Yes, they will stop listening to the truth but will turn aside to follow myths. 2 Timothy 3:4
"Christ at the Checkpoint"
See also Christ at the Checkpoint 2014
See also Christ at the Checkpoint 2016 - Analysis of the implications by Caroline Glick
See also Does Christ at the Checkpoint have a new agenda?
Analysis extracted from articles by Shira Sorko-Ram, Avner Boskey and Malcolm Hedding plus booklet by Paul Wilkinson
The Latest Weapon Against Israel - Palestinian Christianity
Their tongues were smooth as they expressed their great love of the Jewish people and at the same time
described the injustice, the evil and immoral occupation of Palestine and crimes against humanity by
the criminal state of Israel.
The speakers at the Christ at the Checkpoint conference demanded that the security fence/wall and
checkpoints be taken down (which would of course allow the return of suicide bombers crossing into
Israel again). They demanded that Arabs be allowed to return to their "ancient homeland," meaning
giving the Holy Land to the Muslims. (When you see the word, Palestinian, read "Muslim," as 99% of
all Palestinians are Muslims.)
They explained that the Israel of today has nothing to do with the Israel of the Bible. In other words,
the Old Testament scriptures concerning Israel are no longer in effect. The offspring of Abraham that
the Bible talks about, they said, is only about Jesus, not the Jews.
And they further stated that any promises concerning Israel have only a spiritual application and
therefore literal interpretation is false. Consequently, the Conference concluded, the modern State of
Israel is not in any way a fulfilment of Scripture.
In all the live streaming I was able to listen to, I heard nothing about terrorist attacks or threats to
The central focus of the entire conference was the suffering of Palestinians as the result of the illegal
occupation of Arab land by the illegitimate state of Israel. Yet there was no awareness that the
surrounding Arab nations that want to exterminate Israel are the major cause of Palestinian suffering.
Why this rage and hatred towards Israel from the Arab Christian Church in the West Bank? Why have
they latched on to Replacement theology? So simple: Because they are afraid of Islam.
Look at these figures: According to Looklex
, in the West Bank and Gaza, only one
percent of the population is traditional Christian, and 1/10th of one percent is Protestant.
In short, the tiny group of Arab Evangelicals in the West Bank and Gaza are swimming in a
dictatorship of 4,000,000 Islamists. It is no wonder that at the Christ at the Checkpoint conference, the
word Muslim or Islam was barely mentioned and the subject of existential threats and terrorism against
Jews was not mentioned at all.
Anti-Israel Palestinian Christians are unconsciously or consciously forced to blame Israel for the huge
decrease of Arab Christians in the West Bank and Gaza over the last few decades. But here is an
interesting statistic that contradicts such propaganda. Why is there no more than one percent of
Christians left in the sea of Muslim "Palestine," whereas in Israel, 10% of Israeli Arabs are Christians?
The facts are obvious: there is no place in the world where Arabs have more freedom to worship as
they choose as in the state of Israel. But Christian Arabs in the West Bank will argue that for the most
part the Islamists leave them alone. Mostly true, as long as they don't start evangelizing Muslims! That's a whole different scenario.
Yet these Arab Christians at the conference are convinced they want to see the Jewish state vanish.
They don't believe Israel has any promises yet to see fulfilled.
IS THE CHECKPOINT CONFERENCE SIGNIFICANT?
But what is the big deal with a conference in Bethlehem attended by 600 people? The danger is that
strident anti-Israel, anti-Semitism, cloaked in the "love of God for our enemies (i.e. Jews)" is so
beautifully wrapped in churchy language that many Evangelicals in the West could be (and sadly
probably will be) deceived and hoodwinked into believing that the Church has replaced Israel and that
the state of Israel has caused the Palestinians incalculable injury and injustice.
By putting on sheep's clothing, the Palestinian Christians can do far more damage to the people of
Israel than even Muslims can. The Christian terminology sounds familiar, the jargon is spiritual, but the
end goal is the destruction of Israel. That's what Replacement theology allows. There is no way to
compromise with Replacement theology. Replacement theology, no matter who teaches it and who
holds it, is the key evil of historical Christianity and it has been the principle motive for the Holocaust
and the blood libels and pogroms of history.
