My first parish as a young enthusiastic priest was St John’s, Stoke, in Guildford, Surrey. It is situated next door to Guildford College. In my time there as Rector, we held occasional events for students and faculty. Previously I had spent four years working as a student pastor so when the chaplaincy of the college fell vacant I asked my Bishop whether the two posts could be combined. We heard nothing for months. Eventually when I pressed the Archdeacon, I was told that it was considered inappropriate for an evangelical to be appointed as the chaplain to an academic institution. Then when I proposed undertaking a part-time post graduate degree I was asked by the Director of Training, rather cynically, was I going to buy it from America? That was all the motivation I needed to pursue a Masters from Oxford and then eventually a PhD.
I can therefore relate to how the Apostle Paul must have felt when he was mocked by the Christians in Corinth for his lack of eloquence or oratory skills. Let me read to you from John Stott’s book “Calling Christian Leaders” (IVP)
“I was sitting in a barber chair when I became aware that a powerful personality had entered the room. A man had come quietly in upon the same errand as myself to have his hair cut and sat in the chair next to me. Every word the man uttered, though it was not in the least didactic, showed a personal interest in the man who was serving him. And before I got through with what was being done to me I was aware I had attended an evangelistic service, because Mr, D. L. Moody was in that chair. I purposely lingered in the room after he had left and noted the singular affect that his visit had brought upon the barber shop. They talked in undertones. They did not know his name, but they knew something had elevated their thoughts, and I felt that I left that place as I should have left a place of worship.” Who said that? Woodrow Wilson, the former President of the United States.
In Advent last month, I prepared four Bible studies for Sabeel-Kairos UK as a resource to enable churches to engage with scripture and challenge apartheid. Although prepared for Advent, it is hoped you will find them a useful resource at any time.
This is a poignant week for me. The 31st January is the 70th anniversary of the 1953 floods that devastated the coastal communities of East Anglia. A confluence of two weather systems – one in the English Channel and the other in the North Sea, caused a a storm surge. The abnormal rise in sea levels brought death and destruction all along the East coast, the worst floods in living memory. During that raging storm out to sea, the Lowestoft trawler Guava sunk without trace. My uncle Edward Sizer was one of the eleven crew who never returned home.
Where do you find your security in the storms of life? Where do you find peace of mind in an uncertain world? How can you experience joy in a scary world?
For Christians who believe that all are created in the image of God, with equal worth and dignity, what are we called to do for the people of the Holy Land? How can we be faithful and faith-filled peacemakers and justice-seekers? A presentation given during a recent webinar hosted by Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA).
In this conference, we considered how we can respond to Christian Zionist theology and bring love-inspired, biblically based teaching and action to our congregations and communities.
A presentation on the historical roots and political agenda of Christian Zionism given for members of Bath Friends of Palestine at the Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institute in October 2022.
Christian Zionism has long been a powerful factor in the creation and maintenance of the state of Israel, but what exactly does it believe?
Dr Stephen Sizer examines the historical roots, theological basis and political agenda of a Bible-based worldview that today defends apartheid, denies justice to the Palestinians and only perpetuates conflict in the Middle East.
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.
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. These are addressed more fully in my book Christian Zionism: Roadmap to Armageddon? . Zion’s Christian Soldiers? The Bible, Israel and the Church, provides a more detailed study of the biblical texts concerning the two key elements of apartheid theology – supremacism “Chosen People” and colonisation “Promised Land”
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.
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.
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).