Should Jesus Unite Mortal Enemies?

Monday, February 15, 2016 |  Tsvi Sadan

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is taking a toll on Messianic Jews and Arab Christians who, in principle, are supposed to follow Jesus' command to love one's enemy. 

The tension between Messianic Jews and Evangelical Palestinians has grown ever deeper with the appearance of the Christ at the Checkpoint conferences that promote a brand of Replacement Theology in which "Palestine" replaces Israel. 

Most Messianic Jews have boycotted these conferences for their blatant hate toward Israel, and for their aggressive theological efforts to delegitimize the existence of Israel as a Jewish state.

Some Messianic Jews, however, think that no matter what the circumstances, conflict between Messianic Jews and Evangelical Palestinians is intolerable and unacceptable. 

In an effort to resolve this conflict, a group of Messianic Jews and Evangelical Palestinians, most of whom are organizers of and participants in the caustic Christ at the Checkpoint conferences, met last month in Larnaca, Cyprus.

A press release published on the website of the very same people who organize, draft and propagate the "Palestine is Israel" agenda, outlines the way in which people who hold diametrically-opposed theological positions can still live up to Jesus' command to love your enemy. 

The document proposes some practical steps aimed at expressing the unity that should exist between the two groups.

The document asserts that unity is possible on the basis of common ethical values: "...our unity in the Messiah must uphold ethical standards of life that are worthy of our calling." In order to live up to this standard the document calls for “a generous theological stance, which makes room for and respects the conscientious convictions of others that they sincerely derive from their reading of Scripture.” 

In other words, those drafting this document believe that sincerity alone if enough to validate irreconcilable interpretations of the same sacred text. Sincerity and goodwill supersede truth.

The document goes on to state that "we recognize that we hold very different theological positions regarding the land," yet "deplore those ways of speaking and acting that are incompatible with obedience to our Lord." 

Simply put, in this version of Christian righteousness, a Palestinian "brother" can maintain that "the establishment of the State of Israel as a catastrophe" and still be able to live in peace with Messianic Jews. Similarly, a Messianic Jew is expected to embrace those who are calling for his demise.

This conclusion is possible, but only if the Messianic Jews in question fail to see themselves as part of greater Israel, in which case they can tolerate the notion that Israel's rebirth was a catastrophe. 

If, however, Messianic Jews do see themselves as an integral part of Israel, this document is yet further evidence of a disturbing phenomenon wherein Jews in increasing numbers are embracing the destructive narrative of their enemies. Only in this case they are doing so in the name of Jesus.

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