Monday, 31 December 2012

Challenging Christian Zionism in Macau and Hong Kong


Dr. Stephen Sizer will be speaking in Macau this coming Thursday.
Title: The Middle East Conflict: what does the Bible say?
Venue: SKH St. Mark Church (Anglican)
Date: Thursday, January 3rd
Time: 7:30-9:30pm

Sponsor: Macau Bible Institute
Time for Q&A is available.



Sunday, 30 December 2012

Friends of Sabeel on anti-Semitism allegations

Dear Bishop Christopher,

Ref. Rev. Stephen Sizer

We write respectfully concerning Stephen Sizer, whom you will know well as one of your diocesan clergy. As you aware, he is based at Christ Church, Virginia Water and is a high profile individual who has developed a considerable expertise on issues affecting the Israel – Palestine conflict.

In particular, Stephen has made it his speciality to study & inform the world about the phenomenon which we recognise as Christian Zionism, which manifests a theology upholding a privileged and exclusive “biblical” claim to a greater Israel & thus to the detriment of non Jewish residents of the lands. Stephen’s call is to Christians & the Christian churches to denounce any theology of privilege contrary to the Gospel, & its consequences.

We have become aware that Stephen is now the subject of concerted allegations of anti – Semitism & calls for disciplinary measures against him by the Church. On the basis of long acquaintance with Stephen, we are at pains to lay such allegations to rest.

We believe Stephen has demonstrated impeccable credentials in these matters. He has long working associations with Christians, Muslims & those Jews who also work hard in the field of Justice for both Palestinians & Israelis. We believe that those Jews with whom Stephen is associated would also support this point of view, refuting any accusation of anti –semitism.

It is in sorrow that we feel obliged to write such a letter, made necessary by forces determined to silence & destroy a vital prophetic voice, a true evangelist.

We are grateful for your support for Stephen.

Yours sincerely

Anne Clayton, Coordinator, Friends of Sabeel UK

David Toorawa, Chair, Friends of Sabeel UK Board

Friends of Sabeel UK
C/O CMS
Watlington Rd
Oxford




See also letters from:

Right Revd Riah Abo El Assal, 13th Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem
Dr Bishara Awad, Founder and President Emeritus, Bethlehem Bible College
Dr Mark Braverman, Author of the Fatal Embrace
Anne Clayton, Coordinator, Friends of Sabeel UK
Rabbi Professor Dan Cohn-Sherbok, Lampeter University
Jeremy Corbyn MP, Islington North
Katherine Cunningham, Moderator, IPMN, Presbyterian Church USA
Professor Scott Elias, Royal Holloway, University of London
Tony Greenstein, Founding Member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Professor Mary Grey, Patron, Friends of Sabeel UK
Dr Jeff Halper, Co-founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
Revd Phil Hill, Nazareth Evangelical Theological Seminary
Canon Garth Hewitt, Founder of the Amos Trust
Dr Ghada Karmi, Exeter University
Manfred W. Kohl, Ambassador Overseas Council
Dr Attorney Jonathan Kuttab, Chairman of the Board, Bethlehem Bible College
Venerable Michael Lawson, Chairman, Church of England Evangelical Council
Jeremy Moodey, Chief Executive, Embrace the Middle East
Diana Neslen, Jews for Justice for Palestinians
Professor Ilan Pappe, Exeter University
Revd Jack Sara, President, Bethlehem Bible College
Rabbi Dr Stanley Howard Schwartz, Hospice Chaplain and retired Army Chaplain
David Toorawa, Chair, Friends of Sabeel UK
Revd Dr Donald Wagner, National Director, Friends of Sabeel North America
Revd John Woodger, Retired vicar of St Mary's Watford

Anthony Julius is chairman of the London Consortium and a Visiting Professor at Birbeck College, University of London. His book Trials of the Diaspora, is a magisterial 800 page examination of the history of Anti-Semitism in England. In the final chapter which deals with the distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, Julius writes,
"He has recently explained, however, that he 'categorically reject[s] any position that threatens the territorial integrity of Israel as a sovereign nation.... Stephen Sizer's work has the merit of clearly setting out the issues that divide the two sides, and furthermore doing so without the rancour or sheer nastiness of tone typical of the polemics in the conflict." (p.571)
And see also these articles from other news sources:

