WHY JESUS SUPPORTS A PALESTINIAN STATE

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Against all the odds, and in the face of a “lethal-veto” from the U.S., the Palestinian Authority lodged an official request to the United Nations that it recognize a Palestinian State among the nations of the world.  I am not a geo-political scientist or strategist and I am certainly no expert in international law or diplomacy.  Even so, I am convinced that if Jesus had a vote he would cast it in favor of recognizing a Palestinian State.

Jesus would vote “yes” as a matter of simple justice (though I am sure it would not be simple actually to work out!).  Shouldn’t every people group have a place they call “home?”  Shouldn’t everyone’s home enjoy whatever protection the community of nations enjoys and affords?  I think the answer is yes, and Jesus would vote accordingly.  (I know there is no chapter or verse on this per se, but Jesus was passionate about matters of justice)  This is not to deny that injustice and atrocity and even crimes against humanity have been committed by some Palestinians and of course also by some Israelis, not to mention other parties with some stake in the region and this particular question.  It is to affirm, with Jesus I believe, that people should have a place.  Surely those who claim to love people—all people in fact—would back their claim up by supporting the Palestinians’ right to a place, a homeland, as much as any others’ right.

Jesus would vote “yes” to a Palestinian homeland, in my judgment, because in the biblical story even those not chosen, such as Ishmael and Esau for example, are never denied their place.  Even within biblical Israel herself—the nation chosen by Yahweh for a special role in redemptive history—when only one tribe is chosen to bring the world its Messiah, the importance and value of “place” for the other tribes are not diminished.  Certainly the other tribes are not denied their places as a consequence.  In other words, the story doesn’t show us that God’s choice of one can justify denying others a place.  Quite the contrary in fact, we see God granting a place to those clearly not chosen.  Surely, God’s Son would do likewise and vote accordingly.

Jesus would favor a Palestinian State because his Father did not tolerate even God’s chosen People’s persistent unfaithfulness.   Of the twelve tribes the northern ten lost their land, their place, to an exile that never ended.  This portion of the chosen people simply disappeared from history.  Similarly, the southern tribes were also exiled, though not permanently.  A remnant returned from the exile.  But God never promised that remnant, or any future remnant, a homeland independent of their faithfulness to the God who called them, who eventually reveals himself as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  In fact, Jesus’ harshest words consistently targeted those who would claim, not to mention fight and die for, an inalienable right to a homeland, whether they honored God or not.  Clearly, Jesus did not support their right to have it their way.  Therefore, Jesus would not, as is commonly done, deny Palestinian people a homeland out of a blind commitment to protect the right of Israelis to “feel” safe by depriving others of a place.

Jesus would favor a Palestinian State because Jesus would never identify the people of God, “True Israel,” with the modern or future state of Israel.  Even during Jesus’ ministry he consistently refused to make “Israel” or “Judea” equivalent to the Kingdom he declared and demonstrated.  Jesus himself gave his followers no basis for pinning the hope of God’s kingdom upon an earthly kingdom called “Israel” or anything else.  Instead, Jesus redefined who his family was.  His family became those who hear and live by the word of God which he himself embodied and taught (see Mark 3:31-35).  And Jesus asserted that his Kingdom was not of this world.  The “of” is important.  Jesus’ Kingdom was and is in this world and grows and deepens in this world and, according to God’s plan, will transform this world.  But Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world.  Its origins, nature, and way of working do not derive or depend on the way kingdoms or nations of this world do—whether they are called Israel or the United States or something else.   Therefore, Jesus would not offer blanket support to the nation of Israel.  He would not connect the final coming of the Kingdom to the worldly nation of Israel.  He didn’t do this in his day and he doesn’t in our day, which suggests another reason for Jesus’ vote.

Jesus would vote in favor of a Palestinian State because he wants Palestinians (no less than any others) to know him—Jesus—as the way, the truth and the life.  He wants Palestinian peoples to discover that only a life oriented around him creates the kind of home, and the sense of homeland, for which humans deeply long.  Since Jesus loves the Palestinians and wants them to know him in this way, he would favor anything that creates a context where they might discover the blessing and wisdom of his way.  And followers of Jesus would follow suit.  Since they want everyone to know their Lord and Friend they will seek to bless them with a place to call home.

I know that some will object to what I’ve written, pointing out the threat of many nations against Israel, that some Palestinians have sought to destroy Israel and have carried out terrorist campaigns against Israel.  Nothing I have said about a Palestinian State necessitates denying justice, security and peace for the people of Israel.  Of course, as a matter of love and justice for Israel’s people, we should pray and act for the peace of Jerusalem and Israel.  Of course we should.

Even so, and finally, Jesus would vote in favor of a Palestinian State because Jesus would name and deny the eschatological (end-times) elephant in the room.  Jesus does not endorse the dispensational view of some that insists that the modern and future state of Israel plays a decisive role in his own final appearing and in the New Heavens and Earth that will follow.  I haven’t the space and time to discuss this adequately, and there are others who could do it better than I, but …   Nowhere does Jesus ever assert that certain things must happen with the state of Israel before, or as a help to, his final appearing.

What Jesus did say in no uncertain terms is that it is not for us to know the times and seasons (see Acts 1:7, specifically in response to restoring the kingdom to Israel—a notion that Jesus neither confirms nor denies in this context); he said that no one knows the time, not even he but only the Father (see Mark 13:32) and so … we must be “prepared” and being prepared is explicitly linked to sharing the good news with the whole world (the focus is on the whole world, not just one area of the world—not just ours or Israel’s but on all of it).  Jesus did say that this good news must be proclaimed everywhere (see Mark 13:10), in all nations, to all peoples, and then … and then … the end, which turns out to be a new beginning.   Everywhere includes Palestine.  The gospel must be shared there (and it is, by the way), and the good news will be received more readily there in Palestine if people can call it home in the same way we like to call our place “home.”  Jesus would vote for this.

One final word: Dear brothers and sisters, the gospel is being shared and embraced in Palestine.  Therefore, we have brothers and sisters in Christ in what would become whatever a Palestinian State would become.  How sadly and profoundly ironic it would be if, out of an errant view of the end-times (and therefore of the gospel itself since the final appearing of Jesus is part of the gospel), followers of Jesus protected a worldly nation whose ways at least sometimes reflect the spirit of anti-Christ and in so doing actually hindered the advance of the good news and put part of Jesus’ beloved family in harm’s way.  Jesus would never vote for that.

 

Comments 68

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      Dear,
      Greetings in Jesus’ name. I am Bishop I. Paul from Pak Methodist Church, Lahore, Pakistan. Dear The Executive Board of The Methodist Church is registered here in Pakistan from 1950 and in 1947 Pakistan was seperated from Hindustan. Pak Methodist Church is the new name of The Executive Board of The Methodist Church. We are working independantly from 1970 and in a country like Pakistan it’s very tough to work because we are minorities in Pakistan.

      I have visited your website and saw your work, it is really good and I really appriciate your work. Me and my team will pray for you all and May he bless us with a chance to work together for the poor people of Pakistan.

