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January 29, 2009


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eric h janzen

Ah Deb, too simple? I think not! You hit the nail on the head, so i agree with you and Logan: "I just want the killing to stop."


Logan MR

"I just want the killing to stop."



My thinking is too simple for conversations like this one :) I just want the killing to stop.
Im glad for the thoughts shared here.

Logan MR

thanks for bearing with me. too much good stuff for me to respond to all so I'll just key in on a couple things Brad said.

The argument that Kingdom strategy is not just idealism but practical for the "real-world" seems to contradict the notion that God's Kingdom is an upside-down kingdom. It _really_ is foolish. It is silly to turn the other cheek; it's down right weird to force my family to turn their cheek; it's barbaric to ... turn the cheeks of one's citizens. (that analogy got a little akward)

I agree that Jesus' kingdom is the only one where justice will truly reign. I agree that Jesus has shown us what it truly means to be human. But Jesus is also the Key to understanding what it is to be human. He is the Lens that brings true humanity into focus. He is the Light that reveals justice.

Our message to Israel (and every nation) must be "Repent, turn to God" not "stop killing eachother. seek peace through this and this and this" (was this what Ron was getting at earlier?)

I think we might also disagree on what justice entails. I believe that in this world there are degrees of justice while perhaps you would say we either meet the standard or we do not.

from a silly young man


Hey Logan,

Great to see you here. It would be great to get some articles from you on any number of topics for Clarion.

As for the Israel question, I think you are correct in challenging the notion that the secular state of Israel should be held to Christian standards of nonviolence... just as I believe Bev et al are correct in challenging the Christian voices who support acts of injustice by Israel in Gaza. Where you and I would certainly disagree is in whether Israel's occupation of Gaza has been exemplary or criminal, not by Christian standards, but according to international law and the broader requirements of basic humanity.

Our judgement on this depends largely on our news sources... mine tends to come from Amnesty International and the Orthodox Christian residents of Gaza who are neither pro-Hamas nor anti-Israel. These include a deluge of photos reminiscent of Nazi camps and the round-ups of Jews in the 1930's. I am hesitant to post them because of their graphic nature and because of inevitable accusations of propegandizing. I also see the reports on the Hamas rocket attacks and am thoroughly sickened by the indescriminate deaths they cause.

I suppose what I'm getting at is this: The belief in the impotence of violence to secure peace and the proposition that someone break the cycle of violence through creative peacemaking is not merely Christian; it is human. It is not just idealism; it is politically necessary and effective. Jesus didn't just come to tell Christians how to live; he came to tell the world how to be human. The alternatives aren't working ... in fact, the violence sows into a holocaust of all sides on the installment plan. I don't think it's about taking sides so much as raising the call to 'Stop!' when many in the Western church are goading them to 'Fire!'

Cindi Eaton

Maybe not only pray for the Prince of Peace to become peace to the individuals in the govt, and the general population, but to do so in a way like we would want someone to pray for us wherever we are blind to Him & who He is, what He's like. Maybe this is training for us as well, how we walk out His heart for all sides, even when they're not walking in His ways.

eric h janzen

Great dialogue happening here...nice to see. I have been mulling this over the past couple of days and I keep coming to the question is there truly no other course of action in response to the actions of Hamas other than violence? Brad raised a good point when he asks what led to Hamas' rise to power within Palestine? Both sides are responsible for the explosive situation there, neither is innocent in the matter. Israel does have another course of action available, which does not require disbanding the State, and that is a genuine effort to address the perceived injustices that so enrage those in Palestine. The complexity however is that real progress towards peace requires efforts on both sides. When one side is unwilling to take those steps an unfortunate stale mate occurs leaving only the option of violence (I'm thinking more of the extremists here). It is also valid to point out that you cannot hold a secular government in Israel to the standards of the OT prophets and Jesus. Why would they listen to those voices when they do not believe in them? Thus we have a very difficult situation in which so much painful history acts to drive the cycle of fighting on into the future. Despite dispensational herecy, I will continue to pray for peace in Israel.


Logan MR

Hey Deb, thanks for continuing the conversation.

hmm, I suppose the Lord I see in the NT is a bit more terrible/awesome than what you see, but for me, this is not the argument.

whether or not justice and mercy and peace require the servants of Christ to always act "non-violently" is a different issue then how a secular state should act.

Ron Dart is rightly resisting an uncritical and anti-Christ movement in the Western church called Zionism. He addresses this by saying it is appropriate and good to critique Israel's actions, especially prophetically. But his own critique of Israel is confusing.

He asks "How does the contemporary Jewish state justify its treatment of the Palestinians?" but does not directly answer it. We sense that the answer is that they do as a secular state rather then a prophetic state. I'm left wondering why that is a problem.