Phil Groom (member of CCJ): Jeremiah's Underpants
Phil Groom (member of CCJ): Dr Sizer is cleared
Church of England Newspaper: Sizer complaint
Church Times:  Vicar is not Anti-Semitic
Church Times:  Rabbi Clears Vicar of Anti-Semitism
Jewish Chronicle: Bishop: anti-Zionist vicar ‘no antisemite
Jewish Chronicle: Sizer: I am ready to meet the Board of Deputies any time

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Christianity Explored in South Sudan





You can view other photos of Seamus in Juba as well as some of the River Nile, of the new capital of South Sudan, Juba itself and also of launch of Christianity Explored in South Sudan.

Seamus goes to South Sudan







You can view other photos of Seamus in Juba as well as some of the River Nile, of the new capital of South Sudan, Juba itself and also of launch of Christianity Explored in South Sudan.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Iranian Pastor Nadarkhani jailed again



Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has been informed that Yousef Nadarkhani, the Church of Iran pastor recently acquitted of apostasy, has been returned to jail on an earlier charge.

In September, a court acquitted Pastor Nadarkhani of apostasy, but sentenced him to three years for evangelising Muslims. Since he had already spent close to three years in Lakan Prison in Rasht, the pastor was released after posting bail.

However, CSW sources now report that Pastor Nadarkhani has been returned to jail on the orders of the director of Lakan Prison, who claimed he had been released several days too early due to the insistence of his lawyer, Mohammed Ali Dadkhah. The pastor has now been return to prison to serve the remainder of this time and to complete paperwork that allegedly had not completed during his release in September.

In November, Pastor Nadarkhani was a special guest at CSW's National Conference in London, where he thanked all who had prayed and petitioned for him during his initial incarceration.

Mervyn Thomas, CSW's Chief Executive said: "We are disappointed to hear Pastor Nadarkhani has been returned to prison in such an irregular manner. The timing is insensitive and especially sad for his wife and sons, who must have been looking forward to celebrating Christmas with him for the first time in three years. We hope that Pastor Nadarkhani will be released without delay once this alleged sentence has been fully served. We are also asking for prayers for the pastor's safety, and for his family at this difficult time."

Source:  Christian Solidarity Worldwide

Revd. Phil Hill: Nazareth Evangelical Theological Seminary

Dear Bishop Christopher,

I have been thinking that I should write to express to you my support for Stephen Sizer as you weigh the issues surrounding his stance with regard to Israel and the Palestinian Territories. If you wish to check my credentials, I am known both to John Gladwin and Colin Bennetts - who had better speak well of me or expect the leakage of a few tales of their youth!

I have been a Baptist minister since 1971 and have played senior roles in Baptist and evangelical life for many years before taking up my present appointment in Israel in 2008. This itself arose from pioneering British Baptist support for the Arab Baptist community in Israel from around 2000 onwards. The seminary at which I now teach was founded in 2007 by the Association of Baptist Churches in Israel as a resource for the whole evangelical community in Israel, and includes on its staff both Arab and Messianic teachers as well as expatriates like myself. It is this 'middle ground' position from within the Arab Christian and Messianic communities that I believe enables me to offer you a worthwhile additional perspective.

There are times when I think Stephen goes too far in sympathy with some Arab viewpoints and not far enough in favour of some Israeli government policies. However, I have never doubted that he is a man of high integrity, profound Christian and biblical faithfulness, a lover of truth as he genuinely sees it as much as he is a man of great grace and humility to all, both Jew and Arab (and I have personal knowledge of both). Criticize his views, by all means - but I can tell you he is a better man than most I have met in forty years of evangelical ministry.

