Christians forced to choose in Israel War
Is God impartial or does He play favorites?
Because the empathy for Israel has been grilled in every Protestant and Catholic church, support for Israel in the present conflict is a no-brainer. Now with the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis the issue is being forced.
The Old Testament finds a partial God who allegedly creates and controls the destination of Israel as a “chosen” people. Because of this life-long indoctrination, most Christians have no doubt that Israel continues to be favored by God. According to the New Testament they may be wrong.
According to one 2017 survey by a Southern Baptist publication, 80% of evangelicals believe that God’s promise to Abraham and his descendants is true for all time.
In the New Testament, we see a major shift in theology. While the Old Testament seemed to emphasize a God-nation relationship; the New Testament emphasizes a personal-God relationship.
The personal-God paradigm has no room for nationalism. According to the New Testament, God is impartial.
In Acts, Luke quotes Peter: “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.”
After Peter visited with the Gentile centurion – a sin for Jews – he declared that “God gave them the same spirit as He gave us..”
At Pentecost, all people present were blessed by the Holy Spirit without partiality.
Paul, writing to the Galatians said that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave or free, there is neither male or female for you are all one” as a Christ-follower.
In the Israel-Hamas controversy, the political nature rears its ugly head. In past elections, Democrats won around 80-90% of the Jewish vote for president. However, there has been a rearrangement of political loyalties.
Republicans are now voicing strong support for Israel. In the late 1990s, the PEW Research Center found that only half of the Republicans sympathized with Israel. By 2018, eight of 10 Republicans claim to sympathize more with Israel than Palestine.
The Republican change of heart came when the conservative evangelicals were added to the conservative wing by Donald Trump.
From a secular point of view, there are plenty of good arguments for favoring Israel. Many of the first Christians were disappointed when other Jews did not join them in accepting Christ. So some of them created animosity between traditionalists and Jesus-followers.
This animosity was akin to a prairie fire that spread wherever there were both Jews and Christians. In fact, this conflict sparked the centuries with hate and spawned a persecution that plagued Jews everywhere they went.
The unspeakable holocaust should make every human being guilty of this crime suffered by Jews.
On the other hand, Palestine has a case. They had their sovereignty until the guilt-ridden western countries crushed them by allowing millions of Jews to claim Israel as home.
So the ultimate question for Christians is whether or not God is impartial or He favors one nation above all others. For those who believe that the New Testament should be taken literally face a difficult choice.
There is little doubt that the centuries of “chosen nation” indoctrination has been swept aside by Christians who cannot reach the point of impartiality. James alleged that partiality was sin.
This is basically a personal issue between the believer and God.