Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Young Evangelicals Turning Away From Israel

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Lifeway Research has found that young evangelicals are turning away from supporting Israel and the idea that it is biblical and important to do so.

And the apathy is accelerating among our kids.

Here's a look at why it's happening, and what we should do about it.

Be informed.

How your young evangelical feel about Israel.

In a survey of evangelicals in general and young evangelicals in particular, Lifeway Research found that our kids are increasingly apathetic about supporting Israel.

The survey conducted in 2017 found a sharp difference in beliefs about Israel between evangelicals 65 and older and those evangelicals aged 18 to 34.

Among the 65 and older group, 77% said they support Israel. Among the 18 to 34 group, 58% said they do.

They also found that 41% of young evangelicals have no strong views about Israel, and they are less sure Israel's rebirth in 1948 was a good thing.

Scott McConnell, the executive director of Lifeway, said at the time, "For the most part, younger evangelicals are indifferent about Israel."

At the time Christian Post published an article which said,
"Support for Israel is decreasing among evangelicals, particularly among younger generations...a decline borne out of confusion about or indifference to the world's only Jewish state."

Joel Rosenberg, with Chosen People Ministries, was quoted in the article:
"Unless the Church gives younger believers a healthy, balanced, solidly biblical understanding of God's love and plan for Israel, overall evangelical support for the Jewish state could plummet over the next decade as millennials represent an even-larger percentage of the over-all Church body."

He was right. For the past 24 months, support for Israel among our kids has declined. And continues to do so.

Why the ambivalence toward Israel among our youth within the Church?

The religious Left is misleading our children.

In an article published Sunday, Gerald McDermott, Anglican chair of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama, says he was only one of two participants in the annual "Christ at the Check Point Conference" that was pro-Israel.

He said the strong pro-Palestinian bent this conference and others are turning this generation against Israel.

Recognizing that most older adult evangelicals strongly support Israel, McDermott said of our kids,
"Their parents are roundly criticized in our culture for being uneducated, and for being, now, at this point in our culture, immoral. For their opposition to gay marriage, that's sort of a leading reason . And young people don't want to be thought of as bad people."

And he thinks that some children simply want to distance themselves from their parents' beliefs because parents are often cast, by the religious Left, as out of touch, uninformed...and just plan wrong.

Public school teachers and professors have clearly had an impact in pushing social justice as the highest virtue.

What parents have got to recognize is that there are many forms of social justice, and the kind being pushed today by Jim Wallis and his cohorts in the religious Left, although filled with fervor and sprinkled with Scripture, is dead wrong.

Left-wing Christianity is anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian because it stands in stark disagreement with biblical teaching.

Both the religious Left and the news media speak with the same voice. Both repeatedly find new ways to make Jews the bad guys while making the Palestinians the good guys.

McDermott says several years ago while on a sabbatical, he toured the Holy Land. During his stay he, as a professor, stayed with Arab Muslims, secular Jews, Arab Christians, Messianic Jews---who lived in Galilee, asking them their opinions on Jesus and a variety of other things.

He says,
"What I found, whenever I talked to Arab Christians, to a person, they'd pull me aside, and take me around the corner where we couldn't be overheard. And the first thing they would say is 'don't use my name'."

"And then," he says, "they would sort of lean over and whisper: 'Don't believe what you read in the media, that the enemy is the Israeli government. It is not. We wish the Israeli government would do more to protect us from our real enemy, which is our Muslim cousins. They are out to destroy us."

McDermott says he heard that story all over Israel, and that first-hand witness "strikes at the heart of what is wrong with the Palestinian narrative."

And he said this in regard to what is known among far Left progressives---particularly religious Left---as the theory of intersectionality:
"The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage---is influencing young minds, and it is this system where Israel is routinely referred to as an 'apartheid' state."

He's right. Even the UN in 1975 tried to make that case against Israel, portraying Zionism as "racism"---Jews as "racist" or as the new Nazis, because of their beliefs found in the Old Testament.

McDermott thinks a whole generation has bought into the Leftist approach to Israel--- into the so-called social justice.

For Christians who really care about standing for Israel, he urges them to visit and speak with them first hand.

The church and Christian parents are not adequately teaching their children a systematic theology or belief based on biblical teaching.

In relation to Israel we have not adequately taught our children what the Bible says about it.

Genesis 12:3 says:
"And I will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all nations of the earth be blessed.'

God has promised to bless the person or nation who blesses Israel.

Romans 15:27 says:
"For if the Gentiles have shared in their ( the Jews) spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them in also in material things."

Psalm 145: 4 reminds us that "One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts..."

This is a two-page overview of what the Bible teaches about our relationship to Israel. I recommend you check it out---share it with your children or grandchildren.

Anti-Israel sentiments in our government.

There have always been some in our government who did not really support Israel, but they were muted in their dislike.

We have now crossed a new threshold and anti-Israeli rhetoric in our government.

Newly elected US Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Muslim woman from Minnesota---one of two Muslim women elected to Congress in November, recently posted a Tweet that read:
Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel."

This weekend she posted another anti-Israel post. Some of her Democrat friends, who probably share her feelings, came out publicly and condemned her anti-Israel words, causing her to post a "sort of" apology.

This will continue and accelerate, because of the times in which we live.

Be Informed. Be Steadfast. Be Faithful. Be Vigilant. Be Prayerful.