Category Archives: Bible

Where Do You Long To Be? Christmas Down Under

moana-november-2016“There’s a line where the sky meets the sea
And it calls me
But no one knows how far it goes
All the time wondering where I need to be
Is behind me
I’m on my own
To worlds unknown”

I wonder if you can identify with Moana singing “How Far I’ll Go” in the lavish new Disney film?

“Every turn I take
Every trail I track
Is a choice I make
Now I can’t turn back
From the great unknown
Where I go alone
Where I long to be”

When you look at the beauty of the world around you, does it fill you with a sense of wonder? Does its abundance inspire you to praise God?  Are you thankful just to be alive? Are you frustrated with the world the way it is? Does the presence of evil and suffering impel you to want to help those in need? Are you restless? Are you longing to fulfil your destiny?  I encourage you to see the film Moana.

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A Biblical Critique of Apartheid

What does the Bible say about apartheid? How has the Bible been used to justify supremacism, segregation and racial purity? How is apartheid easily refuted from the Bible? This presentation will provide some answers. The introduction gives a brief historical overview showing the lineage of European supremacism, slavery, segregation and apartheid. It also examines why apartheid has been designated a crime against humanity, and shows the similarities between the South African and Israeli variants.

Download a copy of this presentation here

Contents

  • A brief history of apartheid tracing its roots from European colonialism, white supremacism and black slavery, through to segregation in the US, Fascism in Germany to Apartheid in South Africa and Israel. 
  • A summary of how the Bible has been used to justify white supremacism, segregation and apartheid.
  • A biblical refutation of apartheid. 
  • A Bible study to encourage personal reflection as well as group discussion.

This presentation examines how biblical texts have been used by proponents of segregation in the USA and apartheid in South Africa. It does not elaborate specifically on how Christian Zionists use the Bible to justify Israeli supremacism, the subjugation of Palestinians or the colonisation of their land.[1]  These are addressed more fully in my book Christian Zionism: Roadmap to Armageddon? [2]. Zion’s Christian Soldiers? The Bible, Israel and the Church[3], provides a more detailed study of the biblical texts concerning the two key elements of apartheid theology – supremacism “Chosen People”[4] and colonisation “Promised Land”[5] 

Download a copy of this presentation here

You may also download a Bible Study for personal reflection or group discussion and read a short reflection based on Isaiah 65. For a more detailed examination of the biblical relationship between Israel and the Church (and deconstruction of Christian Zionism), download Seven Biblical Answers.

A Bible Study on Israeli Apartheid

The Bible has been used in the past to justify colonisation, slavery, white supremacism, segregation and apartheid. The Bible has also been used to defend Zionism and justify Israeli apartheid. This study is intended to help you to challenge the misuse of the scriptures and bring an end to apartheid in the furtherance of justice, peace and reconciliation.

You may download a copy of this Bible Study for personal reflection or group discussion as well as a longer briefing paper on a Biblical Response to Israeli Apartheid For a more detailed examination of the biblical relationship between Israel and the Church (and deconstruction of Christian Zionism), download Seven Biblical Answers.

Questions

  1. Many Christians believe that God blesses people and nations who bless Israel and curses those who do not. 

“The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. ‘I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’” (Genesis 12:1-3). 

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Sabeel-Kairos UK Conference Statement on Israel

The following statement was endorsed by the Trustees of Sabeel-Kairos UK with the support of Sabeel Jerusalem and Kairos Palestine and was published at the annual Sabeel-Kairos UK conference on 24th September 2021.

‘Having considered a Christian response to Israeli apartheid, we affirm that all people are created equally in the image of God; we commend the B’TSelem and Human Rights Watch documents designating Israel as an apartheid state; we repudiate all forms of racism and discrimination; and we recommit ourselves to working for justice, peace and reconciliation in Israel/Palestine.”

You may download a  Bible Study for personal reflection or group discussion as well as a longer briefing paper on a Biblical Response to Israeli Apartheid 

For a more detailed examination of the biblical relationship between Israel and the Church (and deconstruction of Christian Zionism), download Seven Biblical Answers.

