Anti-Christian forces led by a wide-ranging group of high-ranking Israeli officials won a major victory on March 30. Representatives of 50 different international Christian evangelical groups entered into what was described as an ”unprecedented” joint statement promising not to carry out Christian missionary work in Israel.
In return, Israeli lawmaker Nissim Zvili said that he would drop his sponsorship of a proposed measure before the Israeli parliament [widely supported among various political factions in Israel] that would outlaw any effort to teach or propagate Christian doctrine in Israel. Under Zvili’s highly popular proposal, any Christian missionary found guilty of violating the law would be sent to prison for one year. Zvili hailed the Christian surrender, saying; ”This is better than a law. This is a very big accomplishment.”
The Christian groups that surrendered to Israeli pressure, and thereby abandoned their long-standing practice of proselytizing the Christian faith, issued a statement saying that they rejoice in the presence of the Jewish people in this country of their ancestors and agreed to avoid activities which alienate Jews in Israel from their tradition and community.
In response to the surrender by the Christian groups in the face of the anti-Christian legislation, one American Christian evangelist, Reverend Dale Crowley Jr, expressed great shock and dismay. Crowley said that those groups that endorsed the agreement have, in Crowley’s direct terms, ”Betrayed our Lord.” Crowley says that purveying the Gospel of Christ to non-believers is integral to the Christian faith and stems from the biblical great commission directing Christians to share their faith.
Crowley notes that two newspapers with prominent circulation in the pro-Israel community, Washington Jewish Week and the New York City-based Forward, have ”quite notably” in his words, not reported on this Israeli victory over Christian evangelism. Crowley said that he has been prodding Washington Jewish Week to publish the story but that, thus far, the influential publication has not done so.
”The Israelis want to keep this information,’ they don’t want the world to know what they are doing to the Palestinian people”, Crowley said, ”and the Christian groups that entered into this outrageous betrayal of their faith are ashamed of themselves, as they certainly should be.”
According to Crowley, the complete joint statement issued by the Christian groups has been virtually impossible to obtain, despite the fact that some 50 different groups have affixed their names to the statement. Also, says Crowley, the actual names of the 50 different groups that are signatories to the agreement are also out of reach. When the names of those groups are finally made public, says Crowley, Christians should cease supporting those groups since they have effectively betrayed their Biblical commission to spread the gospel by abandoning their missionary work in the land where Christ lived and carried out his work.
At the time the anti-Christian bill was first introduced in the Israeli parliament, even Rev. David Allen Lewis, president of the pro-Israel group, Christians United for Israel, admitted that there were some very real problems with the legislation. ”This bill means great hardship for Zionist evangelicals like myself, ”said Lewis, who worried that the action would revive the argument of those who question Christian support for Israel, saying, ”How can you support the Jewish nation when they are against Christianity!”
When I contacted the offices of Christian evangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, both of whom are loud advocates of pro-Israel policy [despite the ant-Christian stance of the Israeli leadership], neither would comment on the anti-Christian legislation. Sen. Jesse Helms [R-N.C.] another vocal supporter of Israel [and ally of the so-called ”Christian Right” in the United States], likewise refused to provide me any comment on the anti-Christian offensive in Israel.
Although Israel today is torn asunder by vast feuding among various political and religious factions even within the Jewish community as a whole, the anti-Christian proposal by Israeli lawmaker Zvili had wide-ranging support throughout the Israeli population.
Longtime Republican Party and conservative movement leader John Lofton, previously a pro-Israel zealot but now an unabashed Christian who is not afraid to criticize Israeli excesses, has been watching the anti-Christian offensive in Israel.
Lofton recently reported in his Lofton Report that Clarence Wagner, director of the evangelical foundation Bridges for Peace, was the architect of this agreement, which, in Lofton’s words, ”denies our Lord.” Lofton says that ”Wagner and his cowardly crew have chosen to obey men rather than God” and that ”they have chosen to be ashamed of the Gospel even though,” says Lofton, quoting Romans 1;16, ”it is the power or God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also the Greek.”
John Alpher of the American Jewish Committee’s Israel/Middle East Office has hailed the sell-out as ”a dynamic Christian commitment to the vitality of Israel and Judaism.” His colleague, Rabbi A. James Rudin, the AJC’S ”director of Interreligious affairs,” said that the agreement is ”a strong refutation of those Christians who sadly still target Jews as possible converts to Christianity.” Rudin says that he hopes the statement will be ”a model for others to emulate throughout the world.”
Lofton had strong words in response to the AJC’S comments; ”For openers, no Christian would ever agree not to preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Secondly, apart from Christ, there is no ”vitality” for anybody, including Israel and Judaism. As for those Christians who ”sadly” target Jews for conversion to Christianity, well, the Lord Himself was one of those ”Christians.” Lofton concluded; ”God forbid that this Christ-hating agreement should ever be emulated, or become a model, for anybody.”
Virtually the only national news publication in America to report on the Israeli war on Christianity was us on March,17, 1997. We published a special eight-page report entitled Israel Declares War on Christianity and told the story of the anti-Christian legislation. The special report featured a ground-breaking essay by the aforementioned Christian evangelist, Dale Crowley, Jr, in which Crowley refuted the popular political theory that the present day geographic entity known as Israel is the ”Israel” that is referred to in the Bible.
Courtesy Israel Shamir