John R. Houk
© July 16, 2015
Oneway2day. I appreciate your work. I wish you take an interest of this item and maybe make an article of it. Thank you. God bless you :-)
> Empowered 21 (E21), a worldwide Christian organization based in Tulsa, OK and the sponsor of a Global Congress in Jerusalem in May 2015, may be endangering its credibility, and the credibility of the Christian faith it seeks to propagate, because of its relationship with Palestinian Christians who promote a fallacious anti-Israel narrative. <
When I first read this request I suspected Yurki was asking me to examine another string of the Agenda 21 Conspiracy Theory relating to Progressive (I usually use the term “Leftist”) Christian theological ideology which usually cherry-picks God’s Word elevating select Scriptures that concur with Humanism as relevant and discarding all Scripture that runs counter to Humanist Social Justice and Left Wing utopianism.
As I read the article I soon realized the article by Tricia Miller had nothing to do with Agenda 21. Rather “Empowered 21” is an organization promoting global connectedness that Miller quotes as “Spirit-empowered movement”. Miller accuses this Holy Spirit global movement as a group of Evangelicals and Pentecostals getting together hooking up with Christians who align with the Arabs that call themselves Palestinians but are Christian rather than Muslim. The problem with such a hook-up is that Palestinian Christians (as are many Arab Christian sects throughout the Middle East) are Antisemitic Jew-Haters and Israel-Haters. Combine this hatred of Jews with the Palestinian Christian growing view of Replacement Theology and Palestinian Liberation Theology (and yet another pseudo-Marxist strain of Liberation Theology and Black Liberation Theology).
Replacement Theology believes that Christianity replaces Jews as the Chosen People and Palestinian Liberation Theology (PLT) is the Leftist ideology involving warped thoughts on Social Justice. Christian thoughts must be centered on God’s Justice which is largely met in Grace by Faith in the Blood of the Risen Savior Jesus Christ. If Social Justice deviates from the path of God’s Justice and the cleansing of the Blood by Grace then that Social Justice is null and void.
Replacement Theology is unscriptural. Social Justice that is contrary to God’s Word is plain and simple – UNGODLY.
If Ms. Miller’s analysis is correct then you as a Biblical Christian (may God have mercy if you are not) should be VERY ALARMED. Regardless on your Christian take that Jews need Jesus now to be Saved or Jews will awaken to understand that Jesus is their Messiah and not dead at His return, KNOW that Jews are still and always will be God’s Chosen People.
The Apostle Paul – the Apostle to the Gentiles (non-Jews) – was Jewish by birth of the tribe of Benjamin, says this in Romans chapter 11:
I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, 3 “Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”?[a] 4 But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”[b] 5 Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace.[c] But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
7 What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. 8 Just as it is written:
“God has given them a spirit of stupor,Eyes that they should not seeAnd ears that they should not hear,To this very day.”[d]
9 And David says:
“Let their table become a snare and a trap,A stumbling block and a recompense to them.10 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see,And bow down their back always.”[e]
11 I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. 12 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!
13 For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. 15 For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.
19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.”20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness,[f] if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
27 For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.”[h]
28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, 31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. (Romans 11: 1-32 NKJV)
Now I realize that when this epistle was penned by Paul or a secretary for his day and that Romans was not divided by chapter and verse. So whoever did the dividing made sure that nearly the entire eleventh chapter is devoted by the Apostle to the Gentiles to the Promise the Jews are still the people of Promise made to Abraham. AND that Christians have not replaced the Jews but have been engrafted as a wild branch into the natural root. AND though the branches of the natural may be experiencing a pruning effect, at least a remnant of the natural branches will be re-engrafted into the natural root. AND if the graphed wild branches ever walk in disobedience they too will experience pruning. AND Christians abandoning or cherry-picking God’s Word are opening themselves to a pruning. AND worst of all – throwing Jews and especially the Jews residing in the Land of Israel – under the bus for Left Wing political expediency will lead to a curse and NOT a blessing.
The Short Version of Blessing and Cursing
12 Now the Lord had said to Abram:
“Get out of your country,
From your familyAnd from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.2 I will make you a great nation;
I will bless youAnd make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.3 I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
6 Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh.[a] And the Canaanites were then in the land.
7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.
17 19 Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.” (Genesis 12: 1-3, 6-7; 17: 19-21 NKJV)
For an exact and graphic picture of blessing and cursing and their results I encourage you to read Zechariah chapters 12 – 14. From a Christian perspective those chapters establish the Jews as God’s chosen and Jesus the Messiah as the King of kings right on through His millennial reign. I know next to nothing Judaic theology so I can’t speak to the Jewish belief of those chapters of Zechariah. However, any Christian who has read their Bible only a little bit would recognize Jesus Christ as the Person written of in Zechariah.