      God Bless you. I will be waiting for your kind reply.a

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      When we ascribe a temporal political position to Jesus, it can be quite dangerous. For example, the Bible is unique in its dependency on multiple eye-witness verifiable history, and this tracks from the Garden of Eden to the Exodus to the city of Jerusalem to John on Patmos. The Qur’an does not have such an acknowledgment, and in fact contravenes the biblical witness again and again. The Palestinian reality is a cognate of Islamic assumptions (despite the minority Christians in their midst), and makes ahistorical claims to Jerusalem against the historical and archaeological realities of the Jewish people. As well, the Palestinian people are a conglomerate of many peoples, without a single national history before the rise of the modern Jewish state, are presently split between two warring factions, and violated from the outset the 1948 U.N. two-state declaration, refusing to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist. The great evil I see is how the Arab states and Arafat et al. have treated the Palestinian peoples as pawns. Any Palestinian state should thus accord the 1948 U.N. declaration, which the present move for statehood does not. Jesus would invite all people to a public debate, where he would grill them with honest questions, just as during Passion Week he allowed his sworn enemies to rake him over the coals with their questions. In other words, when we see among the Palestinians, the Jews, anyone else, ourselves included, the willingness to be publicly accountable to questions from every angle, with no restrictions in place, only then will we see who follows Jesus and who does not.

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    I am grateful for a leader that will speak the truth of God’s word and how it applies to our real life context knowing full well that his position is not, unfortunately, in the mainstream of contemporary evangelical thought. I am encouraged and challenged by this careful and courageous statement.

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    I am confused when evangelicals in the U.S. are so fervent in supporting the nation of Israel at all costs. What about our Christian brothers and sisters in the Arab world? Does world politics trump our faith and make us turn against our own family? Is there no middle place that cares for both Israeli and Arab alike?

    Thank you David for this truthful but unpopular statement.

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    On behalf of the Palestinians apart of FM churches in Middle East, “Thank you!” They are grateful to be apart of a church which loves them and wishes justice for them.

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    Wonderful blog post. Thank you so much Bishop Kendall. I recommend to anyone who wants further reading on the issues in the region and on the lives of Palestinian Christians to pick up the book “Blood Brothers” by Elias Chacour and David Hazard. You can buy it very cheaply, used, on Amazon.

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    On behalf of Arab Evangelical Christians, thank you, bishop, for this corageous refreshing view. It might not be poltitically correct, yet it is spiritually correct.
    As an Arab Christian, I pray for the peace of Israel and Palestine. I pray that the Israelis and Palestinians live peacefully next to each other in two states. I pray that both of them would know Jesus, the Prince of peace.
    Thanks again, our dear bishop!

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    Dear Bishop Kendall,

    As someone who was formed by the Free Methodist Church (I am a graduate of SPU and grew up at First Free Methodist in Seattle) but who has not lived in a place with a FM church for quite some time, I am reminded by your statement of the wonderful heritage of faithful witness in the Free Methodist denomination. The Palestinian-Israeli issue is, like so many issues of our times, fraught. It deserves careful, prayerful examination. I regret that it seems to receive that rarely in many strands of American evangelicalism today. Thank you for an attempt to think faithfully about what Jesus’ life, death and resurrection might mean for the people of the Middle East.

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    On the dispensational point: Right on. I discuss this matter at some length in SALVATION MEANS CREATION HEALED, and it dovetails precisely with Bishop Kendall’s blog. Bad theology needs to be named.

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    thank you for posting this courageous statement Bishop Kendall! it makes me proud to be a Free Methodist. I highly recommend all of Elias Chacour’s books to anyone who wants to know about our brothers and sisters in the region and what they are doing to love their neighbors as themselves.

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    One of the things that I love about our early FM heritage, is the clarity, vision, and passion with which B.T. Roberts typically wrote. What he said was not always popular or even accepted, but it was firmly grounded in God’s Word. Thanks for taking us back to those roots!

    Gary C. Allen

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    It makes me so proud to see and hear our bishops leading tackling the tough issues. Thanks, bishop. I vividly remember the day my assumptions about Palestinians crumbled. It was the fall of 1997. I was riding through the hill country of what was, in biblical times, the land of the tribe of Ephraim watching Arab families harvest olives. The pastoral nature of the scene, the timelessness of the act and the overwhelming sense of “home” all combined, and I was wrecked — for the better. It’s hard to argue with story. I pray that every person in the churches waving Israel’s flag could have an experience just as beautiful and altering as mine. That’s what we, as Free Methodists, know is possible.

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    Except for one thing, Dave. The Palestinian charter calls for the elimination of Israel. Until they change their national charter, I cannot agree with a Palestinian state which calls for the annihilation of Israel.

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      Walter Kendall

      I agree Elaine that the charter does indicatae the Palestinians’ desire to eliminate Israel. But isn’t God all powerful? Can’t He influence change for the better? Can’t He save the souls of Palestinians despite the language in their charter?

      I think so, if we pray enough and sincerely enough about it.

      Godd Bless you Elaine

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    Elain, yes indeed, my arguments run in both ways or in multi-directions. certainly Jesus would not vote for the annihilation of any group, such as we find in this charter document. I am just sick and tired of some among our brothers and sisters confusing the modern nation of Israel with biblical Israel, as though the promises God made to the latter are good for the former absolutely, even though Yahweh God refused to guarantee the future of his own people when they stubbornly persisted in going their own way (usually a way that made them like the other worldly nation-states!) instead of God’s way.

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      You are so focused on Israel turning away from God. Yes, they have turned from Him. Palestine is hardly a Godly nation either. Why are you so against one nation, but you so strongly support another nation who is VERY, OPENLY against God. It has nothing to do with them being against Israel. They are against God. God is not going to bless or support a nation that is against Him. You talked earlier about the Christian Palestinians. What about the Christian Jews? There are Christians in every people group. It has nothing to do with them becoming a nation.

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    Good preaching Dave. It is a very serious challenge to our church constituency to live holy lives…..love your enemies, pray for them , for their salvation rather than fighting them. To some the salvation of Palestinians may seem to be a hopefless proposition. But isn’t God all powerful?
    Doesn’t He want to save the Palestians despite their waywardness? Doesn’t He want to save Islamnic Muslims, terrorists, followers of Mohammed, or whoever?
    I think so if we pray enough and sincerely enough. After all, wouldn’t God answer such prayers when the scripture plainly declares that it is not His will that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Not all will be saved but if only a few, wouldn’t it be worth some time in prayer.

    It was gratifying to see so many favorable responses to your article.

    God Bless you Son.

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    Thank you, Bishop Kendall.

    All Israel will be saved, but Israel is defined as the spiritual children of Abraham — those who walk by faith in God and His Son, both Jewish and goyim (Gentile/non-Jew).

    I share the interpretation of some that the Book of Revelation suggests an army of 144,000 Jewish (12,000 from each tribe) believers in Christ who will go about upon the earth before the end of things. That is a future role, but not for the state of Israel.

