Israel is now in the crosshairs

By Jim Fletcher

I found the new book, “”Target Israel: Caught in the Crosshairs of the End Times,” by Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson, to be so compelling I wanted to write about the subject, given the fact that shifting attitudes in America – specifically within evangelicalism – are threatening this country’s unique history with the Jewish state.

Target Israel

The deterioration of the two nations’ relationship has greatly accelerated since the election of Barack Obama. His background with Marxists and Islamists shaped him, and his nasty view of Israel is genuine. I am convinced that a president sets the moral (or, in his case, the immoral) tone for a country. With regard to Israel, Obama has made it fashionable to dislike Jews and Israel (couched in “we’re just against Zionism” speak).

The real story here, though, and the one that puts Israel squarely in the crosshairs, is the degrading support among evangelical leaders. This is a fairly new phenomenon, and runs parallel to the anti-Israel thought coming from mainline and Catholic churches for decades. To now hear evangelical leaders decry “the Occupation” is disconcerting, at best. This has been the language used by Methodists, Presbyterians and others involved in the BDS (Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions) movement, that seeks to harm Israel economically.

This is a huge story, yet little known by people in the pews. That’s because it appears to be relatively new. Only a decade ago, staunch pro-Israel leaders like Jerry Falwell were still with us. Now, they’ve been largely replaced by the likes of Rick Warren and Andy Stanley. Neither are pro-Israel, and in fact run in anti-Israel circles. Same with the hugely influential Bill Hybels.

Yet there are “second-tier” leaders, like Andy Braner, Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Merritt, who are leading the charge in holding up Israel as a villain in the longstanding Arab-Israeli conflict.

The erosion of support among America’s top evangelical leaders has gotten to be so severe that it’s now unusual to see one be supportive of Israel! Two cases in point:

• Perry Noble, who runs in some questionable circles (speaking at Catalyst conferences, where anti-Israel speakers are welcomed with open arms), penned a very supportive blog post last year, and for this he should be highly commended. Noble put his finger right on the problem (then went on to show himself a supporter of Israel):

It seems that more often than not, the “politically correct” thing in the United States is to take a Palestinian/anti-Israel stand when it comes to these matters. I’ve even seen a switch in the evangelical church in regards to which nation we support. Twenty five years or so ago in our nation there was overwhelming support for Israel; however, over time, as 24-hour news organizations with an obvious bias have dominated the conversation about this area of the world and have taken center stage – Israel, once again, seems to be fighting the world for a right to exist.

Perry Noble signs books at Catalyst East
Perry Noble signs books at Catalyst East

• Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd, also in a blog post, made an important statement of support for Israel: “Many across the world are marginalizing Israel.”

This from a blog post in December, taking a look at trouble spots in the world. Floyd should be commended for being specific: some are marginalizing Israel. It would be helpful, though, if he would confront this problem within his own circles. I have been told by some in the know that pro-Israel support among Southern Baptist pastors is rapidly diminishing. This in part due to the influence of people like Rick Warren, who cozies up to Muslim imams, and networks with anti-Israel evangelicals.

Not surprisingly, pro-Palestinian and pro-Islamist propaganda is filtering down to next-generation leaders. Recently, Andy Braner wrote:

Last week in Marrakesh Morocco, a group of Muslim and Christian leaders unveiled a declaration of religious freedom in predominantly Muslim countries.

Fellow friends in attendance included Rick Love (CEO of the Peace Catalyst) and Bob Roberts Jr. (Pastor at Northwood Community Church in Keller Texas) who kept the world informed on the progress. These two men are two of my personal heroes when it comes to developing relationships for peace in the world.

This Marrakesh Summit’s 750 word declaration helps to frame the way non-Muslims are to be treated in Muslim countries, and helps to show the world Islam isn’t a place to find violence, but to the contrary; a place where people will be accepted.

It is shocking to see that Braner believes Islam isn’t a violent religion. I don’t even see a starting point for discussion with such a person (and there are many of them who self-identify as evangelicals). Further, Braner shows a gross lack of discernment, as he recounts a conversation with a professor, who told him the following:

There is a vast transformation happening across Europe. The refugees that are being welcomed by people who love and give in the name of Jesus are adopting the ways of their hosts. Those who are marginally active in their faith are experiencing a welcoming like they’ve never seen in their home country.

This is the exact opposite of reality. The cold truth is, Islamists are taking over chunks of Europe. The UK, Belgium, Germany and France are just four countries on the continent in the grips of Islamist terror, and the drive to impose shariah law in these countries is an existential threat. How in the world can people like Andy Braner believe otherwise? His friends Rick Love and Bob Roberts Jr. are part of this problem.

And, for a long time, highly influential leaders like Bill and Lynne Hybels have been befriended by Islamists and specifically, Palestinian propagandists. I’ve sat through several of Lynne Hybels’ presentations about the Arab-Israeli conflict, and each sounds like a Hamas PowerPoint. I’m not kidding.

All this makes it critical for pro-Israel advocates to redouble their efforts to set the record straight. My first published investigative piece about all this is now five years old. Since then, the situation has deteriorated.

Israel is now in the crosshairs.

Discover how real and relevant Bible prophecy is to you with Jim Fletcher’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine): How to stop worrying and learn to love these end times”

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