An Open Letter to Mordechai Ben Emet

Dear Mordechai,

I promised to write one more time and offer to meet, as Jesus instructed us to do in Matthew 18, in response to your decision to use an anonymous blog to criticise me in September.

You also gained access to our church facebook account without revealing your identity and then wrote to many of our church family to warn them about me, including children who were, not surprisingly, disturbed as were their parents. You also wrote anonymously to the hosts of various conferences I was invited to, to urge them not to allow me to speak. You know from the responses you received, some from Messianic leaders, that they share the Apostle Paul’s disdain for your methods.

“Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:2).

In one of your blogs you referred to Jacob Prasch as an “authentic Messianic teacher”. I therefore assume you are a Messianic believer also. On that basis I invite you again to meet with me to resolve the issues that concern you rather than continue to use an anonymous blog to slander me. I realize this may be difficult if you are presently in Israel.

You specifically criticize me for associating with people who have in the past or indeed presently justify the use of violence against Israel or whom you designate as anti-semitic or holocaust deniers. You are wrong to assume that in dialoguing with them, or by participating in conferences with them, that I in any way approve of, or agree with, their views or methods. On the contrary I have made my own views plain through my writings, website and lectures, on the illegitimacy of the use of violence as a means of resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict.

To clarify my position and to anticipate such criticisms, in my book Zion’s Christian Soldiers, I wrote the following:

“It is true that at various times in the past, churches and church leaders have tolerated or incited anti-Semitism and even attacks on Jewish people. Racism is a sin and without excuse. Anti-Semitism must be repudiated unequivocally. However, we must not confuse apples and oranges. Anti-Zionism is not the same thing as anti-Semitism despite attempts to broaden the definition. Criticising a political system as racist is not necessarily racist. Judaism is a religious system. Israel is a sovereign nation. Zionism is a political system. These three are not synonymous. I respect Judaism, repudiate anti-Semitism, encourage interfaith dialogue and defend Israel’s right to exist within borders recognised by the international community and agreed with her neighbours. But like many Jews, I disagree with a political system which gives preference to expatriate Jews born elsewhere in the world, while denying the same rights to the Arab Palestinians born in the country itself.”

In any future edition, I will emphasize, as I have done elsewhere, that I also believe the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict can only be achieved by peaceful means and through the implementation of international law.

Like you, I care passionately for the Jewish people and pray for a secure Israel, as well as the fulfilment of the legitimate aspirations of Palestinians to an independent, sovereign and democratic state. I believe justice for Palestinians will bring peace for Israel, reconciliation with their neighbours and the marginalisation of extremists.

As you know, followers of Jesus Christ are:

1. called to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9)
2. to fulfill a ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11-21)
3. to disavow the use of violence or intimidation to further the will and purposes of God (Matthew 5:38-48).
4. and when they disagree, seek reconciliation privately and if necessary, with the mediation of others (Matthew 18:15-19)

As a minister of the gospel, my primary motivation is to share the good news of Jesus Christ with all who will listen. “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” (Romans 1:16).

Jesus himself was accused of being “a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.” ’ (Luke 7:34). As one myself, I am grateful to know him as my friend, and desire to share that friendship with those who at present are outside his family, even at the expense of being maligned or misunderstood by others.

As Brother Andrew has said of his own approach, “the best way I can show my love of Israel is to seek to convert her enemies.” You have questioned my integrity, my motives and methods from a position of anonymity.

While you have expended many hours to watch videos of me, to listen to debates with me, or read sermons by me, I suggest you do not yet know me well enough to condemn me. I feel under no obligation to justify my ministry to those who hide behind the cloak of anonymity – “the men in the shadows” as Jackson Browne put it in one of his songs. I invite you instead to meet and find out whether your criticisms are really justified.

The invitation will remain open but I will not respond to you further unless and until we meet.

Yours in Yeshua
Stephen

p.s. Why are you using the IP address of Agaf HaModin, the Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate?

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