    I agree with Elain that Jesus would in no way support the Palestinian effort to annihilate the Jews, however. Glad you spoke to that one.

    The best thing we Christians can do for Israel is to bring to them the Good News that their Messiah has come. I pray for the peace of Israel that will only come when they see Jesus (and many have, over the centuries since Jesus walked the earth).

    One more comment, though. Jesus kept Himself very free from the politics around Him. He kept His eye on His Father, and declared His kingdom in every miracle that He did and every word that He said. He did what He saw His Father doing and said what His Father spoke to Him. We must be about our Father’s business, too.

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    I promise I will not continue this discussion indefinitely; however, I do want to make a couple points to both you, Dave, and also to your dad, whom I won’t call by name since I only met him once at our Spring Arbor graduation. 🙂

    Point number 1: We’re talking about apples and oranges here. Of course I believe Yahweh is all-powerful. Of course I believe that He wants Palestinians — and everyone else in the world — to become His followers. I also want that and pray for that. I know that there are Palestinians who have become believers. I know that will continue to happen. But that is totally unrelated to whether or not I think that there should be a Palestinian state without changing their charter. It’s apples and oranges; one has nothing to do with the other.

    Point number 2: I, personally, do not see how you can separate modern Israel from Biblical Israel. When Yahweh made the covenant with His chosen people, He said the land was theirs FOREVER. Yes, they disobeyed. And, yes, they were exiled and scattered among the nations as their punishment. However, it was also promised that they would return to the land of the covenant, their promised land, the land that is theirs forever.

    Of course, I want Palestinians to come to know the Messiah. I wish everyone in the world knew Him. We know that is not going to happen. In the meantime, I cannot agree with a proposal granting Palestinian statehood to a people who, in their charter, are committed to wiping G_d’s chosen people off the face of the earth. Rebellious and disobedient though they may be, they are still His chosen people, and many of them are also coming to believe in the Messiah.

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      I agree with you Elaine. I am not against the Palestinian people having a place to call home. However, the purpose of the UN was to provide a place for nations to solve their differences peacefully. To recognize and welcome a country which denies another country the right to exist and the charter and leadership wants to eliminate Israel, I can’t see where the UN or Jesus would say “Go for it.” The UN is not a religious organization and certainly has its own issues, however, unless the leadership of the Palestinian nation wants to extend to its neighbor the same courtesy it is requesting, the UN is correct to not recognize it. Tolerance has to go both ways.

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    Hi Elaine. I too promise not to go on and on.

    we will have to agree to disagree, I suspect.

    as plainly as I can say it–it is wrong to make biblical Israel equivalent to the Israel of today. even within the biblical story, Israel at one point which was a literal nation state under covenant promise, is not the same Israel with which God relates at a later time even within the biblical story.

    i do agree that a role for “Israel” seems to be a constant theme, but it will be an Israel that is redeemed by the mercy and providential working of God through Jesus Messiah, again not to be equated with the Israel we read about on CNN or FOX or wherever.

    as for the palestinian state, their charter of course and the sentiment behind it could never be sanctioned by Jesus or his followers. that is not to say that the people who are there shouldn’t have a place to call home, however it is worked out in line with the way of Jesus. I think they should because it is just, it is treatment that we ourselves would like, and it offers the best way forward to make room for biblical shalom in Jesus the Messiah.

    Thanks for thinking with me and pushing back.

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    I was amazed by this article and how it was so well received. It seemed devoid of the historical understanding of how the State of Israel came to be in 1948.Palestinians are JORDANIANS. Jordan is their homeland. There are 2 states! In 1948 “palestinians” carried Jordanian passports.Jordan wants nothing to do with their own people!In 1948 Palestinians had a chance to have a state even on the west bank. Most refused. They went to other Arab lands and came back armed. They were defeated. They were relegated to the “Refugee Camps” which are actually cities.
    Arabs who remained and did not leave and return armed, were allowed citizenship in Israel. They are even allowed in the Kenesset. That is why there are Arab citizens of Israel and “Palestinians.” Even the origin of that term seems unknown by the Bishop.

    The protest groups in Gaza do not speak for the people, who could flourish under Israeli rule. They are pawns for the genocidal Islamic mainstream of the Middle East.

    Yeshua is the only hope for both Jews and Arabs. Giving in to shifting tides of leftist opinion will only bring more Somolias and Afghanistans. We have had enough of them.

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    I am disappointed by a major premise of this article. Unless we are ready to call for the resignation of all pastors who disagree, I think it is too strong to say Jesus supports this resolution.

    No matter how strongly we feel about an issue, it is a serious matter to claim that Jesus is on our side. It tends to close minds, draw up battle lines and engender ill-will. I believe it should be reserved for essential components of our faith.

    There is so much potential to persuade people using arguments which are less emotional and condescending and are more intellectual and understanding.

    Although I have spoken with Jesus about this post, I could never presume to write you off with a statement like “He’s on my side in this.” But I do ask you to reconsider the extremist position you have taken and to attempt to move people more gently to your position.

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      True and wise words, Tim Huff. In a book I once wrote is found this passage: “Contrary to what our pride might lead us to believe, God is never “on our side.” We can of course, if we wish, be on God’s side.”

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    It is inconceivable to me how any serious global observer could possibly author “Why Jesus Supports a Palestinian State”, a blog which, by any measure, is factually and historically inaccurate, Biblically errant, theologically skewed, and comes so close to being a proponent of Replacement Theology that it is breathtaking!
    The author furthermore makes no attempt to address any of the plethora of geo-political realities that are eviscerating the entire Middle East: the critical socio-economic dynamics that plague the entire region; the historicity of conflict within, and related to, all of the disparate elements in question; and the Islamification of the 10-40 window with the stated objective to not only “drive the Jews into the sea” but also to eradicate any semblance of historic Christianity from the entire region (including from so called “Palestinian” territories). The author does not even give even lip service to the time-honored understanding of the Bibliocentric prophetic fulfillment of eschatology that is taking place on a daily basis.
    The intellectual sophistry reflected in this article must be, by any measure, considered an alarming wake-up-call regarding the lack of rigorous intellectual processes within the evangelical community at large concerning matters of extreme importance to our understanding and practice of Spirit-led, Bibliocentric thought and conduct. I, for one, would have expected better! May I humbly suggest much less time listening to Hank Hanegraaff, and much more concentration on solid Scriptural exegetics.

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        This video is offensive. To all who have commented here, arguing that there is no such thing as Palestinians, please check your Ottoman history. Arab peoples have lived alongside Jews in the Land since the early 1500s and before. These are a distinct people with a distinct culture — more than 500 years old. Arguing that Palestinians are just an Arab invention is like saying Mexico and Canada engineered the USA’s trouble with Native Americans. In fact, the region didn’t begin to descend into real chaos again until Western powers diced it up as the spoils of war.

