But I think Adlerstein and Cooper take a wrong turn when they write “Evangelical and conservative Christians – Israel’s most important allies – are increasingly targeted for conversion from Christian Zionism to Christian Palestinianism.” They in fact did what the leaders of the conference did they put all of their eggs in the Christian Zionist basket.
The reason, and my good friends, please bear with me—I am both Reformed and Evangelical and, as you know, care about Israel and the Jews but I am not a Christian Zionist. There are many of us. Christian Zionism is just a straw man being used by various pro-Palestinian groups to made evangelicals feel like there is no other ground—to make a pun—worth taking. And not all that they write about Christian Zionism is true. But that is another posting.
So let me proceed to examine the true position of the people who spoke at the conference not from a typically evangelical position but from liberation theology and other theological positions. They were obviously attempting to influence the evangelicals but there is a need to hear what they were actually saying. In most cases the evangelicals have been seduced because of their love for the marginalized not because they understood the theology.
And I think the harshest words should be aimed at Mitri Raheb, who is the pastor of Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem. Cooper and Adlerstein point out in their article that Mitri makes a horrid anti-Semitic statement in his speech. I will quote it but add a little bit more than they do:
And the second assumption [Raheb’s assumption] is that the Palestinian people and part of the Jewish people are the continuation of the peoples of the land. It’s not Israel, according to what I am going to present to you…. I’m sure if we were to do a DNA test between David, who was a Bethlehemite, and Jesus, born in Bethlehem, and Mitri, born just across the street from where Jesus was born, I’m sure the DNA will show that there is a trace. While, if you put King David, Jesus and Netanyahu, you will get nothing, because Netanyahu comes from an East European tribe who converted to Judaism in the Middle Ages.For those who don’t understand, Raheb is saying that Prime Minister Netanyahu is not Jewish at all. And in saying this he is saying that none of the Jews who came from Europe are really Jews. And that is a lie birthed in the pit of hell.
Another speaker, Naim Stifan Ateek, states that he is speaking about contextual theology or as he also calls it liberation theology. He writes that most Christians in the Middle East were in times past Orthodox in faith who emphasized the divinity of Jesus, but now with liberation theology “our emphasis is also on the humanity of Christ. So, for us, Jesus was a Palestinian who lived in Palestine.” But the truth of the matter is, it was the Greek Church from which the orthodox emerged that put great emphasis on the two natures of Christ, his divinity and his humanity.
And Ateek's view of Scripture is very problematic. He states that evangelicals place an emphasis in the Bible on land and he sees it as an emphasis “on that part of the Old Testament that,” for him, “really reflects a tribal understanding of God and I [Ateek] see that tribal concept in the development of religious thought within the Old Testament itself. It is overcome; it is transcended by a much more universal concept of God.”
Ateek develops this thought in greater measure in his book A Palestinian Cry for Reconciliation. In his chapter on “The Bible and Land,” he pictures the Old Testament as possessing various points of view about God. He writes:
Beginning with Amos, we find a theology that vacillated between nationalism and universalism, between bigotry and openness, exclusivity and inclusiveness. And although some learned during the exile that there is one God who is concerned about others (as expressed by some of the prophets), many held to a narrow theology of God and a chosen people. (63)These kinds of thoughts about the Old Testament are scattered all through the chapter. I hope all Evangelicals reading this will understand. Ateek is saying, with out saying, that not all of the Old Testament is the inspired word of God. This downgrading of the Hebrew Bible is not new. It has happened over and over coming to a head in the years of Nazi Germany.
Two of the speakers spoke about the Holocaust and Evangelicals. One of them, Manfred W. Kohl, using a history of pietism, ended his speech by placing the Holocaust squarely on Evangelical teaching. The connection is extremely speculative. Instead, I would recommend the secular historian George L. Mosse and many of his books on Nazism, Arthur C. Cochrane who was a theologian and friend of many Confessing Church members has written on the subject. And I would highly recommend the new biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which covers many details of the ideological foundations of Nazism. The book, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet Spy was written by Eric Metaxas.
Another speaker at the conference, Stephen Sizer , uses a chapter from his book; Zion’s Christian Soldiers and writes:
It may surprise you to discover that the New Testament never uses the term ‘chosen’ to describe the Jewish people. It is only used of those who follow Jesus. Does that mean God has two separate ‘chosen people’? Some like to think so. They are usually called ‘dispensationalists’ and this is a popular viewpoint among evangelicals in the United States.Although not a dispensationalist I have to counter that with several verses. One is Jesus speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well, “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.” (John 4:22) The Jews were chosen to give a Messiah to the world. Jesus speaks to the Syrophoenician woman, “Let the children [the Jews] be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” (Mark7: 27) Jesus is of course testing the woman’s faith nonetheless he has still called the Jew’s his children. And what is it that Paul states?
From the stand point of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (Romans 11: 28)I believe that the best way to end this is with the words of David Torrance. He is a brother to James and Thomas Torrance, all Reformed. David Torrance’s views are not different than his brothers and he also believes that the Jews need, like everyone else, Jesus Christ. Yet, he contends that God has chosen the Jews and still, in fact, uses them. This is from a small book with chapters by all three on various subjects that has to do with Christianity: The book is A Passion For Christ: The Vision that Ignites Ministry. The chapter is, “The Mission of Christians and Jews.” I have placed this in a posting before but it should be read again. Torrance writes
“In what way does God confront the nations and peoples of the world today through the Jews?
1. Their remarkable preservation through history, scattered as they have been across the world and persecuted time and again in the most horrific ways, points to the miraculous hand of God who has set them apart for himself and promised, ‘Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,’ declares the lord, ‘will the descendents of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me (Jer 31:36). Their preservation points to the hand of God.
2. The very presence of the Jewish people today recalls us to their origins-to the great things which God has said and done in Israel and which are witnessed to in the Old and New Testaments.
3. The continuing presence of the Jewish people today-particularly their presence back in the Promised Land-reminds us that we and the nations have to reckon with a living, personal God. He is a God who acts in space and time, a God of judgment as well as mercy.
4. Their presence in the Promised Land reminds us in this twentieth century [and 21st] that our destiny is not in our hands. The nations do not hold their destiny in their own hands. It is not in the hands of their governments. Our destiny is in the hands of God who personally intervenes in history challenging the nations to humble themselves and to obey him, even as he challenged Pharaoh of old.
5. The modern history of Israel reminds us that God is over-ruling the continued sin of this world, as he fulfils his purposes of love and redemption. All history is leading up to the consummation of God’s purpose for this world, when he himself will come in Christ and the nations must meet with him and render account to him.
Israel’s return to the land of promise, following as it does an attempt under Hitler to obliterate everything Jewish, reminds us not only that God is the Lord of history but also that events seem to be moving on fairly fast toward the ultimate goal of history. Israel continues to be God’s covenant people and God continues to speak through the Jewish people and through them to show his glory to all who have eyes to see.”
 All of the speeches but one can be found at http://www.christatthecheckpoint.com/index.php/multimedia/lectures-2010 The speech I highlighted on the Holocaust will not open on that site but it can be found here: http://christatthecheckpoint.com/lectures/THE%20%20HOLOCAUST%20%20AND%20%20THE%20%20EVANGELICAL%20%20CHURCH.pdf
 Stephen Sizer uses revisionist writers in some of his blog writings. http://stephensizer.blogspot.com/2011/07/is-zionism-losing-ground-among.html?spref=fb In this particular posting he refers to a man named Charles Carlson. Charles Carlson is a historical revisionist who thinks the holocaust never happened.