Tom and Paul conclude their fascinating discussion on how the so-called Christian Palestinian movement is sweeping into the church, deluding many with lies about God's view of Israel and His plans for their future.
Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call with T.A. McMahon. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for joining us. In today’s program, Tom completes his special four-part series with guest Paul Wilkinson, author of For Zion’s Sake, Prophets Who Prophesy Lies in My Name, and Christian Palestinianism. Now, along with his guest, here’s TBC executive director Tom McMahon.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. I’m talking with Paul Wilkinson—this is actually our fourth program in a series, and absolutely incredible information…. We’re dealing with this, and we’ve gone on with it because I believe it’s so important for the church to hear. Few people have, certainly in terms of—it’s not a popular subject, and many evangelicals, professing Christians, true Christians, are just ignorant of these issues which we’re laying out for us. Certainly Paul Wilkinson has been a leader in this in terms of content—that’s so important. Paul’s the author of For Zion’s Sake, a book which we offer in The Berean Call, and we’ve talked about that in our first session. Also we have booklets, Prophets Who Prophesy Lies in My Name, which we offer free for anybody who wants to give us a call—Gary will give you that information later—and then another entitled Christian Palestinianism. But Paul, I’m excited about a book—you sent us the first chapter, and by God’s grace we’ll be able to publish it—it’s titled Israel Betrayed, and we talked about that a little last week.
But, Paul, I left a thought in your mind from our program last week that you are, [laughs] I hate to—the only way I can describe it is because we’ve sort of been in the same situation, but you’re in—well, first of all, I’ll say it again: you’re one of the kindest, gentlest young men that I know, yet you are in a swamp filled with alligators with people who are viciously attacking the Scriptures, viciously attacking Israel, and undermining the truth of God’s Word among evangelicals, and they’re doing it in a—well, they’re subversive, and we’ll deal with some of these individuals by name a little bit later. But, Paul, when you started out, did you ever have an idea that you might be in this, well, as I mentioned, a swamp with alligators?
Paul: I had no idea whatsoever, Tom, and, you know, you mentioned the book Israel Betrayed, which I’m co-writing with my pastor Andrew Robinson, and I mention his name wherever I speak because it’s important for listeners to know that the ministry the Lord has called me to is set within a church pastoral context. I am an ambassador of my fellowship, Hazel Grove Full Gospel Church in Stockport, just outside Manchester in the north of England. And as a church, we stand united in what we believe, including what we believe about God’s everlasting love, His everlasting covenant, His everlasting promises to Israel, and we’re united because the Lord has used my pastor to teach us the Word of God. I am simply a disciple of my pastor; he’s taught me for many years, discipled me with his wife, and when I got serious about following the Lord Jesus back in the 90s, the Lord put me alongside Andrew and he began to come alongside me and encourage me to study, and I followed, or try to follow, his example, and I just said to the Lord—I remember it distinctly—in the mid-1990s, “Lord, I want to follow you wholeheartedly. Whatever you want to do with my life, Lord. I’m not good at this, I’m not good at that, and all the rest of it, but, Lord, if you can use me…” and that’s what the Lord began to do.
And he called me to do Ph.D. work on the origins of Christian Zionism, which was published as For Zion’s Sake, with the help of my pastor, who edited that book. And I mentioned the Sabeel conference back in 2004; the Lord prompted me so clearly to go out to Israel for the very first time and witness this movement called Sabeel, and see all these evangelical leaders assembling in Jerusalem, basically, to condemn Israel, to condemn the United States for supporting Israel, and to condemn all Christians for supporting Israel based on a literal interpretation of the Word of God, and that’s where I met men like Stephen Sizer, Gary Burge, Donald Wagner—leading evangelicals within the Anglican and Presbyterian churches who, as I mentioned in a previous program, lined up with Yasser Arafat and gave him their support and their endorsement, and that shows you the power of this movement I’ve termed, “Christian Palestinianism,” that Yasser Arafat would want to meet with this group involved with the Sabeel conference.