Ron Dart also asks: "Will the Jewish nation be Biblical and prophetic (which means caring for the outsider and marginalized--the Palestinians) or will they erect an idol of nationalism by ignoring the cries of the Palestinians for justice, mercy and peace?"

That seems to be a drastic oversimplification (though it is difficult not to oversimplify the situation). What does that even mean? Must Israel disband to satisfy justice? Has Israel not cared for the outsiders? Were they not caring for the outsiders when they left devoloped land in Gaza? What do those cries look like? What would it look like for Israel to look after the outsiders?

It is difficult for me to think of a nation that has acted more justly with its enemy than the contemporary state of Israel (even compared with the classic state of Israel).

But I am in wholehearted agreement that "An uncritical attitude towards political Zionism is neither Biblical nor authentic prophetic Judaism."

While there are many who need to hear that Israel is not acting as the kingdom of God it is not helpful to then turn around and judge it for not meeting the standard it cannot reach.


When I made reference to Jesus not coming down off the cross I was giving attention to His commitment to non-violence. Also, He had no interest whatsoever in power or politics. I wrestle with this; He is non-violent, so why aren’t we?

Jesus does not want to see one more bleeding Palestinian baby, nor does He want to see an Israeli baby suffer this way. Every man, woman and child in this conflict is under the watchful eye of our Savior. He weeps. Why don't we?

I cannot find one place in the New Testament where Jesus carries out a single act of violence against a person, nor is there an account where He supports one. It’s almost too simple to accept. He actually meant what He said when He said love your enemy, it’s His great pleasure to teach us how. It will require every ounce of grace God can spare, but it is His way and it is possible.
Call me naive…
(This is too simple for politics.)

Re; being against Israel-
Unquestioning support for actions made by the Israeli military can't be equated with supporting 'Israel' can it?
And if I don’t agree with actions made by the Israeli military, does this make me anti-Israel?

Love is never blind; it sees and loves still.

Logan MR

Is it appropriate to ask another state, another people, to crucify itself? If the contemporary state of Israel is not the state God called to be his emissary of divine foolishness / life then should we demand or expect heroic action? If we do not think Israel is true Zion why judge it for not acting like Zion?

Viewed simply as a state I believe Israel has acted in an exempliary manner. But I suppose the inference that Israel has an unhealthy aversion to suffering burnt into its psyche would suggest that others do not agree.

As far as I know they have been patient in their retaliation and have forewarned their enemy when attacking bases hidden within the general population. It would be too much to say that the simple use of violence is indicative of a unique aversion to suffering, but perhaps (easily perhaps) there is other evidence that I have not seen.

There seems to be a charge from within the Church that is made uniquely against Israel; and it tastes bad to me. The charge is that Israel is not staying on the cross. But I do not hear mercy in that cry.


I’m not an educated person. But I am His kid and so looking to Jesus for clues is what I can do.
He could have come down from that cross and didn't. He could have become the earthly king the people wanted Him to be, but He didn't.

I think many of us still want that earthly king. I think we want Him to hurry up and take over so we can share in that power.
Is it possible, that much of our desire to rally behind Israeli Military Forces has less to do with wanting to support God’s chosen people and more to do with a hidden lust for power? Are we confident that we are beyond that? It feels good to be on ‘God’s side’

But God is merciful, even when his extreme mercies frustrate our efforts and exhaust our ‘hope’ to see ‘justice’.

I’m not saying that anyone who supports Israel is in that condition, that would be silly… but I’ve seen enough hate manifested in peoples faces at the slightest mention of showing mercy there, that I think it’s a possibility that deserves some consideration. The body of Christ is in trouble if we think we can stop asking Jesus what He thinks, maybe we should do that.


It seems to me that the using the words "Hamas," "Palestinean" and "Muslim" interchangably is an injustice of propaganda in and of itself. The Hamas are one more Islamist movement among a broader Palestinean population among whom reside many Palestinean Christians. When Western Christians justify the intentional bulldozing and collateral bombing of homes of brothers and sisters in Christ whose families lived in Palestine for centuries before Israel became a state , have they not forgotten and forsaken the Way of Jesus? When our best answer to the crisis is pro-retaliation, do we not at that point cease to be Christian?

Further, it is similarly unjust to confuse support for the current military actions of Israel's governing party with the heart of EITHER the biblical faith of Judaism OR the heart of the entire modern Jewish race (who range from religiously Orthodox to very atheistic; from violently Zionist to commited pacifists), many of whom are begging their countrymen to cease from those activities that are reminiscent to them of "hitlerism" (their term, not mine). Or should we write off those Jews as anti-Israel?

We do well to listen carefully to what their own prophets have said--ancient and modern--from Amos to Heschel. The Jewish prophetic tradition, which reached its apex in Jesus Christ, warns against the threat to national security posed by injustice to neighbours and "strangers" ... and they consistently oppose military alliances with and economic dependency on foreign empires.

