The Southern Baptist Convention (the largest evangelical denomination in America), just passed a resolution that boldly proclaims support for Israel. This is not highly unusual for the SBC that has a solid reputation for supporting Israel and the Jewish people. Yet, it comes at a time when other evangelical denominations such as PC USA have chosen to pledge allegiance to the Palestinian cause and are heavily promoting its narrative with whatever baggage comes with it (Christian Palestinianism, BDS, Campus Intifada to name a few.)
The SBC has a long history of biblical support of Israel coming from a rather conservative and mostly dispensational view of the land and its people. That biblical foundation can be found in the new resolution, especially in articles 1-4, 8 and 11 reading as follows:
• The Old Testament declares God’s promise to Abram, “I will make you into a great nation…. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples of the earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:1–3)
• Israel represents the descendants of Jacob as an ethnic, cultural, and national entity (Genesis 32:28)
• The New Testament affirms that salvation is from the Jews and that God’s Word concerning Israel will be fulfilled (John 4:22; Romans 9–11)
• We are to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and for the salvation of Israel (Psalm 122:6–7; Romans 10:1)
• We thankfully remember that we are indebted to the Jewish people, who gave us much of our Bible and our Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
• At this critical time when dangerous forces are mounting up against the nation of Israel, we recommit ourselves to pray for God’s peace to rule in Jerusalem and for the salvation of Israel, for the Gospel is “God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew” (Romans 1:16).
This 2016 resolution (#5) is different because it is extremely bold. It clearly speaks out against the vile agenda of the new antisemitism. The biblical approach taken by SBC regarding Abraham, the Jewish people and Jerusalem has become somewhat of an expected position by the SBC–not that every single one of its sixteen million members adhere to it in one accord. But this wan’t just a theological resolution, it was also a political move by SBC, as delineated in articles 5, 6 and 9. This is what makes it very unique:
• The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement seeks to isolate the nation of Israel economically and socially.
• We are concerned by anti-Israel activities in this country within certain university campuses, academic and professional associations, and popular culture.
• We support the right of Israel to exist as a sovereign state and reject any activities that attack that right by promoting economic, cultural, and academic boycotts against Israel.
SBC made a bold statement against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement. To date, twenty three US states as well as some evangelical denominations have taken a stand against BDS. More and more people are seeing the destructive agenda of the Palestinian Authority through the BDS propaganda. They are also realizing that it is extremely biased at best and certainly seldom relying on factual truth if ever! I would have liked to see the SBC statement to read more like: “The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement seeks to unjustly isolate the nation of Israel economically and socially. But even without that clarification, their statement is already going further than many other denominations.
Continuing its political stand for Israel, the SBC resolution also denounced the [antisemitic] activities across many American university campuses. This is also known as Campus Intifada and is more present on the West coast in places like UC Davis, UC Berkeley and UC Irvine. It consists of pro-Palestinian groups gathering on US campuses where antisemitic speakers come to boldly accuse Israel. These are US university campuses you say…So what about Freedom of Speech? I would tend to agree, except that when pro-Israel groups or speakers attempt to speak or simply dialogue, they are harassed and abused with very little disciplinary action from university faculty or management.
It was very brave for the Southern Baptist Convention to put out such a resolution. The current evangelical trend is to not show support to Israel. Christian Zionists are turning into Christian Palestinianists as the biblical narrative is increasingly suffering from historical revisionism. This is why conferences like Christ at the Checkpoint are becoming more and more attractive to mainstream evangelicals including “once reputable” names such as Hank Hanegraaff.
This pendulum swing creates a grave danger for Israel and diaspora Jews at a time when they already suffer from a resurgence of violent antisemitism. Jewish people suffer at the hands of the liberal left, the extreme-right AND radical Islam. Biblical Christianity understood and applied properly should offer a “No-Strings-Attached” sanctuary to Jews worldwide. In light of current events and the rise of End-Times antisemitism, the SBC made a very unpopular move. In other words, they made a biblically correct move, knowing very well that it was politically incorrect. Jews and Southern Baptists might still disagree on who the Messiah is but this obviously doesn’t negate the Southern Baptists’ unconditional love for Israel, simply because the SBC answers to a higher authority and takes the Bible very seriously. They made the right move for such a time as this!
Gotta love Charles Stanley!
So thankful to have read this. One bright spot among many who call themselves evangelicals. I find it very sad that there are many who want to rewrite scripture to say something it doesn’t. I think I’m a Southern Baptist at heart!
The Presbyterian Church USA has never been considered part of the “Evangelical” church movement. It is one of the “Four Sisters” of mainline Protestantism — Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans and a few little half sisters such as The Church of Christ. These are “Dominion,” or “Kingdom Now” cults who adhere to a false theology that the “Church” has replaced Israel as God’s chosen people and will soon usher in God’s kingdom age.
Also, Hank Hanegraaff was never “once reputable.” He has been a false teacher and heretic from day one.
John Nesbitt says
Jesus was a Jew! He lived as a Jew.
Therefore we are all Jews!
Christianity is Judaism.
Let no man/woman separate us!
Doug Smith says
Awesome to hear of the support for Israe! I pray all true believers in Yeshua will stand strong with Israel! Yes there are many phony Christians and personally I do not like the term Christians. It applies to many people and groups who are anything but true followers of Yeshua. I consider myself, one who trusts in Jesus.
Thank God for denominations who are putting in writing their support for Israel and Jews around the world!
Steve Cech says
PTL for your comments! You nailed it on the word “Christian” The question to be asked of someone is if you are a Christian…”what makes you a Christian” to get either a true or false response.
Only those who have called upon the Lord, and those who have accepted the gift of salvation through Yeshua are Christians.
Ruth Rehm says
I strongly concur with your comments. Thanks for saying it so well.
I thank the Lord for this wonderful news. In the increasing insanity of our times where wrong is right and right is wrong, it is very encouraging to see this strong stand for Israel. The greatest voice for Israel should be coming from those who are true followers of Christ. There is something terribly wrong if that voice is not heard.
That is so true. For when the church age ends and we Christians are taken up, there will be “great tribulation,” as Jesus said. Then what will the Jews, particularly Israel have. The Holy Spirit will be removed.