I cannot conclude this article without saying that there are wonderful Arab believers more in Israel but
also a few in the West Bank and Gaza (who are severely persecuted by their Replacement theology
colleagues) who know what the Bible says, and have decided to believe God's Word and put their lot
with Israel as Ruth the Moabitess did, rather than be intimidated by the violent threats of the Islamic
We not only love them, we look for every way to work together with them to advance the Kingdom of
God with Jews and Arabs. Our excitement and gratitude is equal whether a Jew or an Arab receives
Cursing Israel will surely keep spiritual revival and physical well-being from coming to them, and will
trap many innocent and naïve Christians around the world.
Sadly, when liberal leftist professors and intellectuals from the US and Europe claiming to be
Christians and spewing hatred of Israel combine their poison with the Arab Christians in the West
Bank and Gaza, whose life narrative is to tell how the Jews are causing them to suffer great injustices,
the combination is lethal. It makes for nothing less than another arm of Satan to attempt to destroy the
nation of Israel that God has brought back to His Land in these last days.
The ABC's of Replacement Theology - Palestinian Style
One of the main issues that Palestinian Christians have focused upon concerns their suffering in the
20th century, as the armed forces of the Arab-Islamic world have clashed with the resurgent Jewish
State of Israel. Arab Christians in the land of Israel are truly a small Christian minority within the
larger Muslim community, and much of their perspective is borrowed from the larger Muslim
community's group perspective.
In the early 20th century Arab Christians often found themselves rejected by their larger Islamic host
communities as quislings. Arab Christians were viewed as collaborating with the infidel western
civilization, spiritual heirs of the Crusaders, as dhimmis (an Arabic term for the oppressive second-
class status of Jews and Christians in Islamic society) in short, a disloyal fifth column in a monolithic
As a result, some Christian Arabs (both nominal and Evangelical) have bent over backwards,
manifesting a nearly compulsive desire to prove themselves even more committed to the greater Arab
umma (people), even more radical than their Muslim neighbors in their espousal of Palestinian national
awakening and in their resistance to the Jewish state.
At least two Palestinian generations have been brought up with a skewed view of Palestinian history a
view that blames the Jews for winning a war that, if the Jewish forces had lost, would have resulted in
the annihilation of the Israeli people. This skewed Palestinian view speaks with a voice trembling with
the anger of revenge and the desire for reconquest. This Palestinian narrative of history is kept alive by
inflammatory Arabic buzz words: Naqba (the disaster, used to describe Arab defeats in 1948), Naksa
(the setback, Arab defeats in 1967), sumud (resolute Islamic determination to hold on to and retake the
whole land of Israel) and al-Muqawamah (resistance, usually a euphemism for violent terror; the
Arabic word Hamas is the acronym for Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyah, the Islamic resistance
Here are the unofficial 'articles of faith' of the Islamic Palestinian narrative. This is the way they read
1 Palestinians were brutally attacked and defeated by cruel anti-Islamic forces (IDF)
2 They then had their land unjustly taken from them
3 Now they are forced to live under cruel oppression
In this narrative, no one recalls that attempts to slaughter the Jews of Israel and steal Jewish lands
which had been legally purchased, utterly failed. No one dares to remember that for centuries Jews
were forced to live as second-class citizens in Islamic society, subject to pogroms, riots and even
community slaughter from time to time.
Most importantly, the Islamic Palestinian narrative rejects the biblical framework which sees the return
of the Jewish people as prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures and in the New Covenant.
MODERN PROTESTANT DEVELOPMENTS
Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek, former Canon of St. George's Cathedral in East Jerusalem, is
founder of Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center. His first book Justice and only Justice: A
Palestinian Theology of Liberation (Orbis, 1989) outlined a clear platform for modern Palestinian
theology on these issues:
The Old Testament's teachings are seen by most Palestinians as referring to the Jewish people,
their first-born status as the chosen people, and their prophesied return to the land. Since most
Palestinian Christians cannot accept these biblical facts and teachings, a radical new way of
interpreting the Bible must be found. As Ateek says, "The fundamental question of many
[Palestinian] Christians, whether uttered or not, is: How can the Old Testament be the Word of
God in light of the Palestinian Christians' experience with its use to support Zionism?" (pp.
Marxist-influenced Liberation theology perspective offers a solution here. Atonement and
salvation are reinterpreted into support for political revolution, resistance through
demonstration, boycott and political pressure on Israel. Sabeel recently declared, "We see
boycott and divestment as non-violent tools for justice, peace and security for all."
