Blatant Bias: Anti-Israel Mennonite Monkey Business

Bias: Bias is an inclination of temperament or outlook to present or hold a partial perspective, often accompanied by a refusal to consider the possible merits of alternative points of view. (wikipedia)

There are no words for this outrageously classic piece of anti-Israel church replacement theology.

Opinion: Being pro-Jesus on Israel-Palestine
Apr 27, 2015 by Tom Harder

There is a growing concern among evangelical Christians for the conflict in Israel-Palestine. Prominent leaders such as Lynn Hybels of Willow Creek Church and Gary Burge of Wheaton College are visiting the Holy Land, learning firsthand about the conflict and returning home with a passionate call to do something about it. They are also returning with a deeper understanding of the conflict’s causes and imbalances and the ways the Bible has been used to perpetuate it.
A primary example of the latter is the belief that God commands us to support the state of Israel without question or condition. “Whoever blesses you I will bless, and whoever curses you I will curse,” God declares in Genesis 12.
However, the “you” is not Israel, let alone the modern state of Israel. It is Abraham, whom God intended to be a blessing to all nations and who became the father not just of Judaism but of Christianity and Islam.
A second example is the belief that Palestine rightfully belongs to modern Israel because God promised it to them. Often overlooked is the conditionality of God’s promise: It depended on biblical Israel’s faithfulness to God’s covenant.
Over and over, the biblical prophets chided Israel for its unfaithfulness, particularly its lack of justice for the oppressed. The prophets, in other words, were pro-Israel, but that didn’t stop them from naming injustice when they saw it. (For a thorough, biblical analysis of this issue, read Burge’s Whose Land, Whose Promise?)
Jesus was pro-people, pure and simple. He wanted the best for everyone. But he also wanted the best from everyone. And so he didn’t hesitate to confront injustice when he saw it. One could even argue that he took sides — with the poor and oppressed, just as the prophets and the Torah did before him.
Becoming the oppressors
Many Israeli Jews — particularly their European forebears who experienced the Holocaust — know all too well what it is like to be oppressed and persecuted. They are understandably determined that it never happen again.
But visitors to the Holy Land, if they look closely enough, discover an awful irony. The oppressed have become the oppressors and the persecuted the persecutors.
The victims are the Palestinian Arabs (both Christian and Muslim) who had been living in historic Palestine long before the Jewish immigrants began arriving — displacing the Palestinians, destroying their villages and declaring an Israeli state.
Palestinians who remained in Israel must now live as second-class citizens. Those who fled eastward now live under military occupation, their movements severely restricted, their olive groves destroyed, their water sources seized by the thousands of Israeli settlers living illegally in the West Bank. Those who fled to the area known as Gaza live in what many call an open-air prison.
In 2009, Palestinian Christian leaders wrote a letter known as “Kairos Palestine” to Christians in the West, pleading not just for our prayers but our attention, compassion and help. Meanwhile, the U.S. government continues to support Israel militarily and without condition, giving scant attention to the humanitarian plight of the Palestinian people.
If we follow Jesus’ example, we will be pro-people. We will want the best for everyone. We will remember that in God’s economy, everyone should be able to live without fear, beneath their own vine and fig tree — including both Israelis and Palestinians (Micah 4:3-4).
We will denounce violence, whether committed by Israelis or Palestinians. We will work for peace with justice for all of Israel-Palestine. But if we follow Jesus, we must stand up especially for the oppressed and hold the oppressors accountable to the standard of living and loving required by God.

Tom Harder is co-pastor of Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church in Wichita, Kan., and chair of the Mennonite Palestine-Israel Network (Menno-PIN) Steering Committee.

http://mennoworld.org/2015/04/27/latest-issue/being-pro-jesus-on-israel-palestine/

*Menno-lite has had enough of the monkey business and betrayal of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Word in not only the Mennonite denomination, but the modern day church as a whole. There may be a faithful remnant, and many of the Mennonite people do good works, however, it is time to move on.

Thank you to all for your readership and support.

~ Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools ~ Romans 1:22

Mennonites Walk Barton’s Bridge

Ruth Haley Barton, founder of The Transforming Centre[1], was trained at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation which teaches: “This mystical stream [contemplative prayer] is the Western bridge to Far Eastern spirituality … It is no accident that the most active frontier between Christian and Eastern religions today is between contemplative Christian monks and their Eastern equivalents.” —Tilden Edwards, Shalem Founder[2]

Barton, who could not find peace or direction in her Baptist roots or through reading the Bible and praying, found fulfillment through spiritual direction. Now she incorporates a blend of Eastern and Roman Catholic contemplative spirituality and monastic practices in her retreats and books on practicing the presence of God in the silence and sacred rhythms of prayer. Lately she has been very instrumental in leading entire Protestant and Anabaptist church congregations and their leaders into these same practices through spiritual direction and discernment seminars.

This year, the Mennonites have once again[3] brought in Ruth Haley Barton to help them make decisions in the silence regarding some very important upcoming issues that include LGBTQ and anti-Israel BDS resolutions. How tragic to see an entire church delegation over looking all that is necessary in their discernment process (the Bible), thereby shunning to declare the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) in seeking guidance from an apprentice of Thomas Merton and Tilden Edwards. Surely Menno Simons is rolling over in his grave.

