The Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) regional conference recently took place this last April at First United Methodist Church in Portland, Oregon. It was called Seeds for Justice and Hope for Palestinians and Israelis – What is required of US?
Since there are quite a few Mennonites who are fond of both Brian McLaren and Sabeel, it is fitting for this blog to draw attention to what was taught during McLaren’s one hour plenary session.
During the first half hour, McLaren’s talk began with his background in the Plymouth Brethren, Darby, dispensationalism, and the Jesus people movement. From there he went to questioning his beliefs in the Bible, fast-forwarding to Greenbelt to Sabeel to Israel – all parts of his journey to rethinking and writing.
Unfortunately, McLaren’s experiences on his quest left him with a jaded perception of ‘church’ as a place where there are questions you can’t ask and explanations you can’t give. Through his doubting and rethinking process, he concluded that in the same way that the Christian religion created Europe and failed Europe, the Christians created the injustice that currently exists in Palestine. Quoting several Bible passages that he calls Texts of Terror (Deuteronomy 7, Lev. 25, 1 Samuel 15:1-3, Rev. 19:11), McLaren explains that these are tickets to oppress, because people who think they are on God’s side feel they can do what is in the text, from the Middle East to Europe to the colonization of America, to slavery. (McLaren says that Columbus Day should also be changed).
Continuing on, in the last half of McLaren’s talk, he refers to passages from the book of the Revelation as “Texts of Terror.”
McLaren picks extreme examples of controversial speakers to make his points in this regard. One of those he quotes, who doesn’t even represent mainstream Christianity, is fringe speaker ‘Jeremy’ Boykin. (His name is actually ‘Jerry,’ not Jeremy, as McLaren has on his power point.) McLaren mentions that Boykin is a representative of Family Research Council when he said “The sword today is an AR-15, so if you don’t have one, go get one. You’re supposed to have one, it’s biblical.” Boykin, an ecumenical Knight of Malta, is hardly a solid representative of the fundamentalist dispensational viewpoint.
Oddly enough, McLaren also quotes “a preacher down the road” who has said that:
“Jesus is not a pansy or a pacifist. In Revelation, Jesus is a pride fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. He is saddling up on a white horse and coming to slaughter His enemies and usher in his kingdom. Blood will flow. That is a guy I can worship. I cannot worship a guy I can beat up.”
McLaren does not mention that the name of this pastor down the road is the controversial Mark Driscoll (Seattle), who was once his friend and partner at the beginning of the emerging church movement, but has since distanced himself from McLaren and his false teaching. Many Christians find that Driscoll takes too many liberties with his irreverent grunge vocabulary approach of teaching, earning him the reputation of the cussing mouth pastor.
Couldn’t McLaren have found more respected mainstream examples to represent the dispensational view of the book of Revelation? There are many pro-Israel Bible scholars and excellent, well respected teachers he could have chosen from who teach what the Bible says about the return of Jesus the Messiah as conquering King.
McLaren appears to have a few bones to pick with this view he was raised in as he defends his ‘re-thought’ position against it. Perhaps there has been a need in his pro-Palestinian camp to counter the effects of biblically grounded teacher Paul Wilkinson, who has recently been presenting his excellent expose of Sabeel and defense of Darby. If you watch McLaren rehash and trash this same dispensational teaching model he grew up in as a Plymouth Brethren (in order to justify and invest his re-imagined ideology in the anti-Israel campaign), and then compare it with the presentation by Paul Wilkinson on the same topic, it becomes evident who is speaking in the power and name of God.
The next blog post will examine McLaren’s views he expressed in the second half of his presentation where he went into detail on what he calles the ‘texts of genocide’ and ‘terror’ in the Bible, and blames Christians for the injustice in Palestine.
 Seeds for Justice and Hope for Palestinians and Israelis http://mideastpeace.net/Portland_Sabeel_Conference_2014/Schedule.htm
 Christian responsibility for Palestinian Justice Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mz_caQ67gBM
 Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hM7Us1wDzk
 See: Knight of Malta, Jerry Boykin quote – “…the sword today is an AR-15…go get one…it’s biblical” http://ephesians511blog.net/2014/02/26/knight-of-malta-jerry-boykin-quote-the-sword-today-is-an-ar-15-go-get-one-its-biblical/
 According to Driscoll: “In the mid-1990s I was part of what is now known as the Emerging Church and spent some time traveling the country to speak on the emerging church in the emerging culture on a team put together by Leadership Network called the Young Leader Network. But, I eventually had to distance myself from the Emergent stream of the network because friends like Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt began pushing a theological agenda that greatly troubled me.”
-Mark Driscoll and the Emerging Church: http://www.driscollcontroversy.com/?page_id=9
 See: PROFANE PREACHERS CONTRIBUTE TO KILLING THE CONSCIENCE: http://www.newswithviews.com/West/marsha238.htm
 What is Christian Palestinianism: http://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/what-is-christian-palestinianism/
Mennonite Palestinianism http://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/mennonite-palestinianism/
The Anti-Israel Movement and the Mennonites: Part 1 – What’s it all about? http://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/the-anti-israel-movement-and-the-mennonites-part-1/
The Anti-Israel Movement and the Mennonites: Part 2 – In the Name of Christ http://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/the-anti-israel-movement-and-the-mennonites-part-2/
The Anti-Israel Movement and the Mennonites: Part 3 – Pawns at the Checkpoint http://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/the-anti-israel-movement-and-the-mennonites-part-3-pawns-at-the-checkpoint/
Sabeel, Merton, Mennonite Convergence http://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/sabeel-merton-mennonite-convergence/
“COME AND SEE”: MENNONITE LEADERS VISIT ISRAEL/PALESTINE http://www.mennoniteusa.org/2014/03/24/come-and-see-mennonite-leaders-visit-israelpalestine/