And that movement has developed a staggering, frightening pace in recent years. I was in Bethlehem just last March, March 2012, at an evangelical conference called the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference. Over 700 evangelicals, all the names I’ve mentioned already, Gary Burge [and] Stephen Sizer were there, there was Joel Hunter, who’s one of the spiritual advisors to Barack Obama, there was Tony Campolo, the chairman of the World Evangelical Alliance was there, the head of the Lausanne Movement was there, all giving support to the Palestinians, all condemning the Israeli occupation. And I had no idea where the Lord was going to lead me when I first got on the plane to Jerusalem in 2004, but I’m just a member of the body of Christ; the Lord has called us and equipped us in different ways. And in speaking out against this apostasy, which is what it is within the church, we as a church at Hazel Grove—we seek the restoration of our brothers and sisters to the truth!
Paul: You know, my pastor’s written a letter in each of the documents at the beginning saying, “We want people to have their eyes and their ears opened to the truth, to be rescued from this deception, because many Christians and churches and organizations are on a collision course with the Lord.”
Tom: Mm-hmm. Paul, you mentioned last week about a photo that was taken with Stephen Sizer and Arafat, and in it, part of the copy here, Sizer gave Arafat his book—what a title!—Speaking the Truth: Zionism, Israel, and the Occupation. [chuckles] I mean, how [he] would have the nerve to even call his book that! But…
Paul: Yeah, I mean, Stephen Sizer contributed to that book, but it was written by…
Tom: Michael Prior, yeah.
Paul: …by the late Roman Catholic scholar Michael Prior, who was viciously anti-Israel. He described Joshua as “the patron saint of ethnic cleansers.” You know, [Michael Prior] said that the problem in the whole Middle East conflict is the Bible. But what’s interesting as well, what readers need to know, is that that book was given to Arafat—a “Christian” book. The forward was written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu…
Paul: …who led the Anti-Apartheid Movement in South Africa in the 1980s. He’s the patron of Sabeel, and he can be seen—you know, those photographs and videos of him with the head of Hamas, and all kinds of individuals whose stated goal is to wipe Israel out. And so, Tutu now, you know, he’s touring America and he’s writing out against apartheid Israel. He’s condemning Israel in the same way that the apartheid government in South Africa was condemned in the 1980s, and this is a propaganda movement, and many Christians are buying into it.
Paul: You know, they’re hearing these labels, “ethnic cleansing,” “genocide,” “illegal settlements,” “occupation,” all the time, and it’s sticking in the minds of many Christians.
Tom: Mm-hmm. Now, Paul, I want to focus on Stephen Sizer, but before we go there, you have such—in this booklet, again, I’m reading from Prophets Who Prophesy Lies in My Name, which we offer for anybody who would like to obtain it from us, you know, for free. Now, on p. 36, you lay the theological roots of Christian Palestinianism. Lay that out for us—Plato, Augustine of Hippo, John Calvin—give us the perspectives from those individuals.
Paul: Well, Origen was from the 2nd-3rd century AD. He was the head of what was called the Catechetical School in Alexandria, Egypt—like an early Bible college—and he’s the one that basically taught the church to allegorize the Bible—to look for higher, deeper spiritual meaning, because God wasn’t interested in a physical land, the land of Israel; he wasn’t interested in the physical city, the city of Jerusalem, because of what the Lord Jesus accomplished in his life and death and resurrection. Everything now is spiritual. It’s been raised to a higher plane.
The great disciple, really, of Origen was Augustine. He came along and almost single-handedly overturned the premillennial faith of the early church, the belief that the Lord Jesus was going to come back to Jerusalem to restore the kingdom to Israel and reign on this earth for a thousand years. That’s the true teaching, the true message of the Bible. So Augustine introduced amillennialism: Christ is not coming back to this earth; the church is the kingdom of God; the church has replaced Israel; we’re in the Millennium now; Christ is reigning now upon the earth through the church.