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    I agree with your sentiments, Bishop Kendall. Christ would have sided with the dispossessed, the poor and the oppressed. He never cared about a political entity that was Israel. He cared about justice regardless of ethnicity or political expediency.

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    The idea of “justice” being espoused is not really justice. True justice does not hand potentially dangerous power and weapons over to people whose expressed objective is to use them on others next door! Those Arabs who are citizens of Israel receive very good justice.

    There are sometimes reasons why certain people groups are “dispossessed.” The “palestinians” living in Israel in 1948 had a choice to live peacefully and possess about half the land. Many chose war instead, and the descendents of these people, seemingly would choose that again. They lost everything rather than have half.

    Another issue seldom discussed is that Jews living in Arab lands in 1948 were stripped of their goods and money and sent to Israel whether they wanted to go or not!Their assets have never been refunded.

    Many Christian Arabs living in Israel are also afraid of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. They realize as do a few of your readers that Christianity would be a target as well as Israel.

    Some people who are dispossessed are that way for very sound reasons. To return to 1967 borders is insanity when the whole reason the present borders exist,is becasue the 1967 borders were violated!Do we have any confidence that a “palestinian” state would not lead to war?

    Israel is a beacon of true justice in a part of the world where there is very little-look at Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria and Iran. Would the “palestinian” state fare any better? Isarel keeps a powder keg under wraps for the rest of the world! Thank God!

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    I agree Elaine that the charter does indicatae the Palestinians’ desire to eliminate Israel. But isn’t God all powerful? Can’t He influence change for the better? Can’t He save the souls of Palestinians despite the language in their charter?
    Lots of love on the site this week. And I don’t mean just the romantic kind. Love for us too.
    listens with interest and sustained concentration follows instructions carefully is able to give and explain simple instructions.

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    I appreciate your effort, Bishop Kendall, to inject a broader biblical perspective into a conversation often dominated by narrow or shallow readings of the biblical materials. I believe you have rightly affirmed that a simplistic linking of the current nation known as Israel (whether within the borders created in the late 1940s by international authorities, or the borders as enlarged by the 1967 war) with all biblical references to Israel in history or prophecy is naive, misleading, and often conducive to injustice.

    I also applaud your acknwledgement of the difficulties, and refusal to endorse any particular current recommendation as to how the issue of Palestinian statehood should be resolved, other than to suggest that a Palestinian state should be allowed to exist. I applaud the recognition that the term “Palestinians” includes a significant number of Christians, not just Muslims(both faithful and nominal, and all capable of coming to know Christ), and especially not just Islamist extremists.

    I am always a bit concerned about any statement of what position Jesus would advocate on a particular political issue. (He seemed to avoid such advocacy himself, when encouraged in that direction.) I have no doubt that Jesus wants the Palestinian people to know that they are loved by their Creator, and that their Creator has most concretely demonstrated his love for them in Jesus. I am sure that Jesus wants Palestinian (and Israeli, and other) children to feel secure in the love of their families and the basic safety of their homes, free from criminal or terrorist disruptions, and free from continuous political/ideological/religious bloodshed.

    Beyond that, I believe that for those of us outside Palestine, Jesus would want us to pray, and also to study carefully so as to take well-informed, humane, and just positions when we are called to vote or otherwise affect the course of political events. In essence, this is probably what you are calling for, though the headline may be interpreted by some as a statement on how the US rep should vote on an issue currently before the UN.

    Aside from biblical interpretation, many questions remain incompletely answered, so I hardly know what solution Jesus, who knows all, would support in the midst of current debate, or how he would tell me to vote on a UN resolution.

    Questions to which I lack definitive answers are:

    1. What is or should be “Palestine?” Over more than 4000 years of history, a number of entities have used some form of the name (see “Philistines” in Judges and elsewhere), and in many centuries no constituted state or extensive self-identified people has laid claim to the term, either ethnically or politically. Prior to the 1967 war, Israelis argued that Jordan was a/the Palestinian state, and if Jordan were to treat its residents of Western Palestinian background justly, there should be no need for another. With Jordan having written off responsibility for the “West Bank,” and with Jordan and other nations making inadequate progess in integrating Palestinian “refugees” down to the third generation now, the apparent need for some sort of Palestinian “state” is more necessary, and even Israel acknowedges that. The issues remaining are the conditions under which such a state should be recognized, and hardened positions on both sides make such recognition very dificult. Among them, is it “just” to recognize as a state an entity, some of whose leaders still lay claim to much or all of the territory of another recognized state? (Some Palestinian leaders would suggest that all of present-day Israel is really part of Palestine.) Should that issue be laid to rest, along with the issue of borders, before or after recognition of statehood? Should the issue be resolved by bi-lateral negotiations alone, bi-lateral negotiations with the help of other interested parties, by an assembly of the nations of the world, by accepting as decisive the results of the most recent war, by the prayers and actions of religious believers apart from the endoresement of any recognized state, or by waiting for a clear intervention from heaven?

    2. What is a “state” and does every self-defined “people” deserve to have one? The American Civil War was fought to prevent (or defend–depending on which side’s viewpoint) the creation of a new “state.” The United States still struggles to define properly the rights and relationships of the “First Nations,” (Native Americans) displaced in the process of creating and expanding this relatively new nation on the stage of world history. The Viet Nam war was fought (from our side) to maintain the division of a formerly unified people, because US and some other world leaders believed the presumptive leaders of the unified state posed a threat to world order. What is very clear is that the boundaries of every “state” are fluid, when examined from the perspective of history, and especially in the Middle East. Any 21st century solution to the Palestinian statehood issue will not be the final one, unless the Lord calls halt to human history in the next century or two.

    3. None of the above even begins to touch the question of “Jerusalem” in history, politics, and prophecy. Eastern Orthodox believers would suggest that the Crusades, under the direction of European Roman Catholic Christians, contributed greatly to the Islamification of the region by lumping all Palestinian people–including Eastern Christians–together as “infidels” and thereby besmirching the name of Christianity among a whole ethnic group. Regardless of how one views prophecy, all must acknowledge the difficulty of settling the administration of a city sacred to Jewish, Christian (Eastern/Roman/Protestant), and Islamic faithful. Quoting Bible verses doesn’t make it as easy as some on the radio would suggest. QUESTION: Might it be within God’s power to fulfill all prophecies regarding Jerusalem, Israel (spiritual and geographical), and the church, regardless of the then-current political arrangements at the time of God’s definitive action?

    Again thanks for bringing the issue before us, and courageously so. I may lose some members if they read the blog, and others will read it with great relief and affirmation. I hope all of us can keep educating ourselves on the big world issues, and also devote ourselves more and more faithfully to sharing the Gospel of wholeness through forgiveness and holiness in Jesus Christ with ALL, regardless of ethnicity or political persuasion.

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    Forgive me if I have come off as a proponent of replacement theology. Romans Chapters 9 through 11 make it clear that branches of Israel will be grafted back in when they come to faith. But Romans 9 identifies Israel as those who believe. I don’t see in the Word that anyone on this planet (including Israeli Jews who have not received Yeshua ha Mashiach) will be saved from God’s wrath unless they know Jesus Christ. Being a Jew will not save them . . . knowing Christ will.

