Churches are bleeding to death because of their refusal to love and support the Jewish people.
An internal report from the Presbyterian Church USA, noted for its anti-Israel stance, predicts that it stands to lose 400,000 members over the next five years1. Methodists in the UK, whose leaders passed a resolution boycotting Israel some years ago, have also seen a dramatic decline in numbers, and are now making things worse by advocating a boycott of Cadbury2 – an insult to the memory and considerable legacy of the chocolate family’s Christian ethos and significant contribution to Britain’s wealth.
Not only that, but one of their number, Richard Cadbury, was a man dedicated to the cause of Jewish mission. After being taken ill with diphtheria during a tour of Egypt in 1899, he was cared for at a Jerusalem hospital (now a school) run by the Church’s Mission among Jewish people where, sadly, he died. But out of gratitude for the kindness with which he was treated, he left them a tidy sum of money. This enabled them to extend the facility to include a new ward for the treatment of infectious diseases and employ an extra nurse, thereafter known as the Cadbury nurse.3
Best-selling author Bill Bryson, in his latest book The Road to Little Dribbling4, says he hadn’t realized how Quakers5 in 18th century Britain were a bullied and downtrodden minority excluded from politics and academia. But they made their mark in industry and commerce, particularly in banking (Barclays and Lloyds) and the manufacture of chocolate (Cadbury, Fry and Rowntree).
“They and many others made Britain a more dynamic and wealthy place entirely as a consequence of being treated shabbily by it,” he writes with his usual penetrating wit. And in that respect they had much in common with Jewish communities of the era. At any rate, Richard Cadbury loved the Jews because of his devotion to Jesus.
Scripture is quite clear that those who bless the seed of Abraham will themselves be blessed, but those who curse them will be judged. (Genesis 12.3) It is perfectly evident that both Methodists and Presbyterians, tragically now more influenced by worldly wisdom than biblical values, are under a curse of their own making. The worldwide blessing brought about by Methodist founder John Wesley’s bold proclamation of the gospel (along with his support for Israel) has been lost.
In his notes on Romans, Wesley wrote: “So many prophecies refer to this grand event (of the restoration of Israel) 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. When it is accomplished, it will be so strong a demonstration, both of the Old and New Testament revelation, as will doubtless convince many thousand Deists in countries nominally Christian.”6
Remember that he was writing this in the latter part of the 18th century, almost a quarter of a millennium ago, without the benefit of witnessing these very things taking place before his eyes. Yet in our generation we have been immensely privileged to watch God’s chosen people, after nearly 2,000 years of dispersion, returning home to their ancient land from every corner of the world.
The biblical prophets foretold all this – in fact half of all Old Testament prophecies relate to Israel’s restoration. Followers of Jesus, the Jew, ought to rejoice that, in fulfillment of ancient prophecies, his brothers in the flesh are back in the land. For the Scripture also makes clear that once they have all returned (which is still to happen), Jesus will reveal himself to the entire nation as the Messiah for whom they have long been waiting. And then he will return to rule and reign with all believers – both Jew and Gentile – who have bowed the knee before him.
Israel is not perfect, nor should we expect her to be. For the most part, Israelis are not yet following their Messiah, but Christians who claim to be disciples of Jesus should know better. We must love those whom God loves, including our enemies (Matthew 5.44). You who would boycott Israeli goods (which adversely affects Palestinians too as many rely on Israel for their employment), do you pray for the peace of Jerusalem, as the Bible commands? (Psalm 122.6)
5. Quakers were a radical Christian movement that suffered much opposition for their fervent devotion sometimes characterized by trembling – hence their nickname – under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
Charles Gardner is author of Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com