Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Pastors Struggle Over How to Pray for a Just Peace
By Charles E. Carlson
ccun.org, July 24, 2009
The host of a regional meeting of Southern Baptist Pastors
invited Chuck Carlson as luncheon speaker at a monthly meeting of about 16
men. The topic was, Christian Zionism's Roots, and How It Impacts Life
and Death in Gaza. ------The reception from some was stony disbelief; others
seemed to need to polish off the subject with prayer and forget it.
Only one affable pastor of a fashionable church in Scottsdale, AZ,
stayed after lunch to debate. As expected, he stated he was not a
'Christian Zionist, but is a pre-millennial dispensationalist.' But he
believes 'Israel to be the fulfillment of Biblical prophesies' which
is our definition of a Christian Zionist. His conversation was reminiscent
of our dialogue with Sherry and Lanny eight years ago. This pastor
could well have been Sherry and Lanny's tutor, mentor and moral guide. Let
us review why Christian Zionists, by whatever name, cannot bring themselves
to pray for a Jus t Peace in the Middle East.
(Sherry's War, Part II Following Falwell into War Charles E.
Carlson, Feb 15, 2001)
On January 19, 2001, (the late) Reverend Jerry
Falwell was in Israel making a speech promoting Ariel Sharon for President;
Sherry was preparing for a Christ-centered weekend; and in a place called
Gaza about 25 families huddled in the rain, watching helplessly as their
homes and possessions were being destroyed by Israeli Defense Forces
How are these three incidents related' What do (the late) Jerry Falwell
and a sincere 'Christian' woman named Sherry have in common, and how are
they part of the root cause of the human tragedy that continues to unfold in
Palestine. In this series on Sherry's War we examine some of the strange
beliefs that are held and acted upon by an increasingly dominant subset of
Christianity, and how those beliefs fuel the endless wars in the Middle East
Based upon what the Bible tells her, Sherry believes
that Israel--meaning the people who live there now and call themselves
Jews--are Gods "chosen people." Like (the late) Jerry Falwell and a host of
other Christian celebrities, she believes Jesus Christ left a loophole in
his plan for the Israelis and, by association, for all who claim to be Jews,
everywhere. She also feels that God has provided an escape from impending,
apocalyptic events for her and for those who believe as she does. To be
protected from God's awful judgment on a sinful world, Sherry believes she
must recognize and honor the special deal God has made with Israel,
regardless of how she may feel about some of the actions Israel takes
against others, including Christians.
Sherry wants her friends to
join in her discovery of God's special grace for those who honor the State
of Israel. She questions and perhaps even worries about this writer, who she
feels, may not have blessed the nation of Israel as God commanded. Sherry is
convinced that anyone who does not do so will be cursed by God. Whether or
not she believes that such a curse precludes salvation and eternal life is
not entirely clear. But she wants no part of finding out, for she fears
those found on the wrong side of Israel at the time of the "rapture" may be
"left behind," in the vernacular of a best-selling author of our day.
No paid agent or professional propagandist for the State of Israeli could be
more effective or persuasive than Sherry. She is a force to be reckoned
with. Fired not by money or dreams of grandeur, but by zeal for God, Sherry
is convinced that the prophecies of the Bible, as interpreted by others,
tell her the inerrant truth.
Sherry's war is as much a crusade as any
fought in the Middle Ages. She will not be swayed from her passionate
attachment for Israel by any arguments of man based on any set of facts. No
reports of deaths or inhumane abuses committed by Israelis will weaken
Sherry's conviction that her first allegiance, next to God Himself, is to
the State of Israel.
To understand Sherry's War we must read her
Book, and we must examine her cherished beliefs verse by verse. She is not
an anomaly or an isolated fanatic, but a sincere and dedicated Christian who
is a member of the newest and most influential subset of Christian belief.
Because We Hold These Truths also holds God's word sacred, we will consider
Sherry's beliefs in the light of the Book itself in this series, of which
this is the second chapter. We will not utilize outside witnesses,
linguists, commentaries, or biblical experts, but will rely upon the works
and claims that Sherry gives us as the basis of her beliefs. We will examine
each verse in the context of who says what to and about whom.
begin by referring our readers to
a letter from Sherry, which explains exactly what she believes. Sherry's
first interpretation of God's word is perhaps the foundation of her belief
in God's "blessings and curses." It is taken from the Old Testament book of
Genesis 12:1-3, which Sherry quotes verbatim: "and I will make of thee a
great nation, and I will bless thee...and I will bless them that bless thee,
and curse him that curseth thee and in thee shall all the families of the
earth be blessed." (KJV).
Sherry quotes these verses as God's immutable
law favoring the state of Israel. It is clear from the words themselves that
God did promise to bless and protect the man named Abram (later renamed
Abraham). The context surrounding the verses makes it clear that God was
addressing Abram and no one else when he spoke these words. It requires, as
we shall discover, a giant leap of logic to assume these simple words were
ever intended to have anything to do with a political state of Israel or any
other state in a different age.