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    Friends, I am grateful for the many comments generated thus far by these musings. I have not had time to respond to each, obviously. So, just a few remarks.

    I readily admit what I clearly state in the original blog–I am no expert on geo-political dynamics and strategems. I also readily admit to endeavoring to get your attention by aserting how Jesus would vote. I know that this triggeres all sorts of things, especially among close followers of the U.N. or the long entrenched Middle East impass for examnple, who would be well acquainted with the history of the conflict, which itself is highly conflicted. To speak of how Jesus would vote, which I intend as something of an anachronism by the way, also has triggered rather deep sentiments among those who have definite eschatological views.

    All that said, I must affirm again that I am often in the general region of the world where these tragic and painful dynamics play out (one of the delights of my present ministry by the way), and I am an obserever of how these matters play out in the lives of real people. There are at least two sides to every story, and usually more. We must beware captivity to any ideology–whether generated from the right or left or somewhere else. And we must care for the Household of Faith which indeed includes many dear brothers and sisters who live in the region and seek to serve King Jesus their Messiah–to the Jew first and then the gentile.

    I do not subscribe to “replacement” theology. The apostle Paul deals with these issues in the crucible on his ongoing mission in the first century world. He stresses continuity between the People of God under the first covenant and the People of God in the Messiah Jesus of the second and final covenant. Continuity, not identity. Continuity but not without mystery that defies human reckoning. Not all Israel is Israel–Rom 9:6. On any fair reading, this necessarily means, yes, in my judgment of course, that there can be no neat identification between the Israel–all of which will be saved (see Rom 11:26), the Israel that has continuity with the historical people of God known as Israel in our scriptures with the Israel we now recognize as a modern and secular nation. I can see no way to go there, though to do so has become the basic default of conservative Christians especially in the West. Part of what I wish to do as a bishop and teacher of the church is to raise questions about any such defaults that in my judgment seem suspect, and constantly to call the church to be truly earnest in following Jesus.

    That Jesus embodied and called all who would
    to participate in the Kingdom, and that the Kingdom he heralded was never described as or equated with an earthly nation as most poeple expected in his day–these things are hard to deny. That most everyone in Jesus’ day was surprised, even shocked, to learn what the kingdom was according to Jesus should make us all wonder if we will also be surprised when the kingdom fully comes.

    Just as I remained convinced that Jesus would offer “Home” to the people of this region today if he “had a vote,” I would want to stress that Jesus would “campaign” and “demonstrate” and “vote” for righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit for all parties. He would, in fact, insist on it. Wherever there is injustice and terror tactics Jesus would judge; and wherever there are people crushed by the powerful Jesus would weep and target such people–all of them–for redemption, release, and re-creation.

    My good friend Pastor Dwight G., you have written so very well about the complexity and vexed nature of the mess that now is the Middle East. Your words and questions are helpful to me, and I hope many will consider them carefully. Thank you.

    May your Kingdom come, Father, and may your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

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    Bishop Kendall’s parroting of the words of anti-Semites around the world should be a wake up call to all of us in the Free Methodist Church. His advocacy of faux justice sounds suspiciously like the social justice (read that “Marxism”) which has seeped into many of our churches in the USA. Given Steve Johnson’s succinct and thorough rebuttal of the bishop’s arguments posted above, one would have expected Bishop Kendall to have recanted his position or to have deleted this post altogether.

    The leaders in the Middle East who advocate a “Palestinian” state are anti-Semites along the order of Adolf Hitler. They want nothing less than the eradication of all Jews, period. To not understand and acknowledge this is to show a terrible lack of knowledge of the situation and the parties involved in the Middle East.

    Mosaic Law instructed the Jews to accept those foreigners who were willing to live in peace with their hosts. The command to love our enemies and pray for them certainly applies to interpersonal relationships. And yes, we should pray for those who hate us and seek our destruction. But that does not mean that we should give our enemies the means to destroy us and it does not rule out the necessity of a just war.

    I sincerely pray that the Free Methodist Church and its leaders will pray for wisdom and discernment in this age where political correctness dictates that any group can get whatever it wants in the name of “justice.”

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      Thank you Darrin for your thoughtful comments. I believe that part of our problems in communications is that we take commonly understood words in our culture and try to make them fit into the culture of the far east, for exasmple.

      Statehood for the palestianians will not reult in the salvation of Palestianians, not all or even a single one. But if statewood meant making the palestians more at home to discuss, and/or accept the salvation plan then I think Jesus would be all for that.,and even vote for it.

      Further, I don’t believe that we vote to be saved. Salvational comes to all through repenance, confession of sin and believing on the Lord Jesus Christ and being obedient to His teaching and commandments. But I will say that I would vote for Christ and for all of His teaching and commandmaents. We surely can’t committ ourselves to something that we refuse to vote on, can we? Obviously not.

      I like the spirited discussion that this topic has generated. It has opened my eyes to some of the complexity and intracies in dealing with this whole matter. I pray that the Lord will open our understanding so that we may all know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth with all of our heart, mind and soul and then obey His commandmnets,likewise with all of our might.

      God bless you all

      Walter Kendall

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    Well, well, well…great discussion. Glad I read it.

    As I read it I am struck by the way in which so much of our language use is in code words. Marxism, liberal, recant…let’s sink beneath to code words of our cluttered culture.

    I agree with the need for justice, humility and peace even with people with whom I may not agree. Thank you Bishop Kendall for your willingness to put yourself “out there.” Courage comes in many forms.

    Why don’t we do this more often? Great blog…great debate.

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    If anyone cares, let me clarify something from my last post. I am not suggesting that Bishop Kendall is a Marxist or that anyone in our denominational leadership is. But we are faced with a culture of lies where people like Jim Wallis and Barack Obama are attempting to replace Christian charity with the forced redistribution of wealth. Along with that, anything that furthers their ends is acceptable. This includes lying about who the Palestinians are and what they desire.

    I am not concerned that the Free Methodist Church lacks Godly men seeking to spread the gospel and do His will. I am concerned that in our corrupt culture, the lies are too easily believed. I am certain that the bishop is a man after God’s heart. If anything I wrote previously was taken as a personal attack, I sincerely ask for forgiveness.

    But I also know many who are Christ followers who have fallen for the lies of our culture. Evil is real, present, and growing rapidly. There are millions who are seeking to start a caliphate that includes the USA. Yasir Arafat was still killing women and children when I was in college. Abbas was a mastermind of the Munich attacks. Both have refused to repent and turn away from terrorism. They simply have chosen, to paraphrase Van Jones, to give up the radical pose in order to achieve the radical ends. That is why the American left is now promising that the Arab spring, which gave us Islamofascist governments in Egypt (“all ‘Zionists’ entering Egypt should be killed”) and elsewhere, is coming this fall to a street near you.

    I beg the American church to wake up. You are being manipulated, in the name of peace, to accept murderers and evildoers. The time is short.