“But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:4

Here are two articles for the remnant to read and pray about…

CLC discerns delegate agenda and offers counsel to Executive Board
Posted on March 30, 2015
NORTH NEWTON, Kan.—“We are here and we’ve been gathered by God, and the truth is gathered, too,” said Chuck Neufeld, conference minister for Illinois Mennonite Conference, during a plenary session at the March 26–28 meeting of Mennonite Church USA’s Constituency Leaders Council (CLC) in North Newton, Kan.
CLC members spent time in prayer and worship; received input from Ruth Haley Barton on tools for discerning God’s will for the church; and offered counsel to the Resolutions Committee and Executive Board (EB) of Mennonite Church USA on churchwide statements to bring before the Delegate Assembly in Kansas City, Mo., this summer.
Neufeld’s reflections, offered after a half hour of silent discernment and prayer, were joined by those of other CLC members who called for mutual forbearance and care across the church in the midst of disagreements on how LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) individuals should be allowed to participate in Mennonite Church USA. Marco Güete, conference minister for Southeast Mennonite Conference, closed the sharing time with observations from his long career in the Mennonite Church, saying, “My reflection to God during this time was, ‘I love your imperfect church. Thank you for this opportunity to be a part of it.’”

More here:
http://mennoniteusa.org/news/clc-discerns-delegate-agenda-and-offers-counsel-to-executive-board/

Discerning spirit
God’s will can be found, even in when we disagree
Apr 13, 2015 by Paul Schrag

The rest of the world makes decisions, but the church discerns. If that were just a choice of words, it wouldn’t be important. But Ruth Haley Barton believes the difference goes much deeper. To discern is to find the will of God.
“Christian leaders have an idea that their decision-making should be somehow different from the rest of the world,” Barton said in a presentation to the Mennonite Church USA Constituency Leaders Council on March 26 at Bethel College in North Newton, Kan. “But sometimes we reduce that to just having a prayer and devotions at the beginning of the meeting.”
Discernment is more than a nod to God.
At a time when MC USA is experiencing conflict over same-sex relationships and church polity, Barton’s message was timely. Though she spoke to leaders dealing with major issues, her ideas apply to every Christian and to all of life.
Barton is a teacher and writer about Christian formation and church leadership at the Transforming Center in Wheaton, Ill., who will speak to delegates at the MC USA convention in Kansas City in July.
She defines discernment as “the capacity to recognize and respond to the presence and the activity of God in both the ordinary moments and the larger decisions of our lives.”
Discernment is the habit of noticing where God is at work and how God is speaking. Barton believes it is possible, in any situation, to “have a sense of whether God is at work or the Evil One is at work.” This needs to happen even in the interior world of our own thoughts and motives. 1 John 4:1 advises us to “test the spirits.” Are we willing to test our own spirit?
To do this, we need to listen to God in solitude and silence.
“Many of us are trying to give spiritual leadership without having much of a spiritual life,” Barton said. We must not let our busyness — even our Christian busyness — keep us from being aware of what is going on in our own soul. We need to be quiet and hear the voice of God as distinct from our own voice.
To whom does God give the spiritual gift of discernment? To those who are on a spiritual journey, Barton says. To those who let God transform them into a better version of themselves.

More here:
http://mennoworld.org/2015/04/13/editorial/discerning-spirit/

________

Endnotes:

1] (www.transformingcenter.org)
2] Ruth Haley Barton, Contemplative Prayer, 
and the Spiritual Formation Movement
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/ruthhaleybarton.htm
3] Ruth Haley Barton Trains Mennonites to Discern in The Silence
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/ruth-haley-barton-trains-mennonites-to-discern-in-the-silence/

*** UPDATE JULY 3, 2015

Mennonites delay vote on divesting from Israel for 2 years
http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=26609

Unity or Tolerance or Repentance?

Has the Mennonite Church USA chosen unity or tolerance or repentance?

MC USA council endorses unity statement
Among three proposed resolutions on sexuality, leaders state their preference
Mar 30, 2015 by Paul Schrag, Mennonite World Review

NORTH NEWTON, Kan. — Conservative, progressive or a call for unity and tolerance?
That was the question for the Mennonite Church USA Constituency Leaders Council as its members weighed three proposed resolutions on sexuality and church polity.
They chose the call for unity and tolerance.
Meeting March 26-28 at Bethel College, the CLC endorsed a resolution to extend “grace, love and forbearance toward conferences, congregations and pastors in our body who, in different ways, seek to be faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ on matters related to same-sex covenanted unions.”

More here:

http://mennoworld.org/2015/03/30/news/mc-usa-council-endorses-unity-statement/

The council also discussed several other resolutions, with two-thirds favoring an anti-Israel resolution that calls “Israel’s occupation of Palestine sinful and advocates withdrawing investments from corporations that profit from the occupation and violence in Israel-Palestine.”

