At an interfaith conference bringing together Jewish leaders and Protestant Christian pastors outside Jerusalem this week, several of the Christian representatives painted a very worrying picture about the future of relations between Israel and the mainstream Church.
While an estimated tens of millions of individual Christians around the world love and support the Jewish state, many of the mainline Protestant churches have been actively boycotting Israel, encouraging pro-Palestinian activism and demanding that Western governments stop sending aid to Jerusalem.
One of the main Christian representatives at the conference was Rev. Paul Wilkinson, associate minister at Hazel Grove Full Gospel Church in Stockport, England. Over the past few years, Wilkinson has studied up close the phenomenon of what he calls "Christian Palestinianism," a politicized movement that seeks to eliminate Christian support for Israel and transfer it to Palestinian nationalists.
Wilkinson said he is "completely pessimistic in terms of believing that I, we, are going to overturn 2,000 years of erroneous theology that has manifested itself in all kinds of diatribes and anti-Semitic factions" within the Church.
Wilkinson said that what stands behind Christian Palestinianism is classic Replacement Theology, which he called a "Goliath of theology in the church."
Rev. Andrew Love of the United Church of Canada agreed with Wilkinson that exaggerated humanitarian concern for the Palestinian Christians is being as the "rationalization for ultimately what I believe to be anti-Semitic ideas and anti-Semitic policies."
Wilkinson lamented that this hatred for Israel, which harks back to millennia of hatred for the Jews, is rooted "deep in the heart of the Protestant Church," and is unlikely to be uprooted.
The Times of Israel provided a full report of the event, as well as interviews with several of the speakers. Their article on the conference is worth a thorough read.