Time and again, Jerusalem lies at the Epicenter of the momentous events that are shaking our world and shaping our future. This week is no exception.
As a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen — and a Jewish Evangelical — and most recently as a new resident of Jerusalem where my wife and kids and I now live, these issues are not just theological or theoretical for me. They’re personal.
Lynn and I love Jerusalem — we love both Israelis and Palestinians. We love them dearly and equally, as we believe God does. We don’t want to see any more divisions or violence or terror or injustice of any kind. There has been too much suffering, too much bloodshed. We long to see peace between the two sides. We pray and work for the day when both peoples can truly live side by side, and amongst each other, in safety and security and freedom and prosperity — free and willing and eager even to seek the Prince of Peace and make Him known to the rest of the world.
On Monday at the National Press Club, I helped launch a new organization called the “Alliance For The Peace of Jerusalem.” The timing, I believe, was from the Lord. Now more than ever, the Church needs to be faithful to the Psalmist’s command to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6) . Now more than ever, the Church needs to “seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14). Now more than ever, we need to be faithful ambassadors of God’s love and compassion to both Jews and Arabs trapped in a cycle of seemingly never-ending tension — and ambassadors of grace towards Christian brothers and sisters who have different (and deeply held) views of how best to achieve peace.
Here is the full statement the Alliance’s executive leadership released today — I hope you’ll take a moment to read it in full, share your comments with me on my “Epicenter Facebook Page,” and share this with your family and friends at this critical hour. God bless you.
Evangelicals Conflicted Over President Trump’s Decision on Jerusalem and How Best to Make Peace. New survey shows nuances in Evangelical thinking toward Israel; Leaders say praying for the peace of Jerusalem more urgent than ever.
WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2017 – Even Evangelical Christians who love and support Israel have diverse views on how best to proceed with peace, including a range of reactions to President Donald Trump’s announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
According to a new survey, “Evangelical Attitudes Toward Israel and the Peace Process,” the overwhelming majority of Evangelicals do support Israel. Eighty percent of evangelicals agree that God’s promise to Abraham and his descendants was for all time; 76 percent say Christians should support the Jewish people’s right to live in the sovereign state of Israel; and 69 percent say Israel has a historic right to the land. Additionally, 66 percent say Israel’s existence, security and prosperity are things they support.
Yet the data also show evangelicals are conflicted on the best way to move forward with establishing peace. Forty-one percent of survey respondents argue the Jewish people have a biblical right to the land but also have a responsibility to share, although another 31 percent are not sure. In regard to the one-state versus two-state solution, there is a high level of uncertainty, as 23 percent stated the Palestinians should be allowed to create their own sovereign state while 31 percent disagree and 46 percent of respondents are unsure. This level of uncertainty is even higher among the millennial generation, of which 4 in 10 (41 percent) have no strong views about Israel.
The LifeWay Research study, released this week, is co-sponsored by Chosen People Ministries and New York Times bestselling author Joel C. Rosenberg.
“While the survey didn’t ask questions specifically related to the capital or embassy location, the responses clearly show that while there may be support, there are also many questions about the details of how and when this could or should work,” said Dr. Darrell Bock, New Testament professor at Dallas Theological Seminary.
In response to changing views of Israel among younger Evangelicals, a group of faith leaders, scholars, authors and pastors formed the Alliance for the Peace of Jerusalem, an organization dedicated to better public understanding of the complexities of the Middle East including its historical and biblical roots as well as calling Christians to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
“The president’s decision and the domestic and international controversy it has aroused underscores the importance of calling the church to pray faithfully and consistently for the peace of Jerusalem—now more than ever,” said Rosenberg, a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen. “It is clear from the survey that Evangelicals want peace. The question of how to get there has confounded presidents, kings and prime ministers, so it’s not surprising that the church isn’t clear how best to apply biblical principles concerning Jerusalem to a conflict that’s thousands of years old. There are very different views in the Christian world on how best to make peace, which is why we must show grace to one another in these very important and timely discussions. This is exactly why the Alliance exists.”
The Alliance will strive to educate the church about Israel’s role in the biblical narrative—past, present and future—while also affirming God’s concern for Palestinians and all peoples of the Middle East.
“I applaud the support of the Evangelical community for Israel, and we are ready to make the case to the next generation of Evangelicals about God’s continued purposes for the nation of Israel—which includes Jerusalem,” said Dr. Mitch Glaser, president of Chosen People Ministries. “Yet, the survey also indicates that Christians, especially the younger generation, deeply care about the Palestinians and how they will achieve freedom and opportunity. Our Alliance will encourage everyone — Evangelicals especially, to fervently pray for God’s peace to rest upon all people in the region.”
The “Evangelical Attitudes Toward Israel and the Peace Process” study was conducted Sept. 20-28, 2017. The survey asked 2,002 Americans with evangelical beliefs about a wide range of issues involving Israel and the Palestinians. Results were unveiled Dec. 4 during a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington.