Friday, 29 October 2010

If you don't like the message slander the messenger

How do Christian Zionists typically respond to critics? In particular, what kind of response is the film With God on our Side attracting on the US Tour?

I can only gauge it from the feedback after the film (which tends to be polite, but not always) and from emails like these ones received this week.

Someone by the name of Scott wrote,
Your anti-semetic rants hurt the cause of Christ greatly.  Hitler would have loved you.  You look pretty old, so you'll be meeting God soon anyway.  I'm increasing my giving to Jewish causes, thanks to you, today. - a Christian. 
Ben has a Russian email address so I forgive his spelling. He wrote,
You are vile English nationalist, British imperialist, racist, antisemit,Christian bigot-classical type of lost impire weeper.
I assume he meant 'Empire'. A lady called Ruth wrote more charitably,
Are you deluded, blinded or just plain ignorant? Instead of wasting time with false teaching, inflammatory books and films why don't you read your Bible. Start with Genesis 12 verse 3. Replacement Theology is a lie from the pit, is not scriptural and is likely to get you into trouble with the Almighty. Try Hebrews 10 v 31. I hope you turn from the lies you are preaching under the banner of Christianity. In Jesus' Name.
I decided to reply to Ruth:
Thank you for your email. Genesis 12:3 says:

I will bless those who bless you,
       and whoever curses you I will curse;
       and all peoples on earth
       will be blessed through you."

It was a personal promise made by Almighty God to Abraham, no one else, and certainly not to those who have rejected Jesus.

In Acts 3:24-26 the Apostle Peter says this promise of blessing was fulfilled through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all who believe in Jesus at Pentecost, Jews and Gentiles.

"Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days. And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, 'Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed. When God  raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways."

The promise of Abraham is fulfilled in and through Jews and Gentiles who recognise Jesus.

The Apostle Paul insists in Romans 4,

"It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, 15because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.16Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations."[c] He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were." (Romans 4:13-17)

And if there were any doubt about whether racial descent from Abraham is sufficient, Paul insists,

"A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God." (Romans 2:28-29)

The promise made to Abraham in Genesis 12 has therefore been fulfilled in and through Jews and Gentiles who recognise Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour.  If this is 'Replacement' theology in your eyes, then I plead guilty.
But Paul offers this sober warning to those who presume that racial decent gives them exclusive right, for example, to the promise of Genesis 12:3.
"You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself," (Romans 2:1)

May the Lord bless you and your family.
That must of softened Ruth's heart because she replied, "If I came across as judging you then I apologise as that is only God's prerogative. However, I would seriously question your theology, based on Scripture." but without commenting on my exegesis of Genesis 12.

Another email came from a lady called Hazel. She clearly has the 'gift' of evangelism  
I have been praying that you will come into a personal relationship with the living Jesus Christ. I believe that once this happens you will no longer spread the spiritual lies and deception which you do with the kind of vengeance that no true believer would have. You are very dangerous to the Kingdom of Christ. Why not just openly declare that you are an atheist instead of pretending to be a believer who tries to put the believing Church right on issues such as Christian Zionism. I am not against any people - only those who preach deception deliberately.
I am happy with the personal relationship I already have with Jesus and have no plans to convert to atheism.

Someone else by the name of Scott 'thoughtfully' wrote,  
You are another reason to love Israel, fight for Zionism and despise the anglicans, hope I get ring side seats for the Great White throne judgement when your sick lil ass gets sentenced to hell!
I'm troubled by anyone who claims to be a Christian who seems to relish the judgement of others, even if Anglicans like me deserve it.

I learnt an important lesson from Richard Bewes, the former Anglican Rector of All Souls, Langham Place, London. He once told me that whenever he received an 'anonymous' letter, he published it on the church noticeboard so that everyone could read it. That's why I figured I'd post these criticisms on my blog.I hope they give encouragenment to others to speak up for justice, peace and reconciliation and not be intimidated by those who have another agenda.

Last night, my daily Bible reading was chapter 3 of Paul's Epistle to Titus. The first verse reads, "be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone." (Titus 3:1)