Dr. Paul Wilkinson, of Hazal Grove Full Gospel Church in the UK, has published an important report on his attendance at the second ‘Christ at the Checkpoint’ Conference in Bethlehem in March 2012. The report analyses the conference - the organizers, the participants, the speakers and the presentations. He concludes that “by revising Middle Eastern history and spiritualising God’s prophetic Word, ‘Christ at the Checkpoint’ speakers are guilty of propagating a theological or spiritual form of anti-Semitism which is damaging the Church, demonizing Israel, and dishonouring the integrity and Name of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Conference organisers, along with the majority of speakers and delegates, believed that Christ was at the Israeli checkpoint sanctioning their Evangelical, pro-Palestinian solidarity gathering. On the contrary, it is our belief that the Lord Jesus Christ established His checkpoint in Bethlehem in order to inspect the hearts and minds of all who confess His name, but condemn His people Israel.”
Wilkinson says: “The stated aim of the conference was “to provide an opportunity for evangelical Christians who take the Bible seriously to prayerfully seek a proper awareness of issues of peace, justice, and reconciliation.” As this report will show, the conference was informed and underpinned by a Replacement Theology which denies that the modern State of Israel was established by God’s sovereign intervention. The conference also gave a platform for speakers to delegitimize the State of Israel by rejecting its biblical, theological, historical and legally-established foundations. The strategy adopted by the conference organisers was more subtle than previous conferences of a similar nature, in which anti-Israel sentiment was more blatant.
In his forward to this report, pastor Andrew Robinson writes as follows:
Just over a year ago we produced ‘Prophets Who Prophesy Lies In My Name’: Christian Palestinianism and the Anti-Israel Crusade, a publication which charts the nature and scale of opposition within the Church towards the modern State of Israel. Anglican clerics like English evangelical Stephen Sizer and Palestinian liberationist Naim Ateek, who are in the vanguard of this crusade, insist that Israel has been replaced by the Church in the purposes of God and that the Land promises made to Abraham and his seed have been fulfilled in Christ. The Jewish nation is thus twice robbed through the medium of replacement theology: of its prophetic Scriptures and its promised Land.
In fulfilment of the Deuteronomic law of God, the Jewish people are back in their ancient homeland after centuries of exile (Deuteronomy 30:1-9), but today’s neo-crusaders, like their medieval predecessors, are bent on ‘liberating’ the Holy Land from what they see as unlawful occupation. The crusader ranks swell daily, with members of mainstream churches, Islamic groups, political and secular parties, and a host of others, marching on Israel with a determination to bend the Zionist spirit to their will. Like their historical forbears, today’s anti-Israel crusaders are an eclectic mix who find common ground and unity of purpose in their collective condemnation of, and virulent opposition to, the modern State of Israel.
Those who support Israel on biblical grounds, be they Jewish Zionists or Christian Zionists, are subjected to intimidating rhetoric from the anti-Israel camp. In a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams (June 2011), Naim Ateek, whose Palestinian Ecumenical Liberation Theology Centre (‘Sabeel’) was represented at the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference, described Jewish and Christian Zionists as “a greater threat to us [Arab Christians] than the extremist Islamists.” Stephen Sizer joins the attack, denouncing Israel as an “apartheid State” which he claims is guilty of ethnic cleansing, and demonizing Christians who support Israel as heretical “Armageddonites” whose interpretation of the Bible “provides a theological endorsement for racial segregation, apartheid and war.” These are outlandish sentiments.
This booklet makes for sober reading, but we believe it is of paramount importance that the true agenda underlying the pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel Christ at the Checkpoint Conference and associated forums is brought to the attention of both Christian and Jewish communities. One of our purposes therefore is to take the reader behind the scenes to reveal the high level of interconnectedness that exists between Conference speakers, their respective constituencies, and the wider anti-Israel, and in some cases, anti-Semitic world. It is imperative that we recognise that we are not simply dealing with an isolated, self-contained conference with stand-alone presentations, but with a highly sophisticated pro-Palestinian network, in which the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference sits. In my opinion, anti-Zionism is nothing less than politically-correct, internationally sanctioned anti-Semitism. Those who defend their anti-Israel position with a “My best friend is Jewish” gambit, need to explain how that works when their circle of ‘friends’ also includes known anti-Semites.
Early in 1932, Sir Oswald Mosley, the English fascist leader, attended a business dinner at the home of British industrialist, Zionist and philanthropist, Israel Sieff (of Marks and Spencer fame). Mosley was looking for financial support for his newly formed political party from the industrialists attending the dinner. He shared his plans for the New Party, stressing that “a new movement must find somebody or something to hate. In this case it should be the Jews.” Sieff writes: “He did not seem to think he had said anything particularly unacceptable, but the effect on the company was instant. I said, ‘I must ask you to leave, Sir Oswald’. He strode out… and I never saw him again.… Until that time I did not know what he felt about the Jews.”
There are many Christian Palestinianists, Christ at the Checkpoint speakers included, who do know what some of their ‘friends’ feel about the Jews, and yet are still willing to engage with them in platform sharing, press conferencing, political rallying, petition signing, and policy making, if it serves their anti-Zionist purposes. As a Christian pastor, I challenge the basis of such friendships, and urge those who seek to court the enemies of the Jewish State in furtherance of their pro-Palestinian agenda, to think again.
I pray that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will use this document to inform and alert, warn and challenge, encourage and enlighten; that by His grace many eyes will be opened to the true scale of the anti-Israel crusade, which is paving the way for wholesale condemnation of the international Jewish community.
May the Lord bless you from Zion,
In the service of His Son, the Lord Jesus,
Andrew D. Robinson, Senior Pastor
The report entitled The Church at Christ’s Checkpoint is published by Hazel Grove Full Gospel Church, and is available free of charge in A4 booklet form, on CD Rom, or via email (in PDF format) from the address below.
Also available free of charge, together with a variety of other resources, are the 2004 ‘Sabeel Report,’ the 2011 booklet ‘Prophets Who Prophesy Lies In My Name,’ and DVDs on ‘Christian Palestinianism.’
The book, For Zion’s Sake: Christian Zionism and the Role of John Nelson Darby (Paternoster: 2007), is available at the cost price of £10.
Hazel Grove Full Gospel Church, 68 London Road, Hazel Grove,
Stockport, Cheshire, SK7 4AF. UK.
Tel. 0161 456 8393 or 0161 682 1157
Charity No: 1051785
In association with The Fellowship of Christian Assemblies.