The Jewish people's honored calling in Scripture must be negatively reinterpreted. As
Ateek proclaimed in a recent Christ at the Checkpoint (CATC) conference sponsored by
Bethlehem Bible College, "It seems to many of us that Jesus is on the cross again with
thousands of Palestinians around Him... The Israeli government crucifixion system is
operating daily." In an article in Sabeel's Cornerstone journal (2000) Ateek describes the
Israeli government as a "modern day Herod" and states that "original sin is the violence of the
These three points are the skeletal framework upon which the majority of modern Palestinian
Replacement theology hangs its arguments:
Nullifying the promises to Israel by interpreting them as referring spiritually to all believers
Reinterpreting the Great Commission into a call primarily for civil disobedience and good
Characterizing Israeli Jews as evil and unjust occupiers of a land that no longer belongs to
JUSTICE, AND ONLY PALESTINIAN JUSTICE
At CATC March 2012 conference in Bethlehem (perhaps the premier gathering of Palestinian
Protestant Replacement theology activists) the speakers regularly used the terms 'justice,'
'peacemaking,' 'oppression,' 'evil' and 'violence' in line with Ateek's philosophy. Oppression,
violence and evil were buzz words which referred to the Jewish control over the land of Israel and IDF
security activities, while justice and peacemaking referred to the need for Palestinians to retake lands
lost in the 1948 and 1967 wars; the requirement to establish a Palestinian state; the importance of
influencing Christian believers across the planet to stop supporting planting trees in Israel, to boycott
Israeli products, and to lobby their own politicians to diminish support for Israel's democratically
elected government and her policies.
When the terms justice, peace, oppression and evil are used so inaccurately to describe the Jewish state
and those who defend it, there is jingoistic mindset at work in much of what comes out of the
Palestinian Replacement theology movement today.
Most of the speakers at the 2012 CATC conference were agreed on this main point a belief in the return
of Yeshua to Jerusalem to set up His Davidic kingdom is the cause of Islamic hatred of Israel, and is a
distortion of the Bible and the gospel. In the words of one speaker whose words dripped with sarcasm,
those who believe in the physical restoration of the Jewish people are stupid, blind and blockheads.
At the same time, nearly all the speakers refused to define their beliefs as Replacement theology. Yet,
classically understood, Replacement Theology teaches that the promises originally made to the Jewish
people no longer apply to the Jewish people. Since it is unfashionable to state this boldly in our day, the
term 'replace' is removed, and the terms 'fulfilled' or 'spiritual meaning' or 'expanded' are used
instead. But the result is the same. Paul's teaching (that the gifts given to the Jewish people and the
calling on them still remain and are unchangeable) is transformed by Palestinian Replacement
theologians into direct opposition of Romans 11:29.
According to this view, the land and the promise of blessing given to the descendants of Jacob now
belong to Palestinians, or indeed to any nation just not to the Jewish nation per se. This view violates
what Abraham had expressly intended in Genesis 25:5-6. All promises given to the Jewish people, this
movement teaches, were conditional in any case, yet only spiritual in nature, and almost always only
universalist in intent. The logical inconsistencies here are simply astounding!
WHEN DOES NON-VIOLENCE BLEND INTO VIOLENCE?
At first glance, it seems that there is a consensus among these Palestinian theologians and thinkers that
violence is to be eschewed. The term 'non-violent resistance' is repeated like a mantra many times in
publications and at meetings. But there seems to be more here than meets the eye.
Mubarak Awad, the brother of Alex and Bishara (respectively Dean and President of Bethlehem Bible
College) and a speaker at the 2012 CATC conference, has stated in the Journal for Palestine Studies
(Volume 13; number 4; Summer 1984; pp. 22-36): "...The most effective strategy is one of non-
violence. This does not determine the methods open to Palestinians on the outside; nor does it
constitute a rejection of the concept of armed struggle. It does not rule out the possibility that the
struggle on the inside may turn into an armed struggle at a later stage... These methods can be
successfully utilized, at least at this stage, by individuals who are not necessarily committed to non-
violence and who may choose, at a different stage, to engage in armed struggle." (All bold and italics
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin points out (Chicago Tribune, January 7 1988) that Mubarak Awad's form of non-
violence calls for 'peacemakers' to "attempt to block roads, prevent communications, cut electricity,
telephone and water lines, and prevent the movement of equipment" in short, sabotage mixed with
aspects of guerilla warfare.
A similar point to the one made by Mubarak Awad was stated by Ben White (who is listed as speaker
at CATC but was a no-show), in an article titled Nonviolent resistance a means, not the end, in the
journal 'The Electronic Intifada' (October 12, 2007), "Popular struggle, like violent resistance, is not
an end in and of itself; it is a method, a strategy. It is the end goal, decolonization and liberation from
occupation and Zionist apartheid..."
