"Are you in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? Mark 12 v24
I have come to realise that the denomination of which I have been a part since my conversion in 1966, has adopted the Anti-Israel viewpoint of the secular world. I have also become aware of other matters of theology that are generally lacking, such as healing and a tendency to a secular worldview; for instance a tendency to try to adapt Genesis to Evolution. I have attempted to tackle this issue in the denominational churches as Unbelief.
"O Little town of Bethlehem" - an inaccurate, anti-Israel article published by BUGB
I am not saying that the Baptist denomination in the UK is any worse or any better than other denominations, although the Pentecostals may be better. It is just that I am better able to observe the Baptist denomination than other denominations.
The Baptist denomination does not enforce a theological position on its members in any matter apart from Believers Baptism by immersion. However, I have realised that traditional sets of beliefs will be handed down and taught while some matters, such as Healing, can just be left out. The Baptist's legacy from Spurgeon has fallen into disuse while present day popular Baptist speakers may propagate an entirely different story.
I would suggest that you scrutinise the material produced by your denomination.
This page is concerned with the general denominational position on Israel
You may be surprised to find yourself branded within your church and denomination as one of the bad guys for believing in Israel, its right to exist and its place in God's future purposes. How does this come about?
Here are some case studies on the official British Baptist position on Israel as best as it can be determined from the publications coming from the Baptist Union of Great Britain. I have attempted to analyze their thinking with a view to helping folk understand what is happeningin order not to be wrong footed by it.
Please analyze for yourself the assertions of Anti-Israel activists rather than accept their "facts". Avoid feeling obliged to answer their questions, when in many cases the questions themselves are the vehicle for their campaign. When they ask the wrong question, counter with the question we should be asking. See also Christians Against Israel and Christian speakers .
The Baptist Union of Great Britain has bought into the "Decade to Overcome Violence" initiative. The campaigning agenda includes "Israel and Palestine", and links from the BUGB web site lead to one pushing the condemnation of Israel for the "Illegal Occupation of Palestine."
In 2002, the ecumenical campaign "End the Illegal occupation of Palestine : Support a Just Peace in the Middle East" aimed to mobilize WCC member churches and ecumenical partners and coordinate efforts to address the root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The campaign raised awareness in the churches of the history of the conflict and issues at stake, facilitated delegation visits, distributed prayers from church leaders in Jerusalem, and sought coordinated international advocacy alongside the local churches and peace and human-rights organizations.
I E-mailed a letter of complaint, pointing out the error of such a stance, to Baptist Union people.
Perhaps some of the ideas may be helpful if you want to air your concerns within your denomination.
Notice above, "Palestine/Israel"; not even, "Israel/Palestine". Israel is being pushed further and further down in the terminology.
The Baptist Times carried an article entitled, " Zion’s Christian Soldiers?" subtitled, " Ali Hull talks to Rev Steven Sizer about Christians and Israel"
This article recycled many untrue assertions about Israel and Christian Zionist belief, and is at odds with Baptist principles of tolerance. Read the article with comments .
The same issue carried another one sided article about peace in Gaza.
Page 10 and 11 carried an article entitled, "Blessed are the Peacemakers" looking at the campaigns by some Palestinian Christians to make peace.
The thread of the article is not easy to follow, starting with criticisms of Israel, then criticism of Christion Zionists (see also above) moving into accounts of various Palestinian grievances.
The peacemakers referred to are said to be seeking peace through justice but it appears to be their one sided idea of justice, and by achieving the goals of the palestinians. That is, there will be peace once Israel is defeated and Palestine gets its demands met. Since those demands, in the minds of many, include the eradication of Israel, that cannot fairly be called peacemaking.
Judge for yourself - here Baptist Times on "Peacemakers".
"O little town of Bethlehem How still we see thee lie"
The little town of Bethlehem is a place that is neither still nor peaceful. It is caught up in the continuing cycle of violence and poverty that afflicts so much of the Middle East.
The article focuses on the grievances of Christians in Bethlehem against Israel, but it is neither balanced nor accurate.
See separate page BMS World Mission - Baptist Missionary Society
Kairos Palestine position
BMS participation in a march in London to show solidarity with Palestinians on the 60th anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel.
BMS World Vision - 2013 - Quarterly Magazine - "Mission Catalyst"
10 - 11 May at the Bethel Convention Centre, West Bromwich
Assembly theme: Higher Deeper Wider
Speakers include Jack Sara - President of Bethlehem Bible College (BBC).
Jack is an ordained minister with Evangelical Alliance Church in the Holy Land where he still maintains an overseeing role with the leadership of the churches, as well as working extensively in the areas of peace and reconciliation.
However, Bethlehem Bible College organises the Christ at the Checkpoint conferences.
Pastor Jack is a leader among the Palestinian Christians against Israel - wildolive.co.uk/CATC
His associates preach Replacement Theology, Liberation Theology and Christian Palestinianism, as well a strongly opposing Christian Zionism. wildolive.co.uk/bad%20theologies
I am deeply concerned about the growing influence of Christian Palestinianists in the Baptist Union. wildolive.co.uk/my%20denomination There is no legitimacy to their pushing the anti-Israel theology - the people driving it are not elected representatives and the Baptist Union is not mandated to dictate theology on anything, other than believers' immersion.
What has happened to our Spurgeon legacy ? We seem to have the same problem that CHS had when he came up against the BU. (The Downgrade Controversy)
Britain's Baptists are actually a collection of independent churches, not under the control of BUGB. While the BUGB may seek to influence policy and belief it does not exert control.
Upon receiving the extensive Jews for Jesus 2008 programme of Passover presentations (also the 2009 programme) to Christian churches it was amazing to note how many Baptist churches appear eager to learn about the Jewish Passover. So perhaps there is a dawning revelation among Britain's Baptists and the BUGB is just an out of touch and unrepresentative body. Perhaps, one day, the Baptist Times will get revelation!
Perhaps we will be pleasantly surprised to find out how many Baptists make up their own minds by reading the Bible and are not against Israel. With this in mind, a new web site has been launched to encourage Baptists who love Israel to make themselves known.
If you are a Baptist in Britain, please visit Baptists for Israel and make yourself known so you can join in seeing where this takes us. www.baptists4israel.co.uk
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