Christ at an Israeli Checkpoint

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Alex Awad of Bethlehem Bible College

The Evangelical Left is hosting a “Christ at the Checkpoint” jamboree at the birthplace of Jesus Christ to identify the Savior with Palestinian liberation. This anti-Israeli mobilization will include leading evangelicals from the U.S.

“We are not accusing the Israeli military of putting Jesus at a checkpoint,” insists one disingenuous spokesman, who complains that “some” critics will incomprehensibly interpret it that way. “This is a conference about empowering the Palestinian church.” If so, then why is the conference not less provocatively titled?

Palestinian politicians are often accused of speaking sweetly about peace and co-existence in English to Western audiences but far more stridently in Arabic to their own constituency. Perhaps that same spirit afflicts organizers and defenders of Christ at the Checkpoint.

Another spokesman for Christ at the Checkpoint promises it will challenge the “theology of the land” and the “end times” beliefs of pro-Israel Christians, while advocating a “theology of peace.” But will this theology of peace also challenge Islamists and Palestinian nationalists who reject Israel’s existence or any future for Jews or Christians outside of subjugation?

Major U.S. speakers at the March 5-9 Checkpoint event in Bethlehem include evangelist Tony Campolo (former spiritual counselor to Bill Clinton), Florida megachurch pastor Joel Hunter (board member of National Association of Evangelicals and spiritual counselor to President Obama), Chicago megachurch co-founder Lynne Hybels of Willow Creek Community, and popular religious campus anti-war activist Shane Claiborne of The Simple Way in Philadelphia.

Church of England priest and anti-Israel activist Stephen Sizer will also speak, as will Porter Speakman, Colorado producer of the anti-Israel film for evangelicals “With God on Our Side,” plus Gary Burge of evangelical Wheaton College outside Chicago.  So too will Ron Sider of Evangelicals for Social Action and Chris Seiple of the Institute for Global Engagement, along with Sang-Bok David Kim, chair of the World Evangelical Alliance.

Christ at the Checkpoint’s official purpose is help evangelicals to seek “peace, justice, and reconciliation” by empowering the Palestinian church and exposing the “realities of the injustices in the Palestinian Territories,” while also challenging Christian Zionism.

“Some have accused the conference as being part of a process of demonization of state of Israel,” admitted conference organizer Alex Awad of Bethlehem Bible College, who is also a missionary supported by the United Methodist Church.  “I totally and absolutely reject this accusation,” he declared, insisting Christ at the Checkpoint merely wants Israelis and Palestinians to “live in peace and harmony.”  Awad further clarified: “We are not anti-Semitic, we are not against Jewish people.”  But he admitted:  “There may be some criticism of Israel.”  No doubt!

Awad implored that criticism of Israel not equate with anti-Semitism.  Perhaps this appeal would be more persuasive if Christ at the Checkpoint includes serious criticism of Palestinian authorities and attitudes that persist in denying Israel’s right to exist.  And this event would truly convey its desire for “peace” and “reconciliation” if it condemned not just evangelical and Jewish pro-Israel theologies but also critiqued Islamist theology asserting that conquered Islamic lands may never revert to non-Islamic control.  But don’t hold your breath.  In the mindset of many Christ at the Checkpoint organizers and speakers, a Texas Baptist who believes God still blesses the Jews is more morally culpable for Mideast conflict than a Hamas-supporting Islamist in Nasrallah who believes Allah wants to drive the Jews into the Sea.

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  • diann

    this just makes me angry – and ashamed of fellow Christians. Do they not realize that the very Bethlehem they are visiting is moving to total Islamic control? Their unbalanced agenda and topics will reveal to any discerning person that their efforts cannot be admired or trusted. Don't they know that it is the Palestinians who keep their countrymen confined to a refugee camp within their own lands? How do they get around such truths, to support Palestine and demonize Israel? It's insane…

    • LindaRivera

      diann,

      Why are you so sure they are Christians? The Bible says you will know them by their fruits!

      Beware of the FALSE prophets!

      • Libertyman

        Exactly… They won't let a Matthew 18 challenge against Tony Campolo in his own denomination … I wonder why?

  • evy

    Diann, yes, however do not be so hasty to be ashamed of "fellow Christians" before you determine who are fellow Christians. Men like Campolo show approximately zero evidence of being Bible believers. If you don't believe the Bible, you are not a Christian. A stinkweed may call itself a daisy but it will still be a stinkweed. These people deal in 'another Jesus,' a counterfeit that the Lord warned against. Genuine Bible believers still and always will stand behind Israel, though we are getting fewer in number. We must be discerning as to who meets the Biblical definition. The thing most warned about in Scripture, regarding the last days before His return, is deception. These men are deceivers, 'Judas goats' to lead the unwary to their demise. Deceived and being deceived.

    • Ken S

      AMEN!

  • Marty

    In a few decades or less none of this will matter. christianity will gradually disappear from the west bank and gaza because of the relentless persecution by islamic authorities, hamas, and the pa. There are already christian free zones. The end of christian communities in the arab middle east is well underway just as the Jewish presence was ended more than six decades ago . The number of christians in iraq has been halved since saddam was ousted. Interestingly, the only place in the region where christians can worship freely and whose numbers are growing are in Israel. Some christians may believe in justice and harmony; muslims believe in neither.

    • Libertyman

      Actually Marty …. the number of Orthodox Church Christians have left Iraq is in the decline… but the number of underground Biblical Christians have grown substancially. For some reason Biblical Christianity grows when persecuted. In Saudi Arabia, the population of Christians may be up to 4%.

  • Mik

    Yet another thought experiment. The Jesus at the Checkpoint people win the day. The wall comes down. As Evangelical evangelists you want to reach out to people on both sides of the no-longer existing barrier.
    1. Where will your life be more in danger? Walking into Gaza proclaiming that Jesus is the Incarnate God? or Tel Aviv?
    2. Carrying a Bible in your brief case will cause more trouble as you pass through the border crossing into “Palestine” or Israel?
    3. You are able to establish a clandestine ministry among a small group of Palestinians, do you, your wife and three kids live in Gaza? Bethlehem? or in Jerusalem? (for the uniformed Bethlehem is in West Bank territory). Your choices are a stray suicide bomb at a cafe in Jerusalem or the constant threat of dying as a heretic in Gaza or the West Bank.

    The left is mad. And the Christian left is self-righteous about their madness.

  • LindaRivera

    The vile hypocrites are vehemently opposed to the anti-terror fence and anti-terror checkpoints. Murderous Muslims seek continuously to enter inside the green line Israel to carry out terror attacks. These humanity haters would much prefer that Jews were left defenseless against barbaric Muslim killers.

  • LindaRivera

    These so-called 'Christians' must have an enormous HATE for Jesus because if Jesus had been born in our time, from the moment Jesus mother carried Jesus in her womb, Jesus, his mother and family would be targeted for MURDER by the Islamics for being JEWS living in their JEWISH homeland.

    Jewish Mothers and their children and pregnant Jewish women are often targeted for murder by the Islamics. Their Muslim murderers are regarded as HUGE heroes by PA Muslims. In the Palestinian Authority, sports teams, streets and city squares are dedicated to, and named after these savage Muslim killers. Muslims call it resistance. God calls it MURDER. Do these phony Christians protest? No! SILENCE IS CONSENT.

  • kimsegar

    All the people's who went to the meeting to talk peace with the PLO are all enemies of the G-d of Israel and of the Jews and those who love HER. G-d has written you are for ME or against ME. Isaiah 64 says, HE IS COMING to destroy the enemies of Israel and of the Jews. they will not enter HIS KINGDOM to come soon. Following false teachers , G-d calls them wolves will all be destroyed as it is written. None will have an excuse. They did not stand up during the Holocaust and this next one they will be in it. IT is better to believe in G-d than man. All are all signed up under the catholic crusaders heading to Rome, which the Pope says they will be destroyed. Next war, Gaza will be a waste, Damasuc are ruin of rubble and the surrounding nations Isaiah 17. In Psalms 83, G-d even tells us the nations who will attack. For the idiots who think Israel can't win this all is not reading scripture, as G-d is ALL power and HE says He will be with them…forever…got that? Forever !!! G-d bless Israel and the Jewish people , they are my heart and G-d's heart. Genesis 12:3 , G-d warns and tells the world who He will curse and HE means what HE says…

  • http://www.biblelands.org.uk/about_us/staff.htm Jeremy Moodey

    Mr Tooley's article about the Christ at the Checkpoint conference appears to have been written for him by the Israeli government. His ironic use of speech-marks around the words "settlements", "siege" and "barrier" speaks for itself (as if these were not undeniable facts!). Why does Mr Tooley deny the right of pro-justice evangelicals to take a different view from the pro-Zionist majority? Yes, there is a "dwindling" Palestinian Christian presence in the Holy Land, but not because of Islamism; Christians have left in their thousands because the Israeli occupation and illegal settlement of their land since 1967 has made their lives utterly intolerable. If Mr Tooley actually spoke to a Palestinian Christian, instead of the Israeli press attaché, he would learn this for himself.

    • rachaelamb

      Enter text right here!

      Israel won that land in a defensive war. Justice is clearly on Israel's side. The overwhelming majority of Palestinians do not even recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish nation. Their own polls have proven this over the years.

      Nevertheless,Israel has still tried to compromise several times in just the last decade,and has offered to give back most of the West Bank as the Arabs call it,or Judea and Samaria. But the Arabs always refuse because they want it all.