Sami Awad is the Director of the Holy Land Trust, and was one of the main organizers and speakers at
CATC 2012 (he is Bishara's son and Mubarak's nephew). Awad spoke freely in an article by Najib
Farag titled Nonviolent resistance: Wake up every day and ask yourself what you can do to resist the
occupation (Palestine New Network, January 5, 2007)
"The training," Awad declares, "also focuses on the popular campaigns, demonstrations and marches...
We also focus on other methods of nonviolent resistance such as product boycotts. To boycott Israeli
production is one of the most important tools of nonviolent struggle that we have available to us…"
Awad also focused on massive demonstrations against the separation fences and walls built by Israel to
keep out suicide bombers and terrorists. These demonstrations are "not a substitute for the armed
struggle. This is not a method for normalization with the occupation. Our goal is to revive the
popular resistance until every person is involved in dismantling the occupation."
The veil between non-violence, civil disobedience which creates violence, and armed struggle appears
paper-thin in these quotes. The Replacement theologians of this modern Palestinian movement are
experimenting with a Frankenstein's monster, one destined to run amok. A miniscule movement like
this one lives, moves, and has its being in a Palestinian community which is aflame. These thinkers and
writers are swimming in a raging sea of Islamist violence.
When circumstances allow for it, this movement can find wiggle room to agree with the Koranic
teachings regarding God's disfavor toward the Jewish people, or with the jihadi necessity of reclaiming
lost Islamic lands. Yet in conferences heavily attended by Westerners, this movement can stress its
impeccable Christian non-violent credentials.
Surely there must be a better way to raise prayer for Palestinian Arabs, to encourage intercession for
their spiritual and physical needs, and to cultivate a heart of love and outreach to them on the part of
the international body of Messiah without instigating a denial of Israel's gifts, a mocking of her calling,
and a fostering of anti-Israeli sentiment, while simultaneously teaching a rehashed form of
Replacement Theology spiced up with leftist civil disobedience.
Is this truly the best that Palestinians have to offer as a gift to lay before the feet of Yeshua, the King of
Israel who is seated on David's throne?
Christian Zionism and social justice
MALCOLM HEDDING, Jerusalem Post -Christian Edition—
Certain segments of Evangelical Christianity are being drawn away from the movement’s traditional support for Israel by those claiming the moral high ground in advocating for “social justice.” Many of these liberal, anti-Israel Evangelicals showed up at the recent “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference in Bethlehem.
They invariably view Israel as an occupying power oppressing the Palestinians. They use Israel’s security “wall” as a prominent symbol of the “injustices” being committed against the Palestinians. One has to admit that the imagery is powerful, and it takes well-informed minds to counter them.
The lack of information has started to dupe many Evangelicals, who are being shamed into abandoning Israel because of the charge that they are uncompassionate and blocking peace.
Indeed, this new initiative aims to totally discredit pro-Israel Evangelicals with clever lies and distortions. As David Solway recently observed, “The usual understanding of Israel as an aggressive, colonial, apartheid state robbing the Palestinians of their heritage is quite possibly the greatest political scam of modern times. It is the outcome of a mixture of historical amnesia, ideological prejudice and reflex hostility, which keep it mindproof.”
Social justice must be built on the truth, and sometimes the truth hurts, as Newt Gingrich recently demonstrated. The fact is that the Jewish people have a 4,000-year-old claim and connection to the Land of Israel. No other people in history have ever built a nation here – including the Palestinians. Yet you would never know this if you listened to the narrative promoted by these Evangelicals now demanding social justice for the Palestinians.
The truth is that the Jews came back to their ancient homeland in peace, and when Arab leaders launched a war against the reborn nation of Israel in 1948 in order to “drive the Jews into the sea,” the Palestinians lost the battle and a whole lot more. Does the aggressor deserve social justice in such an instance? The truth is that when the PLO was founded in 1964, its charter focused primarily on eliminating the State of Israel, rather than laying out the framework for building a Palestinian state. Again, does the aggressor deserve social justice in this case?