Also of interest is this Mennonite Op article:

Opinion: Christ-centered unity is still possible
Jesus wants witnesses to him, not coercers of others

Mar 30, 2015 by John M. Miller
Mennonite Church USA faces the pivotal question of what unites us and what divides. The dominant issue in our time is acceptance of gay and lesbian people in the church.
http://mennoworld.org/2015/03/30/latest-issue/opinion-christ-centered-unity-is-still-possible/

*It might be noteworthy that the MCUSA appears to be following in the footsteps of the Presbyterian Church USA:

Apostate Presbyterians Vote to Allow Homosexual ‘Marriages’ by 3-1 Ratio
http://christiannews.net/2014/06/19/apostate-presbyterians-vote-to-allow-homosexual-marriages-by-3-1-ratio/

THE ROLE OF ANTISEMITISM IN THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (USA)’S DECISION TO SUPPORT
http://www.bdsinthepews.org/role-of-antisemitism-in-the-presbyterian-vote-for-divestment.html

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Related:

Are religious colleges at risk if Supreme Court approves same-sex marriage?
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/05/07/are-religious-colleges-at-risk-if-supreme-court-approves-same-sex-marriage/

WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE ADVOCATES
by BEN SHAPIRO March 30, 2015
http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/03/30/whats-next-for-the-same-sex-marriage-advocates/

Inside the Evangelical Fight Over Gay Marriage
by Denny Burk January 16, 2015
http://www.dennyburk.com/inside-the-evangelical-fight-over-gay-marriage/

The New Inclusive Mennonites
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2015/03/16/the-new-inclusive-mennonites-2/

Saskatoon Gay Couple 1st to be Married in Mennonite Church
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/saskatoon-gay-couple-1st-to-be-married-in-mennonite-church/

______

This is the way it’s going. . .

*NEW: Note: Tony Campolo’s pathway of choice had led him to accept homosexuality in the church:
Tony Campolo Comes Out of Closet in Support of ‘Full Acceptance’ of Homosexuality in Church
http://www.submergingchurch.com/2015/06/10/tony-campolo-comes-out-of-closet-in-support-of-full-acceptance-of-homosexuality-in-church/

NEW: NIGHT IS FALLING
The real agenda – marginalize Christians
Olive Tree Ministries
http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com

NEW: EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH (ELCA) ORDAINS TRANS PASTOR
http://standupforthetruth.com/2015/07/evangelical-lutheran-church-elca-ordains-trans-pastor/

NEW: Two Mennonite Colleges Announce Hiring Policy Change to Employ ‘Married’ Homosexuals
http://christiannews.net/2015/07/22/two-mennonite-colleges-announce-hiring-policy-change-to-employ-married-homosexuals/

NEW:

A Public Service Announcement Regarding Goshen and EMU.
https://mennoknight.wordpress.com/2015/08/19/a-public-service-announcement-regarding-goshen-and-emu/#more-5371

Mennonites and a Bridge too Far?

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:19,20

Did Jesus instruct his disciples to go into all the world as peace catalysts, building bridges, making relationships and finding similarities with those who worship other gods?

In the January issue[1] of the MB Herald, a book review called A guide to following the Prince of Peace[2] by J Janzen[3] paves the way for Mennonites to cross the ‘peace catalyst’ bridge. But is this peace building the way of the Prince of Peace? In his review of Rick Love’s Peace Catalysts: Resolving Conflict in Our Families, Organizations and Communities, Janzen writes:

“In recent years, attention to peacemaking has been reinvigorated among North American Mennonite Brethren. Rick Love’s Peace Catalysts is a timely resource for two important reasons.
First, Love, who serves as associate director of the World Evangelical Alliance Peace and Reconciliation Initiative as well as president of Peace Catalyst International, which promotes peacemaking between Muslims and Christians, writes out of the evangelical tradition. Love combines Mennonite and Reformed resources to present long-standing Anabaptist convictions in a language that many Mennonite Brethren will appreciate.”

Janzen continues to describe Rick Love’s foundations for peace catalysts which among other things include the holistic approach of pursuing harmony and the eight pillars of peacemaking, concluding that . . .

“church leadership teams, pastors and business people among others will want to have this helpful resource on their shelves… teachers and Sunday school facilitators will find this book to be an excellent discussion starter.
In a pluralistic society in which the church experiences tension with other groups – homeless people, Muslims, the LGBT community, to name a few – Peace Catalysts sparks one’s imagination to consider how God might be inviting Mennonite Brethren into a deeper experience of the Prince of Peace.”

The concern with the MB Herald publishing this recommendation of such a resource is deeper than Janzen’s review delves. Inside Peace Catalysts, Rick Love acknowledges his many influences on his road to peace building. One of these is Miroslav Volf, the Founding Director of the Yale Centre for Faith and Culture and Yale Divinity School. Love writes in the first chapter of his book how he helped prepare for Miroslav Volf’s Common Word Conference at Yale University in 2008.[4]

“This unprecedented global conference was a turning point in my life. I have never met so many Muslim scholars, sheikhs, grand muftis and princes. More importantly, learning about Islam directly from these Muslim leaders and getting to know them personally over meals impacted me profoundly. I began to devote myself to becoming a full time peacemaker and to breaking down barriers between Christians and Muslims. God was calling me to be a bridge builder.” Rick Love, ch. 1, Peace Catalysts

Another influential leader in this bridge building movement is Lynne Hybels, married to Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Church. In her endorsement of Rick Love’s book, she says: “In my life and ministry, I need this book!” Many may not know that she is a Palestinian advocate who often speaks at church conferences. Jim Fletcher, editor of the Balfour Post, writes:

“At Catalyst Atlanta, in 2012, Hybels spoke, and the title of her talk, “We Belong to Each Other: Americans, Israelis and Palestinians for Peace,” implied a non-violent form of protest of the “occupation,” yet she decried the presence of the IDF in the territories, spoke of the negative impact of the security fence, and alleged that Palestinians lack water sources. Her slide titled “1967 Six-Day War” stated: “Israeli Military Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza begins.”
All standard PLO fare.”
– Jim Fletcher, Creeping Anti-Israelism in the Evangelical Movement[5]

This anti-Israel position of Lynne Hybels was also mentioned in an Israel Today article that states. . .