This blessing appears on its face
to be so personal that it could not include anyone except the person
addressed. We will show that, by bringing a future political state into the
blessing, Sherry is putting words in God's mouth that he did not speak. And
we will examine why she honestly believes this.
holds that God prepared and protected Abram for the purpose of starting the
line and lineage of the tribe that would stepfather Jesus Christ some 28
generations later. These "generations," as best they are remembered, are
listed in both the first chapter of Matthew and Luke. All Christians that we
know of have always held that in Jesus "all the families of the earth would
be blessed," as God promised and intended.
Sherry's Book tells us
that at the time of God's blessing, Abram had no children, nor prospects of
having any. We also find that there was no person named Israel. God promised
Abram a big and famous family. Two generations later, one of his grandsons,
Jacob, was renamed "Israel" in his manhood, and Israel is listed in St.
Matthew as a link in the ancestors of Joseph of Nazareth, who became the
adoptive father of Jesus. Thus, the traditional Christian belief that God
blessed all mankind through Abraham, as He promised.
believes, too, that Jesus Christ, the Messiah, was God's blessing to mankind
as promised to Abrams's seed. But by combining this verse with many others,
she also believes that the present-day State of Israel received title to the
land that is now Palestine, Israel, Iraq, and more. Sherry and millions of
other American Christians firmly hold that these verses grant title to the
place that is now called Israel. Sherry believes it as firmly as she
believes the deed to her house is granted by the paper recorded in the
courthouse. It does not bother Sherry that those who call themselves
"Zionists" did not pick the name "Israel" for their new county until almost
3000 years after the Abrahamic covenants were spoken.
A not at all
far-fetched analogy might be that of one who went to the courthouse and
changed his name to Thomas Jefferson Jr., and then demanded the keys to
Monticello from the long-since closed estate. Israelis do "Jefferson" one
better by making a 3000-year-old claim.
God did indeed clearly
promise Abram a great family--a miracle for one who was 75 years old and had
no sons--but this promise was an answer to Abram's prayers, not to those of
some future politicians. The plain and simple language of God's promise
clearly reveals that God was speaking to Abram only and no one else, not
even to Sarai, and certainly not to her yet to be born children. The Bible
says with its customary undeniable simplicity, "I will bless them that bless
God's promise of blessings is grammatically correct. God
addresses Abraham as "thee," which means only him. According to Websters New
International Dictionary, 2nd Edition, "thee or thou is singular form,
objective case, the person addressed." Webster tells us something
Shakespeare put in practice; "thee" denotes "special implications of
familiarity--as between intimates, or as used by a master to a servant."
That is that exactly what God was doing--addressing Abram intimately, as a
God addressed Abram as Sherry might address a son, or as one might
address one's child as my dear son or beloved child instead of simply "you."
Thee is, we think, reserved for a specific, loved person, as when Jesus
addresses his Disciples as "thee." This is clearly the way that it is used
everywhere in the Bible. But both (the late) Jerry Falwell and Sherry ignore
the plain language of the words and assume the verse implies a blessing not
only for Abram but also for the political state that adopted his grandson's
name 3000 years later.
It would seem that if God expected the
entire world to bless countless unborn, unnamed generations, he would have
said so. If God had wanted to say this, he might have said, "I will bless
you and all your generations after you, including the good ones and the evil
ones, and including also those who cannot even prove they were ever of your
seed, and for a hundred generations or more to come, and I will expect all
men to know who they are and bless them also, else they shall be cursed."
But God, using clear direct language and correct understandable grammar,
did not say this. Why, then, do Sherry and ministers like (the late) Jerry
Falwell interpret God as being incapable of clear and direct expression,
speaking in riddles and incomprehensible vagaries, like the graduates of
some of our modern schools. It is because the celebrity Christian leader
from whom she takes counsel tells her she must take scripture "literally,"
but teaches Sherry there are hidden meanings in most scripture. If you were
to ask her, Sherry would be the first to say God created all of us and our
languages, and all are perfect. She would also say she believes every word
of scripture is true, even if she cannot explain the contradictions in her
mentor's interpretations of prophesy.
The world could not function
with the kind of metaphorical language Sherry has ascribed to God. If Sherry
were to shout to a pack of dogs or unruly kids, "you stop that," without
naming which dog or which kid she's addressing, nothing would happen. If
Sherry said to her neighbor, "my friend, will you come to coffee tomorrow
morning," and the next day the neighbor arrived at her house with her five
kids, her in-laws and her whole bridge club, Sherry would think her neighbor
had a language problem, if not a mental problem. God's plain and simple
words named Abram alone for a personal blessing. Sherry forces God's words
to mean what she wants to hear, and she does this because her Church's
leaders, whom she respects, do it.
