As nations struggle to extricate themselves from the stifling cocoon of pandemic lockdown, spiritual forces of wickedness are lining up for battle against God’s people, and the gospel of Christ.
Methodists in the UK have just begun a week-long conference at which they will be asked to back a series of hard-line anti-Israel motions, describing Israel as an ‘apartheid state’ and calling for sanctions.
In doing so, they are joining an alliance with radical Islamic groups whose stated aim is the destruction of the Jewish homeland.
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement they are being asked to support is itself a flagrantly antisemitic campaign with the same end in mind. According to Christians United for Israel, BDS activists have repeatedly acknowledged that “the real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel”.
As for the wholly baseless description of Israel as an apartheid state, this is a possible breach of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism adopted by the UK government, councils and other institutions across the country, including the Church of England.
Why all this emphasis on the supposed wickedness of those who gave us the precious Scriptures, and our Lord Jesus himself, while apparently ignoring the many dictators around the world suppressing their people with brute force. Why this obsessive focus on tiny Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East?
You might also ask this question of the South African government, who are pursuing a personal vendetta against their own Chief Justice, Mogoeng Mogoeng, for having the gall to voice his ‘Christian Zionist’ opinions in a webinar last year.
His ‘crime’ was to state his Bible-based belief that the Jews are God’s chosen people, and that Christians have a clear duty to love and support them, though he has also stated his love for the Palestinians – as indeed all Jesus’ disciples should. So what is the problem?
In handing over a petition signed by 150,000 South Africans outside the Cape Town parliament – calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to back Mogoeng’s right to freedom of opinion – Vivienne Myburgh said the controversy was a continuation of an ancient battle spoken about in Psalm 83 which says that those who hate God will attack the very people of God.
Vivienne, national director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem’s South Africa branch, said it was sad that the president of a largely Christian nation was siding with the agenda of Israel’s enemies “in this ancient battle”.
In the psalm referred to above, Asaph the composer calls on God to hear his complaint: “See how your enemies growl, how your foes rear their heads. With cunning they conspire against your people; they plot against those you cherish. ‘Come,’ they say, ‘let us destroy them as a nation, so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.’ With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance against you…” (Psalm 83:2-5)
This 3,000-year-old song could have been written for today! The BDS movement is an ‘alliance’ just as Hamas and Hezbollah are in alliance with Islamic Jihad, Iran and all those other terrorists determined to wipe Israel off the map. There’s a lot of talk about conspiracy theories doing the rounds, but this one beats them all – and it’s really happening!
And now so-called Christians are joining this evil network. Methodist founder John Wesley, who led a worldwide revival of Holy Spirit-inspired Christianity through his anointed preaching of the gospel, backed by the sublime hymns of his brother Charles, would surely have berated today’s Methodists as totally out of order for their unbiblical and ungracious statements of intent. As it happens, same-sex marriage is also on their conference agenda – so no woke surprises there.
In his notes on Romans, and with particular reference to Israel’s future restoration to their ancient land, Wesley wrote: “So many prophecies refer to this grand event that it is surprising any Christian can doubt of it. And these are greatly confirmed by the wonderful preservation of the Jews as a distinct people to this day.” Bear in mind that these words were written in the 18th century.
Lifelong Methodist Pam Smith, a local preacher for 45 years, has disagreed with conference decisions taken on Israel and other issues over the years, but will resign if same-sex marriage is approved. That would be the “last straw”, she told me. “It absolutely breaks my heart to think about no longer being part of Methodism, but I cannot be a member of an apostate church. And I do not think I will be alone in this.”
The BBC, founded on Christian principles, has also come under much criticism for its bias over Israel, and celebrities have been quick to jump on the BDS bandwagon. Thankfully, actor Mark Ruffalo, who has painted a distorted picture of reality that suggested Israel is committing genocide, recently tweeted: “It’s not accurate; it’s inflammatory, disrespectful and is being used to justify antisemitism here and abroad. Now is the time to avoid hyperbole.”
A breath of fresh air indeed. Here’s praying that more people would wake up from their woke stupor!
Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon; Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com; A Nation Reborn, available from Christian Publications International; and King of the Jews, also available from Christian Publications International.