Any kind of Replacement Theology proclaiming the Christian Church is simply erroneous.
Tricia Miller’s article I referred to in the beginning of these thoughts, “Empowered 21 and Christians Who Promote Anti-Israel Propaganda,” is something I found quite disturbing. Usually Evangelical Christians and Christians associated with either/or Pentecostalism-Charismatic beliefs have been among the staunchest supporters of Israel. Miller’s article singles out Christian organization that crosses all three slants of the Christian faith; viz. Evangelical, Pentecostal and Charismatic. The organization is called Empowered 21 and bills itself as a part of the Oral Roberts University (ORU) umbrella. I suspect largely to the death of ORU’s founder Oral Roberts and some financial mismanagement of Brother Oral’s son Richard Roberts (Richard Roberts’ self-defense on local news video), the Roberts family has largely been shut out of the family legacy of ORU. Perhaps the relatively new ORU Board of Directors have embraced Palestine Liberation Theology (PLT) over the Biblical stipulations of God’s Promise to the Jews or they are just plain ignorant that the legacy of Middle Eastern Christianity (which includes Arabs that call themselves Palestinian) has been and still largely is Antisemitic.
If the ORU support (either direct or backdoor) of PLT Christians exists I’d like to believe is due to a plausible excitement that Arab Christians have discovered that the Holy Spirit is as active now as it has been since the original Disciples in the Upper Room first experienced Holy Spirit Baptism as in tongues of fire lit up their God enthused connection between their human spirit and the Holy Spirit of God Almighty. Unfortunately the more I read I have come to the sense that the ORU Board and the powers that be at Empowered21 are on board with the Antisemitic Replacement Theology of the PLT Christians.
Another of America's leading Christian schools, Oral Roberts University (ORU), has deep conservative Christian roots. Oral Roberts himself was a Pentecostal televangelist and a strong friend of Israel. Some of the leading preachers in America graduated from ORU, and its board of trustees has included pro-Israel Christians such as pastors John Hagee and Kenneth Copeland and Bishop Keith Butler.
But things may be changing at ORU. The current chair of ORU's board of trustees is the aforementioned Mart Green. He is reported to have "saved" ORU with a $70 million cash infusion. In January 2013, ORU's board of trustees elected Billy Wilson as the university's new president; a few months later, Wilson was named as a speaker for 2014 at the leading anti-Israel Christian conference, "Christ at the Checkpoint." (The End of Evangelical Support for Israel? The Jewish State's International Standing; By David Brog; Middle East Quarterly; SPRING 2014 • VOLUME 21: NUMBER 2)
And more on ORU, ORU President – Billy Wilson, Empowered21 and Naim Ateek:
In what is being dubbed an "unprecedented advisory," Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a warning to Christians to steer clear of the "Christ at the Checkpoint" [CATC] conference that took place from March 8th-15th in Bethlehem, and coincided with Israel Apartheid week there. Israel Today, a publication that investigated the conference, concluded that it could pose "a long term threat to Israel's security." According to the official statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
"The attempt to use religious motifs in order to mobilize political propaganda and agitate the feelings of the faithful through the manipulation of religion and politics is an unacceptable and shameful act. Using religion for the purpose of incitement in the service of political interests stains the person who does it with a stain of indelible infamy."
A ministry official stated that, "the conference is designed for the evangelical Christian leadership [sic – same word twice] leadership -- an extremely important audience to us." Christians around the world should pay close attention to the Israeli government's concern about the dangerous propaganda being fanned and fueled at "Christ at the Checkpoint." …
Looking further into the agenda of this event, the Jewish National News Service pointed out that "Christ at the Checkpoint" emphasizes replacement theology, which teaches that the Christian Church has replaced Israel and the Jewish people in God's purpose and plan so that the Jews are no longer God's "chosen people," and that Christians have replaced them. This is a source of division in the Churches and a stance many Christians resolutely oppose.
Bethlehem Anglican Canon Rev. Naim Ateek, president of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, spoke at the inaugural CATC in 2010; he is one of the first church leaders to connect Liberation Theology with the Palestinian cause. … Ateek stated in an Easter message he once delivered: "In this season of Lent, it seems to [sic] many of us that Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him. It only takes people of insight to see the hundreds of thousands of crosses throughout the land, Palestinian men, women, and children being crucified. Palestine has become one huge Golgotha. The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily. Palestine has become the place of the skull."
Executive Director David Brog of Christians United for Israel described the speakers of CATC as the "who's who of the new anti-Israel narrative...in a guise of love.... who claim to be "pro-Israel, pro-Palestinian, pro-peace." Just before the conference convened, Brog warned that "almost every speaker will blame Palestinian suffering on Israel and Israel alone." He calls CATC a "dangerously one-sided propaganda campaign against Israel."
