LATEST THREAT TO EVANGELICAL SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL
TheTower.com, 7/14, “The Latest Threat to Evangelical Support for Israel” [Excerpts]: [The 2010 film, With God On Our Side] ...perfectly encapsulated the erosion of Evangelical Christian support for Israel. [The film] has been repackaged and promoted again and again by anti-Israel activists in some of the most influential Evangelical institutions in the United States. These activists, often in high positions, have found eager disciples in places like Willow Creek and the academic halls of Wheaton College, one of America’s preeminent Evangelical institutions. And they have been able to exploit the resources of popular Evangelical development organizations like World Vision.
Before he grew dreadlocks and donned his trademark homemade smock, Shane Claiborne worked for Willow Creek. For many young Evangelicals today, he represents the pinnacle of Christian social justice activism. In 2012, Claiborne enthralled the audience at the pro-Palestinian “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference in Bethlehem. But his performance was also deeply troubling. He spoke, for example, about his participation in Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) at the start of the US invasion of Iraq, but was strangely silent about Saddam Hussein’s slaughter of thousands of his own people and support for the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. Like [Lynne] Hybels, Shane fervently disavows the use of violence and rejects the idea that he is anti-Israel, but there is no question that he has become a useful tool in the campaign to turn Evangelicals against the Jewish state.
Both Mae Canon, World Vision’s Senior Director of Advocacy and Outreach-Middle East, and Steve Haas, World Vision’s Vice President and Chief Catalyst, formerly worked at Willow Creek. And like Willow Creek, World Vision is an incredibly influential organization in the Evangelical world [and] rarely crosses the line into political or theological controversies. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an exception. World Vision makes no secret of its distaste for Zionism, both Jewish and Christian.
World Vision’s antagonism toward Israel is largely the work of an activist named Tom Getman. Getman served as director of World Vision’s program in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza before being tasked with establishing World Vision’s office in Washington, DC. After he left World Vision, he was able to abandon his veneer of neutrality and joined the boards of the ferociously pro-Palestinian groups Evangelicals for Mid-East Understandings, Sabeel, Sojourners, and KairosUSA. In a brief interview with fellow anti-Israel activist Rev. Stephen Sizer, Getman bragged about his connections in the White House and on Capitol Hill. These “friends,” he claimed, would encourage the US government to engage in dialogue with other friends of his, who happen to be leaders of the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah.
BIG BANG'S BIG PROBLEM BEDEVILS RESEARCHERS
World News Service, 7/22/14, “The Big Bang’s Big Problem Bedevils Researchers” [Excerpts]: If the Big Bang theory is correct, our universe should not exist, according to research published last month by physicists at King’s College in London. The shocking discovery implies the universe should have collapsed less than a second after it exploded into existence.
Christians are divided on whether or not the Big Bang theory fits with the biblical description of creation. But the theory has been an enormous concession for many secular scientists. For years they clung to belief in a universe that was steady and that had existed indefinitely. But recent advances in physics have forced most scientists to admit that the universe had a beginning and that it has been expanding ever since by a process dubbed cosmic inflation.
For Christians, the universe having a beginning point is no new discovery. These scientists were upstaged more than 2,500 years ago by Job, Moses, David, and other Bible authors.
The researchers of the current study combined data from observations made possible by the BICEP2 telescope with new information developed from the discovery of the Higgs Boson, a particle thought to be responsible for the mass of everything that exists. The scientists said the universe lies in a valley of the Higgs Field, an energy field that exists throughout the universe. It contains the Higgs Boson particle and sets the limits on its behavior. The universe is prevented from entering an even deeper valley by a large energy barrier....But, according to the Big Bang theory, the researchers say cosmic inflation would have kicked the universe over the hill and into the deeper valley where it would have collapsed in less than a second.
“We have to extend our theories to explain why this didn’t happen,” said Robert Hogan, a doctoral student at King’s College who led the study, in the Royal Astronomical Society. The researchers conclude there must be some process yet undiscovered.
“For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream,” said Robert Jastrow, founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and a self-proclaimed agnostic. “He has scaled the mountains of ignorance, he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”
PENTECOSTAL CHURCH WELCOMES POPE FRANCIS
OneNewsNow.com, 7/29/14, “Pentecostal church welcomes Pope Francis” [Excerpts]: Pope Francis has become the first pope to visit a Pentecostal church, pressing his outreach to evangelicals who represent Catholicism’s greatest competition for Christian souls around the globe.
Francis flew by helicopter to visit the under-construction Pentecostal Church of Reconciliation in the southern city of Caserta [Italy.] He met privately with a Pentecostal preacher who is an old friend. Speaking to some 350 Pentecostal faithful in the church, Francis apologized for Catholic persecution of Pentecostals during Italy’s fascist regime and stressed the unity in diversity within Christianity.
He acknowledged the remarkable nature of his visit, saying: “Someone will be surprised: ‘The pope went to visit the evangelicals?’ But he went to see his brothers.”
Francis has met unofficially with several Pentecostal and evangelical preachers recently.
[TBC: In 1990’s Global Peace, Dave wrote: “Cardinal Bea, who was Pope Pius XII’s personal confessor...saw the blossoming charismatic movement as a vehicle for Roman Catholicism’s ecumenical goals. The cardinal sought out David DuPlessis (known as ‘Mr. Pentecost’), whom he invited to the Second Vatican Council. DuPlessis and other leading Pentecostals and charismatics accepted gladly and became Rome’s unwitting pawns. Thus began a growing acceptance of Catholicism by protestant charismatics. Today’s charismatic movement is a major bridge to Rome.”]