Word of the Day… August 18, 2014….

image

Sunday Listening,

 Part Two

by Charles R. Swindoll


The Lord Speaks to SamuelMeanwhile, the boy Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli. Now in those days messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon.One night Eli, who was almost blind by now, had gone to bed. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the Tabernacle* near the Ark of God. Suddenly the Lord called out, “Samuel!”“Yes?” Samuel replied. “What is it?” He got up and ran to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”“I didn’t call you,” Eli replied. “Go back to bed.” So he did.Then the Lord called out again, “Samuel!”Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”“I didn’t call you, my son,” Eli said. “Go back to bed.”Samuel did not yet know the Lord because he had never had a message from the Lord before. So the Lord called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”Then Eli realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy. So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went back to bed.And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!”And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”  1 Samuel 3:1–10

We’ve been talking about the essential skill of listening, particularly as it relates to Sunday sermons. I asked you to come up with some ideas on what can be done by the listener (not the preacher) to keep the sermon interesting. Let’s consider together how we could improve our listening skills. I’m indebted to Haddon Robinson, a Ph.D. in the field of communication, for these four “don’ts” that are worth remembering.
Don’t assume the subject is dull. When the topic is announced, avoid the habit of thinking, I’ve heard that before or This doesn’t apply to me. Good listeners believe they can learn something from everyone. Any message will have a fresh insight or a helpful illustration. A keen ear will listen for such.


Don’t criticize before hearing out the speaker. All speakers have faults. If you focus on them, you will miss some profitable points being made. Those who listen well refuse to waste valuable time concentrating on the negatives. They also refuse to jump to conclusions until the entire talk is complete.


Don’t let your prejudices close your mind. Some subjects are charged with intense emotions. Effective listeners keep an open mind, restraining the tendency to argue or agree until they fully understand the speaker’s position in light of what the Scriptures teach.
Don’t waste the advantage which thought has over speech. Remember what we learned yesterday about the gap between speech-speed and thought-speed? Diligent listeners practice four skills as they mentally occupy themselves:


First, they try to guess the next point.Second, they challenge supporting evidence.Third, they mentally summarize what they have heard.Fourth, they apply the Scripture at each point.Writing down the outline and a few thoughts during the sermon also keeps the mind from drifting off course.


Young Samuel took the advice of Eli the priest, and as a result, he heard what God wanted him to learn. The message was riveted into Samuel’s head so permanently, he never forgot it. And it all started with:
“Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:9).Try that next Sunday. A few seconds before the sermon begins, pray that prayer. You will be amazed how much more you hear when you work hard to listen well.


 Good listeners believe they can learn something from everyone.  I hope that you have a Simply Heavenly day!!!  God bless you!!!

http://dlvr.it/6fRlFb

Word of the Day… August 17, 2014….

image

Sunday Listening,

 Part One

by Charles R. Swindoll

The Lord said to me, ‘They have spoken well.  I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.  Deuteronomy 18:17-19


Most of us were born hearing well, but all of us must learn to listen well. Listening is a skill, an art that is in need of being cultivated.
Dr. Ralph Nichols, considered by many to be an authority on the subject, believes that we think four, perhaps five, times faster than we talk. This means that if a speaker utters one hundred twenty words a minute, the audience thinks at about five hundred words a minute. That difference offers a strong temptation to listeners to take mental excursions … to think about last night’s bridge game or tomorrow’s sales report or the need to get that engine tune-up before next weekend’s trip to the mountains … then phase back into the speaker’s talk.


Research at the University of Minnesota reveals that in listening to a ten-minute talk, hearers operate at only a twenty-eight percent efficiency. And the longer the talk, the less we understand, the less we track with our ears what somebody’s mouth is saying. That could be downright frightening to guys like me who preach from forty to fifty minutes a crack! That also explains why some wag has described preaching as “the fine art of talking in someone else’s sleep.”


Good communication is tricky business. We are all busy people with heavy mental anchors dragging across our brains at every waking moment. It’s hard work for any preacher to seize our attention, then hold it for an extended period of time—-especially since we can think so much faster than he can talk.


Which brings up the seldom-mentioned secret of a good sermon. Aside from God’s vital part in the whole thing, there are two crucial ingredients that make it happen. First, the one who speaks must speak well.

Second, the one who listens must listen well. Neither is automatic. Both are hard work. I should also add that just because a Bible is open and religious words are being tossed around, there is no magical spell of sustained interest guaranteed. And difficult as it may be for us preachers to accept this, sincerity in the heart is no excuse for being dry, dull, and boring in the pulpit.


But let’s think about the pew for a change. What can be done by the listener to keep the sermon interesting? Instead of thinking about how the preacher could improve, let’s turn to the flip side and consider how we could improve our listening skills. I hope you have a Simply Heavenly day.  God bless you!!! 

http://dlvr.it/6dt2j3

Word of the Day… July 17, 2014…

image

Not All There Is

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.—James 1:12


Not long ago, I had a conversation with two people after church.
One was in a wheelchair with a severe disability, and the other was speaking at length. I listened to her for a while, and then I turned to the woman in the wheelchair and said, “Well, how are you doing?”
“I am doing fine,” she told me.


But then her friend said that she actually had just had two brain surgeries to remove cancer, and they were successful.
I looked at this young woman with her disability, someone who had just come through such a difficult time, and I thought, And where is she now? She is at church.


I think of all of the excuses people come up with as to why they can’t make it to church. They have a cold, or it takes too long to get into the parking lot, and so forth. Yet here was this young woman who, despite her severe disability and recent surgeries, was at church, praising God and saying she is doing fine. I was touched by her example.


So I said to her, “You know, the Bible promises a special blessing and crown to those who have suffered in this life. I admire your faith. You are an inspiration to me.”


James 1:12 says, “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him” (NLT). It all will be made up to us in the life to come. Have you lost something to follow Jesus? Whatever losses you may have incurred for following Christ will be more than made up to you.


Make no mistake about it: Our life on earth isn’t all there is. There will be rewards for our faithfulness to God.  I enjoyed this devotional from Pastor Greg and I hope that you enjoy it as well.  Have a Simply Heavenly day!!!  God bless you!!! 

http://dlvr.it/6M418s

MYTH vs FACT ARAB - ISRAELI CONFLICT
MYTH
“The Jews have no claim to the land they call Israel.”
FACT
A common misperception is that all the Jews were forced into the Diaspora by the Romans after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the year 70 C.E. and then, 1,800 years later, the Jews suddenly returned to Palestine demanding their country back. In reality, the Jewish people have maintained ties to their historic homeland for more than 3,700 years.
 
The Jewish people base their claim to the Land of Israel on at least four premises: 
1) the Jewish people settled and developed the land; 
2) the international community granted political sovereignty in Palestine to the Jewish people; 
3) the territory was captured in defensive wars and 
4) God promised the land to the patriarch Abraham.
 
Even after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, and the beginning of the exile, Jewish life in the Land of Israel continued and often flourished. Large communities were reestablished in Jerusalem and Tiberias by the ninth century. In the 11th century, Jewish communities grew in Rafah, Gaza, Ashkelon, Jaffa and Caesarea. TheCrusaders massacred many Jews during the 12th century, but the community rebounded in the next two centuries as large numbers of rabbis and Jewish pilgrims immigrated to Jerusalem and the Galilee. Prominent rabbis established communities in Safed, Jerusalem and elsewhere during the next 300 years.
 
By the early 19th century—years before the birth of the modern Zionist movement—more than 10,000 Jews lived throughout what is today Israel. The 78 years of nation-building, beginning in 1870, culminated in the reestablishment of the Jewish State.
 
Israel’s international “birth certificate” was validated by the promise of the Bible; uninterrupted Jewish settlement from the time of Joshua onward; the Balfour Declaration of 1917; the League of Nations Mandate, which incorporated the Balfour Declaration; the United Nations partition resolution of 1947; Israel’s admission to the UNin 1949; the recognition of Israel by most other states; and, most of all, the society created by Israel’s people in decades of thriving, dynamic national existence.
 
“Nobody does Israel any service by proclaiming its ‘right to exist.’ Israel’s right to exist, like that of the United States, Saudi Arabia and 152 other states, is axiomatic and unreserved. Israel’s legitimacy is not suspended in midair awaiting acknowledgement. . . .There is certainly no other state, big or small, young or old, that would consider mere recognition of its ‘right to exist’ a favor, or a negotiable concession.”
Abba Eban 
MYTH
“Palestine was always an Arab country.”
FACT
The term “Palestine” is believed to be derived from the Philistines, an Aegean people who, in the 12th CenturyB.C.E., settled along the Mediterranean coastal plain of what are now Israel and the Gaza Strip. In the second century C.E., after crushing the last Jewish revolt, the Romans first applied the name Palaestina to Judea (the southern portion of what is now called the West Bank) in an attempt to minimize Jewish identification with the land of Israel. The Arabic word Filastin is derived from this Latin name. 
 Map of British Mandate

The Hebrews entered the Land of Israel about 1300 B.C.E., living under a tribal confederation until being united under the first monarch, King Saul. The second king, David, established Jerusalem as the capital around 1000 B.C.E. David’s son, Solomon, built the Temple soon thereafter and consolidated the military, administrative and religious functions of the kingdom. The nation was divided under Solomon’s son, with the northern kingdom (Israel) lasting until 722 B.C.E., when the Assyrians destroyed it, and the southern kingdom (Judah) surviving until the Babylonian conquest in 586 B.C.E. The Jewish people enjoyed brief periods of sovereignty afterward until most Jews were finally driven from their homeland in 135 C.E.
 
Jewish independence in the Land of Israel lasted for more than 400 years. This is much longer than Americans have enjoyed independence in what has become known as the United States. In fact, if not for foreign conquerors, Israel would be more than 3,000 years old today.
 
Palestine was never an exclusively Arab country, although Arabic gradually became the language of most of the population after the Muslim invasions of the seventh century. No independent Arab or Palestinian state ever existed in Palestine. When the distinguished Arab-American historian, Princeton University Prof. Philip Hitti, testified against partition before theAnglo-American Committee in 1946, he said: “There is no such thing as ‘Palestine’ in history, absolutely not.” 
Prior to partition, Palestinian Arabs did not view themselves as having a separate identity. When the First Congress of Muslim-Christian Associations met in Jerusalem in February 1919 to choose Palestinian representatives for the Paris Peace Conference, the following resolution was adopted:
 
We consider Palestine as part of Arab Syria, as it has never been separated from it at any time. We are connected with it by national, religious, linguistic, natural, economic and geographical bonds. In 1937, a local Arab leader, Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, told the Peel Commission, which ultimately suggested the partition of Palestine: “There is no such country as Palestine! ‘Palestine’ is a term the Zionists invented! There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria.”  The representative of the Arab Higher Committee to the United Nations echoed this view in a statement to the General Assembly in May 1947, which said Palestine was part of the Province of Syria and the Arabs of Palestine did not comprise a separate political entity. A few years later, Ahmed Shuqeiri, later the chairman of the PLO, told the Security Council: “It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but southern Syria.” 
 
Palestinian Arab nationalism is largely a post-World War I phenomenon that did not become a significant political movement until after the 1967 Six-Day War.
 
MYTH
“The Palestinians are descendants of the Canaanites and were in Palestine long before the Jews.”
 
FACT
Palestinian claims to be related to the Canaanites are a recent phenomenon and contrary to historical evidence. The Canaanites disappeared from the face of the earth three millennia ago, and no one knows if any of their descendants survived or, if they did, who they would be.
 
Sherif Hussein, the guardian of the Islamic Holy Places in Arabia, said the Palestinians’ ancestors had only been in the area for 1,000 years.  Even the Palestinians themselves have acknowledged their association with the region came long after the Jews. In testimony before the Anglo-American Committee in 1946, for example, they claimed a connection to Palestine of more than 1,000 years, dating back no further than the conquest of Muhammad’sfollowers in the 7th century. Over the last 2,000 years, there have been massive invasions (e.g., the Crusades) that killed off most of the local people, migrations, the plague, and other manmade or natural disasters. The entire local population was replaced many times over. During the British mandate alone, more than 100,000 Arabs emigrated from neighboring countries and are today considered Palestinians.
 
By contrast, no serious historian questions the more than 3,000-year-old Jewish connection to the Land of Israel, or the modern Jewish people’s relation to the ancient Hebrews.
MYTH
“The Balfour Declaration did not give Jews the right to a homeland in Palestine.”
FACT
In 1917, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration:
 
His Majesty’s Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
 
The Mandate for Palestine included the Balfour Declaration. It specifically referred to “the historical connections of the Jewish people with Palestine” and to the moral validity of “reconstituting their National Home in that country.” The term “reconstituting” shows recognition of the fact that Palestine had been the Jews’ home. Furthermore, the British were instructed to “use their best endeavors to facilitate” Jewish immigration, to encourage settlement on the land and to “secure” the Jewish National Home. The word “Arab” does not appear in the Mandatory award. 
 
The Mandate was formalized by the 52 governments at the League of Nations on July 24, 1922.
MYTH
“Arabs in Palestine suffered because of Jewish settlement.”
FACT
For many centuries, Palestine was a sparsely populated, poorly cultivated and widely-neglected expanse of eroded hills, sandy deserts and malarial marshes. As late as 1880, the American consul in Jerusalem reported the area was continuing its historic decline. “The population and wealth of Palestine has not increased during the last forty years,” he said. 
 
The Report of the Palestine Royal Commission quotes an account of the Maritime Plain in 1913:
 
The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts . . . ​no orange groves, orchards or vineyards were to be seen until one reached [the Jewish village of] Yabna [Yavne]. . . . Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen. . . . The ploughs used were of wood. . . . The yields were very poor. . . . The sanitary conditions in the village were horrible. Schools did not exist. . . . The western part, towards the sea, was almost a desert. . . . The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants. 
 
Surprisingly, many people who were not sympathetic to the Zionist cause believed the Jews would improve the condition of Palestinian Arabs. For example, Dawood Barakat, editor of the Egyptian paper Al-Ahram, wrote: “It is absolutely necessary that an entente be made between the Zionists and Arabs, because the war of words can only do evil. The Zionists are necessary for the country: The money which they will bring, their knowledge and intelligence, and the industriousness which characterizes them will contribute without doubt to the regeneration of the country.” 
 
Even a leading Arab nationalist believed the return of the Jews to their homeland would help resuscitate the country. According to Sherif Hussein, the guardian of the Islamic Holy Places in Arabia:
 
The resources of the country are still virgin soil and will be developed by the Jewish immigrants. One of the most amazing things until recent times was that the Palestinian used to leave his country, wandering over the high seas in every direction. His native soil could not retain a hold on him, though his ancestors had lived on it for 1000 years. At the same time we have seen the Jews from foreign countries streaming to Palestine from Russia, Germany, Austria, Spain, America. The cause of causes could not escape those who had a gift of deeper insight. They knew that the country was for its original sons (abna’ihi-l-asliyin), for all their differences, a sacred and beloved homeland. The return of these exiles (jaliya) to their homeland will prove materially and spiritually [to be] an experimental school for their brethren who are with them in the fields, factories, trades and in all things connected with toil and labor.
 