      Just recently,Abbas the so called moderate leader of the Palestinians said he would never recognize Israel as a Jewish state. People like you always blame the Jews for everything,then you have the gaul to say your not antisemitic.

    • KarshiKhanabad

      Israel is here to stay. G-d wills it, so get used to it.

      After all, if three hundred million plus Arab Muslims can't in six decades manage to wipe out six million hated Jews in their midst, then Someone else is involved.

      Deus vult!

    • stern

      Please explain something to me. A study of the demographics of Bethlehem shows that the Christian population began dwindling AFTER 1993. Not after 1967, after 1993. And if a study of recent history will show that the so-called "occupation" began in 1967, while the Oslo talks – and the subsequent return of Arafat and the passing of control of Bethlehem to the PA – took place after 1993.

      How then, does this jibe with your insistence that Christians are leaving Bethlehem because of the "occupation" (and please note my very, very deliberate use of quotation makes around that word.)

      You cannot explain this, which is hardly surprising, as your post clearly indicates how you feel about Jews.

  • crackerjack
    • rachaelamb

      You don't even know that it was Jews who did this. The graffiti was written in Arabic. The Arabs know the biggest supporters of Israel are Evangelical Christians,which Baptists,so it would make perfect sense that they would try and cause a rift between Jews and Christians as a result of sad incidents like this.

      • crackerjack
        • rachaelamb

          They also burn new testaments in Islamic countries crackerjack. In fact,Christians are not even allowed to worship in many Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia,unlike in Israel where they have freedom of worship.

          Christians are often brutally murdered for their faith in Islamic countries,that just doesn't happen in Israel.

          What happened was sad and regrettable,but you notice the mayor condemned the Yeshiva students. Most Israelis are kind,decent people who do not condone this kind of behaviour.

          It is true some Jews have very hostile feelings towards Christians,but that is mainly because of the 2,000 plus years of persecution, and hatred they have suffered at the hands of so called Christians.

          What your really trying to do is turn Bible believing Christians who love, and support Israel against Israel because you hate Jews yourself. It's not going to happen because unlike you Christians know TRUTH.

          They know that Israel is surrounded by hundreds of millions of hostile neighbors. Who have said repeatedly they will destroy Israel,and kill all Jews living there is given the chance. Real Christians will not stand by, and be silent in the face of this type of evil.

  • stephen

    Ther is no Jesus at the checkpoint: only thousands of potential terrorists.
    What a shame to involve Jesus in this antisemite crusade!!! Why don`t they go to Syria,Tibet, Iran ,Somalia! They are just fixated against Israel, just because it is full of Jews. Why don`t they settle in Gaza, together with the people who cheered on the Streets on /11
    God bless Israel which is at risk of a nuclear catastrophe on the hand of Iran!

  • UCSPanther

    These fools have no idea what awaits them in aiding the Islamist cause.

    Some Coptic Christians foolishly aided the Islamists in Egypt in expelling their Jewish populations, and when the Islamists ran out of Jews to prey on, they started targetting the Copts with renewed vigor.

  • johnnywoods

    Evangelical Left? Wow! How stupid is that?

  • Durin

    “Christ at the Checkpoint” sure looks like they are trying to portray the Jews in Israel as persecuting Jesus. Various Xians (or so-called Xians) have accused Jews at many times and in many places of attacking Christ, killing Christ, and being anti-Christ. This has led to pogroms, expulsions, and persecution of Jews throughout the centuries.

    While "Xians" are not the only ones who have persecuted Jews, various “Xians” have done enough demonization of Jews in the name of Christ that all Xians shold be cautious. Given the past accusations made by some “Xians” against Jews such as:

    -Christ killer
    -Stealing communion wafers in order to torture the body of Christ
    -Poisoning wells to cause the Black Death
    -Kidnapping children to use their blood to make matzo (unleavened bread)
    -Trying to take over the world by a secret conspiracy
    -Controlling the banks
    -Controlling the media
    -Controlling communism
    -Being traitors

    you would think that modern Xians would show humility before making yet more accusations. Let me guess – all those who made the charges above were deluded Jew-haters, but THIS time the motivations are pure and simply seeking justice.

    • rachaelamb

      They aren't ignorant they know exactly what Islam is about,but tragically they are so blinded by their hatred for Israel they just don't even care.

  • Ken S

    "Evangelical left"

    That is a contradiction in terms, and basically nonsense.

  • Jaja

    I don't think Jesus would be stopped at checkpoints. As long as I know, he wasn't a "palestinian".
    These guys are just keeping up with Arafat's work. He was already depicting Jesus as a Palestinian "militant" (terrorist) in the 70's.