Bishraw Awad, former president of Bethlehem Bible College opened the CATC with a pledge of Allegiance to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas: "As evangelicals we pledge our allegiance to Palestinian President Abbas and the Prime Minister."
… (New Anti-Semitism Tailored for Evangelicals; By Christine Williams; Gatestone Institute; 3/25/15 4:00 am)
The Empowered21 Global Council is an esteemed group of International Christian leaders, co-chaired by George Wood and Billy Wilson. These leaders have met together in Los Angeles, CA in January 2011 and in Orlando, FL in January 2012 to discuss and give oversight to a series of 11 regional Empowered21 leadership teams. These teams are forming across the world to focus on crucial issues faced by the Spirit-empowered church. [Leaders include a list of prominent Ministers and Evangelists that I still have a great admiration for and yet I hold disappointment for being involved in partnering with anti-Israel Christians.] (LEADERSHIP; Empowered21)
There is nothing new about the efforts to drive a wedge between America's evangelicals and Israel. Many in the anti-Israel camp have been working for years to do exactly that. Anti-Israel Palestinian Christians such as Sami Awad and Naim Ateek have traveled the country telling American Christians how their "brothers and sisters in Christ" are being oppressed by Israel's Jews. …
The days when one had to travel to Bethlehem to hear such anti-Israel voices are now over. The anti-Israel narrative of "Christ at the Checkpoint" is now being shared at major Christian conferences in the United States including those organized by Empowered21 and Catalyst.
Empowered21, the preeminent gathering of Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians, provides a troubling example of this trend. Its leadership is a who's who of Pentecostal and Charismatic luminaries from around the world, including many longstanding friends of Israel. However, the leading critic of Israel among these leaders, Mart Green, appears to be playing an outsized role in setting the conference's agenda: Its 2012 conference in Virginia included a talk by Sami Awad and a screening of Green's film, Little Town of Bethlehem. [Blog Editor: PLT leanings of Mart Green’s film]
Empowered21 has announced that it will hold its 2015 global congress in Jerusalem. Given the conference's connections to Sami Awad and Mart Green, there is some skepticism whether the choice of location was intended as a sign of solidarity with the Jewish state. Only time will tell if the organization's leadership will permit the conference to become a one-sided Israel bashing fest. (The End of Evangelical Support for Israel? The Jewish State's International Standing; By David Brog; Middle East Quarterly; SPRING 2014 • VOLUME 21: NUMBER 2)
Yeah I know, that’s a lot of excerpts. I was just so astonished to read the who’s who involved in an Anti-Israel/Antisemitic endeavor that promotes an existence of a Palestinian State at the expense of Israel’s Biblically Promised Land! Thus instead of talking about them, I just went to the sources of information. After a few links (some of which are not friendly toward those I still consider very anointed Ministers of the Gospel) that are very uncomplimentary to admirable individuals and yet concurs with spiritually indicting Christians that have wittingly or unwittingly hooked up with PLT ideology; I will then post “Empowered 21 and Christians Who Promote Anti-Israel Propaganda” sent to enlist my thoughts from a frequent commenter on my NCCR blog – Yurki1000.
Spirit-Empowered Leaders Gather for What Could Be Largest Christian Pentecost Celebration in Israel's Modern History 5/19/15
Israel Watch posts on Empowered21 (top to bottom) 12/29/14 – 11/3/14
Sabeel’s Theology of Contempt 6/2015 PDF
SABEEL AND NAIM ATEEK FACTSHEET 10/2/11
Empowered 21 and Christians Who Promote Anti-Israel Propaganda
July 9, 2015 12:00 pm
Empowered 21 (E21), a worldwide Christian organization based in Tulsa, OK and the sponsor of a Global Congress in Jerusalem in May 2015, may be endangering its credibility, and the credibility of the Christian faith it seeks to propagate, because of its relationship with Palestinian Christians who promote a fallacious anti-Israel narrative.
This global entity, which intends to “shape the future of the Spirit-empowered movement” and evangelize every person on earth by 2033, claims to represent 640,000,000 evangelical and pentecostal Christians. Therefore, the potential fallout from an alliance with those who spread dishonest propaganda against Israel is significant.
At the recent conference, E21 co-chair Billy Wilson and others repeatedly emphasized the necessity of Christian unity for the purpose of “world evangelization in our generation.” The problem with this call to unity stems from E21’s unreflective support for, and involvement with, Palestinian Christian leaders who promote a narrative rooted in demonization of Jews, delegitimization of Israel, and erroneous theology.
This relationship is demonstrated in part, through the inclusion of Jack Sara, president of Bethlehem Bible College, as one of the leaders in E21’s Global Congress. Sara was scheduled to participate in a breakout session that addressed the subject of networks of ministries and churches. He was also a member of the committee, “Exploring the Land of Pentecost,” which was responsible for educating attendees about places they would tour.