As Hussein foresaw, the regeneration of Palestine, and the growth of its population, came only after Jews returned in massive numbers.
 
“Mark Twain, who visited Palestine in 1867, described it as: “. . . a desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds—a silent mournful expanse. . . . A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action. . . . We never saw a human being on the whole route. . . . There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of the worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.”  

 
MYTH
“Zionism is racism.”
FACT
In 1975, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution slandering Zionism by equating it with racism. Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, which holds that Jews, like any other nation, are entitled to a homeland.
 
History has demonstrated the need to ensure Jewish security through a national homeland. Zionism recognizes that Jewishness is defined by shared origin, religion, culture and history. The realization of the Zionist dream is exemplified by nearly six million Jews, from more than 100 countries, who are Israeli citizens.
 
Israel’s Law of Return grants automatic citizenship to Jews, but non-Jews are also eligible to become citizens under naturalization procedures similar to those in other countries. Israel’s policy is not unique; many other countries, including Germany, Greece, Ireland and Finland have special categories of people who are entitled to citizenship.
 
More than one million Muslim and Christian Arabs, Druze, Baha’is, Circassians and other ethnic groups also are represented in Israel’s population. The presence in Israel of thousands of Jews from Ethiopia, Yemen and India is the best refutation of the calumny against Zionism. In a series of historic airlifts, labeled Operations Moses (1984), Joshua (1985) and Solomon (1991), Israel rescued more than 20,000 members of the ancient Ethiopian Jewish community.
 
Zionism does not discriminate against anyone. Israel’s open and democratic character, and its scrupulous protection of the religious and political rights of Christians and Muslims, rebut the charge of exclusivity. Moreover, anyone—Jew or non-Jew, Israeli, American, or Chinese, black, white, or purple—can be a Zionist.
 
By contrast, the Arab states define citizenship strictly by native parentage. It is almost impossible to become a naturalized citizen in Arab states such as Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Several Arab nations have laws that facilitate the naturalization of foreign Arabs, with the specific exception of Palestinians. Jordan, on the other hand, instituted its own “law of return” in 1954, according citizenship to all former residents of Palestine, except for Jews.
 
The 1975 UN resolution was part of the Soviet-Arab Cold War anti-Israel campaign. Almost all the former non-Arab supporters of the resolution have apologized and changed their positions. When the General Assembly voted to repeal the resolution in 1991, only some Arab and Muslim states, as well as Cuba, North Korea and Vietnam were opposed.
Writing after “Operation Moses” was revealed, William Safire noted:
“. . . For the first time in history, thousands of black people are being brought to a country not in chains but in dignity, not as slaves but as citizens.” 
 
MYTH
“The Zionists could have chosen another country besides Palestine.”
FACT
In the late 19th century, the rise of anti-Semitism led to a resurgence of pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe, shattering promises of equality and tolerance. This stimulated Jewish immigration to Palestine from Europe.
 
Simultaneously, a wave of Jews immigrated to Palestine from Yemen, Morocco, Iraq and Turkey. These Jews were unaware of Theodor -Herzl’s political Zionism or of European pogroms. They were motivated by the centuries-old dream of the “Return to Zion” and a fear of intolerance. Upon hearing that the gates of Palestine were open, they braved the hardships of travel and went to the Land of Israel.
 
The Zionist ideal of a return to Israel has profound religious roots. Many Jewish prayers speak of Jerusalem, Zion and the Land of Israel. The injunction not to forget Jerusalem, the site of the Temple, is a major tenet of Judaism. The Hebrew language, the Torah, laws in the Talmud, the Jewish calendar and Jewish holidays and festivals all originated in Israel and revolve around its seasons and conditions. Jews pray toward Jerusalem and recite the words “next year in Jerusalem” every Passover. Jewish religion, culture and history make clear that it is only in the land of Israel that the Jewish commonwealth can be built.
 
In 1897, Jewish leaders formally organized the Zionist political movement, calling for the restoration of the Jewish national home in Palestine, where Jews could find sanctuary and self-determination, and work for the renascence of their civilization and culture.
MYTH
“Herzl himself proposed Uganda as the Jewish state as an alternative to Palestine.”
FACT
Theodor Herzl sought support from the great powers for the creation of a Jewish homeland. He turned to Great Britain, and met with Joseph Chamberlain, the British colonial secretary and others. The British agreed, in principle, to permit Jewish settlement in East Africa.
At the Sixth Zionist Congress at Basle on August 26, 1903, Herzl proposed the British Uganda Program as atemporary emergency refuge for Jews in Russia in immediate danger. While Herzl made it clear that this program would not affect the ultimate aim of Zionism, a Jewish entity in the Land of Israel, the proposal aroused a storm of protest at the Congress and nearly led to a split in the Zionist movement. The Uganda Program, which never had much support, was formally rejected by the Zionist movement at the Seventh Zionist Congress in 1905.
MYTH
“The Arabs saw the Balfour Declaration as a betrayal of their rights.”
FACT
Emir Faisal, son of Sherif Hussein, the leader of the Arab revolt against the Turks, signed an agreement with Chaim Weizmann and other Zionist leaders during the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. It acknowledged the “racial kinship and ancient bonds existing between the Arabs and the Jewish people” and concluded that “the surest means of working out the consummation of their national aspirations is through the closest possible collaboration in the development of the Arab states and Palestine.” Furthermore, the agreement looked to the fulfillment of the Balfour Declaration and called for all necessary measures “ . . . ​to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale, and as quickly as possible to settle Jewish immigrants upon the land through closer settlement and intensive cultivation of the soil.” 
 
Faisal had conditioned his acceptance of the Balfour Declaration on the fulfillment of British wartime promises of independence to the Arabs. These were not kept.
 
Critics dismiss the Weizmann-Faisal agreement because it was never enacted; however, the fact that the leader of the Arab nationalist movement and the Zionist movement could reach an understanding is significant because it demonstrated that Jewish and Arab aspirations were not necessarily mutually exclusive.
 
"Our settlers do not come here as do the colonists from the Occident to have natives do their work for them; they themselves set their shoulders to the plow and they spend their strength and their blood to make the land fruitful. But it is not only for ourselves that we desire its fertility. The Jewish farmers have begun to teach their brothers, the Arab farmers, to cultivate the land more intensively; we desire to teach them further: together with them we want to cultivate the land—to ‘serve’ it, as the Hebrew has it. The more fertile this soil becomes, the more space there will be for us and for them. We have no desire to dispossess them: we want to live with them.”
Martin Buber
 
 
MYTH
“The Zionists were colonialist tools of Western imperialism.”
FACT
“Colonialism means living by exploiting others,” Yehoshofat Harkabi has written. “But what could be further from colonialism than the idealism of city-dwelling Jews who strive to become farmers and laborers and to live by their own work?”  
 
Moreover, as British historian Paul Johnson noted, Zionists were hardly tools of imperialists given the powers’ general opposition to their cause. “Everywhere in the West, the foreign offices, defense ministries and big business were against the Zionists.”
  
