In 1992, Dr. Michael Brown, a Jewish believer in Jesus, wrote the book “Our Hands are Stained with Blood.” Not only did Brown carefully document the shameful history of anti-Semitism in the Christian church, he also laid out a proper path of repentance. Perhaps the most wonderful trend within certain segments of the Christian church over the past 20 years has been an awakening to the truths laid out in Brown’s work. Many Christians have come to recognize the centrality of the Jewish people in God’s plan for the ages, the Jewish roots of their own faith and the church’s dramatic historical shortfall in appropriating these realities.
Sadly, however, many other segments of the church have not only failed to acknowledge the long historical slide away from their Jewish roots, but actually turned their backs on the clear warnings of Scripture, joining the growing global slide toward anti-Semitism.
To the sorrow of numerous Jewish leaders and organizations, the Methodist Church of the United Kingdom, at their annual conference this year, made it abundantly clear that they do not support the Jewish people.
One commentary, written by Avner Boskey, an Israeli theologian, writer and director of Final Frontier Ministries, thoroughly documents the historical turn of the Methodist Church from a fiery revivalist movement with heart for the Jewish people to Ichabod, meaning in Hebrew “the glory has departed.”
John and Charles Wesley, the founders and spiritual fathers of Methodism, were themselves both fiery supporters of the Jewish people. Charles, the younger of the two Wesleys, was one of Christendom’s most notable and prolific hymn writers, authoring such classics as “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “Jesus Lover of my Soul” and “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing.”
Quoting one such hymn, Boskey says, “Consider the lyrics of one of Charles Wesley’s hymns that touches upon God’s heart for the Jewish people and God’s many biblical promises to restore Israel to their own promised land”:
- Calling the Hebrews home
O that the chosen band might now their brethren bring
And gathered out of every land present to Sion’s King.
Of all the ancient race not one be left behind
But each impelled by secret grace his way to Canaan find!
We know it must be done for God hath spoke the word
All Israel shall their Saviour own to their first state restored.
Rebuilt by His command Jerusalem shall rise
Her temple on Moriah stand again, and touch the skies.
Send then Thy servants forth to call the Hebrews home
From west and east, and south, and north let all the wanderers come.
Where’er in lands unknown Thy fugitives remain
Bid every creature help them on Thy holy mount to gain.
In considering Charles Wesley’s burning heart for the restoration of the Jewish people to the land of Israel and their Messiah, it is all the more sad to consider the recent radical decision made at the Methodist conference.
At the conference, a vote was taken and passed to boycott Jewish goods and services produced in Judea and Samaria as well as to endorse a brazenly anti-Semitic document known as the Kairos Palestine document.
As Boskey notes, “Up to this point, the Methodist Church has never boycotted any country; Israel has the distinction of being the first.” He then brings to remembrance two other historical boycotts against the Jewish people.
The first example cited is Hitler’s boycott of Jewish-owned businesses in Germany, which started on April 1, 1933. The second example cited was “the Muslim Arab boycott of all Israeli products from circa 1922 until the present day.”
Some may argue that the Methodist boycott of particular Israeli goods cannot be rightfully compared to Hitler’s boycott. But anti-Semitism is not a mere cold; it’s a disease. And apart from repentance, history shows that it is always progressive. As Boskey notes, in Hitler’s case, what began as a mere “selective boycott of certain Jews in certain territories ended with a total Antichrist onslaught against the Jews, known today as the Holocaust.” It was six years after the initial boycott that Hitler declared his ultimate purposes: “Today I will once more be a prophet. … The result will be … the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe.”
The Arab League Council’s boycott of Israeli goods was formally declared on Dec. 2, 1945: “Jewish products and manufactured goods shall be considered undesirable to the Arab countries.” All Arab “institutions, organizations, merchants, commission agents and individuals” are called upon “to refuse to deal in, distribute or consume Zionist products or manufactured goods.”
Today it is common to hear those from the left adamantly declare that they are not anti-Semitic, but merely anti-Zionist. Such a distinction, however, is a thin smokescreen. Of the Arab League’s boycott, Boskey takes note, “the terms ‘Jewish’ and ‘Zionist’ are used synonymously. … Their boycott was of all products produced by Jews.”
Regarding the anti-Semitic Kairos Palestine Document endorsed by the Methodists, Boskey says, “A bold one-sentence summation of the entire article by its authors is starkly clear: ‘In this historic document, we Palestinian Christians declare that the military occupation of our land is a sin against God and humanity.’”
The Kairos Palestine Document condemns the beliefs of John and Charles Wesley who ardently believed the Scripture’s championing of the restoration of the Jewish people to their ancient land, referring to their beliefs as “precisely the error in fundamentalist biblical interpretation that brings us death and destruction.” Not surprisingly, the Kairos Palestine Document nowhere condemns or calls for an end to terrorism, but instead endorses it, referring to brazen terrorist acts in glowing and positive terms. According to the Kairos Palestine Document, “The Palestinian people has … engaged in peaceful struggle, especially during the first Intifada.”
If you are a person of conscience, please stop and consider what is being stated here. According to Kairos Palestine, the existence of the state of Israel “is a sin against God and humanity” and, as such, violent resistance, including the bombing of cafés and killing innocent civilians, is not only justified, but something to be praised.
Boskey asks how much different this sentiment truly is from the famous statements of Adolf Hitler, who said, “By defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord” (Mein Kampf).
This is what the Methodist Church of the United Kingdom has endorsed.
And they are not alone. Among the co-signers of Kairos Palestine are the Catholic patriarch, the Greek-Orthodox archbishop, the Lutheran bishop and the former canon of the Anglican St. George’s Cathedral.
Throughout history, the Christian church has committed uncountable and unspeakable acts against the Jewish people. Today, millions of Christians are awakening to this dark stain on our collective history. They are repenting for their sins and awakening to God’s eternal promises to the Jewish people as made clear throughout Scripture. These Christians, regardless of their denominational affiliation, are behaving as true spiritual children of Charles and John Wesley. Many other Christians however, having chosen the dark path of anti-Semitism, have taken for themselves quite a different father altogether (John 8:44).