And, you know, the great disciple of Augustine was John Calvin, Martin Luther as well—you know, the two main Protestant Reformers who just imbibed the teaching of Augustine, which was in the very bedrock, the very foundations, of the Roman Catholic Church. Augustine is considered to be one of the theological doctors, or fathers, of Roman Catholicism, and yet Augustine’s doctrines, his eschatology and his understanding of the endtimes that is rooted in, or grounded in, the Protestant Reformed creeds of the 16th and 17th century. John Calvin was the great champion of Augustine, quoting him…
Paul: …many, many times, and, you know, one of the great books that’s been written on this is Dave Hunt’s book, What Love Is This?
Paul: You know, what kind of God is this that Calvinism portrays? And the men that I’ve been speaking about, whether it’s Stephen Sizer, or whether it’s Gary Burge—many, many others I could name and are named in those booklets—they all go back to John Calvin. They all quote him as their great champion, and I had John Calvin quoted at me by Stephen Sizer—evangelical, Anglican British vicar—at the Fifth International Sabeel Conference, because somebody had just spoken—an evangelical Lutheran pastor called Mitri Raheb—he’d just spoken from the platform on Acts:1:6-8, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” and Mitri Raheb said the disciples got it wrong, because they were nationalistic, narrow-minded, pin-headed bigots. They didn’t realize that Jesus was not going to restore the kingdom to Israel anymore—it was all about the nations. Jesus was going to the nations.
And I challenged Mitri Raheb publicly in that conference center, and Stephen Sizer took the microphone and denounced, or basically put me down, with a simple quote from John Calvin. John Calvin said of that passage there were more errors—there were as many errors as words in the question asked the Lord Jesus, and that when Jesus gave His answer, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,” what Jesus was doing, according to Calvin, He was rebuking the disciples for their imbecility. He was calling them foolish for having misunderstood the teachings of the Lord Jesus. And that is what all these guys are saying— Sizer, Burge, Wagner—they’re all quoting Calvin and saying, “The disciples got it wrong.”
Hank Hanegraaff has done the same on his Bible Answer Man program: “The disciples labored,” or, “We have labored,” he said, “under the same grievous misconceptions that the disciples labored under.” And so now we’ve got to correct, according to Hank Hanegraaff, we’ve got to correct that erroneous thinking that we believe in, we know to be the truth.
Tom: Well, Paul, again, we could go on and on with this, but the ironies, the contradictions—how can a reformer like John Calvin, just as you stated earlier, how can he uphold—and it isn’t just John Calvin, but Calvinists today, their icon is Augustine!
Tom: Now, [chuckles] I mean, as a former Catholic, thirty years a Roman Catholic, I’m shocked that they wouldn’t recognize, as you pointed out, the doctor of the church. Many of the dogmas of Roman Catholicism, you know, come from Augustine. Well, guys, don’t you see this? Doesn’t that bother you in any way, the reformers? Didn’t you come out of the Catholic church? But they brought a lot of baggage with them for all the good that they did, okay? They brought so much baggage, and we are paying the price for it today. It’s incredible.
Paul: Yeah, and Paul warned the Corinthian church not to put men on pedestals: Apollos, Cephas, Paul—people were forming cliques behind these men, and Paul says, “Well, who are we? Get the focus on the Lord Jesus.” And I think men like John Calvin have been put on such a high pedestal that people swear by him, and swear by the teachings of Calvinism. If any doctrine of man, anything that is preached from the pulpit, anything that is written on a website or in a book, if it does not line up with the Word of God, it has got to be expelled. It’s got to be discarded, because you’re dealing with a doctrine, a tradition of teaching that is causing today men and movements in the church to call for the boycott of Israel;…
Paul: …call for sanctions to be imposed against Israel, accusing Israel of being an apartheid state, ethnically cleansing the Palestinian people. We’ve got Christians, church leaders, describing Israelis as the “new Nazis,” the Israeli government operating a crucifixion system daily—that’s what Naim Ateek says. This is horrible stuff, and it’s got a deep root into the theology that we’ve been talking about. It goes right back almost 2000 years.