Emir Faisal also saw the Zionist movement as a companion to the Arab nationalist movement, fighting against imperialism, as he explained in a letter to Harvard law professor and future Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter on March 3, 1919, one day after Chaim Weizmann presented the Zionist case to the Paris conference. Faisal wrote:
 
The Arabs, especially the educated among us, look with deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. . . . We will wish the Jews a hearty welcome home. . . . We are working together for a reformed and revised Near East and our two movements complete one another. The Jewish movement is nationalist and not imperialist. And there is room in Syria for us both. Indeed, I think that neither can be a real success without the other (emphasis added). 
 
In the 1940s, the Jewish underground movements waged an anti—colonial war against the British. The Arabs, meanwhile, were concerned primarily with fighting the Jews rather than expelling the British imperialists.
 
MYTH
“The British promised the Arabs independence in Palestine.”
FACT
The central figure in the Arab nationalist movement at the time of World War I was Hussein ibn ‘Ali, the Sherif of Mecca in 1908. As Sherif, Hussein was responsible for the custody of Islam’s shrines in the Hejaz and was one of the Muslims’ spiritual leaders.
 
In July 1915, Hussein sent a letter to Sir Henry MacMahon, the High Commissioner for Egypt, informing him of the terms for Arab participation in the war against the Turks. The letters between Hussein and MacMahon that followed outlined the areas that Britain was prepared to cede to the Arabs in exchange for their help.
 
The Hussein-MacMahon correspondence conspicuously fails to mention Palestine. The British argued the omission had been intentional, thereby justifying their refusal to grant the Arabs independence in Palestine after the war. MacMahon explained:
 
I feel it my duty to state, and I do so definitely and emphatically, that it was not intended by me in giving this pledge to King Hussein to include Palestine in the area in which Arab independence was promised. I also had every reason to believe at the time that the fact that Palestine was not included in my pledge was well understood by King Hussein.  


Source: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/myths3/MFroots.html

MYTH vs FACT ARAB - ISRAELI CONFLICT

MYTH

“The Jews have no claim to the land they call Israel.”

FACT

A common misperception is that all the Jews were forced into the Diaspora by the Romans after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the year 70 C.E. and then, 1,800 years later, the Jews suddenly returned to Palestine demanding their country back. In reality, the Jewish people have maintained ties to their historic homeland for more than 3,700 years.

 

The Jewish people base their claim to the Land of Israel on at least four premises:

1) the Jewish people settled and developed the land;

2) the international community granted political sovereignty in Palestine to the Jewish people;

3) the territory was captured in defensive wars and

4) God promised the land to the patriarch Abraham.

 

Even after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, and the beginning of the exile, Jewish life in the Land of Israel continued and often flourished. Large communities were reestablished in Jerusalem and Tiberias by the ninth century. In the 11th century, Jewish communities grew in Rafah, GazaAshkelonJaffa and Caesarea. TheCrusaders massacred many Jews during the 12th century, but the community rebounded in the next two centuries as large numbers of rabbis and Jewish pilgrims immigrated to Jerusalem and the Galilee. Prominent rabbis established communities in SafedJerusalem and elsewhere during the next 300 years.

 

By the early 19th century—years before the birth of the modern Zionist movement—more than 10,000 Jews lived throughout what is today Israel. The 78 years of nation-building, beginning in 1870, culminated in the reestablishment of the Jewish State.

 

Israel’s international “birth certificate” was validated by the promise of the Bible; uninterrupted Jewish settlement from the time of Joshua onward; the Balfour Declaration of 1917; the League of Nations Mandate, which incorporated the Balfour Declaration; the United Nations partition resolution of 1947; Israel’s admission to the UNin 1949; the recognition of Israel by most other states; and, most of all, the society created by Israel’s people in decades of thriving, dynamic national existence.

 

“Nobody does Israel any service by proclaiming its ‘right to exist.’ Israel’s right to exist, like that of the United States, Saudi Arabia and 152 other states, is axiomatic and unreserved. Israel’s legitimacy is not suspended in midair awaiting acknowledgement. . . .There is certainly no other state, big or small, young or old, that would consider mere recognition of its ‘right to exist’ a favor, or a negotiable concession.”

Abba Eban 


MYTH

“Palestine was always an Arab country.”

FACT

The term “Palestine” is believed to be derived from the Philistines, an Aegean people who, in the 12th CenturyB.C.E., settled along the Mediterranean coastal plain of what are now Israel and the Gaza Strip. In the second century C.E., after crushing the last Jewish revolt, the Romans first applied the name Palaestina to Judea (the southern portion of what is now called the West Bank) in an attempt to minimize Jewish identification with the land of Israel. The Arabic word Filastin is derived from this Latin name. 

 Map of British Mandate

The Hebrews entered the Land of Israel about 1300 B.C.E., living under a tribal confederation until being united under the first monarch, King Saul. The second king, David, established Jerusalem as the capital around 1000 B.C.E. David’s son, Solomon, built the Temple soon thereafter and consolidated the military, administrative and religious functions of the kingdom. The nation was divided under Solomon’s son, with the northern kingdom (Israel) lasting until 722 B.C.E., when the Assyrians destroyed it, and the southern kingdom (Judah) surviving until the Babylonian conquest in 586 B.C.E. The Jewish people enjoyed brief periods of sovereignty afterward until most Jews were finally driven from their homeland in 135 C.E.

 

Jewish independence in the Land of Israel lasted for more than 400 years. This is much longer than Americans have enjoyed independence in what has become known as the United States. In fact, if not for foreign conquerors, Israel would be more than 3,000 years old today.

 

Palestine was never an exclusively Arab country, although Arabic gradually became the language of most of the population after the Muslim invasions of the seventh century. No independent Arab or Palestinian state ever existed in Palestine. When the distinguished Arab-American historian, Princeton University Prof. Philip Hitti, testified against partition before theAnglo-American Committee in 1946, he said: “There is no such thing as ‘Palestine’ in history, absolutely not.”

Prior to partition, Palestinian Arabs did not view themselves as having a separate identity. When the First Congress of Muslim-Christian Associations met in Jerusalem in February 1919 to choose Palestinian representatives for the Paris Peace Conference, the following resolution was adopted:

 

We consider Palestine as part of Arab Syria, as it has never been separated from it at any time. We are connected with it by national, religious, linguistic, natural, economic and geographical bonds. In 1937, a local Arab leader, Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, told the Peel Commission, which ultimately suggested the partition of Palestine: “There is no such country as Palestine! ‘Palestine’ is a term the Zionists invented! There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria.”  The representative of the Arab Higher Committee to the United Nations echoed this view in a statement to the General Assembly in May 1947, which said Palestine was part of the Province of Syria and the Arabs of Palestine did not comprise a separate political entity. A few years later, Ahmed Shuqeiri, later the chairman of the PLO, told the Security Council: “It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but southern Syria.” 

 

Palestinian Arab nationalism is largely a post-World War I phenomenon that did not become a significant political movement until after the 1967 Six-Day War.

 


MYTH

“The Palestinians are descendants of the Canaanites and were in Palestine long before the Jews.”

 

FACT

Palestinian claims to be related to the Canaanites are a recent phenomenon and contrary to historical evidence. The Canaanites disappeared from the face of the earth three millennia ago, and no one knows if any of their descendants survived or, if they did, who they would be.