    Another note: I agree wholeheartedly with the bishop that spiritual Israel is heir to God’s promises, not physical Israel. But we should stand with physical Israel. The reason we should stand with Israel is because it is the right thing to do, regardless of whether or not the actual nation of Israel is God’s heir. They are threatened with destruction for no other reason than they are Jews. Would God want us to stand with their enemies? Pray for their enemies, yes; advance the cause of their enemies, no.

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    One thing that I think is missed in this whole discussion is the fact that the ‘Palestinians’ are Arabs and ‘Arabs’ own like ~95% of the Middle East land. Jordan was originally supposed to be the homeland for these people. Jordan is far larger than the state of Israel. It appears to me that this part of the equation was not adequately addressed. The whole issue of ‘Statehood’ for a group of people who were not known by the name ‘Palestinians’ until the late 60’s is really just a ruse being used for the purpose of destroying Israel and enabling them to eventually perform the ‘final solution’ that Hitler worked so hard at accomplishing – namely, the genocide of the Jewish people. If people are not able to see through this and acknowledge that this is really the end game goal of this whole process, then you may very well prove to be collaborators with those who will eventually attempt the genocide.

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    This article and responses got me (and obviously many others) thinking. Thank you, Bishop Kendall, for that. Whether or not the US government votes for or against a proposal in the international organization called the “United Nations” would not , I think, be very interesting to Jesus. I don’t know if he would bother to “vote” (How would the sovereign God “vote” is beyond my ability to imagine). I know He does know everything that is going on, but, I like to think He is really more interested in us being kind to one another, tender-hearted, and forgiving one another. Discussing which geopolitical position, or economic system, Jesus prefers, misses the point of what I believe Jesus is saying to us when He instructs us to “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly before your God.”
    As I try to understand God’s Word each day, I try to put what I am reading in the context of the whole Book and I take what the Bible is saying at face value. I have found that the Bible says what it means, and means what it says, and is not all that hard to understand. It is only when we try to make the Bible, or Jesus, or the Holy Spirit say what we want them to say that we get confused and off base.
    This discussion is frankly a little confusing to me. I think it is a reach to suggest how Jesus would or would not “vote” or what God may or may not do with Israel, or the US or any other nation or group of people politically, but more importantly, it can be a distraction from “being about our Father’s business” by living lives that tell the story of God’s Love in Christ Jesus. Bishop Kendall, you speak of “persistent unfaithfulness” as having consequences and I agree. What is it that we as a church are to be focused on? What I want is to be informed and involved and to BE the “vote” of Jesus, loving the people I relate to every day, no matter what group or nation they are a part of. I want the folks at north face outlet to “feel the Love”. I do have a number of opinions and hopes about US and world politics that I think could be good means to the end of making this world a better place to live, that is, for God’s Kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. When we love others, we are not somehow trying to manipulate the God of heavens armies into hastening the day of His return to establish His kingdom on earth. He’ll take care of that in His own good time. Our love is a response, not a method for our own agendas. We love because we were first loved by God, in the life, death, resurrection, glorification, and continuing presence of the Holy Spirit of His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, for the forgiveness of our sin, so we can live with Him as His people and for His purposes. We don’t get to vote on what those purposes are and Jesus already has.
    John Wesley and B.T. Roberts took stands on social issues based on loving people in the way a citizen of the Kingdom of God should treat people. I vote for people who I think will do the same in my town, state, and nation. I have felt it a responsibility to stay informed about local, national and international issues for well over fifty years. I think it is important to relate to others in ways consistent to the teachings of scripture and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Good advice from others who are earnestly seeking to be followers of Jesus also helps me to behave the way I should. Thank you all.

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    After reading this article I guess I wonder how some people deal with Jesus and his teachings. Matthew 25 and the teaching of the Talents really isn’t fair either as you read the teaching. Jesus is honest some have more than others and even some had some taken away and given to someone else. Life isn’t fair and how arrogant is it of us to suggest we know exactly what Jesus would say or do. I guess as Pastor I wrestle with this liberalism spilling into our churches and coming into the leadership of the Free Methodist Church. I wonder what the response would be if my blog would be “I Think Jesus Would Play The Lottery” I have some good reasons for why he would play the lottery. He would win everytime. He could use the money for missions and ministry. I wonder how long my article would last and if my time as Pastor might be cut short? I am really dissappointed in this article and what it is saying in a number of ways.

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      Don I am intrigued by your comment that Jesus would never support a lottery despite all the “good” things that it might yield.

      I agree wholeheartedly with you.

      I was also intrigured by someone’s comment that if Jesus would support a Palestian state that might be helpful in promoting the gospel to the Palestinians, then why not support abortion clinics, and horsracing, etc. because possibly some good can reult from these suspect operations.

      But the idea of supporting an abortion clinic has been done, although in ectremnely isolated cases. Let me explain. One movement to support abortion clincis providing women coming to receive their services, counselling, the showning of ultrau sounds and an explaination of all the bad things that could happen from an abortion, including losing her own life as well as her unbotn child’s. There were better ways to handle this problem, such as adoption, single mothers raising their unaborted child with good christian values, etc. Some women have decided against an abortion when hearing and viewing this kind of informaation. And this is a win win proposition . Women’s lives have been changed and the unborn child has been spared and who knows the potential of that new life. Only God knows.

      Now some would say that this is too idealistic, it would never happen. But it has happened, albeit in isolated cases and probably rarely.

      But it sure beats the anti-aboration crowd who demonstrates, throw bombs into an abortion clinic and even murders doctors who perform abortions.

      This is ,I think, an eloquent statement in supoport of the idea “Change the means but never, never change the message”

      So why not try the idea even more so. It would certainly satisfy the abortion crowd in having a legal abortion clinc in operation and a whole lot better than parades, bombs and murder.

      And remember, nothing is impossible with God. He can take the most unlikely situations and turn it into a miracle that hnonors Him and has untold benefit for the victims as well as proponents who change their methods but do not change the message.

      Further, it is simmply obedience to Christ and submission to His will by keeping His commandments to help the poor and disenfranchised, love your enemies and work for the salvation of neightbors and friends who desperately need the Lord, to find Jesus.

      May God bless all the women seeking an abortion and their unborn children who decide for Christ and His way.

      Walter Kendall

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    Well I do appreciate everything you do, and I agree with so much, however this is not one.

    The Abrahamic covenant was an unconditional one. that land was given to the state of Israel, whether we see Israel of today as same or different then the biblical one. Those are the Jewish people. That was an unconditional covenant.

    If you study the formation of the Israeli state after WWII, you see that the Arabs living in Palestine were not Palestinians they were Egyptian Arabs, and Jordian Arabs. There has never been a people that were Palestinians. This is just an Islamic move to take Israel from Israel. In fact, the Palestinians have said they do not acknowledge a Jewish state.

    I think we are to focus on evangelizing all people, but I do think that if Jesus had a vote it would be “no.” God did not tell Israel to live with those in the land but to take the land.

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    I believe Bishop Kendall’s overall point is that Jesus cares about the realities of life for both Palestinians *and* Israelis.

    Too often, we in the West accept everything modern Israel does as okay, even turning a blind eye to unjust things that modern Israel has done in the name of protection. (Some of what they’ve done is legit, but not all.)

    The biblical prophets did not turn a blind eye to anyone’s sin. (Amos is one of the many examples where a word of the Lord is spoken against the actions/hearts of many nations, including Israel.) And yet our prophetic books go on to affirm God’s love for everyone, even the Assyrians in the midst of their evil ways.

    “But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the LORD, ‘Isn’t this what I said, LORD, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.’

    “But the LORD replied, ‘Is it right for you to be angry?'”

    Like Bishop Kendall, let’s choose to celebrate God’s grace and compassion for all people, instead of being angry like Jonah. God can love people (like Israelis *and* Palestinians) on both “sides.”

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      If you recall, God told Jonah to go to Ninevah because if they did not stop their sinful ways, He was going to destroy them. THAT is a God of Justice. Our finite minds cannot grasp His true justice. I don’t think anyone is angry like Jonah. What does God loving people, Palestinians, have to do with making them a “nation”.

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    You are so focused on Israel turning away from God. Yes, they have turned from Him. Palestine is hardly a Godly nation either. Why are you so against one nation, but you so strongly support another nation who is VERY OPENLY against God. It has nothing to do with them being against Israel. They are against God. God is not going to bless a nation that is against Him. You talked earlier about the Christian Palestinians. What about the Christian Jews? There are Christians in every people group. It has nothing to do with them becoming a nation.
    God does want the Palestinians to follow Him. That’s not the question. If you read in the old testament. God CLEARLY does not stand for unholy nations. He gave Israel victory over all the ungodly nations that they encountered. Every time Israel left God they reaped the consequences, but they are His chosen people, and still are. Revelation talks about that a lot! I disagree with David about the physical Israel not being talked about in the “end times”, Revelation is FULL of it! I do not think these prophecies are figurative. Before Christ can fulfill the final prophecies, there are LOTS of other prophecies that we are told in God’s word must happen first.
    Peace and justice are not the same thing. God is a God of justice. Peace comes AFTER justice, not before. Just as He spared Rahab, and others from the ungodly nations, He IS all powerful, and IS with our Palestinian (Christian) brothers, and will bless them for their faithfulness. But I don’t think God would bless an ungodly nation as a whole, and the leaders of Palestine are clearly not Godly. I do not support the building of ANY nation that is not Godly.

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    Well said Wes Mack. God help us all when there are those in authority endorsing the ones who hate Jews and Christians alike. Can you clearly see Jesus endorsing those who vow to push the Jews into the sea and eradicate them from the earth? Please.

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    After having read this post a couple of days ago and having pondered it, along with the many comments, I have but one thing to say:

    How dare you.

    How dare you presume to speak for the Lord on this issue (not even “why Jesus WOULD support a Palestinian state,” but “why Jesus SUPPORTS a Palestinian state).

    Never mind the anti-semitic implications of supporting a group that is committed to the annihilation of the state of Israel and the Jewish people. Never mind the biblical and theological implications of the promise to Abraham’s descendents and whether the Jewish people still have an eschatological role in the cosmic plan of God. These are important issues, to be sure. But what takes my breath away is the sheer audacity of presuming to speak for the Lord on this issue and reduce your office to the level of political punditry. I have no more sympathy for a statement like this than I have for the statements of Pat Robertson, who often presumes to speak for the Lord but on the other side of the issue.

    I am simply aghast at those who have responded that your comments are somehow courageous – as if parroting what the mainstrem media broadcasts 24/7 somehow requires boldness, or as if audacity is the same thing as courage. If this is the official stance of the Free Methodist Church, then my heart sinks for the future of Free Methodism as it sounds more and more like the surrounding culture every day apparently.

    John Fraser
    Elder, Southern Michigan Conference
    in special relationship

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      Well said John. I too am very much opposed to those who advocate the Palestinian cause and forsake the Israeli position.

      But Sir, I’m afraid that you have missed the point. David is not advocating Palestinian statehood for political reasons. He is not supporting violence in claiming the “rights” to the land that God had promised to the Israelites.

      What he is proposing is the idea that Jesus loves the Palestinians as much as He loves Israelites, His chosen people. He explicitly declared in scripture that He came to heal the sick, not to serve the well who needed no physician. He said that He died for the whole world not just for Christian believers. He said it was not His will that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

      Sir, David was not advocating that Jesus supported Palestinian statehood, per se. He was trying to say that if statehood would be helpful in bringing the salvation news to Palestinian people, Jesus would be much in favor of that, or any other means that would be successful.

      While we may have differences in how or where the salvation message is presented to the unsaved, I’ m sure that we will agree that whatever it takes is acceptable as the means if it accomplishes the end result that we pray so earnestly for. God bless all the view points designed for the accomplishment of His will

      Submitted in Brotherly Love,

      Walter Kendall

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        Brother Walter,

        I was not specifically taking issue with the argument itself, I was addressing the statement that Jesus supports this position. But perhaps I should address the former as well, at least briefly.

        So Jesus wants the Palestinians to have their own state because he loves them just like he loves everyone, and therefore wants everyone to have their own state? According to the Joshua Project there are 16,600 identifiable people groups in the world today. There are approximately 196 countries. By my calculations that means there are at least 16,404 peoples without their own state. I think you will agree with me that Jesus loves them all. So who should create these 16,404 countries to which all of these other groups are supposedly entitled? The U.N.? Or is it just the Palestinian for whom Jesus’ love for them requires that they should have their own state? There is simply no justification for saying that Jesus wants everyone to have their own state because he loves them, or that justice requires that every people should have their own state if they want.

        As for creating a state for Palestinians (if they even are an actual ethnic or people group) making them more receptive to the Gospel (which seemed to be the inference), I have been a missionary for 10 years and I have studied missiology extensively, yet I have never come across any missiological principle that people with their own sovereign state are for that reason easier to evangelize. In fact, I’m sure I could come up with lots of counterexamples.

        To say that Jesus endorses a Palestinian state is, I maintain, presumptuous in the extreme. I’m also of the opinion that it does not reflect the view of many Free Methodists, ministers and laypeople, and it certainly doesn’t reflect mine. That does not, by the way, mean that I agree with the eschatology of people like Hal Lindsey or Tim LaHaye or that I agree with all of the policies of the nation of Israel. This is too simplistic – as if one either endorses Palestinian statehood or is a full-blown Hal Lindsey-ite.

        What I have objected stenuously to, and what others have also pointed out, is that saying the Jesus is in favor of this not only lacks justification and is presumptuous, but it creates a scenario where you have placed all of those who do not agree with you as being in opposition to Jesus. Unless you have an absolutely clear statement in support of your position, you simply should not do this, especially if you are a church leader.