Hybels is close friends with Nora Carmi of Sabeel, an organization that pushes vitriolic anti-Israeli propaganda in the name of “peace and justice.”
All of this eclipses Hybels’ attempts to become a neutral peacemaker. While certainly not an anti-Semite, she is guilty by close association with those who accuse Israel of everything from genocide to deicide. Perhaps unwittingly, she is carrying on Christianity’s awful anti-Semitic legacy.[6]

Also a contributing editor for Jim Wallis and Sojourners magazine, Lynne Hybels was appointed to President Obama’s faith Council, and has partnered with Tony Campolo and Brian McLaren at “Christ at the Checkpoint”.[7] For her to say that she really needs Rick Love’s book in her life and ministry should be quite telling.

Today Rick Love is an internationally recognized expert in Christian-Muslim relations and leads Peace Catalyst International.[8] On his website is a video called Conversations with an Imam: Similarities and Differences in Christian-Muslim Friendship[9], the message of which boils down to the bottom line that – “we can be friends.”

But is this even possible? One defender of biblical truth says it is not. . .

“Muslim clerics know that from Muhammad’s time until today Islam has always viewed each and every non-Muslim as “infidels” and members of the “House of War.” It is, in Muslim tradition and doctrine, perfectly acceptable to deceive any and all infidels (non-Muslims) if it is for the furtherance of Islam”
-Eric Barger, Evangelical MELTDOWN [10]

If this is so, from a Christian point of view, what would be the sense of participating in such bridge building campaigns? What eternal benefit is there in seeking similarities between two opposing religions? Without prayer and preaching of the truth about the Prince of Peace (to ANY group the church experiences “tension” with), is bridge building on common ground and/or integration even possible (or biblical)?[11]

“The ultimate goal of befriending Muslims should be, for the Christian, to present the gospel of Jesus Christ to them. Those who are true disciples of Jesus were, at one time, “God’s enemies, but have been reconciled to Him by the death of His Son” (Romans 5:10).” – Got Questions[12]

Bible believing Christians (and Mennonites) would agree that Jesus instructed his followers to preach the good news to every person who is eternally lost, and make disciples. Perhaps this is the sincere objective of many peace bridge builders. However, another very important concern needs to be addressed in this case – what about the anti-Zionist names involved with Rick Love in this peace catalyst process?

Jim Fletcher recently wrote:

“Rick Love, I have no doubt, is very sincere in his efforts to build bridges with Muslims. I found it incredibly interesting though to check out whom he “follows” on Twitter. A sampling:
Porter Speakman Jr. (director of the Christian Zionist-mocking film “With God on Our Side”); David Neff (editorial vice-president for Christianity Today); The Economist (left-leaning European news magazine); Catalyst; Cameron Strang; Mark Driscoll; NPR News; Al Zazeera English; Alan Hirsch; Joshua Dubois (who until recently headed Obama’s Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Parterships); Rob Bell; Lynne Hybels; World Vision; John Ortberg; Rachel Held Evans; Gabe Lyons; Christ at the Checkpoint; Tony Campolo; Ed Stetzer; Shane Claiborne; Donald Miller.
The list goes painfully on, but you get the idea. Each of the people/organizations listed above would either be overtly hostile to Israel, or they hobnob with those who are. Hence, Rick Love’s view of Israel is, I can safely presume, similar to that of Mahmoud Abbas.
That is, Middle East peace would flourish were it not for the “occupation,” etc.”
–Jim Fletcher, Israel Watch[13]

In conclusion, a ‘peace building’ book recommendation in a Mennonite magazine may not be noticed by many, but it is an important issue in light of what is going on in the world today. It is only one of many examples where good intentioned Mennonites get involved in interfaith dialogue with other religions, be it Islam or Catholicism. The list would be too extensive to add to this blog. One such Mennonite has endorsed Rick Love’s book:

“This book is Christ centered and biblically grounded…Those committed to local and global mission will find this book to be a necessary resource in these tumultuous times.” (David W. Shenk, global consultant for Christian/Muslim relations, Eastern Mennonite Missions)

As Jim Fletcher concludes in his message to the many evangelicals who are willing to go far in building bridges with Muslim leaders . . .