B’Tselem Report: This is Apartheid
Human Rights Watch: A Threshold Crossed

Cyrus Ingerson Scofield: Charlatan and Heretic

1. Scofield: The Christian Leader with Feet of Clay 
2. The Link between Darby and Scofield in the Rise of Dispensationalism 
3. Scofield’s Dispensational Hermeneutic: ‘Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth’
4. Scofield, the Brethren and the Bible Prophecy Conference Movement 
5. The Significance of the Scofield Reference Bible 
6. Scofield’s Seven Dispensations 
7. The Denigration of the Church within the Purposes of God 
8. The Elevation of National Israel to a Superior Role over the Church
9. Prophetic Promises of a New Covenant with a Restored National Israel
10. Speculations on Armageddon and the Day of the Lord
11. Conclusions: The Legacy of Scofieldism on Christian Zionism

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The Greatest Threat to Ministry

“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (John 20:19-23)

What poses the greatest threat to the work of any Christian ministry involved in a contested field or controversial subject? I believe the answer is in John 20:19. Most versions translate the sentence as “fear of the Jews”. A few like the NIV translate the sentence “fear of the Jewish leaders” which is probably more accurate. How might we apply that today? I believe we are mistaken if we focus on the “who” instead of the “what”.  Then what is it? Look at the text again. It was not the Jews, or the Jewish leaders. What does the text say? It was fear. Why do I say that? Well look at the context. What do the preceding verses say? 

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Easter Sunday: The Peace of Christ

1-2I didn’t mean to do it. I know I should not have done it. Every week I carefully avoid looking but this Friday I did. I don’t know what possessed me. I put it down to mid-life crisis. My eyes just wandered and there it was, the most enticing, the most tantalizing, the most tempting job offer I have ever read in the Church of England Newspaper.

“It’s True Adelaide is a great place… No doubt you’ve read about Adelaide’s fine weather, fine beaches, fine food and fine wine. Its all true! South Australia wants people who see their future in its progressive climate. The archbishop of Adelaide welcomes enquiries from clergy wishing to minister in parishes and schools. Find out more about South Australia at www.southaustralia.com. Send your expressions of interest to…” and then it gave the address.

Interestingly, the advert said nothing about what they were looking for in candidates, nothing about what the role required. It didn’t need to. I confess that purely out of curiosity I visited the website of www.southaustralia.com . Yes I did and it is true.

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Psalm 22: The Cross of Christ

Psalm 22 and the Cross of Christ from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

Good news is infectious isn’t it? You can’t stop talking about it. It just comes out. You don’t have to think about it. You don’t need training in how to communicate good news. The more immediate, personal and life changing, the more likely we are to want to share it.  Its the same with Jesus. That is why on this, Good Friday, I would like us to spend a few moments contemplating Psalm 22, contemplate the cross of Christ. If people know one passage of the Bible, it is most likely Psalm 23. And yet I believe Psalm 22 is the most precious of all the Psalms, for it reveals the passion of God which made possible the promises of God contained in Psalm 23. No one can read Psalm 22 without being vividly confronted with the Crucifixion.

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Surrender to Christ: Palm Sunday (Luke 19:37-44)

Around Easter time, a few years ago, I found myself in Bethlehem. I planned to spend the day with a Christian family in a village called Beit Jala near Bethlehem. Their land had just been confiscated. Their beautiful old olive trees are being bulldozed to make way for the 8 metre high Separation Wall. It was going to come within 3 metres from their front door and not only cut off all day light, but cut their whole village in half. The Hafrada or apartheid wall (that is what it means in Hebrew) has been ruled illegal by the highest court in the world, the International Court of Justice. But few are doing anything about it. So we did. But we never got to see the family that day.

As we walked down the hill towards their property we came face to face with a line of soldiers with guns and tear gas and sound bombs. And they were not about to let anyone through. They tried to scare us off by lobbying few sound bombs at us. And they succeeded in scaring us, temporarily. But we carried on walking toward them until we came face to face with these young soldiers. We assured them that we were unarmed and had peaceful intentions. We were not there to hurt them. We disagreed with what their government is doing. We wanted to see our friends on the other side of the road – please. They said no and after an hour or so we went home. I came back the next day with a friend and we managed to see the family and take these pictures. 

I am still working through the rights and wrongs of civil disobedience. What do you do when you see people made homeless, widowed, orphaned? When you witness deep injustice, theft, exploitation?  When you see a State abuse its power? And Christians justify this theft of land in the name of God?  What would you have done? More importantly what would Jesus have done? I can tell you what he would not have done. Would he have picked up stones and thrown them at the soldiers? Would he have taken up a gun and forced his way through?  No, of course not. But would he have ignored the suffering? Would he have walked by on the other side? I don’t think so. What was the point of the parable of the Good Samaritan? If you are not sure, you need to watch our film With God on our Side.

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