Guardian: Middle East Christians are being persecuted because of Israel
It has been widely reported that former US President George W Bush has given a speech at a fundraiser for a 'Jews for Jesus' event in Texas. The Messianic Jewish Bible Institute was established “to bring Jewish people into a personal relationship of faith with Yeshua the Messiah, knowing their acceptance will eventually mean life from the dead (Romans 11:15)'. According to Andrew Brown at The Guardian, this amounts to a 'crusade', in which no former president should play no part, unless, of course, he is a 'Zionist double agent'.
But it is not only the anti-Christian pages of the Guardian which are offended, but quite a few prominent Jews. Apparently, Christians have no business trying to convert them to the cause of the Messiah: these born-again bigots should respect other faiths and accept that no one has a monopoly on salvation. Instead of raising dollars for anti-Semitic rallies they should get on with feeding the poor and housing the homeless – like Jesus did.
And so George W Bush is severally accused of theological blindness, historical naivety, religious insensitivity and political ignorance.
The thing is..
Christianity is a mission faith, and that mission is to preach the gospel in Jerusalem, Judæa, Samaria and all the world. By preaching Christ crucified for the redemption of sinners, the objective is to win souls for Christ. It is not the healthy who need a doctor: it is the sick – those who have not encountered and do not know the Lord Jesus Christ, and that includes Jews, along with "Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, deists, atheists, and others who reject the idea that Jesus was the son of god and died to save humans from sin".
Unlike Andrew Brown, His Grace has no insights into George W Bush's spiritual motives. Such things ought to be left between a man and his god. But Mr Brown likes cutting windows into men's souls, and so we learn not only that President Bush desires to save Jews from damnation, but that by participating in the mission of Christ he is purposely hastening Armageddon. It is of the same theological stable as those who equate Evangelicalism with Zionism:
Jews are a means to an apocalyptic end wherein Jesus returns and those who have accepted him are raptured into heaven, while the Christ-rejecters will be left behind to suffer their fate. This unpleasant eschatology is the driving force behind the rabidly pro-Israel stance..Unpleasant eschatology? Well, the entire Bible is full of it, and Jesus preached an awful lot of it. If you want to divide humanity into sheep and goats, that's pretty 'unpleasant'. In fact, the whole concept of eschatology is itself 'unpleasant', for why should humanity have a pre-ordained end? Why should the world draw inexorably toward the 'end times' and experience an apocalypse from which none may escape? Why should there be unbearable human suffering and appalling natural catastrophe before the Kingdom may come? Why should anyone be judged, found wanting, and damned?
Unsurprisingly, Andrew Brown uses his anti-Bush rant to take a pot shot at Israel:
..if there is one group that has suffered as a result of the establishment of the state of Israel and its support by Western Christian countries, it is the historic Christians of the Middle East – who are now the victims of persecution throughout the region and scapegoats of an angry nationalism.Get that? The persecution of Christians throughout the Middle East is not the fault of the Wahhabi-Salafist strain of Islam which is infecting the region's Muslims and spreading like a plague through Syria, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon and Egypt. No, Christians throughout the region are being harassed, defamed, raped, tortured, burned and beheaded because of Israel.
How stupid of us not to see this.
How clever of these Zionist Jews to conspire to cleanse the entire Middle East of Christians while giving the impression that Israel is the only country in the region where followers of the Messiah may live and worship freely.