 

Sherif Hussein, the guardian of the Islamic Holy Places in Arabia, said the Palestinians’ ancestors had only been in the area for 1,000 years.  Even the Palestinians themselves have acknowledged their association with the region came long after the Jews. In testimony before the Anglo-American Committee in 1946, for example, they claimed a connection to Palestine of more than 1,000 years, dating back no further than the conquest of Muhammad’sfollowers in the 7th century. Over the last 2,000 years, there have been massive invasions (e.g., the Crusades) that killed off most of the local people, migrations, the plague, and other manmade or natural disasters. The entire local population was replaced many times over. During the British mandate alone, more than 100,000 Arabs emigrated from neighboring countries and are today considered Palestinians.

 

By contrast, no serious historian questions the more than 3,000-year-old Jewish connection to the Land of Israel, or the modern Jewish people’s relation to the ancient Hebrews.


MYTH

“The Balfour Declaration did not give Jews the right to a homeland in Palestine.”

FACT

In 1917, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration:

 

His Majesty’s Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

 

The Mandate for Palestine included the Balfour Declaration. It specifically referred to “the historical connections of the Jewish people with Palestine” and to the moral validity of “reconstituting their National Home in that country.” The term “reconstituting” shows recognition of the fact that Palestine had been the Jews’ home. Furthermore, the British were instructed to “use their best endeavors to facilitate” Jewish immigration, to encourage settlement on the land and to “secure” the Jewish National Home. The word “Arab” does not appear in the Mandatory award. 

 

The Mandate was formalized by the 52 governments at the League of Nations on July 24, 1922.


MYTH

“Arabs in Palestine suffered because of Jewish settlement.”

FACT

For many centuries, Palestine was a sparsely populated, poorly cultivated and widely-neglected expanse of eroded hills, sandy deserts and malarial marshes. As late as 1880, the American consul in Jerusalem reported the area was continuing its historic decline. “The population and wealth of Palestine has not increased during the last forty years,” he said. 

 

The Report of the Palestine Royal Commission quotes an account of the Maritime Plain in 1913:

 

The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts . . . ​no orange groves, orchards or vineyards were to be seen until one reached [the Jewish village of] Yabna [Yavne]. . . . Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen. . . . The ploughs used were of wood. . . . The yields were very poor. . . . The sanitary conditions in the village were horrible. Schools did not exist. . . . The western part, towards the sea, was almost a desert. . . . The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants. 

 

Surprisingly, many people who were not sympathetic to the Zionist cause believed the Jews would improve the condition of Palestinian Arabs. For example, Dawood Barakat, editor of the Egyptian paper Al-Ahram, wrote: “It is absolutely necessary that an entente be made between the Zionists and Arabs, because the war of words can only do evil. The Zionists are necessary for the country: The money which they will bring, their knowledge and intelligence, and the industriousness which characterizes them will contribute without doubt to the regeneration of the country.” 

 

Even a leading Arab nationalist believed the return of the Jews to their homeland would help resuscitate the country. According to Sherif Hussein, the guardian of the Islamic Holy Places in Arabia:

 

The resources of the country are still virgin soil and will be developed by the Jewish immigrants. One of the most amazing things until recent times was that the Palestinian used to leave his country, wandering over the high seas in every direction. His native soil could not retain a hold on him, though his ancestors had lived on it for 1000 years. At the same time we have seen the Jews from foreign countries streaming to Palestine from Russia, Germany, Austria, Spain, America. The cause of causes could not escape those who had a gift of deeper insight. They knew that the country was for its original sons (abna’ihi-l-asliyin), for all their differences, a sacred and beloved homeland. The return of these exiles (jaliya) to their homeland will prove materially and spiritually [to be] an experimental school for their brethren who are with them in the fields, factories, trades and in all things connected with toil and labor.

 

As Hussein foresaw, the regeneration of Palestine, and the growth of its population, came only after Jews returned in massive numbers.

 

“Mark Twain, who visited Palestine in 1867, described it as: “. . . a desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds—a silent mournful expanse. . . . A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action. . . . We never saw a human being on the whole route. . . . There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of the worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.” 



 

MYTH

“Zionism is racism.”

FACT

In 1975, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution slandering Zionism by equating it with racism. Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, which holds that Jews, like any other nation, are entitled to a homeland.

 

History has demonstrated the need to ensure Jewish security through a national homeland. Zionism recognizes that Jewishness is defined by shared origin, religion, culture and history. The realization of the Zionist dream is exemplified by nearly six million Jews, from more than 100 countries, who are Israeli citizens.

 

Israel’s Law of Return grants automatic citizenship to Jews, but non-Jews are also eligible to become citizens under naturalization procedures similar to those in other countries. Israel’s policy is not unique; many other countries, including Germany, Greece, Ireland and Finland have special categories of people who are entitled to citizenship.

 

More than one million Muslim and Christian Arabs, DruzeBaha’isCircassians and other ethnic groups also are represented in Israel’s population. The presence in Israel of thousands of Jews from Ethiopia, Yemen and India is the best refutation of the calumny against Zionism. In a series of historic airlifts, labeled Operations Moses (1984), Joshua (1985) and Solomon (1991), Israel rescued more than 20,000 members of the ancient Ethiopian Jewish community.

 

Zionism does not discriminate against anyone. Israel’s open and democratic character, and its scrupulous protection of the religious and political rights of Christians and Muslims, rebut the charge of exclusivity. Moreover, anyone—Jew or non-Jew, Israeli, American, or Chinese, black, white, or purple—can be a Zionist.

 

By contrast, the Arab states define citizenship strictly by native parentage. It is almost impossible to become a naturalized citizen in Arab states such as AlgeriaSaudi Arabia and Kuwait. Several Arab nations have laws that facilitate the naturalization of foreign Arabs, with the specific exception of PalestiniansJordan, on the other hand, instituted its own “law of return” in 1954, according citizenship to all former residents of Palestine, except for Jews.

 

The 1975 UN resolution was part of the Soviet-Arab Cold War anti-Israel campaign. Almost all the former non-Arab supporters of the resolution have apologized and changed their positions. When the General Assembly voted to repeal the resolution in 1991, only some Arab and Muslim states, as well as Cuba, North Korea and Vietnam were opposed.

Writing after “Operation Moses” was revealed, William Safire noted:

“. . . For the first time in history, thousands of black people are being brought to a country not in chains but in dignity, not as slaves but as citizens.” 

 


MYTH

“The Zionists could have chosen another country besides Palestine.”

FACT

In the late 19th century, the rise of anti-Semitism led to a resurgence of pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe, shattering promises of equality and tolerance. This stimulated Jewish immigration to Palestine from Europe.

 

Simultaneously, a wave of Jews immigrated to Palestine from Yemen, Morocco, Iraq and Turkey. These Jews were unaware of Theodor -Herzl’s political Zionism or of European pogroms. They were motivated by the centuries-old dream of the “Return to Zion” and a fear of intolerance. Upon hearing that the gates of Palestine were open, they braved the hardships of travel and went to the Land of Israel.

 

The Zionist ideal of a return to Israel has profound religious roots. Many Jewish prayers speak of Jerusalem, Zion and the Land of Israel. The injunction not to forget Jerusalem, the site of the Temple, is a major tenet of Judaism. The Hebrew language, the Torah, laws in the Talmud, the Jewish calendar and Jewish holidays and festivals all originated in Israel and revolve around its seasons and conditions. Jews pray toward Jerusalem and recite the words “next year in Jerusalem” every Passover. Jewish religion, culture and history make clear that it is only in the land of Israel that the Jewish commonwealth can be built.

 

In 1897, Jewish leaders formally organized the Zionist political movement, calling for the restoration of the Jewish national home in Palestine, where Jews could find sanctuary and self-determination, and work for the renascence of their civilization and culture.


