Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, July 2010
Church Mission Preaches Christians Must Love and Defend Israelis
By Stuart Littlewood
Redress, Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, July 12, 2010
10 July 2010 Stuart Littlewood exposes the contradictions, hypocrisy and un-Christian essence of a “Christian” Zionist body known as “the Church’s Ministry among Jewish People”, which despite being an apologist for Israeli crimes against Palestinian Christians and Muslims, is an official ministry of the Church of England – in effect its official Zionist wing.
Ever heard of the CMJ (the Church's Ministry among Jewish People)?
Neither had I until I saw a parish magazine recently announcing a talk by the CMJ's director of advocacy to a local Church of England study group about "God's purpose for the Jewish people and Great Britain's involvement in the formation of modern Israel".
Apparently, the CMJ has a proud 200-year history and is a worldwide ministry sharing with Jewish people its belief that not only is Jesus the Saviour of the world, but he is the Jewish Messiah. CMJ is "propelled by devotion to God and the fulfillment of His promises to His people Israel", and it feels a need to provide in-depth teaching on the Jewish roots of the Christian faith.
CMJ’s USA website talks of “the spiritual rebirth of the Jewish people and the education of the Christian church in its call to take the Gospel to ‘the Jew first’.” And in its statement of faith the CMJ says Christians have “a special responsibility to love, defend and share the Gospel with God's historic, chosen people, the Jews”.
“Some say the CMJ encourages the physical restoration of the Jewish people to the biblical Land of Israel despite the suffering this causes, and published statements seem to confirm it.”
As for the CMJ’s attitude to the Israel-Palestine struggle:
CMJ believes that both Jewish and gentile believers (including our Palestinian brothers and sisters) are united in the one "olive tree". In fact, Jesus has made Jew and gentile believers one "and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility..."
The Israelis are still building the barrier and love nothing better than destroying whole groves of olive trees.
Gentiles are "fellow-citizens with God's people"... God loves all people equally. This means that he loves the Israelis and the Palestinians equally.
So all those claims to be God’s “chosen ones” are meaningless?
CMJ ... has always seen the return of the Jewish people to their ancient land, and on a national scale to their Messiah, as a precursor to the return of Jesus in glory.
Their return is achieved by ethnically cleansing the Holy Land, expelling the Arabs (whom God loves equally), slaughtering those who resist and trashing just about all of God's commandments. Jesus is really going to appreciate that when he arrives.
CMJ rejoices that, after 2000 years ... the Jewish people now, at last, have returned to the land from which the majority were dispersed in AD 70...
Rejoice in the Jewish occupation and you rejoice in the murderous crime spree it entails.
Israel is a secular state which is no more religious than Britain.
CMJ recognizes that the State of Israel was set up as a result of a majority vote of the United Nations in 1947... However the ministry does not hold any official position as to the appropriate location of the borders of the state.
But greedy Israel isn’t satisfied. If CMJ recognizes the UN's partition it should also accept the borders on which it was based. To do otherwise only serves to legitimize Israel’s ongoing land-grab and lawlessness.
CMJ believes that the term "Restoration" when applied to the Jewish people is primarily restoration to their Messiah… The focus of New Testament doctrine of the end times is on Jesus and holy living, rather than land.
So why rejoice in their seizing the land and dispossessing the rightful owners?
CMJ affirms that God is a God of justice and peace, and that he desires justice and peace for all people groups.
How can there be justice or peace under illegal occupation?
CMJ Ministry recognizes that the Israelis, after 2000 years of anti-Semitism, face a resurgence of anti-Semitism, a military threat from various nations, Palestinian terrorism and a threat to the stability of their safe homeland through demographic factors.
Israel, with its nuclear arsenal and American-supplied state-of-the-art weaponry, easily outguns the other nations in the Middle East. Its lack of restraint and contempt for international law, demonstrated many times, makes it the prime military and terror menace to the region. Meanwhile, Palestinians have every right to defend their homes as best they can.
[The Palestinians] experience economic disaster and lack of infrastructure, partly through Israeli policies and partly through the failures of the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Palestinian infrastructure is regularly destroyed by Israel. Left in peace the Palestinians would have prospered like other nations. The PA has no legitimacy, it is a tool of the West.
Some say the CMJ encourages the physical restoration of the Jewish people to the biblical Land of Israel despite the suffering this causes, and published statements seem to confirm it.
Wikipedia says: “CMJ has always adopted a Zionist position, and expressed the view that the Jewish people deserved a state in the Holy Land decades before Zionism began as a movement.” CMJ is also accused of propagating Zionism rather than Christianity.
Ready for the bombshell? The CMJ was adopted as an official ministry of the Church of England in 1995. It has been operating in the shadows for 15 years.
So, is this the Church of England’s official Zionist wing?
Within the Church it is said that some believe the mission to Jewish people is inappropriate. Others maintain that Jewish people cannot be excluded from the scope of Christian mission.
And what about the local parish study group, and all the other study groups targeted by the CMJ? Did they know enough about the facts on the ground to challenge the CMJ’s advocacy?
Here are the thoughts of the local heads of Churches in Jerusalem, as set down in their Jerusalem Declaration of 2006 – and they are in the front line, in the cauldron of brutal reality, facing the disastrous consequences of evangelical meddling by America and Britain.
- We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as a false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation.
- We further reject the contemporary alliance of Christian Zionist leaders and organizations with elements in the governments of Israel and the United States that are presently imposing their unilateral pre-emptive borders and domination over Palestine.
- We reject the teachings of Christian Zionism that facilitate and support these policies as they advance racial exclusivity and perpetual war..,
- Rather than condemn the world to the doom of Armageddon we call upon everyone to liberate themselves from ideologies of militarism and occupation.
Amen to that.
Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. For further information please visit www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk,
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