my dissertation, I know we the media often get it wrong. I don’t believe the media is to blame for all the world’s evils. It’s also not always as bad as some Zionists make out. But yes, much of it needs major work.
Our generation is willing to dig deeper and look behind the headlines. We believe truth will always prevail. In the meantime we will stand against the lies – whether they are broadcast on the BBC or shared on Facebook.
Our generation sees no problems with supporting both the people of Israel and Palestine. We don’t have a problem with criticizing the Israeli government on policy issues. But we refuse to believe the theological lie that the God which Jews and Christians share has forgotten about the very people he promised the land of Canaan to as an “everlasting possession”.
The Jewish people are without doubt the most persecuted people in history. I am ashamed to say that those who professed to be Christians have in the past showed utter contempt for the Jewish race. Our generation is eager to show nothing but love for our Jewish brothers and sisters.
Like the Jewish people, we Christians have been persecuted in the past and today continue to be around the world, but especially in Muslim majority nations.
When Christian Friends of Israel UK last lobbied parliament with the Zionist Federation it was on two issues: The Iranian threat to Israel, and radical Islam’s persecution of Christians.
Jews and Christians working together for each other’s good? This is the way forward. Our generation delights in seeing Jews and Christians come together to work for the common good.
Our meeting in Oxford was not just a prayer meeting – although we believe there is great power in prayer. Neither was it an information day, although we all learned a lot. Our generation will not just speak for Israel. We will act.
So don’t listen to the Anti Zionists – popular though some of them are. Young UK Christian Zionists may be relatively small in number, but as the months and years go by we promise to become louder and louder. Let this generation of Christians message be clear: Israel we stand with you.