With warm good wishes,

Phil Hill

Revd. Phil Hill, BA, MPhil,
Lecturer in Church History and Pastoral Studies,
Nazareth Evangelical Theological Seminary,
PO Box 50105,
Nazareth 16100,
Israel


See also letters from:

Right Revd Riah Abo El Assal, 13th Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem
Dr Bishara Awad, Founder and President Emeritus, Bethlehem Bible College
Dr Mark Braverman, Author of the Fatal Embrace
Rabbi Professor Dan Cohn-Sherbok, Lampeter University
Jeremy Corbyn MP, Islington North
Katherine Cunningham, Moderator, IPMN, Presbyterian Church USA
Professor Scott Elias, Royal Holloway, University of London
Tony Greenstein, Founding Member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Professor Mary Grey, Patron, Friends of Sabeel UK
Dr Jeff Halper, Co-founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
Revd Phil Hill, Nazareth Evangelical Theological Seminary
Canon Garth Hewitt, Founder of the Amos Trust
Dr Ghada Karmi, Exeter University
Manfred W. Kohl, Ambassador Overseas Council
Dr Attorney Jonathan Kuttab, Chairman of the Board, Bethlehem Bible College
Venerable Michael Lawson, Chairman, Church of England Evangelical Council
Jeremy Moodey, Chief Executive, Embrace the Middle East
Diana Neslen, Jews for Justice for Palestinians
Professor Ilan Pappe, Exeter University
Revd Jack Sara, President, Bethlehem Bible College
Rabbi Dr Stanley Howard Schwartz, Hospice Chaplain and retired Army Chaplain
Revd Dr Donald Wagner, National Director, Friends of Sabeel North America
Revd John Woodger, Retired vicar of St Mary's Watford

Anthony Julius is chairman of the London Consortium and a Visiting Professor at Birbeck College, University of London. His book Trials of the Diaspora, is a magisterial 800 page examination of the history of Anti-Semitism in England. In the final chapter which deals with the distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, Julius writes,
"He has recently explained, however, that he 'categorically reject[s] any position that threatens the territorial integrity of Israel as a sovereign nation.... Stephen Sizer's work has the merit of clearly setting out the issues that divide the two sides, and furthermore doing so without the rancour or sheer nastiness of tone typical of the polemics in the conflict." (p.571)
It is ironic that much of the "rancour or sheer nastiness", it seems, comes from those unable to distinguish between two.

And see also these articles from other news sources:

Phil Groom (member of CCJ): Jeremiah's Underpants
Phil Groom (member of CCJ): Dr Sizer is cleared
Church of England Newspaper: Sizer complaint
Church Times:  Vicar is not Anti-Semitic
Church Times:  Rabbi Clears Vicar of Anti-Semitism
Jewish Chronicle: Bishop: anti-Zionist vicar ‘no antisemite
Jewish Chronicle: Sizer: I am ready to meet the Board of Deputies any time

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

A Christmas Day Prayer

Christmas Prayer by Robert Louis Stevenson

"Loving Father, Help us remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the wise men. Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.

Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clean hearts. May the Christmas morning make us happy to be Thy children, and the Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake, Amen!"

Monday, 24 December 2012

Bishop of Guildford in House of Lords on importance of Middle East Solution Grounded in International Law

My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Royall, for raising this urgent, peace-threatening question. Your Lordships may be aware that the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Exeter, together with the Roman Catholic bishop, Bishop Declan Lang of Clifton, had written to the Foreign Secretary in some regret at the UK's abstention from the UN vote on Palestine's non-member observer status. They-and all of us on these Benches, irrespective of our views on voting or abstention-urge Her Majesty's Government to do everything possible to revitalise the stalled peace process in the Middle East.

I am particularly grateful that the last speech highlighted the importance of a regional peace discussion. We understand the desire to urge all parties to desist from actions-such as a Palestinian appeal to the International Criminal Court-which would make a restart of discussions, whether completely international or more regional, more difficult. Yet is there not a desperate need to signal that there must be a way forward through international law, which the new Palestinian status surely indicates, lest despair of a two-state solution, or any other solution, lead to the resumption of violence such as the firing of rockets from Gaza, which has already been alluded to? That could slide into the regional war to which the noble Lord, Lord Alderdice, has just alerted us.

My stress on a solution grounded in international law is a point which the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Exeter would have made had he been in his place. He is in fact visiting some of his flooded churches today. This stress enables me warmly to welcome today's news from the Foreign Office of the summoning of the Israeli ambassador to meet the Minister with responsibility for Middle East affairs. Afterwards a spokesman mentioned the Government's potential "strong reaction" to Saturday's announcement of Israel's building plans between east Jerusalem and the West Bank. These plans seem, to my judgment, an absolute roadblock to the resumption of any progress and any new negotiations. There are many things on either side which could threaten the only real option for peace-the resumption of discussions, which is the only real option for security for Israel, as has already been mentioned. Continued building on the wrong side-the wrong side in international law; the wrong side of the green line-is, in my view, the most serious threat of all.