The truth is that Israel has made repeated offers for peace, most notably with the Oslo initiative of the 1990s, but Palestinian leaders rejected these overtures and again escalated the conflict, resulting in more losses. Israel demonstrated its commitment to justice by offering risky and painful concessions involving lands crucial to its security and central to the Jewish people’s historical identity. But PLO leader Yasser Arafat proved to be a dishonest peace partner who never intended to keep his side of the Oslo agreements. This he clearly stated in a Johannesburg mosque in 1994, a mere five months after he had shaken Yitzhak Rabin’s hand on the White House lawn. Instead, he prepared his people for an even deadlier intifada against Israel.
Once more, should this pattern of aggression be rewarded under the rubric of social justice? Rather, given this Palestinian duplicity, it is the Israelis who are more deserving of justice. The same can also be said in the case of Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005. For the sake of peace, thousands of Gush Katif residents were uprooted and are still struggling to recover, yet the Palestinian response has been 12,000 rockets on the western Negev! Does this not cry out for social justice?
Yet sadly, these stark truths are denied, distorted and conveniently ignored because far too many still harbor old hatreds and toxic ideologies against the Jews and their reborn nation.
The fact is, the Palestinian leadership has, time and time again, robbed its own people of justice and should be held accountable. By now they could have had a state with a share of Jerusalem as its capital, but they do not – all because they could not embrace justice, courage and honesty.
That a people now exist called the Palestinians is a reality. Three generations have brought this people to a place of widespread recognition.
No one can or should deny it. The current generation remains trapped in the never-ending campaign to destroy Israel, and yet it will surprise many to learn that today Palestinians in the West Bank enjoy a higher standard of living, education and economic prosperity than their counterparts elsewhere in the region. Why is this? Because their economy is intertwined with that of Israel’s successful economy. Given the chaos of the “Arab Spring,” the West Bank is an island of prosperity. This sounds like economic justice to me! More justice could be done, but PA President Mahmoud Abbas seems more content to continue the plotting of Israel’s destruction, as seen in his renewed efforts to cement a unity pact with Hamas.
There can be no mistake about the significance of this, as it puts the Palestinians on a collision course with Israel once again. This partnership with “jihad” would affirm their commitment, as always, to Israel’s annihilation. So Israeli leaders have little choice but to tighten security to protect their citizens from harm. Aggression against Israel will continue, and the Palestinian people will pay the price in having to be continuously subjected to checkpoints, searches, general security measures and barrier walls. We should all weep over this human tragedy, and truly Jesus does weep at the checkpoint, but not for a twisted brand of social justice.
So where should the Church be in all of this? Social justice will take hold when leaders are transparent, honest and really committed to peace. No wonder the Apostle Paul exhorted us to place leaders in authority at the very top of our prayer lists.
Secondly, we need to recognize that there are real men, women, boys and girls trapped in this conflict on both sides, and they need help, care, love and compassion. In Jesus’s day, whole communities of one type or another were caught in the conflict that Rome brought to the region. Jesus almost exclusively ignored the conflict but healed the sick, fed the hungry, loved the stranger (even the Roman one) and lifted up the brokenhearted. He blessed the children, sat with sinners and taught the multitudes about God.
So our hearts should break as we witness ordinary Palestinian people confronting the hard reality of having to live behind walls and impeded on a daily basis by security checks. We should also weep for Jewish families that have had their children brutally murdered and torn from them. This is no way to live! Thus, while some Evangelicals gather to reinforce their distorted narrative and lay blame for everything at Israel’s door, let us ask them how many millions of shekels they have invested in the social uplifting of Palestinians?
I am the erstwhile leader of one of the largest Christian Zionist organizations in the world, and I can testify that we have invested considerable sums in humanitarian relief on both sides of the divide. We have cared for everyone, just as Jesus did and still does. This is social justice on the move! It is not selective but gives “voice” to the biblical truth that Jesus loves all people the same.
The Christian message demands that we hold to the truth, that which is biblical and historical, and that we bring to all the peoples of the Middle East a message of love and hope.
When we do this, we will be mediators of social justice.
The Church at Christ's Checkpoint - 2012
Paul Wilkinson attended the conference and has produced a booklet that thoroughly catalogues the participants and their messages. It makes sad reading but is a very good guide as to the messages that are being propagated.
Open the booklet here The Church at Christ's Checkpoint
The author seeks no payment but insists that copies may not be sold for profit due to copyright on some of the pictures.
Once the booklet is open in Adobe Acrobat you will be able to save a copy.
The 2012 conference was addressed by Pastor of King of Kings, Jerusalem - Wayne Hilsden.
It was feared he was being used as window dressing, but if he was, they did not get ear pleasing replacement theology from him. - See video here www.youtube.
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