“Well, then I say to them: go on and try to build your bridges, though I am certain it is a bridge too far.”[14]

_______

End Notes:

[1] http://mbherald.com/january-issue-2015/
[2] http://mbherald.com/peace-catalysts/
[3] J Janzen (former interim MB Herald editor) serves as pastoral elder at the Highland Community Church, Abbotsford, B.C., a Mennonite Brethren affiliated church which leans toward contemplative spirituality. (See: Disappointment in the MB Herald
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2011/04/25/disappointment-in-the-mb-herald/)
[4] Read: A Biblical and Historical Rebuttal to “Loving God and Neighbor Together: A Christian Response to a Common Word Between us and You.” By Eric Barger http://www.ericbarger.com/muslim.rebuttal.htm
[5] Jim Fletcher, Creeping Anti-Israelism in the Evangelical Movement
http://www.frontpagemag.com/2015/jim-fletcher/creeping-anti-israelism-in-the-evangelical-movement/
[6] The Impossible People: Lynne Hybels: http://www.israeltoday.co.il/NewsItem/tabid/178/nid/24218/Default.aspx?archive=article_title
[7] See: “Christ at the Checkpoint” and Lynne Hybels: http://standtoministry.com/2012/02/18/christ-at-the-checkpoint-and-lynne-hybels/
[8] http://www.peace-catalyst.net/
[9] January 7, 2015 http://ricklove.net/?p=3009
[10] Eric Barger, Evangelical MELTDOWN
http://www.ericbarger.com/emailers/2008/update8-7-2008.htm
[11] Danish Psychologist: ‘Integration of Muslims in Western Societies is Not Possible’ by FELIX STREUNING http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/id.5905/pub_detail.asp
[12] http://www.gotquestions.org/sensitive-Muslim-culture.html
[13] Jim Fletcher, Feb, 18, 2013, Dupes: Part 786, Israel Watch
https://www.raptureready.com/jim/rap15old24.html
[14] Ibid.

*Final note: Incidentally, although the word ‘bridge’ does not appear in the Bible, Jesus is the only One who bridged the gap between us and the Father. It is Him we must direct people to, not the so called bridges of common ground beneath opposing religions.

RELATED ITEMS:

*Interfaith Peace – Mennonites and Muslims
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/interfaith-peace-mennonites-and-muslims/
*Mennonite Palestinianism
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/mennonite-palestinianism/
*Mennonites and Muslims Meet
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/mennonites-and-muslims-meet/
*Mennonites and Muslims Merge?
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2011/09/22/mennonites-and-muslims/

Anti-Christian Zionist Event Organized by a ‘Mennodox’?

It recently came to the attention of Menno-lite administration that an upcoming anti-Israel, anti-Christian Zionist mini conference called Challenging Christian Zionism: Canadian Roots and Responses (Oct 24 & 25) is possibly being organized by a Mennonite. Further research has confirmed this… sort of.

Andrew Klager is on faculty at the University of the Fraser Valley (B.C., Canada) where he is a sessional instructor of Mennonite Studies. His research, which includes Anabaptist-Mennonite studies and interreligious peacebuilding, is widely published in a variety of journals, such as Mennonite Quarterly Review, Conrad Grebel Review, and Journal of Mennonite Studies, as well as some books (Stricken by God? Nonviolent Identification and the Victory of Christ and Canadian Christian Zionism: A Tangled Tale).

Klager is also a writer for the Huffington Post and Clarion Journal, where his bio is posted:

After growing up in a conservative Evangelical environment in BC and Ontario, Andrew began attending a Mennonite church when he was 15 years old and received his undergraduate education at a Mennonite institution (Columbia Bible College, Abbotsford, BC)… He is currently a member of Holy Nativity Orthodox Church in Langley, BC. Andrew is still strongly informed by the Mennonite peace tradition(s) and emphasis on social justice, simple living, peacebuilding, and conflict transformation—re-shaped and applied within an Orthodox theological, historical, and ascetic framework—resulting in his informal, somewhat tongue-in-cheek self-identification as ‘Mennodox.’

http://www.clarion-journal.com/clarion_journal_of_spirit/our-authors.html

Klager’s upcoming book, From Suffering to Solidarity: The Historical Seeds of Mennonite Interreligious, Interethnic, and International Peacebuilding, will be released next year.

anti-Zionist lectures poster


This weekend, it appears that the Mennodox Klager has organized a conference sponsored by Friends of Sabeel called CHALLENGING CHRISTIAN ZIONISM
: CANADIAN ROOTS AND RESPONSES
 with
 Dr. Gary Burge and Dr. Ron Dart
. It is a project of Necef Sabeel Canada, hosted by Canadian Friends of Sabeel BC (see PDF).

This is a mini lecture series (in two locations) in place of the larger Friends of Sabeel conference that has been postponed until next spring.

To find out more about these Canadian Friends of Sabeel conferences, see the research at Olive Press:

Anti-Zionist Lectures in Canada
http://olivepress.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/anti-zionist-lectures-in-canada/

More on the upcoming anti-Zionist mini conference . . .
http://olivepress.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/more-on-the-upcoming-anti-zionist-mini-conference/

Stephen Sizer and Friends Are No Friends of Israel
http://olivepress.wordpress.com/2014/10/18/stephen-sizer-and-friends-are-no-friends-of-israel/

Canadian Friends of Sabeel or Enemies of Israel? (UPDATED)
http://olivepress.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/friends-of-sabeel-canada/

_______

***See related posts on Mennonites and Sabeel, here:

McLaren’s Palestinian Justice Speech, Part 1
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/mclarens-palestinian-justice-speech-part-1/

McLaren’s Palestinian Justice Speech, Part 2
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/mclarens-palestinian-justice-speech-part-2/

The Anti-Israel Movement and the Mennonites: Part 2 – In the Name of Christ
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/the-anti-israel-movement-and-the-mennonites-part-2/

