Skip to comments.Beware the new axis of evangelicals and Islamists
Posted on 03/05/2009 3:33:44 PM PST by Parmenio
Melanie Phillips says there is a dangerous new alliance between anti-Israel Christians and radical Muslim groups, often plotting in secret against their common enemy
Last weekend the Revd Stephen Sizer, vicar of Christ Church, Virginia Water appeared at an anti-Israel meeting with an Islamist called Ismail Patel. Patel has not only accused Israel of genocide and war crimes but considers Disney to be a Jewish plot and supports Hamas, Iran and Syria.
Sizer is a virulent opponent of Christian Zionism and of Israel, which he has said he hopes will disappear just as did the apartheid regime in South Africa. He has also applauded Iranian President Ahmadinejad for having looked forward to the day when Zionism ceased to exist. Nevertheless, the appearance of an Anglican churchman on a pro-Islamist platform in Britain is a new and significant development. The Church of England recently banned its clergy from joining the BNP; should it not equally ban them from siding with the forces of Islamofascism?
Sizers participation, however, must be seen in the context of a disturbing realignment in the services of the forces of darkness against the free world: the emergence of an axis between a body of evangelicals, the hard left, the Islamists and the far right.
Last July, a discreet meeting was held by a group of influential Anglican evangelicals to co-ordinate a new church approach towards Islam. The meeting was convened by Bryan Knell, head of the missionary organisation Global Connections, and others from a group calling itself Christian Responses to Islam in Britain. The 22 participants, who met at All Nations Christian College in Ware, Hertfordshire, were sworn to secrecy. The aim of the meeting was to develop the grace approach to Islam, which tries to let Muslims interpret Islam rather than telling them what their religion teaches. The meeting had in its sights those aggressive Christians who were increasing the level of fear in many others by talking about the threat posed by radical Islam.
The aim was thus to discredit and stifle those Christians who warn against the Islamisation of Britain and Islams threat to the church. Those who do so include the Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, the Africa specialist Baroness Cox, the Islam expert Dr Patrick Sookhdeo and the Maranatha Ministry. A few weeks ago, Dr Sookhdeo became a spectacular victim of precisely such a discrediting process. Dr Sookhdeo, an Anglican canon, a Muslim convert and one of this countrys premier authorities on Islam, runs the Barnabas Fund, an aid agency helping persecuted Christians. He has written many books about Islam of which the latest is Global Jihad: The Future in the Face of Militant Islam.
In January the website of Fulcrum, an evangelical group, carried a review of Global Jihad by Ben White, a frequent contributor to the Guardian. His review rubbished Sookhdeos scholarship on the grounds that he had identified a theological problem with Islam when Islamic aggression was rooted instead in global grievances, particularly the existence and behaviour of Israel. To cap a farrago of ignorance and historical illiteracy, White tried to damn Sookhdeo by association, citing hard-line conservatives and pro-Israel right-wingers who endorsed his work as proof that Sookhdeo was beyond the pale.
White then drew his review to the attention of a blogger, Islamist and Muslim convert called Indigo Jo. On his website, Indigo Jo anathematised Sookhdeo as the Sookhdevil. This attack was reproduced on various other Islamist websites and Sookhdeo has received a death threat as a result.
So why should Christians betray another Christian to radical Islamists? Fulcrum have denied any connection to the Indigo Jo site along with any intention to discredit Sookhdeo. They say they merely wanted to provide a forum to discuss the issues raised by his book. But why use Ben White, who clearly knows little about Islam, to review a book by an Islam scholar? A recurring thread of Whites writing is his hatred of Israel. He justifies Palestinian terrorism against Israel as legitimate self-defence to bring about the decolonisation and liberation from occupation and Zionist apartheid. He says he can understand why some people are unpleasant towards Jews because of Israels ideology of racial supremacy and its subsequent crimes committed against the Palestinians and also the widespread bias and subservience to the Israeli cause in the Western media.
Enter at this point the non-evangelical, secular Left in the shape of Andrew Brown, who joined Whites onslaught against Sookhdeo on the Guardians Comment Is Free website. Brown claimed of Sookhdeos supporters that they constructed a closed mirror-world of hatred to stand against the Islamist one.
Browns article, too, seemed to be driven by hostility to anyone who supported Israel. His objection to Sookhdeo was principally that in practice the Sookhdeo view of Islam is always coupled with a stance in favour of the greater Israel which enabled Brown to make a witty crack insinuating that the Jews were people who are instructed by their religion to be violent, treacherous and imperialist.
There has long been a notable crossover between the Left and the Islamists, who bury their considerable differences because of their all-consuming hatred of Israel and the West and in which they find an echo in neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups. But whats new in this explosive mix is the presence of Christian evangelicals. What is extraordinary, moreover, is the targeting by Christian missionaries such as Brian Knell of Sookhdeo, a principal campaigner to end the death sentence for Muslim converts to Christianity. So why are such evangelicals trying to destroy people who are defending Christianity against Islamist aggression?
The answer lies in a profound split amongst evangelicals: between Christian Zionists who love Israel and want to defend the church against the predations of radical Islam, and those who want Israel to be destroyed and radical Islam appeased. Brian Knell, for example, blames Israels institutionalised terrorism for the radicalisation of Muslims worldwide. He thus ignores Islamist statements about the innate perfidy of the secular West, the cosmic evil of the Jews throughout history and the need to impose doctrinal purity upon other Muslims in the face of Western modernity.
The warped obsession with Israel is fundamental to these evangelicals desire to accommodate radical Islamism. Another participant at the All Nations meeting was Colin Chapman, the father of the UK movement against Christian Zionism and whose animosity is rooted in a theological prejudice against the Jews. Chapmans hugely influential book, Whose Promised Land, resurrects the ancient Christian canard of supercessionism the belief that because the Jews denied the divinity of Christ, God transferred His favours to the Christians while the Jews were cast out as the party of the Devil. This doctrine lay behind centuries of Christian anti-Jewish hatred until the Holocaust drove it underground.
In his book, Chapman writes that violence has always been implicit in Zionism and that Jewish self-determination is somehow racist. He also subscribes to the canard of sinister Jewish power. He has written: Six million Jews in the USA have an influence that is out of all proportion to their numbers in the total population of 281 million... It is widely recognised, for example, that no one could ever win the presidential race without the votes and the financial support of substantial sections of the Jewish community.
It is a sobering fact that such a subscriber to anti-Jewish prejudice should be so influential in the church. And such thinking has many followers, including Stephen Sizer. The covenant between Jews and God, he has written, was conditional on their respect for human rights. The reason they were expelled from the land was that they were more interested in money and power and treated the poor and aliens with contempt. And he has denied validity to Judaism itself saying: to suggest ...that the Jewish people continue to have a special relationship with God, apart from faith in Jesus ...is, in the words of [the leading Anglican evangelical] John Stott, biblically anathema.
And now look at other groups with which Sizer is making common cause in his hatred of Israel and the Jews. He has given interviews to, endorsed or forwarded material from American white supremacists and Holocaust deniers. Last year, he sent an article printed in the Palestine Chronicle about the alleged influence of Israel in Washington through powerful overtly Jewish Washington organisations and, increasingly, through Christian Zionist organisations to an appreciative Martin Webster, the former leader of the neo-Nazi National Front.
Many will be deeply shocked that the Church of England harbours individuals with such attitudes. But the church hierarchy is unlikely to act against them. Extreme hostility towards Israel is the default position among bishops and archbishops; while the establishment line is to reach out towards Islam in an attempt to accommodate and appease it. With Christians around the world suffering forced conversion, ethnic cleansing and murder at Islamist hands, the church utters not a word of protest. Instead, inter-faith dialogue is the order of the day, with yet another participant in the All Nations meeting, Canon Graham Kings the theological secretary of Fulcrum, no less a key player in Anglican inter-faith work. And now Israels war against Hamas has had a pivotal effect. There is now a widespread sense that Israel must finally be defeated once and for all and then the Islamists will calm down.
It is horrifying that so many in the church should be preaching against the victims of Jew-hatred and Islamist violence and seeking to accommodate those who stand for the persecution of Christians, the destruction of western and Christian values and the genocide of the Jews. It is horrifying that the church is providing a platform for the dissemination of lies about Israel and ancient theological bigotry against the Jews. And it is horrifying that it contains people who are not just virulently hostile towards Israel but also towards anyone who supports it.
Given the common but no less odious view that British Jews who support Israel are guilty of dual loyalty, it would seem that the church is truly supping with the devil and setting the stage for a repeat of an ancient tragedy.
Are any US evangelicals coming out against Israel? Outside of the mainline legacy denominations I mean. I haven't heard of any.
Please don’t refer to pro-Islam religionists as Evangelical Christians.
Biblical Christians support Israel.
I am watching very carefully for some kind of christo/mohammadan merger. All that is standing in the way is Christian insistence on the divinity of Christ.
I was in the car last night and National People’s Radio devoted a whole hour to debunking the Jesus “myth”.
sounds like leftist so-called christians like the ucc and the episcopalians
Many anti-freedom, anti-truth, anti-individual, anti-life collectives and individuals will join forces.
WORDS & DEEDS BUMP!
I didn’t refer to them that way. The author of the article did.
How can you be a Christian and not support Israel?
Why? Because Christianity is not anti countries or ethnic groups.
Christians, that have a brain, WILL respectfully tell people that hold beliefs opposite to their own why they think they are wrong.
How can you be a Christian and not support Israel?
Outside of the drug-induced hallucinations of radical leftists, no.
I can see yer white hat.
I’m after the statements of the author of the article. Any damage to you was only collateral and not intended:).
“Are any US evangelicals coming out against Israel?”
If they were, I would not consider them to be evangelicals. Or Christians.
“15 Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
21”Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”—Matthew 7
This shows again why the term "Evangelical" is so broad as to be essentially meaningless. When whackjob liberal Presbyterians and Anglicans can be called "Evangelicals", the term has run its course and needs to be put to bed.
IIRC, there is some "latent" anti-Israelism/anti-Zionism in some quarters even of conservative American Christianity, mostly groups holding to amillenial eschatology and related heresies who believe (in some form or fashion) that "the Church" IS Israel, which would obviously make Israel NOT Israel....if that made sense.
Simply, no. At least not any more so than you could find people who practice satanism or other scatterred loonie nut-jobs of no social or numerical significance. The author of the piece referring to some so-called "profound split" is ridiculous. I suspect there may be some agenda here in trying to drive a deeper wedge between Jews and evangelical Christians.
Did you mean “descendants”?
Christians who hate Jews are the same type that love abortion and homosexuality—Either seriously misguided or false, like Obama’s spiritual leader Rev. Wright. I certainly wouldn’t call Jew-hating so-called Christians “evangelical.”
Shalom, and Amen.
***Please dont refer to pro-Islam religionists as Evangelical Christians.
Biblical Christians support Israel***
PING and re PING
Only massively idiotic, Biblically illiterate libs think that you can be anti-Israel AND Evangelical.
(The same brain-frieded who are always quoting the book of Revelation”S”).
1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
2 We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.
3 For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.
4 How shall we sing the LORD's song in a strange land?
5 If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.
6 If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.
7 Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof.
8 O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.
9 Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.