MYTH

“Herzl himself proposed Uganda as the Jewish state as an alternative to Palestine.”

FACT

Theodor Herzl sought support from the great powers for the creation of a Jewish homeland. He turned to Great Britain, and met with Joseph Chamberlain, the British colonial secretary and others. The British agreed, in principle, to permit Jewish settlement in East Africa.

At the Sixth Zionist Congress at Basle on August 26, 1903, Herzl proposed the British Uganda Program as atemporary emergency refuge for Jews in Russia in immediate danger. While Herzl made it clear that this program would not affect the ultimate aim of Zionism, a Jewish entity in the Land of Israel, the proposal aroused a storm of protest at the Congress and nearly led to a split in the Zionist movement. The Uganda Program, which never had much support, was formally rejected by the Zionist movement at the Seventh Zionist Congress in 1905.


MYTH

“The Arabs saw the Balfour Declaration as a betrayal of their rights.”

FACT

Emir Faisal, son of Sherif Hussein, the leader of the Arab revolt against the Turks, signed an agreement with Chaim Weizmann and other Zionist leaders during the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. It acknowledged the “racial kinship and ancient bonds existing between the Arabs and the Jewish people” and concluded that “the surest means of working out the consummation of their national aspirations is through the closest possible collaboration in the development of the Arab states and Palestine.” Furthermore, the agreement looked to the fulfillment of the Balfour Declaration and called for all necessary measures “ . . . ​to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale, and as quickly as possible to settle Jewish immigrants upon the land through closer settlement and intensive cultivation of the soil.” 

 

Faisal had conditioned his acceptance of the Balfour Declaration on the fulfillment of British wartime promises of independence to the Arabs. These were not kept.

 

Critics dismiss the Weizmann-Faisal agreement because it was never enacted; however, the fact that the leader of the Arab nationalist movement and the Zionist movement could reach an understanding is significant because it demonstrated that Jewish and Arab aspirations were not necessarily mutually exclusive.

 

"Our settlers do not come here as do the colonists from the Occident to have natives do their work for them; they themselves set their shoulders to the plow and they spend their strength and their blood to make the land fruitful. But it is not only for ourselves that we desire its fertility. The Jewish farmers have begun to teach their brothers, the Arab farmers, to cultivate the land more intensively; we desire to teach them further: together with them we want to cultivate the land—to ‘serve’ it, as the Hebrew has it. The more fertile this soil becomes, the more space there will be for us and for them. We have no desire to dispossess them: we want to live with them.”

Martin Buber

 

 

MYTH

“The Zionists were colonialist tools of Western imperialism.”

FACT

“Colonialism means living by exploiting others,” Yehoshofat Harkabi has written. “But what could be further from colonialism than the idealism of city-dwelling Jews who strive to become farmers and laborers and to live by their own work?” 

 

Moreover, as British historian Paul Johnson noted, Zionists were hardly tools of imperialists given the powers’ general opposition to their cause. “Everywhere in the West, the foreign offices, defense ministries and big business were against the Zionists.”

 

Emir Faisal also saw the Zionist movement as a companion to the Arab nationalist movement, fighting against imperialism, as he explained in a letter to Harvard law professor and future Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter on March 3, 1919, one day after Chaim Weizmann presented the Zionist case to the Paris conference. Faisal wrote:

 

The Arabs, especially the educated among us, look with deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. . . . We will wish the Jews a hearty welcome home. . . . We are working together for a reformed and revised Near East and our two movements complete one another. The Jewish movement is nationalist and not imperialist. And there is room in Syria for us both. Indeed, I think that neither can be a real success without the other (emphasis added). 

 

In the 1940s, the Jewish underground movements waged an anti—colonial war against the British. The Arabs, meanwhile, were concerned primarily with fighting the Jews rather than expelling the British imperialists.

 


MYTH

“The British promised the Arabs independence in Palestine.”

FACT

The central figure in the Arab nationalist movement at the time of World War I was Hussein ibn ‘Ali, the Sherif of Mecca in 1908. As Sherif, Hussein was responsible for the custody of Islam’s shrines in the Hejaz and was one of the Muslims’ spiritual leaders.

 

In July 1915, Hussein sent a letter to Sir Henry MacMahon, the High Commissioner for Egypt, informing him of the terms for Arab participation in the war against the Turks. The letters between Hussein and MacMahon that followed outlined the areas that Britain was prepared to cede to the Arabs in exchange for their help.

 

The Hussein-MacMahon correspondence conspicuously fails to mention Palestine. The British argued the omission had been intentional, thereby justifying their refusal to grant the Arabs independence in Palestine after the war. MacMahon explained:

 

I feel it my duty to state, and I do so definitely and emphatically, that it was not intended by me in giving this pledge to King Hussein to include Palestine in the area in which Arab independence was promised. I also had every reason to believe at the time that the fact that Palestine was not included in my pledge was well understood by King Hussein. 

Source: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/myths3/MFroots.html

PALESTINIAN PEOPLE DO NOT EXIST…..

PALESTINIAN PEOPLE DO NOT EXIST

Published: 07/11/2002 at 1:00 AM

Truth does not change. Truth is truth. If something was true 50 years ago, 40 years ago, 30 years ago, it is still true today.

And the truth is that only 30 years ago, there was very little confusion on this issue of Palestine.

You might remember the late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir making the bold political statement: “There is no such thing as a Palestinian people.”

The statement has been a source of ridicule and derision by Arab propagandists ever since. They love to talk about Golda Meir’s “racism.” They love to suggest she was in historical denial. They love to say her statement is patently false – an intentional lie, a strategic deception.

What they don’t like to talk about, however, are the very similar statements made by Yasser Arafat and his inner circle of political leadership years after Meir had told the truth – that there is no distinct Palestinian cultural or national identity.

So, despite the fact that conventional wisdom has now proclaimed that there is such a thing as the Palestinian people, I’m going to raise those uncomfortable quotations made by Arafat and his henchmen when their public-relations guard was down.

Way back on March 31, 1977, the Dutch newspaper Trouw published an interview with Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee member Zahir Muhsein. Here’s what he said:

The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct “Palestinian people” to oppose Zionism.

For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.

That’s pretty clear, isn’t it? It’s even more specific than Golda Meir’s statement. It reaffirms what I have written on this subject. And it is hardly the only such statement of its kind. Arafat himself made a very definitive and unequivocal statement along these lines as late as 1993. It demonstrates conclusively that the Palestinian nationhood argument is the real strategic deception – one geared to set up the destruction of Israel.

In fact, on the same day Arafat signed the Declaration of Principles on the White House lawn in 1993, he explained his actions on Jordan TV. Here’s what he said: “Since we cannot defeat Israel in war, we do this in stages. We take any and every territory that we can of Palestine, and establish a sovereignty there, and we use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes, we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel.”

No matter how many people convince themselves that the aspirations for Palestinian statehood are genuine and the key to peace in the Middle East, they are still deceiving themselves.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, in the history of the world, Palestine has never existed as a nation. The region known as Palestine was ruled alternately by Rome, by Islamic and Christian crusaders, by the Ottoman Empire and, briefly, by the British after World War I. The British agreed to restore at least part of the land to the Jewish people as their ancestral homeland. It was never ruled by Arabs as a separate nation.

Why now has it become such a critical priority?

The answer is because of a massive deception campaign and relentless terrorism over 40 years.

Golda Meir was right. Her statement is validated by the truth of history and by the candid, but not widely circulated, pronouncements of Arafat and his lieutenants.