Sabeel, Merton, Mennonite Convergence
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/sabeel-merton-mennonite-convergence/

Upcoming Conference Concern (UPDATED)

Because some Mennonites have had a connection with Sabeel, and because Paul Wilkinson, who has been mentioned on this blog, recently spoke in a Mennonite Brethren church in Canada and warned about an upcoming Sabeel conference in that very city, today Mennolite is linking to a post at Olive Press about Sabeel’s upcoming Canadian conference. Originally scheduled for two months from now, it has recently been changed to next spring. The Canadian Friends of Sabeel conference is called Facing the New Jerusalem:
 Face-to-Face with Christian Zionism and with Palestinian Christians, and will be held in a university in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, Canada. Read about it here:

Canadian Friends of Sabeel or Enemies of Israel? http://olivepress.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/friends-of-sabeel-canada/

Related:

What is Christian Palestinianism? https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/what-is-christian-palestinianism/

Mennonite Palestinianism https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/mennonite-palestinianism/

Sabeel, Merton, Mennonite Convergence https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/sabeel-merton-mennonite-convergence/

McLaren’s Palestinian Justice Speech, Part 1 https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/mclarens-palestinian-justice-speech-part-1/

McLaren’s Palestinian Justice Speech, Part 2 https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/mclarens-palestinian-justice-speech-part-2/

The Anti-Israel Movement and the Mennonites: Part 1 – What’s it all about? https://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 https://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 https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/the-anti-israel-movement-and-the-mennonites-part-3-pawns-at-the-checkpoint/

More Mennonite connections with Sabeel, for research purposes:

Network seeks to mobilize Israel-Palestine peacemaking
http://mennoworld.org/2014/08/12/network-seeks-to-mobilize-israel-palestine-peacemaking/

Mennonite Palestine Israel Network (MennoPIN)
Steering Committee
http://mennopin.wordpress.com/about/steering-committee/

__________

*** UPDATE:

Those who are interested can find new information here:

Anti-Zionist Lectures in Canada
https://olivepress.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/anti-zionist-lectures-in-canada/

McLaren’s Palestinian Justice Speech, Part 2

In the last half of his plenary talk at a FOSNA conference this April in Portland, Oregon, in his case to prove that Christians are responsible for creating the injustice that currently exists in Palestine, Brian McLaren went into further detail about his problem with all the accounts in the Bible where God said to wipe out the surrounding nations, people and even animals, in what he calls the ‘texts of genocide.’

“Through its appropriation of “texts of terror” and especially through the application of those texts to the Jews, the Christian religion created the conditions for the oppression of Palestinians.”
-Brian McLaren, Seeds of Hope and Justice for Palestinians and Israelis [1]

McLaren then talked about the holocaust being one of many world wide genocidal atrocities which the church has been behind, saying that “The lament that Christians should have is that Israel is treating Palestinians exactly the way Christians treated Jews, and we now lament that past.”

But is it true that the Christian religion created the conditions for oppression of Palestine? While many atrocities in the world have been done in the name of Christ, is it true for McLaren to say that Israel is treating Palestinians the way Jews were treated in the Holocaust?

First of all, it was Hitler and the Unholy Alliance who were behind the annihilation of the Jews. Secondly, Israel today treats the Palestinians better than they are treated by their own leaders. Where is the genocide happening in Israel? Just this week Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu showed to the world “the true Israel, the advanced, modern and tolerant Israel, in effect, the only country in the Middle East that ensures complete freedom of worship to those of all faiths, guards the holy places and ensures the rights of all – Jews, Muslims, Christians, everybody.”[2]

Israel is not oppressing Palestinians. The exploitation of Palestinians appears to be coming from a leadership that does not want peace, using its people as pawns while trying to annihilate Israel.

The reality is that Israel, not only as a country, but as individual citizens, lives at peace with the Palestinians. Hard to believe – but it’s true. Since 1947, when Israel accepted the U.N. Partition Plan, which gave them sovereignty over a crumb of land, Israel has continuously reached out to the Arabs for peace, only to be met with a just as continuous chant of no, no, no.

Israel at Peace, Palestinians at War http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/gideonisrael/israel-at-peace-palestinians-at-war/

(It is important to understand all the facts in the above article if one is to counter the anti-Israel myths.)

Nearly at the ten minute mark in the second half of his talk, McLaren says that “More of us are going to have to stand up to the Christian Zionists and others…”

Christian Zionists everywhere should be alarmed by that statement and prepared to stand up for Israel and ask McLaren and friends how they think this is going to look.

In a classic misinterpretation of the Bible, McLaren said that after Jesus read the scroll of Isaiah and rolled it up (Luke 4), what he meant by doing that is that it’s time to move on from the ‘vengeance way’ of reading the Bible, the ‘exclusive way’ – and on to a ‘universal way’ of reading the Bible.

One day men like McLaren will tremble at the real reason that Jesus stopped reading in the middle of the prophecy. He purposely stopped at the comma because the next part was about his second coming. Jesus came the first time to do his ministry in order to set the captives free. We are now living in the comma, in the age of grace, the church age, before His second coming. When the other half of the Isaiah prophecy is fulfilled – then the world will see that the ‘vengeance’ part was not left out by Jesus to move on to a ‘universal way’, as Mclaren would have his listeners believe.