Source: Hansard

Baghdad Declaration on Palestinian Prisoners

Baghdad Declaration on Palestinian and Arab Prisoners in the Israeli Occupation Prisons

December 12, 2012 - Baghdad

In implementation of Resolution No. 504 of Sert Summit, 2010, and Resolution No. 551 of Baghdad Summit,2012, the Republic of Iraq hosted an international conference for the solidarity with the Palestinian and Arab prisoners and detainees in the Israeli occupation prisons, on December 11-12 ,2012.The conference was attended by participants from over 70 countries, including jurists, parliamentarians, and representative of civil society organizations.

The Conference proceedings began with the address of the President of the Republic of Iraq, His Excellency, Galal Eltalibany, the President of the twenty third Arab League Summit. The address of the Republic of Iraq was delivered by His Excellency, Prime Minister Nori Al Maliky. The address of the State of Palestine was delivered by his Excellency, Prime Minister Sallam Fayyad. It was followed by the address of the League of Arab States, delivered by His Excellency, Dr Nabil Elaraby, the Secretary General. Both addresses of the UN Secretary General and the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Conference were delivered, followed by the address of His Excellency, Issa Qaraqie, Minister of Palestinian Prisoners' Affairs.

The Conference greeted male and female prisoners for their forbearance and steadfastness against the prisons and occupation injustices, it deeply and extensively considered the legendary steadfastness of those prisoners who went on hunger strike, namely Ayman Esharawna and Samer El'eissawy, holding the occupation authorities responsible of their life and health and demanding speedy and immediate intervention for their release.

The Conference proceedings discussed the following themes:

Theme 1: Status of Palestinian and Arab prisoners and detainees in the Israeli occupation prisons according to the International Law

Theme 2: Practices and methods of the Israeli occupation authorities against the Palestinian and Arab prisoners and detainees (Israeli prison conditions, humanitarian conditions of prisoners, Israeli courts).

Theme 3: Role of civil society organizations and humanitarian and human rights organizations on prisoners and detainees

Theme 4: Personal testimonies of released prisoners from Israeli occupation prisons

Theoretical and field studies, as well as live testimonies by freed prisoners have shown the flagrant violations of international and humanitarian laws systematically committed by Israeli authorities, with particular regard to the codification and legalization of torture, the imposition of massive punishment of civilians, the targeting of children and women and their deprivation of natural rights during imprisonment and detainment, the codification of approved reporting by police and interrogators, the seizure of the bodies of prisoners, who died as a result of imprisonment, in mortuary refrigerators instead of delivering them to their families, the labeling of human graves as numbers, and the adoption of accumulative and massive punishments. The participants recommended the following:

- To set up an international legal committee to follow up the prisoners' case, and use legal mechanisms and tools, and relevant international covenants and conventions for the protection of their rights.

- To submit a request, in the name of the League of Arab States, to the United Nations to issue an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice in the Hague on the legal status of the Palestinian and Arab prisoners in occupation prisons, and the legal commitments assumed by the occupier to address Israeli violations against these prisoners.

- To call upon the United Nations to send an international fact-finding committee to identify inhumane practices against prisoners who are subjected to violations in contravention with humanitarian international law.

- To ask the bodies and institutions concerned with the prisoners' case for the historic documentation of the Palestinian Prisoners' Movement.

- To launch international, humanitarian and media-related campaign to demand the release of prisoners.

- To use legal mechanisms and means to prosecute and hold Israel accountable for committing against Palestinian prisoners war crimes and crimes against humanity.

- To call on the League of Arab States to present Israeli officers involved in committing such crimes to criminal and human rights courts, in order to try Israeli occupation commanders and staff, and to affirm the implementation of the Arab League Resolution issued in this regard and adopted at the ordinary session in 2001.

- To establish an Arab fund for the support of Palestinian and Arab prisoners and their families, and the rehabilitation of those released from Israeli occupation prisons; and to mandate the League of Arab States, the Republic of Iraq, and the State of Palestine to develop the proposed fund's plan, working mechanisms and submitting the same to the forthcoming Arab Summit scheduled in March 2013 for its adoption.

