Last week, the Presbyterian Church in the US came very close to voting for a measure that would have had serious spiritual ramifications and would have demonstrated how far from Biblical truth the denomination has strayed. However, after a very close vote and a heated debate, the Presbyterians chose to follow God’s word rather than politically correct initiatives.
The motion being debated, similar to the one rejected by the United Methodist Church in May, would have divested from three companies seen as supporting the Israeli “occupation:” Caterpillar Inc, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Motorola. These companies were described as profiting from “Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories,” despite that they also hire many Palestinians in the territories. However, because they sell to both settlers and Palestinians alike, they were singled out for divestment. In the end, this measure was rejected by a very tight margin in the General Assembly with 333 voting against and 331 for the measure. Those against the measure did not see Israel’s actions as above reproach. However, they rightfully saw positive investment as a better step towards peace than divestment.
Another measure that was presented was regarding whether the term “apartheid” could rightfully be used to label Israel’s presence in the West Bank or not. This measure was rejected by a much wider margin of 403-175, showing that many in the General Assembly realized that such a term could not accurately portray the situation in the West Bank.
The debate at the General Assembly in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was apparently very intense. Those in opposition to the measure argued that such measures would only further alienate Christians and Jews from one another, deepening a rift that has only recently begun to heal from its tragic history. They also showed how such measures would only lead to greater enmity between groups within Israel, therefore hindering reconciliation and peace, while also furthering the demonization of Israel and Jews around the world. Those in favor to the measure said that it was not “against Israel or Jews” but rather a divestment from “non-peaceful products.”
In place of these measures, the General Assembly chose to invest in companies that promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians, calling for “positive action” rather than punitive measures. Despite this step in the right direction, the supporters of divestment have vowed to continue to push their agenda and have warned that the result could be very different the next time.
We are living in a time in which God has truly stirred the American Church to use its wealth to relieve world suffering and fight injustice. However, the Church must be careful that it not only does good deeds but also guards itself from untruths and from allowing unclean theologies to seep in. Otherwise, it will be similar to the Church in Thyatira, that God commended for good deeds and for “doing more than…before” but was then warned it was treading on dangerous ground for allowing immorality and false doctrine in and would suffer the consequences for this (Revelation 2:18-29).
The fact that fighting injustice in the world has become the fad in this generation is not simply coincidental. It is likely a mandate God has given this generation, a calling for the Church to bring His goodness to the nations before He returns. However, the Enemy knows how to take such callings or mandates and twist them for his own uses and create counterfeits, just as he does with everything. This generation must be grounded in truth and know how to recognize what is truly God’s view on a situation versus what is just the current worldly trend, the counterfeit of what God is really wanting to do.
God wants to reconcile both Jew and Palestinian to Him and He has a plan for this region. However, He makes it very clear that the nations are to tread carefully in their actions towards Israel and that His purposes are very different than what the world is trying to achieve right now. Though Israel is not restored and often acts in an unrighteous or unjust way, similar to the way many other modern states act, the nations too often have a double standard in their stance towards Israel. The Church would be wise to not pick up this double standard, as God strictly warns against this (Joel 3:1-2; Genesis 12:2-3; Micah 4; Isaiah 11; Jeremiah 31:35-37; Romans 11). Furthermore, such behavior by the Church towards Israel basically calls into question their trust in God’s Word versus trusting in the world and its standards.
The best position for believers is to not worship Israel but rather see it as an imperfect state with a people who need to be restored to God and to proceed to pray for both the restoration of Israel and for a revival among the Palestinians that sets them free from the bondage of Islam. Many believers in Israel desire to see reconciliation in this region and steps are being taken towards such. However, divestment and labels of “apartheid” do more harm than good and are only a politically correct intervention to a problem that has a much deeper, spiritual root.
Please pray that:
- Worldly standards and worldly wisdom will not prevail in the Church, but that believers would instead pursue justice and righteousness based in God’s truth
- Believers would not worship Israel but would have a balanced view of both God’s promises and the current reality of a people who still need to recognize their Savior
- The enemy’s purposes towards Israel and the Jewish people would not prevail and that his plans to use the Palestinian people as a weapon via their slavery to Islam would be thwarted.
- There would be a revival in the region that reconciles both Jews and Palestinians to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and, therefore, brings reconciliation between them through the Messiah.
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