At the 12:22 minute mark, McLaren says: “It is time to join with Jews, Muslims, and others who seek peace, justice and the common good.”

Someone should ask McLaren to explain why (if the religion of Islam truly seeks peace) do the Muslim nations want to destroy Israel and drive them into the sea? If they really want peace, why did they not accept the peace offerings they were first given? Are Palestinians really ‘victims’ of an ‘occupation’?

Palestinians would not have become refugees in 1948 had they agreed to the 1947 UN Partition Plan. There would have been no Palestinian refugees, had they chosen not to attack and terrorize the Jewish community in Palestine in 1929, 1936-1939, and later in 1948, when they attempted to extinguish the nascent Jewish state. History repeated itself in 1967. After the Six Day War, Israel offered to negotiate peace with the Arab States. The response came from the Khartoum, Arab Summit, “No to Peace, No to negotiations with Israel, and No to recognition of Israel.”
… The “occupation” mantra is meant to appeal to emotions and not facts. Israel is the legal administrator of the territories until a peace settlement is reached. The “occupation” could have ended in 1967 if the Arab states and the PLO had agreed to make peace as UN Resolution 242 required. The Palestinians could have acquired statehood in 1947, or once again under the Oslo Accords process. They chose instead to launch an intifada (uprising) against Israel, rather than “end the conflict.”

The Self-Inflicted Palestinian Victimhood http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/joseph-puder/the-self-inflicted-palestinian-victimhood-2/

Near the end of his talk, McLaren promotes his new book, “We Make the Road by Walking” (a re-imagined re-telling of the Bible). On his powerpoint beside his book is a CS Lewis photo with the caption: “It is time to reclaim the Bible as “a book for grown ups.” This CS Lewis quote seems to be out of context. It is from Mere Christianity, where Lewis makes fun of those who reject the Christian’s idea of heaven because they don’t want to spend eternity playing harps. He says, “The answer to such people is that if they cannot understand books written for grown-ups, they should not talk about them” (p 121, Mere Christianity). Perhaps it is time for someone to suggest to Brian McLaren that if he cannot understand the Bible, he should not try to re-tell it [3].

Under McLaren’s powerpoint topical sentence: “We cannot be naive about the possible subconscious motivations for maintaining the status quo,” he notes that what happened recently with World Vision (hiring gays)[4] was just a matter of economic bullying by the elite. One of his other points, which he does not read out loud, is; “legitimization for a new scapegoat Islam”.[5] Does this mean that McLaren thinks that Islam is being bullied by the elite?

McLaren ends his presentation with a ‘thanks to Sabeel for the great leadership’ [6] followed by a very short Q&A where at 16 minutes he says that ‘the fundamentalist ways of reading the text are just soooo unfair to the text. When you really love a text you realize there is so much more going on.’ Does McLaren love the Biblical text enough to realize there is so much more going on?

After reading the question (at 19:30, followed by audience laughter): “Do you think peace in Israel will signal the end times?” – the moderator then asks McLaren to briefly comment on Revelation. McLaren answers that Revelation is a literature of the oppressed… a message that is speaking the truth indirectly. Like the sword on the guy riding on the horse that is coming out of his mouth (Revelation 19)[7]. If you wanna take that literally, says McLaren, that is comic. He then explains that the unarmed peaceful Messiah who rode in on a donkey is the real message, that peace is more powerful, and that the blood on his robe is only the blood of the powerless victim that overcomes the violence of his oppressor. (This is in keeping with the heretical non-violent atonement theory of Steve Chalke and others which denies the penal, substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross.)

Teachers like McLaren cannot discern that the sword in Jesus’ mouth represents the power of His Word, that His robe is stained in either the blood of His enemies or His own blood (a reminder of the cross). They cannot see that this is not the meek and mild Jesus who came the first time as a lamb. This Jesus is the returning King, the Lion of Judah, who by His righteousness will demand attention and submission when He comes back (as prophesied) to the rebellious world in the day of vengeance at the end of this age of grace. How sobering for any man who dares to take away the power of that image in the words describing the things which shall be hereafter, as told to us in the revelation of Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

“And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Revelation 22:19

Why is it important to critique the clever words of those like McLaren? Because of the way they are valued by Christian denominations, some Mennonite, who have allowed emerging church literature and resources with McLaren’s name on the label into their churches and institutes of learning, or have had him in as a guest to speak, or are involved in the same causes as McLaren and friends that contradict the Word of God. The question of urgency in these perilous times is: are you a friend Jesus, the soon returning King? Or Brian McLaren, friend of Sabeel and FOSNA[8], who says the guy on the horse with the sword is comic?

 

Endnotes:

[1] At about 4 minutes into the Part 2 youtube clip of his presentation, see: Christian responsibility for Palestinian Justice, Part 2 of Brian McLaren’s plenary talk at “Seeds of Hope and Justice for Palestinians and Israelis” at a FOSNA(Friends of Sabeel North America) conference, April, 2014 in Portland, Oregon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hM7Us1wDzk
[2] Netanyahu: Pope visiting only Mideast state to offer true freedom of religion http://www.jpost.com/LandedPages/PrintArticle.aspx?id=353279
[3] https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/mclarens-new-book-a-new-kind-of-year-long-church-curriculum/
[4] World Vision: Why We’re Hiring Gay Christians in Same-Sex Marriages http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2014/march-web-only/world-vision-why-hiring-gay-christians-same-sex-marriage.html?paging=off
[5] Powerpoint slides available at
http://www.slideshare.net/brianmclaren/sabeel-2014
Published on Apr 21, 2014 by FOSNA Sabeel (Friends of Sabeel North America) (www.fosna.org)
[6] “Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, headquartered in Jerusalem, has been a persistent source of anti-Zionist agitation in mainline Protestant churches in the United States since its founding in 1994. The organization subjects Israel, Jews, and Judaism to intense scrutiny while remaining nearly silent about Arab and Muslim extremism in the Middle East. In addition to publicizing the writings of its founder, Anglican priest Naim Ateek, Sabeel broadcasts its message via regional conferences in the United States and regular study missions to Israel. Far-Left American and Israeli Jews are given prominent display at Sabeel conferences, where Israel is held up to a strict biblical standard of conduct while its adversaries are held to no standard at all. By giving its followers the sense that they are engaging in a showdown with the forces of evil embodied by Israel and its U.S supporters, Sabeel reenacts the church-synagogue rivalry documented in early Christian writings.”
Read this and much more about Sabeel here:
Updating the Ancient Infrastructure of Christian Contempt: Sabeel http://jcpa.org/article/updating-the-ancient-infrastructure-of-christian-contempt-sabeel/
[7] Revelation 19 http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Rev&c=19&v=13&t=KJV#s=1186013
[8] “Rather than truly seeking ways to coexist or to build up a normal Palestinian-Arab society, FOSNA has assembled a roster of Israel-haters and antagonists to present discussions and workshops geared toward delegitimizing and defaming Israel, hurting the Jewish state economically, and eroding support for Israel – particularly among American Christians…
.. Sabeel and Friends of Sabeel also distort history, international law, and the situation on the ground – casting Israel as “oppressors” and responsible for every “injustice” that allegedly afflicts Palestinian-Arabs. Everyone else is apparently blameless for their claimed suffering…
… Further, Sabeel considers all of the land as “Palestinian,” accuses Israel of practicing “apartheid,” and dates the “occupation” to 1948. The facts that the Palestinian Arabs rejected the U.N. Partition Plan in 1947 that offered them a state of their own, that the international community gave the land to the Jewish people for “close settlement” (as per the Mandate for Palestine issued by the League of Nations), that Judea and Samaria and the eastern half of Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip were illegally occupied respectively by Jordan and Egypt from 1948 to 1967, and that the charge of “apartheid” is laughable do not seem to matter.”
Source: The Palestinian Narrative: Seeking Peace by Waging War http://www.levitt.com/news/2014/03/29/

Related:

McLaren’s Palestinian Justice Speech, Part 1 https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/mclarens-palestinian-justice-speech-part-1/

*Find this blog’s 5 part critique of McLaren’s teaching at Canadian Mennonite University in 2011, here: https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2011/03/17/cmu-student-found-refreshing-winds-very-cool/

**The following links may provide answers to some issues McLaren mentioned:

Why did God condone such terrible violence in the Old Testament? http://www.gotquestions.org/Old-Testament-violence.html

Why Would a Loving God Tell Israel to Wipe Out Her (enemies?) http://www.thebereancall.org/content/why-would-loving-god-tell-israel-wipe-out-her

Why would God order the destruction of men, women, and children? http://carm.org/bible-difficulties/joshua-esther/why-would-god-order-destruction-men-women-and-children

Christians condemn the Quran and Islam for all the violence taught therein, but say nothing about all the OT brutalities such as God commanding the utter annihilation of the Amalekites, including women, children and animals. Why this inconsistency? http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/q_amalekites.htm

Klavan’s One State Solution: Give the Middle East to the Jews http://moriel.org/MorielArchive/index.php/discernment/israel/klavans-one-state-solution-give-the-middle-east-to-the-jews

SABEEL ECUMENICAL LIBERATION THEOLOGY CENTER http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/sabeel_ecumenical_liberation_theology_center

Attacks on Christian Zionism http://www.levitt.com/essays/christian_zionism

Palestinian Liberation Theology http://www.levitt.com/news/2012/02/15/palestinian-liberation-theology/?shared=email&msg=fail

***Also see:

The End of Evangelical Support for Israel? The Jewish State’s International Standing http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=15597

‘Jesus Was a Palestinian’: The Return of Christian Anti-Semitism by Melanie Philips http://www.commentarymagazine.com/article/jesus-was-a-palestinian-the-return-of-christian-anti-semitism/

Bethlehem’s ‘Christ at the Checkpoint’ Conference: A Personal Report By: Brian Schrauger http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/bethlehems-christ-at-the-checkpoint-conference-a-personal-report/2014/03/18/0/?print

Who Are the Peacemakers? http://blogs.jpost.com/content/who-are-peacemakers-0

NEW ARTICLE:

Palestinian Liberation Theology Exposed Jan 20, 2014
Reverend Dr. Naim Stifan Ateek (Arab Palestinian Anglican priest and founder of Sabeel International Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem) attempts to revise history.
http://www.frontpagemag.com/2015/susan-warner/palestinian-liberation-theology-exposed/