- The Conference calls upon the League of Arab States to appoint an international envoy to follow up the prisoners' cases in all international fora, with the League of Arab States as a point of reference.

- The Conference hails the Palestinian people, mainly the prisoners and detainees in Israeli occupation prisons, with due respect and deference for their forbearance and steadfastness against the continuous Israeli aggression.

- The Conference congratulates the Palestinian people and leaders on the occasion of the GA Resolution for granting Palestine an observer state, and called for the investment of this position by all legal mechanisms and procedures to support the rights of Palestinian people, especially the prisoners, by acceding to the Four Geneva Conventions, and joining various legal institutions and organizations.

- The Conference expresses deep appreciation of the efforts exerted by the Republic of Iraq, its President, government and people, for hosting this significant Conference and providing all the necessary facilities and means for its success.



Arab League Website


Arab League Online


Daily Telegraph: Christianity 'close to extinction' in Middle East

Christianity faces being wiped out of the “biblical heartlands” in the Middle East because of mounting persecution of worshippers, according to a new report.

The study warns that Christians suffer greater hostility across the world than any other religious group.And it claims politicians have been “blind” to the extent of violence faced by Christians in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The most common threat to Christians abroad is militant Islam, it says, claiming that oppression in Muslim countries is often ignored because of a fear that criticism will be seen as “racism”.

It warns that converts from Islam face being killed in Saudi Arabia, Mauritania and Iran and risk severe legal penalties in other countries across the Middle East.

The report, by the think tank Civitas, says: “It is generally accepted that many faith-based groups face discrimination or persecution to some degree.

Read more here

Manfred W. Kohl, Ambassador Overseas Council

19th December 2012

Dear Bishop Christopher,

Permit me to introduce myself. I have served for the last twenty years with Overseas Council, an organization that helps theological seminaries and universities around the world. Before that I served with World Vision International for twenty years as one of the international vice-presidents living in Africa and Europe. I presently live in Nova Scotia, Canada, but I continue to travel to many parts of the world with Overseas Council.

I have seen correspondence about the accusations made against a colleague and friend of mine, the Reverend Dr. Stephen Sizer.

I have travelled with Dr. Sizer. I have spoken at significant conferences at which he has spoken, and I have published some articles to which he has made some important contributions. I have never heard Dr. Sizer make any statements that could be labeled anti-Semitic.

In fact, I recall numerous occasions when he spoke very positively about the Jews as the “people of God”. His presentations and his theology are devoid of any anti-Semitic thoughts or ideas whatsoever. I am more than willing to testify to these facts.

If you need or if it is appropriate, I can elaborate in more detail.

I wish you a blessed Advent and Christmas season.

Fraternally in Christ,

Manfred W. Kohl, Th.D.
Ambassador Overseas Council


See also letters from:

Right Revd Riah Abo El Assal, 13th Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem
Dr Mark Braverman, Author of the Fatal Embrace
Rabbi Professor Dan Cohn-Sherbok, Lampeter University
Jeremy Corbyn MP, Islington North
Katherine Cunningham, Moderator, IPMN, Presbyterian Church USA
Professor Scott Elias, Royal Holloway, University of London
Tony Greenstein, Founding Member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Professor Mary Grey, Patron, Friends of Sabeel UK
Dr Jeff Halper, Co-founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
Revd Phil Hill, Nazareth Evangelical Theological Seminary
Canon Garth Hewitt, Founder of the Amos Trust
Dr Ghada Karmi, Exeter University
Manfred W. Kohl, Ambassador Overseas Council
Venerable Michael Lawson, Chairman, Church of England Evangelical Council
Jeremy Moodey, Chief Executive, Embrace the Middle East
Diana Neslen, Jews for Justice for Palestinians
Professor Ilan Pappe, Exeter University
Rabbi Dr Stanley Howard Schwartz, Hospice Chaplain and retired Army Chaplain
Revd Dr Donald Wagner, National Director, Friends of Sabeel North America
Revd John Woodger, Retired vicar of St Mary's Watford

Anthony Julius is chairman of the London Consortium and a Visiting Professor at Birbeck College, University of London. His book Trials of the Diaspora, is a magisterial 800 page examination of the history of Anti-Semitism in England. In the final chapter which deals with the distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, Julius writes,

"He has recently explained, however, that he 'categorically reject[s] any position that threatens the territorial integrity of Israel as a sovereign nation.... Stephen Sizer's work has the merit of clearly setting out the issues that divide the two sides, and furthermore doing so without the rancour or sheer nastiness of tone typical of the polemics in the conflict." (p.571)
It is ironic that much of the "rancour or sheer nastiness" comes from Zionists unable to distinguish between two.