Israel and the West must not surrender to terrorism by granting the killers just what they want – a public relations triumph and a strategic victory. It’s not too late to say no to terrorism. It’s not too late to say no to another Arab terror state. It’s not too late to tell the truth about Palestine.



Would Jesus Remain Silent On Social Issues? History Shows us That He Did Not Remain Silent…

10:00AM EDT 6/23/2014 JOSEPH MATTERA

image

 

Carl Lentz, pastor of Hillsong NYC 

Relating his stance on same-sex marriage, a New York City megachurch pastor has on more than one occasion publicly claimed that Jesus only dealt with the root issues of the heart—not merely the symptoms of sin. Jesus never took a stand on the moral issues of His day; thus, we should not make general statements regarding important moral issues of society, but only deal with these controversial issues in personal dialogue.

I want to make a few observations regarding his statements.

From a practical perspective, many pastors with large ministries who rent in liberal cities such as NYC are very careful what they say regarding same-sex marriage and other moral issues because they can easily be thrown out of spaces they are renting. Thus, in their minds, they have to be more cautious than ministries who own their own buildings. However, this caution should never become a doctrinal issue for the church at large; it should merely be a method and or strategy for one particular church or pastor (whether they are right or wrong to take this posture).

Regarding the moral issue at hand—do you really think Jesus, if He were here physically ministering today, would not take a position on social issues such as slavery (as evangelical Christian William Wilberforce did and eradicated the slave trade in the British Empire in the 19th century, or as Charles Finney did, who was an avowed abolitionist in the 19th century ardently preaching against slavery during the Second Great Awakening)?

Was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrong to use his pulpit to fight racism and launch the Civil Rights Movement?

What about today? Would Jesus not preach against the sex slave trade or the abuse of children today? What about the Holocaust? Was Dietrich Bonheoffer wrong for speaking out politically against Hitler for exterminating the Jews and forcing Fascism on the nation? Would the early Church apostles have fought abortion if they were in ministry today?

It is easy to know the answer to this since, the oldest extra-biblical document we have on record is the “Didache" which is a short treatise giving the early church guidelines for faith and practice. In this document that many scholars date to the middle of the first century A.D., the church took a stand against abortion and infanticide. (Yes, the church has historically been publicly vocal against abortion for over 2000 years since the Roman Empire practiced abortion and infanticide!)

Furthermore, the early church preached against slavery and even released slaves in the presence of the bishops during worship services during the second and third centuries. Even John the Baptist was put in jail because he preached against all the evil things King Herod was doing (Luke 3:18,19)! Hence, John was beheaded for politically incorrect preaching and prophetically calling out his earthly ruler!)

Therefore, since same sex marriage has ramifications for all family life, every time a pastor preaches on the biblical framework for marriage and family it flies in the face of culture, even if alternative forms of marriage are not mentioned! 

In the Greco-Roman culture of Jesus’ time, all forms of sexual expression outside the norms of scripture were rampant! However, Jesus’ primary purpose was to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Mt 10:5,6). His main concern was not with the majority culture of Rome but to reveal Himself as Messiah to the Jews—which is why He did not have to deal directly with all issues related to human sexuality (since it was not a big issue for the Jews of His day). However Paul the apostle did numerous times since he was called to minister to the Gentiles (read Romans 1:24-31, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

Furthermore, although Jesus did not focus on the social issues of the (Gentile) Roman Empire, His very essence and ministry was in and of itself a major threat and an affront to Rome! Not many understand the fact that Jesus was crucified because He wasn’t politically correct since His claim to be King of kings threatened the powers of the Roman Caesar—which is why the early church was also persecuted (read Acts 17:5-7). Hence, the real reason our Lord was executed and the early church was persecuted was not for religious reasons (because, as a polytheistic society the Roman Empire tolerated millions of gods)—it was due to political reasons! 

Related to Israel, Jesus did indeed deal with controversial moral issues: like the issue of marriage, adultery and divorce  (Matt. 19:3-9), greed and money (Luke 12:13-21), and the true meaning of the Sabbath (Mark 3:1-6). As a matter of fact, Jesus said in Matthew 19 that marriage is between one man and one woman, thus showing the biblical template regarding the distinction between the genders and their complimentary role as one flesh in marriage.

Furthermore, Jesus did not operate in a vacuum in isolation but pointed to the Old Testament writings to affirm His legitimacy (Matthew 5:17-19). Thus, to ask the question related to the title of this article we need to include the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament writings that practically applied the teachings of Jesus.

For example, the first two chapters of the book of the Old Testament prophet Amos is a current events commentary regarding the sins of the surrounding nations—all the OT prophets from Samuel to Elisha dealt with social/moral issues—even John the Baptist explained to his adherents that true repentance meant they were to cease from receiving bribes and extortion (Luke 3) which were symptomatic of the social and moral decay of their culture and not just an issue of personal heart transformation.

If you are silent as a pastor and never take a position then your silence on such a major issue as same-sex marriage can be interpreted by many in the congregation that you are condoning it! Also, some may even accuse the silent pastor of deceiving same sex partners who, after climbing the ladder of church affiliation are then told (in a private conversation) that they do not qualify because of their sexuality and or same-sex marriage. (One prominent pastor I know almost had a major lawsuit on his hands a few years ago because he was silent regarding same-sex marriage and two of his same-sex leaders announced they were getting married to each other!)

Because most pastors are silent and erroneously separate the gospel from the kingdom and culture—we have left society to be framed without a biblical template. Whatever area the church does not influence will come back to try and destroy us—there is no neutrality in this world!

In conclusion, it seems obvious to me that Jesus is calling for the church to lovingly serve their cities without compromising their prophetic call as salt and light to this world. 

"SILENCE IN THE FACE OF EVIL IS EVIL ITSELF; GOD WILL NOT HOLD US GUILTLESS. NOT TO SPEAK IS TO SPEAK AND NOT TO ACT IS TO ACT."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer


Joseph Mattera is overseeing bishop of Resurrection Church, Christ Covenant Coalition, in Brooklyn, N.Y.

 

 

Here is another great Mid – East Prophecy Report for the week ending July 6, 2014… Pastor JD explains how what is happening in the Mid-East right now is teaching us how fast we are coming to the Rapture of the Church!!! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!!! Maranatha!!!

Mark Driscoll…. Emergent Church….

While Driscoll has claimed to distance himself from Brian McLaren and the left wing of the emerging movement, he stands in the theologically conservative wing of the movement.

According to Driscoll: “In the mid-1990s I was part of what is now known as the Emerging Church and spent some time traveling the country to speak on the emerging church in the emerging culture on a team put together by Leadership Network called the Young Leader Network. But, I eventually had to distance myself from the Emergent stream of the network because friends like Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt began pushing a theological agenda that greatly troubled me.”

Yet Driscoll has a lot to say about the emerging church in Radical Reformission (2004). He writes for the furtherance of the emerging church:

“Now that the time has come to write, I am presenting this book as a contribution toward the furtherance of the emerging church in the emerging culture.” (Radical Reformission, p17)

“I invite you to turn the page and begin a radical journey with me as we explore what life in Christ can mean in the context of an emerging church in a changing world.” (Radical Reformission, p23)

And what is it that Driscoll so likes about the “gospel” of the emerging church?

