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.
I beg to differ. Some 80% of the population of modern-day Israel are agnostics or atheists. Their religiosity (and liberal politics, btw) is not much different than Europe, or the most secular parts of the USA.
I'm a big supporter of Israel--as it is the only independently democratic--and fully civilized--country in the Middle East. But should I support them merely (or mainly?) because most of them have a Jewish heritage? Should I support them, be they right or wrong, out of fear of being cursed by God, or somehow to quicken the 2nd Coming of Jesus? I think that kind of support verges on religious superstition, not a wise evaluation of the actual nation on the ground.
The nation-state of Israel today, should not be confused with the ancient theocracy of the Kingdom of David from 1000 BC.
Support Israel today? Yes, but hold them to the same standards as any other country on earth, not as some mystical favored (or spoiled?) child of God--particularly when the landslide of the population is irreligious.
Yes, I am an evangelical Christian--and scripture teaches--a spritual descendant and heir of Abraham. Please, however, do not call me a "Christian Zionist," only a Christian; as no follower of Christ should have divided loyalties.
Thank you for this information. It clears up some questions I had.
Thanks for the ping!
You are one strange looking bloke LOL -
God bless you too Sister!
You don't believe we do that? Please give an example of what you're talking about please.
About 6 years ago, I had the bad luck of being in a situation of having to listen to an America guy, supposedly an evangelical go after Bush, Republicans and wanting the destruction of Israel for a few minutes.
He and his wife were from N Wisconsin/ S Minnesota and now live in Medford/Ashland, Or. area. They were members of some so called born again evangelical group back in the mid west and SW Oregon. I never found out which group as I got the hell away from him.
He had been a spec op in the Nam era, serving in Laos. He now hates the American Military about as much as he hates Israel’s existance.
The guy and his wife changed personalities in seconds and went into their above hatreds.
Reading your post reminds me that most US Jews feel the same way you do, thus their voting behavior.
Very self destructive.
Nice roundup, and it only took the surrender monkey 6 weeks.
An excellent website which I have frequently referred friends and acquaintances over the past five years!
If people only knew and understood...
Look at this link, I think you will find it interesting.
“Please, however, do not call me a “Christian Zionist,” only a Christian; as no follower of Christ should have divided loyalties.”
I never called you anything.
I stand by my statement. If a person supports a Jewish nation (in this case it has to be Israel b/c that’s what was prophesied in the Bible), then you are a Zionist. I’m sorry if you don’t like the meaning of the word.
I’m not sure what you mean by *divided loyalties*, as I’m a bit foggy atm, but when God says whoever blesses you will be blessed and whoever curses you will be cursed, He means what He says.
nice post...my feelings about Israel as well
You’re not familiar with Melanie Phillips are you?
She’s quite right about Islam but she has a decidely anti Christian bent too.
A very angry Jewish woman who sees some enemies where none exist.
Her works are a source of heatred threads here frequently.
Evangelicals and Islamists uniting is her way of bashing two of her enemies at once.
Like more than a few Jews, she eschews doctrinaire Christians.
My problem is this. Israel should be given NO favoritism, over any other country. In as much as they are a democratic republic, we should support them--in appropriate ways. If they were to become a murderous dictatorship, (which they certainly are NOT now) then we should also treat them in approriate ways--JUST LIKE ANY OTHER COUNTRY, regardless of some biblical blessing/curse, which SUPPOSEDLY applies to irreligious ethnic Jews today.
As a nation America pumps BILLIONS into Israel--a 1st World country, that does very well economically--in spite of all of her neighbors unfair boycott of her. Israel must learn to live on her own.
Then we also have African countries, with MILLIONS of very devout, evangelical Christians--living in brutal dictatorships in utter poverty--which compared to Israel, in private charities, we help out very little. Assuming you are an evangelical Christian, who now are "God's chosen people?" 7 million well fed and educated irreligious Israelis? Or 50 million severely persecuted and malnourished evangelical Christian Nigerians?
There's actually a charity, founded and funded by American evangelical Christians, to "bring Jews back to the holy land!" Christians spending big bucks to bring atheist/agnostic ethnic Jews from Russia and eastern Europe, to evangelize and bring them to faith in Jesus, their (and the) Messiah? NO. Just to transport them to, and establish them in Israel, so they can be on their way to hell there...
Yes its a free country, so people can do with their money what they want--but following the Jewish Messiah Jesus, does not mean that I should be play favorites with the descendants of his ethnic group....a group of people whose primary identifier unfortunately is not what they believe, but Who they reject.
FYI, I am quite familiar with Melanie Phillips, and regualrly read her blog in The Spectator. I have not seen anything in her writings that could be construed as anti-Christian.
Anyone who claims Evangelicals are teaming up with Islamists against Israel is either ignorant or willfully obtuse.
Evangelicals, fundamentalists and even run of the mill city Christians are ardent supporters of Israel
for many reasons...some kinsmen issues, some Biblical but most just good common sense reasoning
Ms Phillips has been pretty rough on Ratzinger just for starters
She is right about Islam and the decline of the west though...no doubt
She is talking about some Christians in England, not evangelicals in the US. If you have ever met many British people, you would now there is a difference.
lived in London 1986
hampstead lane and tottenham court road
worked in hatton garden...all Jews and Indians
precious few religious Christians in Merry Old these days
Well, I have counted Hank Hanegraaff as one American evangelical Christians on the side of Arabs, Gary DeMar as another. John Piper has also sounded something akin to Sizer at times. If you count Rick Warren as an evangelical then he is another guy. Mark Driscoll also downplays Israel and so is Bill Hybels (incidentally, Driscoll, Hybels, and Warren all have ties to Sizer’s church programmes. Piper and Hanegraaff are friends of Driscoll and DeMar is also doctrinal brother with Piper on the theological doctrinal issue of Israel)
DeMar has invited Stephen Sizer to speak on his pro-Arab agenda. One thing that strikes me is that in the last 3 years, even many otherwise pro-Arab secular European journalists and pundits start to say Israel is right to drive Hamas into the ground (I know one Chinese-Indonesian guy Martin Oei who is a secularist liberal Catholic, and he is a candidate of the upcoming election of the head of the Hong Kong Journalists Association), but Sizer begs otherwise. So you can see there is something more than journalism coverage that is at hand when these professing Christians say they are against Israel.
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