And see also these articles from other sources:

Phil Groom (member of CCJ): Jeremiah's Underpants
Phil Groom (member of CCJ): Dr Sizer is cleared
Church of England Newspaper: Sizer complaint
Church Times:  Vicar is not Anti-Semitic
Church Times:  Rabbi Clears Vicar of Anti-Semitism
Jewish Chronicle: Bishop: anti-Zionist vicar ‘no antisemite’
Jewish Chronicle:  Sizer: I am ready to meet the Board of Deputies any time
 

An Unexpected Christmas Journey


An Unexpected Journey this Christmas from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

Far over the misty mountains cold.
To dungeons deep and caverns old.
We must ere break of day.
To seek the pale enchanted gold.

Is that a line from:

A. Nativity 2?
B. James Bond?
C. Life of Pi?

The correct answer is D. The Hobbit.

J.R.R. Tolkein’s fantasy takes place in “Middle-earth.” Middle Earth is not some never-never land. It is simply an adaptation of the Old English Middle–erthe from Middan-geard which is the name inhabited lands “between the seas.” Which means, in some profound sense Tolkien’s intended his fantasy world to be a mirror, or reflection of our own. So what has a fairy story about elves and dwarves got to do with Christmas? Lets try and find an answer through three riddles.

Read more here

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Professor Scott Elias on spurious anti-Semitic allegations

Dear Bishop Christopher,

I am a Professor of Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London, and have been a member of Christ Church, Virginia Water since 2000. During the last decade I have been both a member of the PCC and PC secretary at Christ Church. I have come to know the Reverend Stephen Sizer quite well during my time there. I am writing to you to express my support for Stephen, in the face of attacks on his character by Pro-Israel groups. Their accusation that Stephen is anti-Semitic is both spurious and unfounded.

Stephen has worked tirelessly to bring peace and reconciliation between Jews and Palestinians in Israel and Palestine. He believes that the way forward is for Israel to dismantle the walls they have erected to separate themselves from the Palestinians, and for them to give back property they have taken from the Palestinians in recent decades. There are a great many Jews, both in Israel and elsewhere, who believe the same way, and espouse the same cause as Stephen Sizer, yet no one labels them as anti-Semitic. Over the past twelve years I have held a great many conversations with Stephen concerning the situation in Israel/Palestine. Not once have I heard him voice any anti-Semitic opinions. In fact, quite the opposite is true. He has a real heart for the Jews. He just happens to believe that the only way the Jews can achieve a lasting peace with their neighbours is to dismantle the partitioning of the country, and to give the Palestinians a homeland they can truly call their own. He seeks peace and justice for all peoples of the Holy Land. Could there be a more Christian attitude to take?

Sincerely yours,

Scott Elias, PhD


See also letters from:

Right Revd Riah Abo El Assal, 13th Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem
Dr Mark Braverman, Author of the Fatal Embrace
Rabbi Professor Dan Cohn-Sherbok, Lampeter University
Jeremy Corbyn MP, Islington North
Katherine Cunningham, Moderator, IPMN, Presbyterian Church USA
Professor Scott Elias, Royal Holloway, University of London
Tony Greenstein, Founding Member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Professor Mary Grey, Patron, Friends of Sabeel UK
Dr Jeff Halper, Co-founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
Revd Phil Hill, Nazareth Evangelical Theological Seminary
Canon Garth Hewitt, Founder of the Amos Trust
Dr Ghada Karmi, Exeter University
Manfred W. Kohl, Ambassador Overseas Council
Venerable Michael Lawson, Chairman, Church of England Evangelical Council
Jeremy Moodey, Chief Executive, Embrace the Middle East
Diana Neslen, Jews for Justice for Palestinians
Professor Ilan Pappe, Exeter University
Rabbi Dr Stanley Howard Schwartz, Hospice Chaplain and retired Army Chaplain
Revd Dr Donald Wagner, National Director, Friends of Sabeel North America
Revd John Woodger, Retired vicar of St Mary's Watford

