Calvary Chapel Breached

Near the summit at Masada, one can see the place where the Romans breached the defenses of the 1,000 Jewish men, women, and children who’d fled after the destruction of Jerusalem some two years earlier. It is on the western side and serves as a stark reminder that since forever, enemies of the Jews have sought to do them harm.Masada ended badly for those Jews, and while they are not always threatened first physically, they are always threatened.This week, Sami Awad, a Palestinian Christian from Bethlehem (and director of the Holy Land Trust), announced on Facebook that he will be speaking at several churches on the West Coast this month. The May 10th date caught my eye and leaves me dismayed.May 10 San Diego, CA. North Coast Calvary Church. 7-9 p.m.In a two-week stretch, from Seattle to San Diego, Awad will speak at more than two-dozen churches. Most of them will be churches friendly to his pro Palestinian message.That’s why the May 10th engagement is so stunning, and so dismaying.For 40 years, Calvary Chapels have been a stronghold of biblical thought. The verse-by-verse teaching style from the pulpits is a blessing to the American Church, now awash in false teachings and outrageous personalities.It was a matter of time before leftist thought was mainstream enough to contemplate infiltrating Calvary Chapel.That’s now happened.Awad, whose family is well-known in certain circles, has been partnering with American evangelical friends Lynne Hybels, Todd Deatherage, and now Gabe Lyons to promote what he describes as a “non-violent” approach to peacemaking. In brief, Awad and his friends portray Israel as a lamentable occupier of Palestinian land and the usual narrative also includes discussion of the big “open-air prison” forced on the downtrodden Palestinians by Israel’s “apartheid wall” (security fence to realists).I get concerned when I hear information that is skewed. For example, the so-called Christian Palestinianists allege that the fence completely encircles Bethlehem.That is a lie.For some time, a full campaign—well-financed, organized, and choreographed—has been underway to marginalize Israel to evangelical audiences. Typically, the approach of Sami Awad has been to portray Israel as a harsh occupier in need of tough love. End the occupation, allow the right of return, and establish a Palestinian state.Who is Sami Awad? A March 15, 2008 article in the British paper The Guardian gives us a clue:“Outside Betlehem's Nativity Church, Christians yesterday queued not to celebrate the birth they believe happened here but to mourn a death - that of a Palestinian militant with close links to neighbouring Lebanon's Islamic militia, Hizbollah.“Mohammed Shehadeh was one of four Palestinians shot in an Israeli undercover ambush here last week, killings that have fuelled support for Hizbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, among Christians and Muslims alike.“School principals, teachers and students from the Bethlehem School, the Catholic School and the Greek Orthodox School paraded to the mourning tent outside the church chanting and waving placards praising the Palestinian 'martyr'.“'People admired Shehadeh's ability to stand up to the Israelis,' said Sami Awad, Christian executive director of the Holy Land Trust, dedicated to promoting non-violent action against Israel's occupation. 'There's a lot of admiration for the charisma that Nasrallah has and the way he speaks and presents his views in public.'”Unfortunately, later in the article, Awad’s view doesn’t sound any better:“'The reason he was popular was because he presented a symbol of those individuals who were engaging in resistance,' Awad said. 'People are seeing that Hizbollah has done what others have failed to do either by military operations or negotiations. If Fatah had been able to achieve real steps through negotiations, people would be following that [process] and be feeling more proud of it and more supportive of it.’”I frankly wouldn’t trust anyone who wouldn’t unequivocally denounce anything Hezbollah stood for, past or present. Let’s not forget their murder of American Marines in Beirut in 1983.Whether it’s Fatah, Hezbollah, Hamas or any other murderous organization, the view that Israel is at fault is false.Occupation. Land-for-peace. Right-of-return. Carving-up tiny Israel.Interestingly, this “cure” for the Arab-Israeli conflict is the same as that of the PA/PLO. When one hears a presentation from Awad & Friends, as I have, one is struck by the extreme one-sidedness.This is what North Coast Calvary Chapel will be treated to on May 10. Awad will be joined by Lynne Hybels and Mae Cannon (of World Vision).World Vision!The basic MO of these presentations is that Israel took Palestinian land in aggressive wars. Cleverly, in fine-tuning their presentations, these influential speakers are now talking in terms of being “Pro Israel, Pro Palestinian, Pro Peace, and Pro Jesus.”Who could argue with that?Again, it’s a cleverly worded attempt to sound even-handed, tolerant, and peace-loving. I think it’s anything but.By the way, anyone who thinks peace can be achieved by caving-in to Palestinian demands is either uninformed, deluded, or malicious.“Pro Israel and Pro Palestinian,” in the context of Sami Awad & Friends, is grossly naïve. Every single thing we know about the Palestinians in the last two decades since Oslo underscores a compelling case that a Palestinian state would be a lethal threat to Israel.So we can’t have our peace cake and eat it, too.Although there are people involved in these activities who are genuinely looking for peaceful solutions, many are not. When one considers that the basic story line is that Israel is at fault—and when Palestinian terrorism and murder of Jews is rarely if ever discussed—one can legitimately wonder whether this whole endeavor springs from efforts at peacemaking or…malice.jim@prophecymatters.com

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