Tag Archives: Israel

Suicide Bombers: A Palestinian Christian Perspective

What is Theologically and Morally Wrong with Suicide Bombings? A Palestinian Christian Perspective

The following is taken from an article by Canon Naim Ateek published in the Sabeel journal Cornerstone, and subsequently expanded into a 35 page booklet. It is the best critique of suicide bombing I have read.

“The issue of Palestinian suicide bombings has become a familiar topic to many people throughout the world. It is easy for people to either quickly and forthrightly condemn it as a primitive and barbaric form of terrorism against civilians, or condone and support it as a legitimate method of resisting an oppressive Israeli occupation that has trampled Palestinian dignity and brutalized their very existence.

As a Christian, I know that the way of Christ is the way of nonviolence and, therefore, I condemn all forms of violence and terrorism, whether coming from the government of Israel or from militant Palestinian groups. Having said that clearly, it is still important to understand the phenomenon of suicide bombings that tragically arises from the deep misery and torment of many Palestinians. For how else can one explain it? When healthy, beautiful and intelligent young men and women set out to kill and be killed, something is basically wrong in a world that has not heard their anguished cry for justice.

The Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip took a very important turn since the early 1990s. Young Palestinian men, and more lately women, started to strap themselves with explosives, make their way to Israeli Jewish areas and blow themselves up, killing and injuring dozens of people around them. Between the beginning of the second intifada in September 2000 and February 22, 2003, Palestinian militants carried out 69 suicide bombings in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank including Jerusalem, as well as inside Israel, killing, according to Israeli statistics, 341 Israelis including soldiers, men, women, and children. In the same period, the Israeli army killed 2,106 Palestinians including police, men, women and children.

For the last 35 years, the Palestinians have been engaged in resisting the occupation of their country. For many years they have worked through the international community to bring an end to the Israeli occupation, but they have been unsuccessful.

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Barak Obama has Christian Zionists running scared

The likely election tomorrow of Barak Obama as the 44th US President has some leading Christian Zionists running for cover. Mike Evans of the Jerusalem Prayer Team wrote to me today to tell me that “Jews in Israel are worried that US may cut off funding Israel after the election”. That is about as close as Evans can come to making a political statement in favour of his preferred candidate (McCain of course) and at the same time ask me for yet more money for his ministry.

In an open letter to both candidates, Evans urges them to disregard international law and the Road-map brokered by George Bush or face divine judgement. To do so Evans has to rip out of context a promise God made to Abraham 4000 years ago and apply it Israel today.

“Please do not open the floodgate by supporting the Road Map to Peace document, the Shelf Agreement. There is much more at stake than just the geo-political situation. God made an eternal promise to Abraham that the Promised Land would belong to his descendants forever…and that He would place a divine blessing on those who help Israel and a divine judgment on those who curse Israel. For the sake of our nation—and my family and yours—we must defend Israel. We must resist the voices who urge forcing her to give up the land of promise for empty assurances of peace. We must recognize and maintain Jerusalem as the eternal and rightful capital of Israel. God will surely judge us if we challenge Him and the holy city of Jerusalem.”

Hopefully the new President, which ever one the Lord chooses, will listen to his conscience instead (Proverbs 21:1).

Messianic Good News (and the Perils of Dispensationalism)



Yesterday I returned from Johannesburg, South Africa, where I was attending the Messianic Good News Conference,’Israel in the Last Days

Messianic Good News was founded in 1950 for the purpose of proclaiming the good news of salvation in Jesus the Messiah to Jews and Gentiles primarily through the written format. They publish and distribute tracts and books for outreach as well as the quarterly, “Messianic Good News,” through which we aim to encourage and equip readers with a deeper understanding of the faith. The ministry originated in Hamburg, Germany in the late 1800’s with the conversion of a young Jew named Arnold Frank. Frank had a burden to share the good news of salvation with the many Jewish emigrants who were passing through Germany hoping to find a better life in the new world. He published and distributed gospel literature and he also responded to their dire physical needs by organising a soup kitchen, a hospital staffed with compassionate Christian nurses and the Mission House, “Jerusalem” to accommodate and disciple the many young Jewish enquirers who were responding to the gospel.

In 1938, at the age of 79 he was forced to flee to Ireland to escape arrest by the Nazis. The mission property was confiscated but Frank continued to minister in Ireland for a further 26 years until his death at the age of 106. Although the Nazis tried to destroy the work he had dedicated his life to, his legacy lives on through the labours of those whom he led to the Saviour.

One of those young men was John Düring, who fled to South Africa in 1938. In 1950, Düring, with Frank’s support and blessing, established the “Good News Missionary Society” primarily as a literary outreach to Jewish people. Düring established a strong witness to the Jewish people through the excellent literature produced by the society. In 2000 the society was renamed “Messianic Good News” and continues to publish and distribute literature proclaiming the good news about the Messiah. They have an office in Johannesburg, South Africa, as well as in America and their literature is also translated into Spanish and German.

It was heartening to meet many Messianic believers at the conference with a passion for the gospel, with a love for Jewish people and a desire to introduce Jesus to them, while at the same time repudiating the false gospel of dispensationalism and Christian Zionism.

One of the speakers at the conference was Kevin Daly, In his talk entitled, ‘The Good News to Israel and the Nations’ he exposed the dangers of dispensational teaching that insists God has a separate plan for the Jewish people apart from the Church. Daly illustrated this error with a quote from ‘Hebrew Roots’ teacher Jacob Prasch. Prasch uses the story of Rachel and Leah from Genesis to teach that Jesus did not desire the Church as his bride.

