This coming March 10-14, the third Christ at the Checkpoint Conference (CaTC) will take place in Bethlehem. The theme for this year’s conference is taken straight out of the Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew 6:10: “Your Kingdom Come”. By their own declaration, the organizers of CaTC have a mission defined as follows: The mission of Christ at the Checkpoint is to Challenge Evangelicals To Take Responsibility To Help Resolve the Conflicts in Israel-Palestine By Engaging With the Teaching of Jesus on the Kingdom of God.
They have a noble cause –so it appears– as they claim to be promoting reconciliation. As a matter of fact, reconciliation is an important part of the conference manifesto and appears in the first two of their 12 articles: 1. The Kingdom of God has come. Evangelicals must reclaim the prophetic role in bringing peace, justice and reconciliation in Palestine and Israel.
2. Reconciliation recognizes God’s image in one another.
For a more complete analysis of the CaTC Manifesto, see my 2012 article going over each of the twelve articles in details with biblical support.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, reconciliation can be defined as: The act of causing two people or groups to become friendly again after an argument or disagreement.
So one would expect that in order for reconciliation to genuinely take place, both sides of the disagreement would seek to find the best common ground through dialogue AND compromise. Last time I checked, dialogue and compromise required both sides of the argument to be involved in a quest for a viable solution. Is it the case for the upcoming CaTC conference or are we again brain-washed by some one-sided propaganda in favor of Palestinian victimization?
Agreeing that the needed reconciliation is between Israeli and Palestinians over the disputed territories and rights to the Land of Israel/Palestine and taking in consideration that the conference is organized by Christians, we should be able to define our expectations. Additionally, we should be able to determine if the choices were biased or unbiased.
Let’s start with the location of the conference being Bethlehem (in the biblical land of Israel), currently part of the disputed territories under the control of the Palestinian Authority. Anytime one wants to bring two disputing parties to the table, it is never recommended to set that table within the boundaries of one of the two parties at odds. The United-States, Canada or even Europe might have been a better choice. VERDICT: BIASED
The conference website opens to a banner picturing the security fence from the Palestinian side with a Palestinian man planting a tree, watched by a boy. A Christian Church building is depicted on the left, also on the Palestinian side. No sign of anything Jewish, Israeli or even any Hebrew letters. Additionally, a tab in Arabic is available from the homepage while no link to a Hebrew version exists. Of the the 21 links provided under the “Multimedia” tab, only one “Ha-aretz” is a link to a Jewish News site. The rest of them all link to sites heavily tipping the scale towards the Palestinian cause. VERDICT: BIASED
The resources provided under “multimedia:” include twelve books and DVDs. I am familiar and own several of them that I have reviewed. The one-sidedness of every single one of these resources is so blatant that after reading just a couple of chapters you start realizing that the authors must have a different definition for the word reconciliation. Many of the authors promoted there, are also speakers at each conference. VERDICT: BIASED
The Manifesto starts with the statement: The Kingdom of God has come. This sets the stage for the rest of their theological foundation, and frankly I believe that it establishes a false premise on very fragile theological grounds. Kingdom Now Theology also known as a variance of Dominion Theology claims among other things, that Yeshua’s Kingdom was inaugurated at His first coming while Scripture states that He will reign as Messianic King on the throne of David from Jerusalem in the yet to come Millennial Messianic Kingdom (Psalm 72:8, 11, 17; Isaiah 9:7, 11:6-11; Jeremiah 23:6, Zechariah 3:10). The Bible also never mentioned that Jerusalem was in “Palestine”. The only mention of Palestine in the Bible is in the maps section, and last time I checked, it was not part of the inspired Word of God!) VERDICT: BIASED
In gathering all these elements, I cannot help but ask myself what kind of reconciliation is CaTC seeking? Instead of genuine reconciliation, are they seeking the humiliation of Israel as they are forced to admit their wrongdoing unilaterally? But what wrongdoing is Israel really admitting to?
The Bible is more than clear about the Land of Israel belonging to the Jewish people, yet support of Israel is dwindling fast. World demographics are constantly changing but I fear that Christian demographics are also to be considered. The days of biblical Christian Zionists who supported Israel yet prayed for all people including Arabs and Muslims are almost gone. The fabric of evangelical Christianity has changed and with it comes the demonization of Israel and the heavy promotion of Christian Palestinianism. This of course is contrary to what the Bible teaches, but wait, I forgot…most people don’t read their Bible anymore!
I would support Christ at the Checkpoint wholeheartedly if it was truly a Christian endeavor seeking to moderate a dialogue between Jews and Arabs, but they have clearly showed their colors. Recently they turned down the testimony of British-born Israeli tour guide Kay Wilson who survived a terrible and brutal terrorist attack in 2010 (she was more fortunate than her Christian friend accompanying her who was killed). They claimed that the conference had no more room for speakers.
As long as they belittle, denigrate and humiliate my people, I can only call them a fraud. All the while I will continue to pray for true reconciliation of Arabs and Jews through the shed blood of Yeshua the Messiah.
Christ at the Checkpoint organizers are not fooling me, they are certainly not fooling the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and my prayer is that they wouldn’t fool you either.