Jack Sara’s participation is particularly troubling because Bethlehem Bible College (BBC) and the Christ at the Checkpoint (CaTC) conferences it sponsors are some of the primary promoters of virulent anti-Jewish/anti-Israel propaganda. The logo for Christ at the Checkpoint depicts a church behind the security barrier built by Israel, and the theme of last year’s meeting was “Theology in the Service of Peace and Justice.”
Through their imagery and content, these conferences present a one-sided narrative that perpetuates the two millennia-old Christian doctrine that Jews are an obstacle to God’s purposes. As a result, Jews are demonized, the Jewish state is delegitimized, and Christians are encouraged to accept the message in the name of peace and justice.
This narrative is rooted in a customized replacement theology and a Palestinian version of liberation theology. Traditional replacement theology says that God no longer has any purpose for Israel or the Jews and that God’s work on earth is now being done through Christians and the Church. This teaching promotes contempt for Jews, and has provided justification for two millennia of anti-Semitic violence.
Palestinian replacement theology rewrites history by claiming that Jesus and the first Christians were all Palestinians, and that the Palestinians – not the Jews – are the indigenous people in the land. This assertion means that the Palestinian people are the rightful owners of the land, which serves their political agenda very nicely by delegitimizing the existence of the Jewish State.
Palestinian liberation theology depicts Palestinians as victims who need to be liberated from Israeli occupation. This narrative is particularly appealing to an evangelical audience susceptible to a message emphasizing the need for peace and justice, but has no understanding of the historical or political context of current events necessary to counter the lies and distortions supported by this theology.
The promotion of, or adherence to, any theology that is customized for the purpose of promoting a political agenda undermines the credibility of historic Christian faith.
Therefore, the perpetuation of 2,000-year-old anti-Jewish canards and erroneous theology by BBC and CaTC is a serious problem. Consequently, it is imperative that the leaders of E21 consider the repercussions of not distancing themselves from this demonizing narrative, even as they express the understandable desire to support their Palestinian brethren.
E21’s collaboration with local Christians was further evidenced through the scheduling of a service in Manger Square in Bethlehem, before it was cancelled with one days (sic) notice due to “significant political and religious pressure,” In response to this unexpected development, E21 co-chair Wilson “spent the afternoon in Manger Square trying to find a way to further support our Christian brothers in there, including considering the possibility of other alternative venues.”
Wilson’s intent to “support our Christian brothers in there” by scheduling a service in Bethlehem, and the involvement of the president of BBC in the leadership of E21 are consistent with the conference’s emphasis on the importance of Christian unity. This would be an ideal goal in an ideal world. However, in this case, E21’s cooperation with Palestinian Christian organizations that have a track record of anti-Israel activism may provide a venue through which their false narrative is promoted to a global audience.
In light of this threat, the leadership of Empowered 21 needs to reconsider how they define their stand in “unity” with those who promote anti-Israel propaganda based on erroneous theology, demonization of Jews, and delegitimization of Israel.
Otherwise, the credibility of this global movement and the Christian faith it seeks to propagate will be compromised, and its intent to “shape the future of the Spirit-empowered movement” will be an issue of great concern.
Know it, Grasp it, Understand it – The Jews are God’s Chosen People
John R. Houk
© July 16, 2015
Empowered 21 and Christians Who Promote Anti-Israel Propaganda
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Breaking Israel News offers a fresh and Biblical perspective on the latest news from Israel and the Middle East. Our bias is not liberal or conservative – just Biblical. Breaking Israel News was started in July 2013 by Rabbi Tuly Weisz, Director of Israel365 after thousands of Jewish and Christian Zionists requested more news items and insight from Israel. On a shoestring budget, the site has grown tremendously and in a short time, Breaking Israel News is visited by thousands of people every day and 100,000 unique visitors over the course of a month from over 100 countries around the world.
The Breaking Israel News Staff
Rabbi Tuly Weisz – Director
Rabbi Naphtali “Tuly” Weisz attended Yeshiva University (BA), Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (Rabbinic Ordination) and the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law (JD) and served as the Rabbi of the Beth Jacob Congregation in Columbus, Ohio. Upon making Aliyah, Rabbi Weisz founded Israel365 and serves as the publisher of Breaking Israel News providing … READ THE REST
ABOUT Tricia Miller
Tricia Miller, Ph.D. is a senior research analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA). She has a Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible and wrote her dissertation on anti-Semitism in relation to the book of Esther. The dissertation was published in July 2014 under the title "Three Versions of Esther". A second book, titled "Jews and Anti-Judaism in Esther and the Church" was published in May 2015, and addresses the relationship of Esther to current Christian anti-Judaism and anti-Zionism.