Tom: Paul, let’s bring it over to our turf here in America. Start with Stephen Sizer; give us a brief description—you have mentioned him in bits and pieces, but I really want to go to the campaign trail. I think we’ve got about five minutes left or so. But briefly, the campaign trail, the video, the film that they did With God on Our Side, which is toward campuses and making—you talked about propaganda earlier—boy, here’s a classic example. But again, Stephen Sizer. Give us a brief description of him and the influence that he has upon Americans in terms of the endorsements of his books and so on.
Paul: Stephen Sizer: British Anglican evangelical vicar, he’s the vicar of a small church in the southern part of England. That church is a member of the Evangelical Alliance; it’s also a member of the Willow Creek Association.
Paul: Stephen Sizer…
Tom: That’s Bill Hybels, and his wife.
Paul: Bill Hybels, he visits his world leadership conference—I forget the name exactly, but he has a leadership conference every year. Stephen Sizer has been there many times. Stephen Sizer works very closely with Lynne Hybels, the wife of Bill Hybels. Lynne Hybels has shared platforms with Stephen Sizer in Bethlehem. I saw Lynne Hybels in person at the second Christ at the Checkpoint Conference in Bethlehem last year. Stephen Sizer on his own website refers to Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Church as one of the seminal books in his own life and in the ministry of his church; [it] had a tremendous impact, according to Stephen Sizer. Stephen Sizer is a champion of the Kairos Palestine movement. People can check that up: just type in Kairos Palestine, which is a document [that] came out in 2009 denouncing Israel as an apartheid state guilty of occupying Palestinian land. Stephen Sizer is frequently touring the Middle East; he’s given tours in Iran; he defended Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, on Iranian television back in 2007; he’s very much into evangelical-Muslim dialogue, interfaith dialogue.
Such conferences have been held at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA—Christians and Muslims trying to find common ground, and Stephen Sizer is very much part of the “Common Word Between Us and You” movement. Again, listeners, just type in A Common Word Between Us and You, described as the most significant evangelical Christian-Muslim initiative in history, and it’s been endorsed by Rick Warren, by Bill Hybels, by Brian McLaren, one of the gurus in the emerging church movement, even the late evangelical scholar John Stott, who was a big promoter of Stephen Sizer’s writings.
Stephen Sizer will speak in mosques, denouncing Israel. Many Holocaust-denying websites have used his writings—not saying that Stephen Sizer denies the Holocaust, he does not—but the most extreme groups are using Stephen Sizer’s material, and he really has emerged as the champion of the Christian Palestinianist movement. The fact that he can speak at conferences in Bahrain and Qatar, he’s having his photograph taken with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and one of the heads of the Arab league—you know, they are embracing him because he delivers an anti-Israel message that resonates throughout the Islamic world, and that’s why he is so popular and so influential today. He speaks regularly at Wheaton College, Illinois, [is a] very close friend of Gary Burge, and, as you said, he was very influential in the production of the With God on Our Side film.
Tom: Yeah, tell us about that video.
Paul: That video was produced in 2010 by evangelical film producer Porter Speakman, Jr. It denounces Christians that stand with Israel based on their interpretation of the Bible. It was shown in Princeton, at Harvard, at Biola University, at Pepperdine in California, all across the United States and across the United Kingdom. Hank Hanegraaff promoted it on his Bible Answer Man program, July [of] last year, really wanting to make this issue prominent with his ministry.