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          Brother John I still don’t guite get your point. Basically it’s a matter of terminology. I too don’t believe that statehood in and of itself will christianize
          Palestinians. But I do believe that Jesus loves the Palestians as well as the Jews and I believe that Jesus wants to save the Palestinians as much as He wants to save the Jews. The point is that Jesus wants all to come to repentance(Not all will of course) and that He doesn’t want anyone to perish(but some will, of course). And I am absolutely convinced that that He will save all those who truly repent. He has promised to do that and He has never failed us yet in keeping all of His promises and never will.Our problem is in the use of words common to our understanding and culture and try to make them work in the Palestian and Israli and Arabic settings. We don’t vote to become Christians. We just become Christians by repentance, confession of sin and forever turning from our sinful ways. This applies to Palestian, Jews and Christians alike, no exceptions.. Howeveer,I do vote for Christ whether in America , Saudi Arabia, Yemen or wherever. Sadly, Christ does not have a majority worldwide and probably never will until He comes again. I also think that Christ will continue His campaigning until He drops dead.(symbolically, that is). My prayer is that the whole world, regardless of race, color, culture, wealth, poor and disenfranchized will “vote” for Christ and be saved to eternal life where there will be no wars over religious beliefs or cultural traditions. The fact of the matter is they will not be going to hell.

          I further agree with you John, that no one can know what Jesus would say or do. Only He can do that and, thankfully, He has told us exactly what He would do and say in certain instances. I say let Him speak for himself. All we need to do is believe him and guard against the lies that satan tells that would discredit or even raise a doubt about the truth of His statements.

          God Bless you all. It’s been a tremendous discusion trying to figure out what Jesus would do in paegan America and what He would do Saudi Arabia and what He would do in Jerusalem. All I know is that He will do what is right, He will reign supremely in His righteousness and I am anxious to meet our King of Kings and our Lord of Lords in His royal Kindom where all these issues will be non-issues. I’m sure you do too.

          Yours in the Service of Christ

          walter Kendall

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        I too have been reading these comments, and am both surprised by them, but not surprised by them at the same time.

        Using the logic you stated:
        Do we want abortionists to come to Christ? Of course, your answer would be “YES!” However, in order to do so, we need to make them more receptive to the Gospel. Let’s do this by allowing them to have abortion clinics. That will show them that we love them. Then, after we show them that we love them, they will be open to us, and we can point them to Christ.

        Do we want gays to come to know Christ? We need to make them more receptive to Jesus, so that we can show them the way. We should, then, back off on our stance on homosexuality, so as not to seem “hateful” or “divisive”.

        I could give more examples, but I have made the point.

        As ludicrous as this may sound, if you pay attention to the church today, that is exactly what is happening. Let’s be more tolerant. Let’s be less divisive. Of course! We want to unite, not divide. But should we change the gospel to appeal to them in order to lead them to Christ?

        The problem with this mindset is that, although it may start off as a wonderful and worthwhile thing (what is more worthy than bringing people to Christ?), we allow it to change. Instead of changing the culture to fit the Gospel, we change the Gospel to fit the culture.

        The church in general has done this, and that is why it is largely impotent in today’s society. The goal should never be to bring in numbers to the church. It should be bringing in souls. However, no matter how important it is to win people to Christ, we should NEVER miss the point that the Gospel (IE: God) never changes! GOD NEVER HAS, AND NEVER WILL CHANGE HIS WILL. He is sovereign. (And I say to that a hearty AMEN! Praise God that He is rock-solid!)

        Does God love the Palestinian? The answer is a resounding YES!! He loved them, so much “that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will have everlasting life”! That goes for the Palestinian, the Jew, the Jew-hater, the Mormon, the Free Methodist, the homosexual, the abortionist, the Saints, the Christians, everyone, everywhere.

        But that does not mean that we should allow evil to be evil “in the name of love”.

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          Well said. If we could only learn and practice the obivous…Hate the sin but love the sinner and that includes abortinists, gay people, murderers Palestinian, Jews, Islamists, you name it.

          God bless you in your fith for the right.

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            Thanks Dale for the challenge. I know that some of these comments appear to be ludicrous. I am not advocataing abortion clinics, per se. Neither am I advocating the acceptance of gay persons into church membership before conversion. But what I am advocating is…. Why not try something different and unique, as long as it does not compromise the message,( and I emphasize that emnphatically) to see if it works. One example did and two lives were saved, the mother and the unborn child.

            Obviously , we should do everthing possible to destroy abortion clincs, per se (except bombing and murdering doctors who perform abortions.) And obviously we should do everthing possible to destroy the gay rights crowd(except murder). By doing so we will “help” the Lord do His work in saving souls.

            I am simply advocating doing what Jesus commanded…Hate the sin but love the sinner. Lord help us to do this in the right spirit and in the right way.

            I trust my words convery the true messaage of Christ and that they will not be distorted or erroneously interpreted by satanic influences

            God bless you Dale. I know that you stand for what is right. I applaud you for your effort to “fight for the right”.

            Walter Kendall

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          Thanksd Dale for your hallen ge. I know thqat sosm,e of these comments arre ludicrous. But I again I advocate ssomething new and different might jusst work. Obiously, abortion clin cis are a cancdr that wwillnot go away. But ZI have given you one examaple sthat did work. Twop lives were save, asthe life of the mother and the unborn child. Having said that , it is ludicrous to suggest that all aborn cliniccs should b e promoted. and that all gays should be acceptted in to church membertship before they are changed. Heasven forbid.It only makes my point even stasronger in my opinion. We hate the sin, try t stronger, I believve. We shou

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    I appreciate the depth of feeling that this post has evoked, which only emphasizes the importance of Bishop Kendall writing on the issue of Palestinian statehood.

    One important point of clarification: to support the right of Palestinians to a homeland is not to be ‘anti-semitic’: the majority of those living there are semitic peoples.

    The Story of God revealed in scripture is one of a God who creates a place where all of life can flourish. Where people are being denied a place in which they can flourish, the God of the Story hears their cry. As those seeking to live out of that Story, it is not a question of whether we will respond to that cry, but how. Bishop Kendall offers his opinion as to why a Palestinian state is an appropriate response, informed by his reading of scripture and theology.

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    I hope this is addressed at the the next virtural “Town Hall Meeting.”

    Join the Board of Bishops on October 9 at 7 p.m. Eastern daylight time as they have a conversation with the denomination about what’s next after General Conference 2011.

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    Dear David, thank you for the courage to address this issue and reminding us that God’s kingdom is much larger than any one nation be it Israel, Palestine or the U.S. You have been a voice for a segment of the church that is oft forgotten by the western evangelical church in its almost blind zeal for the modern state of Israel.

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    Thank you very much Bishop Kendall. I am please that you have thought about what Jesus would do in connection with this crucial world issue. I think those who think you should not bring Jesus into this shouled think how many times they have brought Jesus into an issue. Jesus was very clear about the values he ascribed to especially in connection with Maccabbean approaches to Israel and the Kingdom of God. Good exegesis and interpretation.

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