James Jacob Prasch

A Response to TEAR Fund NZ and the Bible College of NZ

On behalf of a number of concerned Christians of whom we are aware in NZ, we respond to the campaign by Stephen Tollestrup and Tear Fund to mobilise Evangelical Christians in New Zealand against Israel in Israel's fight for survival against Islamic terrorism.

The tone and content of this campaign has taken on the character of a rampage, supported by many nominal and non-Evangelical Christians and various figures at the Bible College of New Zealand, especially Chris Marshall. Indeed many Evangelicals are gravely troubled to see BCNZ continue to gravitate further away from biblical orthodoxy into the realm of liberal theology. BCNZ has fostered seminars promoting theistic evolution funded by the Templeton Foundation, whose prize winners have included proponents of Eastern religion such as the Dali Lama. Mr Marshall's remarks that divine justice is not satisfied by punishment but rather by reconciliation directly contradict the teaching of the Gospels that reconciliation is only possible because divine justice was satisfied by punishment of Jesus in our place. One can only wonder how BCNZ can prepare future ministers of the Gospel for the ministry when it no longer seems to know what the Gospel even is. Mr Marshall additionally sings the praises of such figures as Desmond Tutu, who advocates the ordination of lesbian priestesses into the Anglican clergy and who also recognises the spirituality of African witchdoctors as valid. It is a tragedy to see a formerly Evangelical institution departing from its once orthodox heritage.

Also participating in the anti-Israel campaign is Vivian Coleman, supported by "Christian atheist" Lloyd Geering and BCNZ graduate Glenn Duthie. Ms Coleman falsely states that the 1987 Islamic Intifada was a peaceful uprising while the death certificates and news footage plainly indicate otherwise. It is amazing that such statements which are not only misleading but demonstrably false can be propagated under the auspices of something calling itself Christian.

Mr Duthie, drawing on the Gnostic and Marcionite influences of Stephen Sizer, argues against literal interpretations of Scripture and flagrantly denies the undeniable, absurdly claiming that Jesus and the New Testament do not prophetically speak of the return of the Jews to the ancient homeland God promised them, and that God promised Abraham and the Patriarchs would forever be theirs. It appears that the direct statements of Jesus in Luke 21:24 and Acts 1:6-7 are omitted from Mr Duthie ‚ ¹s Bible. Jesus and the New Testament clearly teach a restoration of the Jewish nation (Acts 1:6-7) and of a return to their ancient capital Jerusalem in the last days (Luke 21:24). Both the New and Old Testaments directly inform us that the Jews are to regather for the Great Tribulation climaxing with the battle of Armageddon (Rev 16:16, Zech 12:11) after which Christ will return, with the Jews recognising the one who was pierced as the Messiah (Zech 12:1-10). The Bible tells us that God's final plan for the redemption of the world is prophetically bound up with His plan for the salvation of Israel when the natural branches are grafted in again (Rom 11:25) and that Jews remain beloved of God for the sake of their fathers (Rom 11:28). At BCNZ biblical exegesis seems to be a lost art; in theory the raison d'etre (reason for) a Bible College is to teach exegesis. Mr. Duthie does not even appear to know that the texts are in the Bible. How can people teach what they do not know themselves?

From the time of the Canaanites to the present day there has never been a Palestinian State. Indeed biblical Palestinians were Greeks, not Arabs. As a theological term, Palestinian meant Jewish, not Islamic (eg, E P Sanders classics Christ and Palestinian Judaism, Paul and Palestinian Judaism). As a geographical term it meant anyone living between the Jordan and Mediterranean with no reference to race or religion; Jews, Arabs, Armenians, Christians, Muslims were all Palestinian if they lived in the region.

The original name of the Jewish Jerusalem Post newspaper was the Palestine Post and it was 30,000 Jewish soldiers who fought in the British Palestine Legion in World War 2. It was not until 1964 that the name Palestinian was reinvented to describe Arabs who mainly settled in the British Mandate illegally prior to 1948. Yassir Arafat, for instance, is not a Palestinian but an Egyptian born in Cairo.

Neither the Ottoman Turkish Muslims, the League of Nations, the British, or the United Nations saw a need for a Palestinian State because as far as they were concerned a Palestinian State already existed in Jordan which King Hussein admitted in 1968 and Arafat admitted in 1971. Although it is a Hashimite country its population is 70% Palestinian Arab. When Arafat tried to do to the Jordanians what he is now trying to do to the Israelis, the Jordanians massacred 18,000 Palestinians in 12 days in "Black September" of 1970 as the Kuwaitis would carry out similar pogroms against the Palestinians in 1991. When the Israelis treat the Arabs the way Arabs treat each other Mr. Tollestrup will have an injustice to complain about.

From May of 1948 until June of 1967 when, in self defence against a Soviet backed war machine, Israel was forced to invade the West Bank and Gaza, the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem were all in the hands of Palestinian Arab Muslims. If the Arab Muslim world really wants a second Palestinian Arab State why did they not create one when they had nearly 20 years to do so? The absurdity of such hypocrisy is eclipsed only by the absurdity of Tear Fund to buy into such revisionist militant Islamic propaganda. Tear Fund and its ancillaries cite a host of mainly non-Evangelical Arab clergy, ignoring the pro-Israeli born again Palestinian Arab Christians such as Asis Shorush, Samuel Rin Said, and Joseph Farah, who debunk Islamic claims of widespread confiscation of Arab land in 1948. Indeed, the so-called Palestinian refugees in Lebanon were forced out of Jordan in Black September; they did not come from Israel as the myth maintains.

The reason of course so many born again Arab Christians support Israel is because Israel is the only nation in the Middle East where the lives and rights of Arab Christians are protected. While the rhetoric of Tear Fund and its anti-Zionist allies argue there can be no peace without justice we must ask does this include justice for the Christians who are flogged, hung and beheaded in Saudi Arabia, which funds the construction of mosques all over the world but will not allow one Church to be built in Saudi Arabia? Does it include justice for the Berbers of North Africa whose Christian forbearers were murdered and whose nations have been disgracefully occupied by Arab Muslims for the last 12 centuries with these indigenous people relegated to the status of third rate human beings? Does it include justice for the 2.1 million Christians murdered by fundamentalist Muslims in Sudan alone? Does it include justice for the abducted Christian women forced to undergo ritual clitorectomy in Indonesia? Mr Tollestrup makes much capital of his links with the Baptist Bible College in what he calls Israeli occupied Bethlehem. I am delighted that under the Israelis there is a Baptist Bible College in Bethlehem, but can Mr. Tollestrup please tell us where we will find a Baptist Bible College in Saudi Arabia or Iran?

Denmark has a 4% Muslim population but Muslims constitute 40% of people on the dole and are the majority of Denmark ‚ ¹s convicted rapists with the majority of the victims Danish. This phenomena of raping infidel women, as the headlines show, has now arrived in Australia. If Israel did not exist we would still have sharia in Northern Nigeria with Christians as the victims. We would also have Chechnya, the Balkans, the Sudan, the Islamic apartheid of Malaysia, Lockerbie - Scotland, the Twin Towers in New York, the bombing of Indias Parliament, the assassination of Robert Kennedy, the Bradford riots, Islamic riots in Australia, and tens of thousands of barbarians rioting in the streets of London demanding the murder of a British citizen, Salman Rushdie, for writing a book. Indeed if there was no such nation as Israel we would still be facing the same problem fundamentalist Islam and its Jihad crusade against democracy and Judeo-Christian civilisation. There are three times as many conflicts in todays world involving Islam as there are all of the other religio-people groups put together, and Evangelical Christians are too often the chief and most hated of their victims.

Two weeks before September 11th of last year Arafat PLA radio station broadcast a call for suicide attacks not only against Israel and America but against Britain. His corrupt regime has pilfered the international aid given to help his own people and when offered a State on fair and reasonable terms he declined it instead calling for 1 million martyrs to die in the Jihad. It is strange that Tear Fund decries the plight of Palestinian Arab children. Their own leaders, parents, teachers and mosques groom them to die as suicide bombers as human sacrifices to allah just as the Canaanites demonically sacrificed their children to Molech on the same locations.

