Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hanegraaff defends Sizer

There has been a long growing list of notables rushing to defend Stephen Sizer against allegations of anti-Semitism. You can track them all at his blog where he has kindly catalogued them for his readers' benefit. I guess word travels fast and they've surprised the good vicar with a cheery word on his behalf. One recent defender is Hank Hanegraaff who writes:

"I recognize him [Sizer] as a gifted exegete and a much needed voice respecting unnecessary roadblocks erected on the path to peace in the Middle East. He consistently and even-handedly warns against the grievous sin of turning a blind eye to anti-Semitism as well as the abomination of turning a blind eye to a Zionist theology that divides people on the basis of race rather than uniting them on the basis of righteousness, justice, and equity..."

And this:

"Moreover, I find it wholly ironic that courageous men such as Dr. Sizer are uncharitably charged with anti-Semitism while precious little is said respecting the unbalanced perspectives of Christian Zionists who communicate that directly following their own glorious rapture a numberless multitude of Jews will be slaughtered in a bloodbath that they say will exceed even the horrors of the Holocaust. Indeed, those who dare question their notion of a pretribulational rapture followed by a Holy Land holocaust, in which the vast majority of Jews perish, are shouted down as peddlers of godless heresy. The ultimate pejorative phrase has even been coined for those who deny the heart of their Zionist eschatology. They are dubbed “replacement theologians” and are said to be guilty of spreading “the message of anti-Semitism.” Indeed, popular dispensationalists are blunt in their denunciations: “Replacement theologians are now carrying Hitler's anointing and his message.” Little wonder then that this charge is now being gratuitously directed at Dr. Sizer."

My guess is that Hanegraaff's real problem is with Scripture and not with Zionism or the rapture doctrine (Jer 31:36; Amos 9:14-15; Zech 2:8, 13:8-9). Note that even good friend Dr. Norman Geisler has taken Hanegraaff's eschatology to task HERE and HERE. Et tu Brute?

But Hanegraaff can be excused for coming across as a little emotional and throwing a bit of mud while defending his friend Sizer. After all, others have similarly attacked him and mutual friend Dr. Gary Burge for their understanding of Zionist and Israeli misdemeanors. The problem for Sizer, Hanegraaff and Burge is that a lot of criticism has come from non Zionist observers who can spot anti-Israel bias miles away:

"Hanegraaff and Burge both claim they are not anti-Israel or pro-Palestinian, but neutral in supporting peace and justice. Between being anti-Zionist, demonizing Israel, white-washing human rights abuses by Palestinian rulers in Gaza and the West Bank, and indoctrinating students to support Palestinian Arabs against Israelis, their claims of neutrality appear to be little more than posturing."

Other bloggers have noted the tendency for Sizer to obsessively focus on Israel while ignoring other Middle East issues that have affected Christians. At one point he even wrote favorably of the victorious Morsi (Muslim Brotherhood) in the Egyptian elections. That was despite several documented statements Morsi made about taking Jerusalem for Islam and destroying Israel; and we all know how pleased the Egyptians are with Morsi now.

Since the anti-Semite allegations, Sizer has half-heartedly tried to address that imbalance by posting the odd Christian-problems-in-the-Middle-East article that doesn't directly bash Israel. But his passion is to point out the failings of Zionism and Israel's hegemony. Even now he's promoting his anti-Zionist materials by having his "Seven Biblical Answers to Popular Zionist Assumptions" translated into Chinese.

Guess that makes him pretty "gung ho" about something, even if he denies it's anti-whatever!

Further reading:

Turning Churches Against Israel

UK Jews complain to Church of England over ‘anti-Semitic’ vicar

Stephen Sizer & anti-Semitism (Anglican friends of Israel

2 comments:

Rhology said...

Hanegraaff and Burge both claim they are not anti-Israel or pro-Palestinian, but neutral in supporting peace and justice. Between being anti-Zionist, demonizing Israel, white-washing human rights abuses by Palestinian rulers in Gaza and the West Bank, and indoctrinating students to support Palestinian Arabs against Israelis, their claims of neutrality appear to be little more than posturing.

Not to mention appearing in Iran for similar reasons.

mac said...

Why am I not surprised?

Thanks for the link.

alf