Anthony Julius is chairman of the London Consortium and a Visiting Professor at Birbeck College, University of London. His book Trials of the Diaspora, is a magisterial 800 page examination of the history of Anti-Semitism in England. In the final chapter which deals with the distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, Julius writes,

"He has recently explained, however, that he 'categorically reject[s] any position that threatens the territorial integrity of Israel as a sovereign nation.... Stephen Sizer's work has the merit of clearly setting out the issues that divide the two sides, and furthermore doing so without the rancour or sheer nastiness of tone typical of the polemics in the conflict." (p.571)
It is ironic that much of the "rancour or sheer nastiness" comes from Zionists unable to distinguish between two.

And see also these articles from other sources:

Phil Groom (member of CCJ): Jeremiah's Underpants
Phil Groom (member of CCJ): Dr Sizer is cleared
Church of England Newspaper: Sizer complaint
Church Times:  Vicar is not Anti-Semitic
Church Times:  Rabbi Clears Vicar of Anti-Semitism
Jewish Chronicle: Bishop: anti-Zionist vicar ‘no antisemite’
Jewish Chronicle:  Sizer: I am ready to meet the Board of Deputies any time

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church USA on anti-Semitism allegations


Decemnber 21, 2012

Right Revd Christopher Hill
Willow Grange
Woking Road
Guildford
GU4 7QS - UK

Dear Bishop Christopher,

Advent greetings to you from the United States, in the name of the Child of Bethlehem. I write you on behalf of our entire mission network from all over our country to give support to our brother in Christ, the Rev. Dr. Stephen Sizer.

Our network has a mandate from the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to advocate for Palestinian human rights and to teach Americans about the Palestinian plight and narrative. As you probably know, this is difficult work in a difficult environment. We know that without education, our congregations remain in the dark about the full story. In spite of our lopsided media coverage here, we are committed to educating Americans regarding what is really happening in the land where Jesus walked.

Rev. Sizer is a key voice in educating mainline protestant congregations because his work on Christian Zionism helpfully demonstrates how Zionism, a political ideology, has been adapted into a heretical theology. We rely on Stephen and his voice on the subject in order to educate our fellow Christians. As we, and many of our ecumenical and interfaith partners see it, it is not at all anti-Semitic to criticize the policies of the Israeli government. For Stephen to be harassed and vilified for his tireless and courageous peacemaking efforts is unfair and counterproductive.

As you know, Israel’s security goes hand-in-hand with justice for Palestine. To silence and censor the voices who criticize policies that violate human rights is not the way forward. We believe that as long as there is no justice for Palestine, Israel will feel insecure in its own neighborhood and attacks like those on Rev. Sizer will only increase.

How many peacemakers and prophetic voices will need to be silenced? Do we keep censoring more and more voices as they gain in numbers? Our Book of Confessions, quoted above, calls for speaking truth to the principalities of power. We believe Rev. Sizer’s courageous work, lives out Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

We pray that you will encourage open dialogue rather than censorship and expurgation. Let us move forward together, helping all the children of God who are struggling to live and find a better future in a land that has known so much strife.

In the name of the Prince of Peace,

Katherine Cunningham,

Moderator


See also letters from:

Right Revd Riah Abo El Assal, 13th Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem
Dr Mark Braverman, Author of the Fatal Embrace
Rabbi Professor Dan Cohn-Sherbok, Lampeter University
Jeremy Corbyn MP, Islington North
Katherine Cunningham, Moderator, IPMN, Presbyterian Church USA
Professor Scott Elias, Royal Holloway, University of London
Tony Greenstein, Founding Member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Professor Mary Grey, Patron, Friends of Sabeel UK
Dr Jeff Halper, Co-founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
Canon Garth Hewitt, Founder of the Amos Trust
Dr Ghada Karmi, Exeter University
Venerable Michael Lawson, Chairman, Church of England Evangelical Council
Jeremy Moodey, Chief Executive, Embrace the Middle East
Professor Ilan Pappe, Exeter University
Rabbi Dr Stanley Howard Schwartz, Hospice Chaplain and retired Army Chaplain
Revd Dr Donald Wagner, National Director, Friends of Sabeel North America
Revd John Woodger, Retired vicar of St Mary's Watford