Paul: That film was even shown in a room belonging to Sinn Féin, notorious political party, Republican party in Ireland. It was shown at the Stormont General Assembly in Belfast, a room belonging to Sinn Féin with all their links with the IRA. So…
Tom: And Sinn Féin with regard to the Nazis, Second World War…
Paul: Absolutely, and what we’re seeing within this movement is the formation of unholy alliances, an unholy network forming that’s bringing in the World Council of Churches, Presbyterian Church USA, the United Methodist Church, the Reformed Church of America, the United Church of Canada, the Methodist Church of Britain, the Church of Scotland—all onboard campaigning against Israel. It is unbelievable what is happening today in the church.
Tom: And, Paul, you know my concern for the next generation, not only what I’ve been writing about, and so on, and I—Paul, I consider you one of the elder statesmen of the next generation, but my heart goes out to young people, college age and so on, and when you have something like this video at Biola…! Did you know that J. Vernon McGee was a chairman of the Bible department? I mean, he would be turning over in his grave if that was possible! But [to] see this thing come in and get young people excited for a lie, for something that we saw what happened during—and I mentioned National Socialism and the Nazis—we saw how that moved into a country that was primarily Lutheran—you know, and Luther had his problems, and it was kind of a rationale for Hitler to turn against the Jews, at least that’s what he used—but anyway, this is incredible!
Paul: And Hitler targeted the youth. He had the whole Hitler Youth Movement, because he knew if he could get the young people onboard, wow! He would have a powerful force behind him. And, you know, I was in Bethlehem at the Checkpoint Conference and there were young students wearing the Palestinian Keffiyah—that headscarf, the black and white checkered scarf—they’d been brought there to Bethlehem by Gary Burge and Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne, and you could just see how much they were being swept along on the hype and the emotion and the propaganda that was coming from that platform, and Satan is certainly targeting the youth in our church today.
Tom: So, Paul, what do we about it? We’ve got about two minutes. What should we do as believers, those of us who recognize—and certainly you’re at the forefront of this—recognize what’s going on, how do we deal with it?
Paul: Well, I can only speak from what we do as a small fellowship. We don’t have a website, we don’t promote ourselves, but we just stand on the Word of God and we pray in line with Scripture, and we pray, “Lord, open the eyes of your people, our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. Open their eyes, open their ears, just lead them into Your Word so that they can see the deception that they are under, and rescue them.” It really is our heart’s cry, even for these names—the names of leaders that we’ve been talking about—we pray, “Lord, just turn them around, just shake them because of the danger that they are in,” and stand, stand in grace and truth as the Lord gives us opportunity.
We’re not seeking to raise a banner for ourselves and make a name for ourselves, we’re seeking to raise a banner for the truth, and call as many as will listen to gather under that banner so that we are ready. We are ready for the Lord’s return. We’re not shrinking back in shame when the Lord does appear and we realize, “I believed a lie. I’ve actually gone against the will of God.” No, we want people to be set free from this deception and bless Israel, not curse Israel, but bless Israel, because those who bless Israel will be blessed, including those in the church of Jesus Christ.
Tom: Right. Well, again, the booklet that we offer free, authored by Paul Wilkinson, Prophets Who Prophesy Lies in My Name: first of all, folks, we’ve got to be informed. This booklet is a start to being informed as to what’s going on, and then you can pray. You can pray as the Lord leads, but with an understanding of the situation. You know, the Scripture that keeps coming to mind is, “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.” Unless we get back to the Scriptures, unless we recognize, you know, as Isaiah said, “To the law and the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it’s because there’s no light in them.” And that’s where we need to be. So, to that end, folks, you’ve got to do what you need to do as Paul just laid out for us. Prayer—but be informed and then address these things where they need to be addressed. So, Paul, thanks for being with us, and God bless you brother.
Paul: Thank you, Tom. God bless.
Gary: You’ve been listening to Search the Scriptures 24/7 with T.A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of materials to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter, contact us at PO Box 7019 Bend, OR, 97708. Call us at 800-937-6638, or visit our website at thebereancall.org. In our next program, Tom will discuss the doctrine of the Rapture with his guest Tommy Ice, executive director of the Pre-Trib Research Center. We hope you can tune in. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for listening, and we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.