From Bill Sutter’s Desk Nov/Dec 2002
The leader of a Jewish organization recently asked me about the puzzling lack of support for Israel within mainline Protestant denominations. I explained that the root of the problem is theological.
A significant and disturbing development within 20th-century Protestantism was that many of its leaders denied the truth of Scripture. As they rejected the Bible’s authority, two other trends surfaced. First, the true gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ was cast aside in favor of a different “gospel,” a false substitute that fell fatally short in meeting mankind’s most important needs—the spiritual ones.
Second, what the Bible teaches about Israel and God’s promises to the Jewish people became increasingly less important to these theologically liberal Protestant leaders. After dismissing biblical teaching and God’s specific promises, they then ignored the significance of key historical events, such as the founding of the modern State of Israel in 1948. To avoid the disastrous impact prophetic truth would have on their theologies of unbelief, they went to great lengths to deny God’s miraculous fulfillment of prophecy—specifically, Israel’s rebirth as a nation and the regathering of the Jewish people. At best, Israel became to them just another country, one among the many. At worst, they fell for the Palestinian myth, “Israel equals Goliath”; and they aligned themselves with Israel’s enemies.
Despite the facts, both biblical and practical, these liberal denominations became increasingly pro-Arab, pro-Palestinian, and anti-Israel.
Fortunately, liberal Protestantism has lost much of its influence and millions of its members to a growing evangelical body. The growth of evangelical churches and their support for Israel has been covered widely in the Jewish press, as well as in Christian and secular media throughout 2002. Rarely reported, however, is the fact that a significant number of evangelical Christianity’s new adherents are former mainline Protestants who found themselves uncomfortably out of step with their leaders. They knew something was terribly lacking in what they were hearing from their pulpits. And they were further frustrated by a radical, social activism that bore no resemblance to an expression of God’s love or to His standards of right and wrong as revealed in the Bible.
So they “voted” with their minds, their hearts, and their feet. Preferring to stand with God’s Word, they left the liberal churches, searching for proper places of worship and fellowship. Eventually they became part of the growing evangelical Christian community.
In doing so, they joined millions of Christians in Bible-believing churches whose primary personal relationships are not with a particular religious body but with the God of the Bible through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. In these evangelical churches, they found people who support Israel and have a unique and sincere love for the Jewish people. Here were Christians who understood the importance of Israel and the Jewish people in God’s plan for the ages. Many learned as children, as I did from godly parents, of God’s special, covenantal relationship with His people. It is a natural extension of our faith as Christians to support Israel and to love the Jewish people as God’s Chosen People.
As you are involved with the ministry of The Friends of Israel, you can be confident that we will always treat the Bible as God’s Word. You can rest assured that the gospel we proclaim is rooted in the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. And you can depend on our commitment to teach that every promise God has made to Israel and the Jewish people will someday be fulfilled.