    And you'd think those "Christians" would be worried about the persecution of Copts or by the silent extinction of the Christian population in the "palestinian territories"…
    Fifty years ago, Christians made up 70 percent of Bethlehem's population; today, about 15 percent. Some say in fifty years there will be no Chistians there. Well, the good thing about this is that "Jesus" won't be at a checkpoint anymore.

  • http://vnnforum.com DeShawn

    Hey ignorant shabas goys, look what jews really think of Jesus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0n3IXnKprc And look at what jews think of YOU, goyim sucka: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_ng02dCsCc This is what nearly all jews think. You should be ashamed that you support these spawn of Satan. Or how about this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JA6vRC1xW_c That's Israel for you, what a GREAT country! Man, open you eyes!

    • evy

      DeShawn, it is anyone that spews Antisemetic hatred, that is a pawn of Satan. The thing about antisemetism, is that is irrational, blind hatred. It is from the pit. This battle between Israel and the rest of world is the battle between God and Satan, and the battle was won before it started. You are on the losing side. Read the Bible, don't be a pawn in the hands of Satan, as to date you have been. Do a little homework. God is merciful to sinners. But one day, He will say, enough. Better be ready for that day. 'we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness'…

    • rachaelamb

      You don't even know it was Jews who did this. AntiIsraeli protestors from the ISM, and other antiIsrael groups often use members to poise as Jews to do despicable things. Just like the people in the links above did to make people,especially Christians turn against Israel, because these despicable people know the biggest supporters of Israel in America are Bible believing Christians,so it is highely likely these people weren't even Jews in the first place. Most Israelis are kind,decent people who would be appalled and horrified by those videos you posted.

      Even if they were Israelis they only represent an extremely small percent of the Israeli populace. There are alot of antiChristian people in this country, and around the world who aren't Jewish,who say horrible things about the Lord Jesus Christ. Should we blame the people of Colorado for the antiChristian prejudice of the Columbine killers?

      Besides most Jews who are antiChristian are only that way because so called "Christians" were responsible for the horrible persecution,and massacres of Jews throughout the centuries. Ever heard of the Inquistion, the Crusades?

      Your just using these 3 bad examples to try, and make Christians turn on Israel. It ain't going happen buddy. Most of the world,including tragically most Christians stood by and were silent when Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.

      Today the Jews of Israel are facing the same threat from people like the leader of Iran,the Arabs nations,as well as the terrorist hate Palestinian and Islamic gangs. We will not be silent,EVER AGAIN.

  • chuck

    Why do so many willingly accept that these must be Christians. They called the Crusaders Christians, they called the Catholic Inquisition work of Christians. Have you ever heard of Jew hating Jews? Look at the Universities they are filled with them. How about the American hating Americans also known as Socialists, liberals etc. Stop accepting a persons self label as fact. Very often it is not.

  • http://cufi.org Tucson

    G-d bless you.

    Thank you for exposing this.

    Note that DeShawn's video has comments below it that advocate genocide and praise Hitler. If that's what the friends of this conference advocate…

  • rachaelamb

    And by the way,for all this talk about Israel supposedly oppressing Palestinian Christians. Why doesn't anyone seem to notice many Palestinians who call themselves Christians are every bit as hateful towards Israel and Jews as the Palestinian muslims are.

    Just because someone says their a Christian does not necessarily mean they are. George Habash,the founder of the terrorist gang the PFLP,was an Orthodox Christian.

    The PFLP was responsible for the airline hijackings of the late 60's, and many of the worst terror attacks in Israel's history. They were responsible for the hijacking of the Achille Lauro,where a wheelchair bound elderly American was brutally murdered.

    Last year,two Arab teenagers affliated with the PFLP,broke into an Israeli home late at night and slaughtered a family of five,two of the victims were small boys,one was a 2 month old babygirl who was stabbed to death in her crib.

    Naytef Hawarth,the founder of the DFLP,was behind the 1974 massacre of 25 Israeli schoolchildren at an elementary school in Maalot,Israel. These people are clearly not Christians,in fact,anyone who supports murder and terrorism is not a Christian either.

  • rachaelamb

    Tragically,your right. It is a black mark and stain on Christianity,the way Jews have been hated and persecuted in the name of Jesus who himself was a Jewish rabbi. God must weep when he sees all the inhumanity and cruelty,which has been committed in his name.

  • zac

    I christian from palestine and i can see the wall has been built, I agree with wat stephensee says and as Rev alex know ''Ther is no Jesus at the checkpoint: only thousands of potential terrorists''
    purpose of the conference for sure not to destroy the wall surely it is to increase donations to the Palestinians, especially to the Bible College &Shepherd Society
    But Palestinian Christians not need support from overseas, but we need to learn giving
    There is big money in shepherds banks in Bethlehem, especially

  • zac

    Jesus Christ is come in the flesh

  • Aaron

    thank you for shedding some light on what appears to be an agenda (even though they claim not to have one).