From Bill Sutter’s Desk Nov/Dec 2003
More and more Jewish people are beginning to recognize a simple truth we Christians have known for years: Protestantism is a mixed bag. Not all Protestants believe the Bible is God’s Word; not all interpret the Bible literally; not all support Israel. In fact, not all Protestants are even Christians.
A truly dramatic evidence of this growing awareness occurred earlier this year in Baltimore, Maryland. Some 350 national Jewish leaders gathered for their annual plenum to consider issues of importance to their communities. They adopted resolutions strongly supporting Israel and praising the Bush administration for its war on terrorism. But they did something else as well. They voted to support the growing relationship between the Jewish and evangelical Christian communities.
A resolution was enthusiastically debated that uniquely had Bible-believing Christians as its focus. Matthew E. Berger of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported on this development in an article titled “Defeat: JCPA nixes controversial resolution” in the March 5 Jewish Community Voice:
On another front, delegates voted to support increasing dialogue with the evangelical Christian community. Evangelicals have shown increasing interest in working with Jewish leaders on their shared support for Israel, although Jews have been reluctant because of divergent domestic policy views and concerns about proselytization.
Berger quoted Alan Respler, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Southern New Jersey, who said, “Evangelicals are not monolithic. We need to dialogue with them to understand the differences between the different groups, to see who we can work with effectively.”
The article said that in South Jersey, “according to Respler, the JCRC works closely with two Evangelical Christian organizations that strongly condemn anti-semitism [sic] . . . and strongly support Israel as God’s promise to the Jewish people in the book of Genesis.”
We thank God that He has privileged The Friends of Israel (FOI) to play a key role in building relationships between Bible-believing Christians and the Jewish community. Our nearby JCRC, spurred by Respler and other agency officers, has welcomed FOI’s participation in a wide range of activities on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people.
Meanwhile, leaders of mainline Protestant churches have virtually abandoned the Jewish state. Steeped in liberal theology that rejects the Bible as God’s Word and often even rejects the Bible’s criteria for becoming a Christian, they frequently embrace pro-Palestinian activism and positions that undermine the security of Israel and safety of the Jewish people.
The Friends of Israel has participated with our Jewish friends in rallies and press conferences supporting Israel. We have stood with them to oppose the rising tide of anti-Semitism. Friends of Israel has welcomed visiting Israelis to our headquarters and helped open doors for them to speak in churches and Christian schools. We have encouraged Christians to “Shop Israel” and have mobilized Christians nationally and internationally to support the beleaguered Jewish state.
When true Christians support Israel and show heartfelt compassion for the Jewish people, we are used of God to demonstrate the unconditional love He has for His covenant people.
The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people. But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt (Dt. 7:7–8).
The times are difficult; yet they provide exciting opportunities for us to stand and work with our Jewish friends. Relationships are being built for time and eternity. We all need to be involved and respond to God’s challenge to reflect the hope He gives us in His holy Scriptures:
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you (1 Pet. 3:15).