“Jacob came for a bride from his own people. He desired Rachel, but he did not get Rachel at first, but Leah. After he learned to love Leah as much as he did Rachel, he got Rachel as well. In the beginning Leah had all the babies, her womb was most fruitful. But then Rachel conceives. Israel shall be a fruitful vine. Jesus came for Israel. He wanted to marry Israel, but He did not get Israel. He ends up with the bride He did not desire at first, the Gentile church. After He learns to love the Gentile church, then He gets Israel. In the beginning, the church has all the babies. But in the end, Israel becomes a fruitful vine.” Jacob Prasch

You can read the context for this erroneous theology here. Daly highlights the dangers of this false teaching,

“The Gentile Church was unforeseen, and somewhat of a disappointment and a second prize. Because of God’s failure to get the Bride he always wanted, he extended his favour to the Gentiles. By contrast, Jesus taught that flesh gives birth to flesh and counts for nothing. The NT states clearly concerning the unbelieving Jews: “They stumble because they disobey the message – which is also what they were destined for.” (1 Peter 2:8)

Does God’s plan depend on Man, or does Man depend on God’s Plan? The God-centred view is that God’s purposes prevail and unfaithful individuals disqualify themselves from participation. The humanistic, Judo-centric view which Prasch advocates is that God’s purpose was unfortunately frustrated by the non-participation of the Jews. The NT states further that salvation was always part of the Plan contained in the Abrahamic promise, and presents the Church as the fulfilment of God’s “eternal purpose”. The true worshipper, and the type that God desires, is the one that worships Him ‘in spirit and in truth’ (John 4:23-24).” (Kevin Daly)

I’ll share more about the conference in later postings.

Bethlehem Christmas Project


Every December, the Bethlehem Christmas Project brings together, American, Israeli, and Palestinian followers of Christ to deliver gifts to orphans, children with special needs, and children suffering from post-traumatic stress in Bethlehem. The gifts we deliver include clothing, educational games, and toys. After nearly a year in production, the project recently released it’s 2nd film.

You can view the six-minute film here to learn more about the project’s vision and work.

We hope you will support us as we deliver Christmas gifts to children who are very much in need. The project delivers gifts to Christians and Muslims alike as we are here to serve all those who are in need. Please help make our project possible by visiting our donations page.

Our team of thirteen individuals from the U.S. will leave to Bethlehem on December 5th. We will be updating our website daily until we return on the 13th. Please pray for us and be sure to sign-up to our blog to receive our updates.

The video about the Bethlehem Christmas Project is also viewable on YouTube

You can also follow us on Twitter

Israel in the Last Days

ISRAEL IN THE LAST DAYS – a critical look at popular views of the end times

31 October – 1 November 2008

VENUE: Rosebank Union Church, Cnr. William Nicol Drive and St. Andrew’s Road, Sandton, Johannesburg

The response of many Christians to events in the Middle East is conditioned by their understanding of prophecy. We invite you to deliberate with us over doctrines that have shaped the worldview of many Christians, impacting both foreign relations and recent history.

Our four speakers will examine some of the popular teachings on the end times, ranging from the controversial subjects of who is Israel and who are the rightful heirs to the Promised Land to the speculations surrounding the tribulation and the millennium.

Apart from Peter Cohen and Kevin Daly, who are regular contributors to this website, we have invited two international speakers, Dr. Stephen Sizer and Alan Morrison, who have graciously agreed to participate in the conference.

We realize that these are controversial subjects on which Christians are divided. Our intention is to stimulate debate on these issues which have also affected the way in which the gospel is presented to both Jews and Muslims.

Follow these links for the Programme, Bookings and information on our Speakers.

Victoria Clark Reviews Zion’s Christian Soldiers



No one in Christian circles this side of the Atlantic has done more than Stephen Sizer to raise alarm bells about a ‘formidable and dangerous movement’ called Christian Zionism whose geopolitical peril he locates in the core conviction that ‘God blesses those nations that stand with Israel and curses those who don’t.’

What this conviction has meant, especially ominously since 9/11 2001 when the ensuing War (or Crusade) on Terror added copious grist to the Christian Zionist mill, is that the entire Muslim world is ‘cursed’, while Israel and her western allies are blessed. For a Christian Zionist there can never be an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel and nor must Israel ever be forced to abandon her illegal settlements in the West Bank, let alone her claim to Jerusalem as her indivisible capital. Christian Zionists expect no peace in the Middle East until Jesus Second Coming, so all efforts to obtain a peace there are pre-doomed to failure. That some important aspects of thus Christian Zionist worldview have neatly dovetailed with that of the Neo-conservatives in charge of US foreign policy in the Middle East since 2000 is well known, as is the fact that the evangelical Christian vote was vital to Bush’s victory in 2004.

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Annapolis: Optimism vs. Pessimism

“Do you know the definition of a pessimist?” asks Afif Safieh, head of the PLO Delegation to the USA. He answers with a bitter smile: “an optimist with information.” In an interview with Akiva Eldar published in Ha`aretz back in September 2007, Afif said, “My message to the American society as a Palestinian diplomat is not `give up a friend` but `add a friend.` I don`t have a problem with the commitment to Israel`s existence; I`m just asking my American friends if you are also committed to Israel`s territorial expansion? Do your interests include the Israeli occupation in the territories? For this is it worth it for you to fight with the entire Arab world? I`m saying to my American friends that the U.S. is a wonderful society, pluralistic, and a nation of nations. It absorbed eight million Muslims, of them four million who are Arabs and 400,000 Palestinians… Public opinion polls show that 60 percent of Americans would like to see a more balanced policy toward us… and 70 percent support a solution of two states.”

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Published in Sojourners Magazine, January 2008