“The emerging church proclaims a gospel of freedom.” (Confessions, p25)

In his book Confessions of a Reformission Rev. – Hard Lessons from an Emerging Missional Church (2006) Driscoll says that he studied to find “the most effective structure for the mission of an urban emerging and evangelical church like ours… I became acquainted with the Gospel and Our Culture Network (GOCN). This network is a denominational think tank of sorts wrestling with what it means to do mission in America. One of the leaders, Dr George Hunsberger, taught at a conference we hosted in Seattle for Leadership Network… I began wrestling with his [Alan Rosburgh] and came up with the following emerging and missional ecclesiology.” (Confessions, p108]

The two organisations that had a large impact on Driscoll’s thinking are part of the emerging church movement. The Gospel and Our Culture Network is a network that promotes the emerging church movement. The Leadership Network: “The mission of Leadership Network is to accelerate the emergence of effective churches by identifying and connecting innovative church leaders and providing them with resources in the form of new ideas, people, and tools. Churches and church leaders served by Leadership Network represent a wide variety of primarily Protestant faith traditions that range from mainline to evangelical to independent. All are characterized by innovation, entrepreneurial leadership and desire to be on the leading edge of ministry.” (A New Kind of Christian by Brian D. McLaren)

In Confessions of a Reformission Rev. Mark Driscoll writes of his admiration for Rick Warren: “The changes brought about by Warren are revolutionary and very important. His ecclesiology has become the standard for the contemporary evangelical church. God has used Warren’s insights to bring untold numbers of people to Jesus, and Warren has become one of the most important Christians in our generation. Sadly, there was a time when, as an arrogant young punk, I was critical of his work.” (Confessions, p107)

Clearly, Mark Driscoll places himself firmly in the Rick Warren camp. He regards Warren as having set the standard for the contemporary evangelical church. How doctrinally sound is the doctrine of Rick Warren? How sound is the doctrine of Mark Driscoll?

The Tangible Kingdom: Creating Incarnational Community (2008) (Jossey-Bass Leadership Network Series) by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay has been endorsed on the back cover by both Brian McLaren and Mark Driscoll. The mission of the book appears to be to discredit the entirety of the Christian faith. The authors claim that “…most of the Church is stuck, and has been for 1700 years”. Clearly, the emerging message of The Tangible Kingdom has a great appeal to Driscoll.

Cathy Mickels draws attention to Driscoll’s association with the Emerging Church movement. She writes in her memo to church leaders: “According to Driscoll, his innovative ideas on how to grow a church put him in the spotlight. He wrote, ‘A buzz got out about our church, and Christian pastors and leaders from around the country and the world began dropping in to check out what we were doing.’ This publicity put him in contact with Bill Hybel’s Willow Creek and the Leadership Network, which with Mark Driscoll’s help planted the seeds for the Emergent Church. Although Driscoll has since challenged and distanced himself from some of the teachings of his emergent friends, on his websites he has recommended books by contemplative writer, Richard Foster, Dallas Willard and a book called The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. It is also interesting to note that the Leadership Network is a major promoter of emergent leader Brain McClaren and other liberal innovators such as Bill Hybels. Mark Driscoll has nothing but praise for this group, which he uses to this day to promote his books and ministry. This subject alone is an entire chapter of a book.”

Don Stewart | The Rapture of the Church | John 14 | 2nd Service

I really enjoyed this teaching on the Rapture of the church tonight!! Maranatha!!!

How should a pastor approach shepherding women in the church?

Posted on May 23, 2011Brian Croft  

 There are commonly two extremes that accompany this question.  The first, represents a pastor who carelessly sees his role to pastor women as no different than men.  A pastor who thinks spending time alone with women in the church should look no different than with the men.  A pastor who thinks the same blunt conversations he has with men in the church can take place with women in the same way.  This mentality has led to many pastors, several I have personally known, to lose their marriages and ministries because they foolishly placed themselves in compromising positions with women in their church…in the name of caring for them. 

There is, however, another side that is a growing extreme among younger pastors, especially.  It is the pastor who so fears the foolishness of the first extreme that he completely neglects the pastoral care of women in general in his church.  Motivated by fear or unwilling to make the extra effort to understand a certain kind of woman different than his wife, some pastors deceive themselves in the name of being “above reproach” that God will not still hold them accountable for the souls of these women entrusted to their care. 

Because of these two extremes, the first thing to establish in a pastor wisely thinking through caring for women in the church is the need for balance.  Wise, thoughtful, discerning, and balanced parameters needs to be the heart of every pastor’s approach.  So then, here are a few suggestions I have found helpful over the years in avoiding these extremes as I personally try to care for women in the church, yet being very wise and aware  of the biblical call to be above reproach:

Old enough to be your grandmother rule.  I feel a freedom to visit an elderly widow in her home or the hospital alone if there is a sizable gap in age, verses going to visit a needy, flirtatious, recently divorced woman who is my age, which I NEVER do alone!  Be wise not to compromise this rule.  Remember, the rule is “grandmother” not “mother.” 

Copy the woman’s husband and your wife in emails.  I do think it is perfectly acceptable to communicate through email with women in the church.  Many email exchanges are solely administration issues (would you please put our women’s event in the bulletin type emails).  However, if you intend to send any email to a woman in the church, or receive one that involves anything of a personal nature, a pastor’s wife and the woman’s husband should always be copied in it.  It should be in the (cc) section so all corresponding can see the spouse’s involvement.  This may seem tedious, but a necessary accountability. 

Counsel with the woman’s husband or someone else present. I NEVER counsel a woman alone.  I know, that sounds extreme to some of you.  Even if there is glass between us and the church secretary, I will not meet alone with another woman.  I will, however, meet to counsel a woman with her husband present.  This has born good fruit as the husband learns how to better care for his wife as he sits and listens.  Besides, many times the husband is part of the problem!  If I am trying to care for a single lady, my wife is always my preferred choice of counseling companion, but I am open to allowing another leader or trusted friend of the single lady to be present.  I’m flexible, but will not counsel alone.

Pass off long-term discipleship and counseling to other capable women.  Pastors need to deal with pastoral matters with everyone in the church.  However, long-term issues that will require years of care and discipleship should be eventually handed to mature, godly, and capable women in the church who would then report to the pastors on their progress, which still allows some kind of pastoral oversight and soul care.

Alright, there is my attempt at balance.

Pastors, any wise counsel you have to add that helps capture this balance??

Penn said something in this video that moved me to my core.  Especially since he is an atheist.  Here is his quote:

“I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. If you believe that there’s a heaven and hell, and people could be going to hell, and you think, ‘Well, it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward’… how much do you have to hate somebody not to proselytize?” 

I think that this is a question that as Christians we need to ask ourselves when we are worried about sharing Jesus with people.  Ask yourself: “How much do I love this person?”  If you do you will share Jesus  with them even if it means that they will no longer be your friend.  That is what real friends do.  God bless you and Maranatha!!!




Connect With Me:


   

Facebook Group:



POPULAR TOPICS:

abortion
addiction
alcohol
aliens
astrology
atheist
Bible
body piercings
bullying
Catholic
church
commandments
creation
day of worship
death
depression
disasters
drugs
emotions
end times
evil
evolution
faith
false prophet
family
fellowship
forgiveness
friendship
ghost
God
heaven
hell
Holy Spirit
homosexuality
idol worship
illuminati
Jesus
love
marriage
masturbation
movies
music
NIV
new age
ouija board
paganism
prayer
premarital sex
prophecy
Rapture
relationships
religion
salvation
satan
scripture
sex
sin
suicide
tattoos
temptation
self harm
symbols
tongues
tv
video games
witch craft


Affiliates: