Anglican Church clarifies its theology on Israel as it joins hands with the BDS movement.
On 26th September 2019, the Provincial Synod of the Anglican Church in South Africa unanimously approved a resolution to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS) against Israel. The resolution provides clarity on the theological position of the Anglican Church concerning Israel by stating that “The current political nation state of Israel and Israel in the Bible should not be confused with each other, and neither should the ideology of Zionism and the religion of Judaism be conflated.” Stated simply, the multitude of prophetic boxes that are ticked by the re-emergence of Israel as a nation on her biblically promised ancestral land, according to the Anglican Church have to be unticked. Read in conjunction with the Kairos Palestine document mentioned in the resolution, Israel and the Jews are no longer a relevant part of God’s plans as they have been replaced by the Church.
The spiritual deligitimisation of Israel is not a new phenomenon. The parallel scattering of the Jewish people and the birth of the Church, despite the clear teaching to the contrary by the Apostle Paul in Romans 9-11 and the promise of return included throughout Scripture, was seized upon by early church fathers as evidence that the Church had replaced Israel and in doing so inherited the blessings promised to Israel. This created within Christianity the capacity to be instrumental in much of the suffering endured by the Jews over the ensuing 1900 years. Others, outside of Christianity, saw Israel’s demise as the demise of the God of the Bible. Israel’s modern restoration has challenged both categories.
Is there a cost to rejecting Israel? Aside from the obvious where God promises blessings to those who bless Israel, there is indeed a greater cost. Speaking through Ezekiel the prophet (Chapter 36) God declares that the wellbeing of the people and the land is a reflection in the eyes of others on His integrity. For this reason, restoring the people and the land is essential to restoring His name. Another prophet, Jeremiah 16, declares that the return of the people to the “land promised to their fathers” will carry the message that Israel’s God is indeed a living God and this will cause a spiritual crisis “to the ends of the earth.” Joel 3 speaks of a judgement of the nations that divide up the land and scatter the people.
The resolution, despite condemning anti-Semitism, still fails the 3D test that has become the benchmark in determining anti-Semitism. It deligitimises Israel by eroding its very rationale for existing, demonises Israel through providing a misleading and incomplete context for the conflict there and applies double standards by singling out Israel for blame and having no stated expectation of others.
As the generations that bear witness to the prophetic fulfilment concerning Israel it is important that we recognise our responsibility to stand up for Israel and for the important role it continues to serve in God’s kingdom plans.
Date published: 04/10/2019
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