Church of England Newspaper: Sizer complaint

Friday, 21 December 2012

NASA: Why the world did not end today



For some more weird and wacky Armageddon theology see here

And from my book Zion's Christian Soldiers, see chapter 6, Overture to Armageddon and this recent sermon debunking the myth of a secret rapture I want to be Left Behind

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Dr Donald Wagner refutes allegations of anti-Semitism

18th December 2012

Dear Bishop Christopher:  

Grace and peace to you and may the light of Advent guide us in overcoming the darkness.  The Middle East is often clouded by darkness, particularly in the regions under Israeli occupation that yearn for justice and peace.  

I am writing in support of my colleage Rev. Dr. Stephen Sizer, who is a respected voice for the poor and challenges injustice across the Middle East.  I have known and worked with Stephen for nearly 15 years and have the utmost respect for his writing, pastoral ministry, and his speaking around the globe on behalf of the victims of persecution and human rights violations.  

His critique of Israel's policies vs. Palestinians is specific and legitimate, and of course is never welcomed by those who strive to cover-up the abuses of power.  

Stephen's voice must be safe-guarded and encouraged.  His challenges are consistent with those levelled by the pre-eminent Israeli human rights organization "B'Tselem," which of course translates as "in the image of", the image of God that we are called to honour and safeguard in all human beings.  

Dr. Sizer is within this tradition.  I sincerely hope that you will support his mission and ministry.  

In grace and peace, 

Rev. Dr. Don Wagner,  
Chicago, IL  

(National Program Director of Friends of Sabeel--North America)

See also letters from:

Right Revd Riah Abo El Assal, 13th Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem
Dr Mark Braverman, Author of the Fatal Embrace
Rabbi Professor Dan Cohn-Sherbok, Lampeter University
Jeremy Corbyn MP, Islington North
Katherine Cunningham, Moderator, IPMN, Presbyterian Church USA
Professor Scott Elias, Royal Holloway, University of London
Tony Greenstein, Founding Member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Professor Mary Grey, Patron, Friends of Sabeel UK
Dr Jeff Halper, Co-founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
Revd Phil Hill, Nazareth Evangelical Theological Seminary
Canon Garth Hewitt, Founder of the Amos Trust
Dr Ghada Karmi, Exeter University
Manfred W. Kohl, Ambassador Overseas Council
Venerable Michael Lawson, Chairman, Church of England Evangelical Council
Jeremy Moodey, Chief Executive, Embrace the Middle East
Diana Neslen, Jews for Justice for Palestinians
Professor Ilan Pappe, Exeter University
Rabbi Dr Stanley Howard Schwartz, Hospice Chaplain and retired Army Chaplain
Revd Dr Donald Wagner, National Director, Friends of Sabeel North America
Revd John Woodger, Retired vicar of St Mary's Watford

Anthony Julius is chairman of the London Consortium and a Visiting Professor at Birbeck College, University of London. His book Trials of the Diaspora, is a magisterial 800 page examination of the history of Anti-Semitism in England. In the final chapter which deals with the distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, Julius writes,

"He has recently explained, however, that he 'categorically reject[s] any position that threatens the territorial integrity of Israel as a sovereign nation.... Stephen Sizer's work has the merit of clearly setting out the issues that divide the two sides, and furthermore doing so without the rancour or sheer nastiness of tone typical of the polemics in the conflict." (p.571)
It is ironic that much of the "rancour or sheer nastiness" comes from Zionists unable to distinguish between two.

And see also these articles from other sources:

Phil Groom (member of CCJ): Jeremiah's Underpants
Phil Groom (member of CCJ): Dr Sizer is cleared
Church of England Newspaper: Sizer complaint
Church Times:  Vicar is not Anti-Semitic
Church Times:  Rabbi Clears Vicar of Anti-Semitism
Jewish Chronicle: Bishop: anti-Zionist vicar ‘no antisemite’
Jewish Chronicle:  Sizer: I am ready to meet the Board of Deputies any time

Photos of Arab League Conferfence in Baghdad