Dr Mark Keown, a Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies at Laidlaw College, School of Theology, Mission and Ministry, has made some perceptive observations about the way some Zionists have tried to discredit the TEAR Fund Tour of New Zealand.
"It has been a great week having Stephen Sizer among us at Laidlaw College. We also had the privilege of having him to speak at Glenfield Presbyterian Church on Sunday and Monday night. He is a lovely man with a warm heart. Those who vilify him obviously have not met him. He is wrongly accused of being heretic, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic and more. Such accusations are an utter disgrace and a direct violation of the Christian imperative to love one another! Whether we agree or disagree with him, we can walk in fellowship with him. I warmly endorse him and consider it a privilege to have met a brother in Christ who understands the central call of the gospel to justice and mercy. His preaching on the Good Samaritan (I still like the name, my bad?) gloriously reminds us of our need to above all else, show compassion. I loved the debate last night; all credit to Richard Neville and Stephen for doing so well and modelling Christian dialogue, it was a brilliant night!"A Reflection on the Perspective of Stephen Sizer
Here's feedback from a couple of others who attended the Laidlaw discussion night.
"For me the crowning moments came from Richard in the Q&A. I'm totally with Stephen theologically but was keenly aware that there would have been many siding with Richard thinking he was their guy so there were two things he said that were significant and Stephen seemed closer to the Zionist position ;) When asked about 1948 and restoration, Stephen took an agnostic position and said it could be a restoration but not necessarily the one everyone is looking for. Richard said he saw no significance in it and did not believe it was a prophesied restoration. When asked if there was any significance in being Jewish, Stephen pointed to Romans 3 and Paul's list of benefits whereas Richard said there was none."
"I was a little disappointed last night, especially with Richard’s approach. A row of old ladies in front of me were saying plenty of amens and nodding happily when he spoke. I am sure that went away convinced. Certainly the OT prophets looked to the restoration of Israel, but they could only speak in the categories they were familiar with. The disciples and their contemporaries also looked to the restoration of Israel. But one can’t read the NT for too long without discovering that the restoration that has happened looks quite different from what Richard implied it might look like. In a sense the two presentations dovetailed quite nicely. He set the scene with a discussion of restoration hopes, and you showed what it looked like. But few would probably have noticed that. I think I can detect a presentation along these lines inside me somewhere!
The so-called progressive dispensationalists can say all they like that Dispensationalism has changed. But it still looks much the same to me, especially the bit that claims mainstream scholars for support, when with 10 minutes digging it becomes quite clear they are saying something quite different. And on Heb 11 he is just wrong!"See the rest of my New Zealand schedule (sponsored by TEAR Fund NZ) here
Steve Tollestrup Defends TEAR Fund NZ’s work in Palestine
TEAR Fund NZ Hosts ‘With God on our Side’ Tour
Steve Tollestrup, CEO of TEAR Fund NZ on Palestine
Frank Ritchie on TEAR Fund NZ
Rhema FM Newsrun Interview on Palestine
World Vision VP Endorses TEAR Fund Commitment to Justice, Peace and Reconciliation in Palestine
Israel and the Last Days: What does the Bible say? Laidlaw College, Auckland
Church Times: Dr Sizer is Cleared
Response to the Council of Christians and Jews
Sabeel Challenges Allegations of anti-Semitism
TEAR Fund NZ Women’s Empowerment Projects in India