After Oslo II Arafat had two years to stop the fundamentalist Muslims and refused, forcing the Israelis to renter the West Bank. The minute the Muslims got the land back they again used it to attack Israel just as they did prior to 1967. Arafat knows that King Abdullah of Jordan, Bashir Jemayiel, and Anwar Sudat were all assassinated for trying to make peace with the Jews in contradiction to the teaching of the Koran. Mohammed said the last day will not come until a tree says to a Muslim there is a Jew hiding behind me come and murder him. Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Hizbollah, and the Al Aqsa Brigade all proclaim that once they get a Palestinian State they will simply use it as a base to continue the Jihad against Israel and the Crusaders (Crusaders is derogatory Islamic slang for Christians). The resounding battle cry of Arafat ‚ ¹s followers is first the Saturday people, then the Sunday people; first we kill the Jews then we kill the Christians. Yet Tear Fund makes it a Christian cause to give those with a suicide bomber interpretation of their religion a base from which to operate by telling the Israelis to withdraw so the militant Muslims can get on with their religion and kill them and their children. As Golda Meir said, peace will come to the Middle East when the Muslims love their own children more than they hate ours.

Tear Fund repeatedly uses the phrase the Israeli occupation. Can a Maori occupy New Zealand? Can an Apache occupy Arizona? How then can a Jew occupy Hebron, Jericho or Bethlehem? I do not question the right of Pakeha to live peaceably in New Zealand and they do not question the right of an Arab to live peaceably on the West Bank, but by definition an indigenous people cannot occupy their ancestral homeland. There has never been a Palestinian State but archaeology history and the Bible prove conclusively that there has been a Jewish one. A Jew can no more occupy Biblical Israel than a Maori can occupy Rotorua or an Aboriginal can occupy Alice Springs.

At this very moment, within spitting distance of Darwin Australia, there are 200,000 Christian refugees in East Timor with nearly 25,000 murdered by fundamentalist Muslims in a Jihad. In the Philippines there are 55,000 dead Christians courtesy of the Islamic Jihad of Abu Sayef. Yet as Christians are butchered alive in genocidal proportions not far from New Zealand's own doorstep, Stephen Tollestrup and Tear Fund remain silent about this anti-Christian holocaust perpetrated by militant Islam and instead turn their guns on a small nation thousands of miles away which bravely stands against militant Islam and which protects the rights and lives of Christians.

The bogus claims issued by TEAR FUND in reaction to the backlash against their antics, claims that they have not taken sides in the political dispute, but that their aims are only Christian cum humanitarian. We wish this were true, but as anyone can plainly read for themselves Steven Tollestrup's article in the BCNZ magazine proves this to be blatantly false.

Only under the Israelis did people of all faiths have access to holy sites of all faiths. The Moslems did not grant this freedom. A Moslem or Christian can visit the Wailing Wall and a Moslem and a Jew can visit any Christian site. Why should a Jew therefore not be able to visit the site of the Hebrew Temple? Vivienne Coleman however blames Israeli insensitivity to Islamic sensitivities when Ariel Sharon visited the temple mount. In fact contrary to the article published by BCNZ, the Islamic council, the Waf, knew in advance of his planned visit and did not object, but it was only exploited later for purposes of religious propaganda to insight violence. Now that Jamma Ismalia (the Indonesian affiliate of Al Qaida) uses the offence to Islamic sensitivities of western style holiday making to justify its recent terror in Bali, do the same standards also apply against Australia that apply against Israel?

Now that militant Islam has sent nearly two hundred vacationers home to Australia in body bags, why don't Coleman and Tollestrup go to the families of the victims and blame that on insensitivity to Islamic sensitivities as well? Now that America and Australia have begun to face the same Islamic militancy that Israel has had to face for years, the Tollestrup's of this world try to turn the church against Israel for defending itself from this same evil, and they do so under the guise of what they claim to be a Christian cause and a Christian ministry? Whatever kind of ministry or cause this is however, it is not a biblical one, and TEAR FUND is not an organisation any longer deserving of the financial contributions of Bible believing Christians. There are other ministries and other Christian means of helping the poor and sponsoring impoverished children without funding an organisation under men like Tollestrup that is party to such bigotry, bias, and wickedness.

As God-fearing and Bible-believing Christians we cannot entertain these outrageous double standards (Prov. 20:10, 23; Prov. 11:1). We cannot recognise BCNZ as the doctrinally valid Evangelical institution it once was and we can in no way participate in the support of Tear Fund due to its crusade against Israel and Zionistic Christians which it pursues to the substitution of its true calling of contending for the rights and the lives of persecuted Christians scarcely more than a stone's throw from New Zealand's own shores.

by James Jacob Prasch