|CHRISTIANS CITE BIBLICAL REASONS TO PRAY FOR ISRAEL
by Judy Tarjanyi
|Many an Evangelical Christian grew up singing the Sunday school tune, "Jesus loves me, this I know, 'cause the Bible tells me so."
As adults, they might use similar words to explain their support for Israel, which in sheer numbers surpasses that of American Jews.
Although Christians who back Israel with great fervor are sometimes suspected of ulterior motives, when asked to explain their passionate support of the Jewish people and the nation of Israel, they typically defer to the Bible, which calls Israel "the apple
of G-D's eye."
In particular, they cite a passage in the book of Genesis, where G-D makes a covenant with Abraham, promising to send him to "the land I will show you" and telling him, "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on Earth will be blessed through you.
"When G-D tells us if we bless Israel, He'll bless us, people who are pro-Israel take that seriously, " said Monica "Posy" McMillen, a Fort Worth Evangelical Christian who is on the Speakers' Bureau for the National Unity Coalition for Israel, a group
of 200 Christian and Jewish organizations seeking a safe and secure Israel.
"For the Christians I know that are pro-Israel, it's because of what G-D says in the Bible, because Jesus was Jewish [Not Palestinian] , the scriptures were written by Jews, and we owe so much to the Jewish people," Mrs. McMillen added.
As a result, she said, there has been an unexpected bonding and mutual respect between Christians and Jews in her organization. "We work so closely together it's quite amazing, really."
Mrs. Levens said not all Christians support Israel with the fervor that many Evangelicals do. Mainline, Eastern Orthodox, and Catholic Christians, she said, are mostly pro-Palestinian, although charismatic Catholics are very supportive of the Jewish cause. "And some of my really close personal friends who are Episcopalian and Lutheran are the very ones who talked me into doing
this about 11 years ago."
Mrs. McMillen said she thinks the reason that not all Christians are fervent in their support for Israel is that some churches today still teach what is known as "replacement theology."
Starting in about the year 100, she said, the church began teaching that G-D had rejected the Jews after the crucifixion of Christ. "The early church when they read the scriptures, every time they said 'Israel' they translated it in their mind to 'the church' They allegorized all the Jewish scriptures and they believed that every blessing that G-D gave the Jewish people, He gave the church."
Although the teaching was very subtle, Mrs. McMillen said, it could well have contributed to the attitudes that led to the Holocaust in which 9 of every 10 people who perpetrated the killings were Christians.
Mrs. McMillen said she inherited her love for Israel from her late grandfather, who was a Christian Zionist. Growing up as a Methodist, she said, she cannot recall ever hearing a negative word about Jews. Only when she was older, she said, did she learn from an Israeli couple about the anti-Semitism of Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther.
She decided to investigate and her research, intended as a gift to the Israeli couple, blossomed into giving presentations on anti-Semitism and Judaism for both Christians and Jews.
A member of the nondenominational McKinney Bible Church in fort Worth, Mrs. McMillen said, "we owe so much to the Jewish people. I feel like we are two brothers who have been back-to-back for 2,000 years and been estranged. It's incumbent upon Christians to reach out. This is our brother."
|National Unity Coalition for Israel
|SCRIPTURE SAYS JEWISH NATION IS 'THE APPLE OF G-D'S EYE'|