A valid question, "What is Israel to do?" seems to be eclipsed by equally pressing questions, like "What is Israel doing?" "What has God already spoken about that?" and "What is the fruit of it?" What it is NOT doing is bringing about the peace of Jerusalem.

And what of Hamas? Questions: What are the conditions that gave rise to their popularity and power? What incidents and policies ignite their desparation? If indeed they are madmen, why so? And what, other than genocide, can be done about them? Those who dismiss such questions will have no part in peacemaking, but my suspicion is that many of the loudest voices are not actually interested in that anyways.

Specifically, the dispensationist eschatology behind much of Christian Zionism, when pushed to the wall, looks forward to the coming of Christ as the climax of the battle of Armageddon, which they believe must happen. If nuking Iran, for example, speeds "the day of His coming" by inciting another world war, so much the better... we are the chosen generation! Thus, not only is a peaceful solution in Israel and Palestine seen as delaying the coming of Christ, but any such peacemaking is, to that system of thought, potentially a work of the anti-Christ... or at least anti-Israel (note the accusations against Jimmy Carter). Also, Christians are unable to commune with one another across old barriers or succeed in co-existing peacefully with other faiths without being accused of an 'ecumenism' akin to the 'one world religion of the false prophet.' In other words, even though Jesus is the Prince of Peace, because the Left Behind crowd only foresees this as the outcome of Armageddon, they are tacitly opposed to effective peacemaking in the Middle East.

I think what Israel needs to understand is that many Christian Zionists do not what them to have peace in the long run. Some of their books support Israel in succeeding to rebuild the Temple and to re-establish (even if violently) the old boundaries of David's empire ... But this is to be followed eventually by an all-out war with the world in which they are surrounded, bombarded, Jerusalem destroyed ... but then saved in the nick of time by Jesus on his white horse (a brutal [lit.] misread of the Bible).

In my opinion, Israel for its own sake should refuse all advice, money and support from those who believe it plays out like that, nor would they if they understood the threat to peace that such thinking underwrites. Israel's best interests are always served by listening to the message of her own prophets ... a message that resists nationalism, militarism and dominance. The bottom line is that neither the Hamas nor the Israeli military are walking in the righteousness of their own faiths. When Christians line up on one side or another for violent solutions, neither are they.


With all due respect: one does not have to be a "Christian Zionist" to support Israel. And to call Israel's actions in Gaza criminal out of hand is extremely blind. It is blindly going along with a lot of lies and propaganda about what is going on. For example: the purposeful use by Hamas of children as human shields to protect rocket launchers and firing positions, the foundational belief in the elimination of Israel found in the Hamas charter, the tunnels used to smuggle weaponry (not humanitarian goods) into Gaza, not to mention the wanton destruction by Hamas when Israel *did* cave in and left Gaza.

How many of you would suffer 1700 rockets before you attacked? Even if no one was killed (thanks to early warning systems and organized retreats into existing bunkers, mostly). The nonsense about "proportional response" and such is just that - nonsense.

I agree with the sense that we must distinguish between Biblical Judaism and the modern state of Israel. However, the effect of Pallywood and blatantly biased stringers and "reporters" seems, to me, to have poisoned a large section of the West to the truth of the situation. Not to mention decades of lies and obfuscation regarding who the "Palestinians" really are, where they came from, and what the other Muslim countries are using them for.

the sinner,


eric h janzen

Well said Ron. When we encounter this attitude out there that Israel must be in the right and that their crimes are excusable simply because they are 'Israel' it quite disturbing. We either align ourselves with the Heart of God, as you so clearly describe above (justice, mercy, loving and caring for the marginalized) or we do not align ourselves with that Heart. The prophets endlessly warned Israel that putting confidence in their 'chosen' status as the thing that would save, preserve, and justify them was a grave mistake. We can only hope and pray that some in today's Israel will raise a voice on the side of God's heart calling them to stop killing their neighbors and start exploring how to love them. Bombs will not overcome the evil of Hamas and other terrorist groups as we have all seen. Rather we should recall that Scripture says: Overcome Evil with Good. It is when we recede into the shadows and cease showing love and doing good that evil overcomes. Israel needs a new strategy and as corny and hippyesque as it sounds it would seem some Love is in order. I know it is tough stuff and a very complicated situation over there in the middle east and I do not mean to make light of it. Certainly Ron has highlighted the mistake of many Christians today who believe that political Zionism is the same thing as the religious Israel, and thus will defend distinctly ungodly action by the state as somehow then being justified. The very roots of the prophetic tradition in Judaism would condemn the recent actions of the State....so as Ron says we need the prophetic voices willing to remind the State of Israel of what God is like and what he expects of those who claim to be his people.



yes, i agree with Deb, thank you.

some issues are difficult to sift through.

however, each equation carries the same weight
when it rests in His hands.


Thank you...

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