Category Archives: Sabeel

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 Biblical Response to Israeli Apartheid

Download a copy of this presentation here

Contents

  1. 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. 
  2. A summary of how the Bible has been used to justify white supremacism, segregation and apartheid.
  3. A biblical refutation of apartheid. 
  4. A Bible study to encourage personal reflection as well as group discussion.

This paper will examine 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.


[1] A summary of this paper was delivered at the annual Sabeel-Kairos UK conference on 25 September 2021.

[2] Stephen Sizer, Christian Zionism: Roadmap to Armageddon? (Eugene, Wipf & Stock, 2021), https://www.stephensizer.com/books/christian-zionism/

[3] Stephen Sizer, Zion’s Christian Soldiers? The Bible, Israel and the Church (Eugene, Wipf & Stock, 2021), https://www.stephensizer.com/books/zions-christian-soldiers/

[4] http://www.stephensizer.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/zcs2.pdf

[5] http://www.stephensizer.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/zcs3.pdf

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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A Biblical Response to Israeli Apartheid: A Reflection based on Isaiah 56

You may also download a pdf of a longer briefing paper on a Biblical Response to Israeli Apartheid as well as a Bible study for personal reflection or group discussion.

Although the term apartheid emerged in the 20th Century, supremacism, and racial prejudice can be traced back to biblical times – and sadly, as prevalent even among God’s people, as it is now. Through the prophet Isaiah, God says,

“Let no foreigner who is bound to the Lord say, “The Lord will surely exclude me from his people.” …And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants… and who hold fast to my covenant—these I will bring to my holy mountain… for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” (Isaiah 56:3, 6-7)

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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

Kumi Now: What is Christian Zionism?

Kumi Now are working to connect activists around the world with the organizations working on the ground in Palestine and Israel to bring a just and lasting peace based on international law and nonviolence.

All Palestinians regardless of their faith face similar challenges. However, Palestinian Christians face a specific kind of challenge from Christian Zionists who manipulate scripture to support the oppression of Palestinians. On August 22, 2006 Palestinian Christian churches addressed the threat of Christian Zionism with the “Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism.” We mark the anniversary of the declaration by learning about Christian Zionism and learning what you can do so that together we can rise up.

Continue reading about Kumi Action and resources for download Kumi Now

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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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Ancestral Journeys and Western Mission: A Review

Like other Western colonial-settler experiments, for over 70 years, Zionists have been systematically erasing the culture and history of indigenous Palestinians to justify their forced removal and the theft of their land. Ilan Pappe, in his book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, calls this ‘memorocide’ and in The Palestine Nakba, Nur Masalha elaborates, 

“The founding myths of Israel have dictated the conceptual removal of Palestinians before, during and after their physical removal in 1948… The de-Arabisation of Palestine, the erasure of Palestinian history and the elimination of the Palestinian’s collective memory by the Israeli state are no less violent than the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in 1948 and the destruction of historic Palestine.”

This is why books such as Ancestral Journeys and Western Missions are so vital in recording the memories and eyewitness accounts of Arabs and Palestinians who experienced the arrival of Western colonialists to the Middle East, were co-opted into their wars, witnessed the rise of Zionism and then became refugees in the Palestinian Nakba.  Anita Damiani-Shanley’s book will most certainly help perpetuate their heritage and rightful historic claim to Palestine.

Ancestral Journeys is however much more than the story of two families, one Arab and the other Scottish joined in marriage. It traces the influence of missionaries, archaeologists, traders and colonialists competing with each other for a share of the Near East as the Ottoman Empire met its demise. Richly illuminated with family photos, the three main chapters trace the ancestral journeys of Damiani-Shanley’s extended family from Scotland and Lebanon to Iraq and then to Palestine. A fourth chapter traces the role of the Anglican Church in Palestine.  

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Christian Zionism Webinar with Revd Dr Munther Isaac

The United Methodist Church for Kairos Response present two authorities on Christian Zionism, a disturbing political theology embraced by millions of Americans who now have a tremendous influence on US foreign policy with regard to Israel and Palestine. Our speakers will help us understand the theology of Christian Zionism, why it is an inaccurate interpretation of Scripture, how it is harming Palestinian Christians and the entire Middle East peace process, and how to counter this theology in our churches.

Download an Outline of the Seminar  English : Chinese :  Korean and German

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