Ron Cantor is the executive pastor of Tiferet Yeshua congregation in Tel Aviv. He is the author of several books including Identity Theft: How Jesus was Robbed of His Jewishness. You can read Ron's blog at www.MessiahsMandate.org.
The following is the third in a series of responses by Israeli Messianic Jewish leaders to a problematic video produced by Bethlehem Bible College regarding this summer's Gaza war.
While others may focus on the content of this video, let me share what was lacking.
The New Testament Congregation is to be the courageous voice of morality and honesty to the world. However, this video by Bethlehem Bible College lacked the courage to confront Islamic Terror.
At a time when ISIS, a group with the same ultimate goal as Hamas - Islamic domination and the destruction of Israel - is murdering Christians in Iraq and Syria, the Bethlehem Bible College accused the only democratic nation in this region of genocide.
Let me address you (the Bethlehem Bible College) directly.
Have you forgotten that under Hamas, Rami Ayyad was tortured and murdered for being a Christian?
We know that a Hamas cell was planning to overthrow the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. While you are sympathetic to Hamas in your video, can you imagine the West Bank under Hamas rule? No freedom of speech, religion or expression. Masked gunmen roaming the streets, indiscriminate killing. And who informed Mahmoud Abbas about this plot? Israel! The government that you accuse of genocide just possibly saved your lives.
Indeed, we would hope for something more balanced coming from a Christian institution. But your video, while deep with emotion, was far from reality.
Not a word against Hamas, which took over Gaza in a coup, killing Palestinian Authority officials and throwing some off of the tallest buildings in Gaza.
Not a word of condemnation over the fact that Hamas has used CHURCHES to fire their rockets.
Not a word about Hamas executing 20 or more Palestinians who protested their war.
Not a word about Hamas using women and children as human shields.
Do you not care that Hamas has executed scores of tunnel diggers out of fear they could give information to Israel? After hiring these men to work for them, Hamas murdered them in cold blood.
As Christians, does it not concern you at all that, "Since Hamas' 2007 takeover of Gaza, residents say it's imposed strict Taliban-style Islamic laws on the people."
Is this what you want for Bethlehem?
What about the words of Archbishop Alexios of Gaza: "Islam is the rule of this place and whatever Hamas says we must obey or face consequences." He is the most prominent Christian in Gaza and is clearly living in fear of Hamas.
A former tunnel digger just smuggled a letter out of Gaza detailing how Hamas killed his father and dumped his body in a pit. Why? No one knows. Hamas does not need a reason to kill.
Two weeks ago, 20 armed men showed up at PLO activist Sami Abu Lashin's house in Gaza, shooting in three times in the legs for the crime of breaking his house arrest (which in itself was illegal). My dear brothers, if they are willing to shoot their partners in the unity government, imagine what these savages will do to Christians preaching the gospel.
In your video, you speak of the disappearing Palestinian Church. Indeed, this is true. At one time Christians made up 15% of the West Bank population. Now it is 2%! But how is this Israel's fault? Do you really think that Israel prefers Muslims to Christians? If that were true, you'd see the same decline amongst Israel's Arab Christian population.
You know as well as I do that the PLO and Islamic extremists are to blame! The Christian population under Israel flourished in Bethlehem. Its decline began exactly when Israel turned over control to Yasser Arafat and the PLO.
"Under the Palestinian Authority since 1995, [the] numbers have plummeted. Palestinian gunmen seized Christian homes—compelling Israel to build a protective barrier between them and Jewish neighborhoods—and then occupied the Church of the Nativity, looting it and using it as a latrine. Today, Christians comprise a mere one-fifth of their holy city's population."
It is one thing to embrace Replacement Theology (Jer. 31:35-37), to say you don't believe that Israel is still chosen (Rom. 11:29), even to seek a Palestinian State (Ez. 36:24). It is another thing all together to portray Hamas as something noble, fighting for the people of Gaza.
Hamas' goals are murder and destruction—Sharia law! Do you think that Hamas' leaders are losing a wink of sleep over 2,000 dead Palestinians? In fact, they are rejoicing at the propaganda coup! If they are willing to execute so many of their own people, do you actually think they care about innocent Gazans? They are far more concerned about saving face in the wake of defeat.
Imagine if and when Hamas replaces the PLO in the West Bank—as they clearly wanted to do. Do you think they will remember the cute video that some Christians made? No, like ISIS, they will demand conversion or death.
Additional responses will be published in the next issue of Israel Today Magazine. Don't miss them - SUBSCRIBE NOW