Consider the public statement that (deceased) Jerry Falwell made in
Jerusalem on January 19, 2001. He said, "As an evangelical Christian who
takes the Bible seriously, I take a Judeo-Christian perspective on most
moral and social issues." Falwell goes on to explain his reasons for doing
so, "%u2018primarily and mainly because I believe the Abraham covenant
literally. I believe God blesses those who bless Abraham, curses those who
curse Abraham. I believe God has blessed America because in most cases we
have been on the side of Israel, and not just the state of Israel but the
Jewish people everywhere--and I could care less what so me Gentiles and Jews
might think about my position."
In so doing, the late Falwell, like
Sherry, treats God as one incapable of saying what he means, mouthing it for
God. Pastors and trained laymen claim to read scripture "literally,"
meaning it means what it says, but then they manufacture an implied
metaphorical covenant with a political entity. Nothing could be less
"literal." Sherry and (now departed) Falwell both know the ten commandments
by heart, but in attributing to God something that is not of Him, they do
not seem to consider God's warning not to take his name in vain.
Sherry and a host of celebrity leaders, the message of Genesis is that they
are bound to love and aid the state of Israel, a sacred religious rite, or
else they will be cursed and presumably denied admission to the Kingdom of
Heaven. The age old, traditional Christian lesson of Genesis 12 is of God's
mercy to Abram, who called upon God to keep his promise, to rescue him from
his enemies before you read to the end of the chapter.
tells us Abraham got hungry and decided to throw himself on the mercy of the
Egyptians. To save his life, he prostituted his wife Sarai to the Pharaoh.
Nowhere in the chapter did God tell Abram to do this disgusting deed; Abram
had God's promise; he could have chosen to trust God to save him from the
impossible. To make matters worse, he also lied to Pharaoh, breaking another
of God's commandments, by saying Sarai was not his wife but his sister.
Abram became wealthy while the Pharaoh used his wife. Yet in spite of this,
God kept his promise and put a curse (plague) on the Pharaoh until he
finally released Abram and Sarai. Sherry and Falwell both believe those who
curse Israel (or fail to bless her) will be cursed, as was the Pharaoh.
Will God forgive Israel for years of cold-blooded, unrepentant killing of
the little unarmed boys in Palestine who throw rocks at tanks. Sherry
thinks so. Sherry believes she should not even see their sins, which is how
she and Lanny have managed to travel to Israel and come back extolling the
Israelis' virtues. Millions of other Americans join in Sherry's blessings
and curses, believing they must do anything for Israel, even if it means
ignoring its genocide of the innocent.
The sixty-four Palestinian
men, women and small children who stood in the cold pre-dawn rain in Gaza
would have trouble understanding Sherry's logic. They had been roused from
sleep and forced from their homes. Now they had to watch as Israeli Defense
Forces bulldozed their homes to the ground and threw their furniture and
possessions in the mud, while tanks stood by in case they protested. What
crime had these families committed? The Defense Forces had decided their
homes were too close to a recently constructed Israeli settlement.
Post Script 2009: Sadly, most, if not all of the 16 pastors who heard my
personal story about my visit to Gaza in 2002, bear the responsibility for
it, just as do Sherry and (the late) Jerry Falwell. They have guilty
knowledge because they have been told and have reason to know the truth.
They are responsible and must share blame before God for the 318
Palestinians killed, many of them children, and the 8000 injured in 2001,
and for the 1450 or more civilian Gazans, including almost 400 children who
died in the Israeli occupation and annihilation of December 2008 and January
2009, and for all those who died in between.
Christian, especially pastors, who support Israel's fanciful claims to these
people's homes based upon an apostate interpretation of the Bible shares in
the guilt of those killed in Israel's quest of that land.
guide We Hold These Truths also share in the bloodguilt of the Israelis, for
this brutality has endured for 50 years, and many of us knew long before we
found the courage to act. Let us now call each other to task. In the next
chapter of Sherry's War we will examine the New Testament verses that Sherry
(and the 16 Pastors) and millions like her rely upon for their unconditional
support of the camouflaged war for the assets of the Middle East.
(Endnote ) The Roots of
Christian zionsim DVD is avilable to purchase at (
http://eshop.cp.whtt.org/eshop.php?flag=1 ) A shorter slide show
version is still used today with Mr. Carlson's personal Guest appearances
and can be seen, heard or read at (http://www.whtt.org/show)
We Hold These Truths
Project Strait Gate
PO Box 14491
Scottsdale, AZ, 85267
480 947 3329
ON THIS TOPIC
Israel, The New
God's Terrible Law
that Judeo-Christians Break Carlson
Sheep and Goats Part
I Carlson (Matthew 25)
The Sheep and the
Goats, Part II (Matthew 25