Thursday, 28 July 2011

The Usual Scapegoats

I just received a very interesting email from Rolf Heittman, the CEO of the Norwegian Lutheran Mission, relating to Anders Behring Breivik.

Rolf says his "fundamentalist Christianity" and "pro-Israel" symathies are non-issues in Norway.

Rolf says in his message:

"We register that the terorist internationally has been described as "Christian". This is simply not a topic in Norwegian media.

"There has been no focus on the killer as 'Christian' or 'Pro-Israel', but rather a focus on an extrene right-wing terrorist with neo-Nazi symphathies.

"Yes, we know that he has established (together with British fellows) a 'Knights Templar' organization, but no Christian group in Norway (at least) will identify with such an ideology, nor with the Crusaders' methods and misuse of power."

So why is the media outside Norway obsessed with Breivik's supposed "fundamentalist Christian", "Zionist" convictions? Breivik is a gift to the western media. His deranged claims give the news outlets something to self-righteously bluster about while they sharpen their knives for the slaughter of a couple of sacrificial lambs.

Norway Shooter no Fundamentalist Christian

I've been trying to find time to sift through Anders Behring Breivik's 1,500 page apologia for his murderous spree last weekend in order to present the evidence that whatever else Breivick was, he was not a Christian. Other pressures prevented me from doing so. However, someone just sent me this article by Chuck Missler who does what I intended to do but with more style and eloquence than I could. Here it is.

When Anders Behring Breivik shot and killed 68 people at a Labour Party summer youth camp on Norway’s Utoeya island and killed another eight in a bombing in Oslo on July 22, the media immediately began bellowing that a right-wing Christian fundamentalist had just committed the most deadly attack in Norway since WWII. The slaughter of dozens of children under any banner is not simply tragic, but abhorrent. Media outlets spoke too quickly when they asserted that Breivik was a fundamentalist Christian, however. Regardless of what Breivik’s Facebook page might have claimed, his actions and words demonstrate no relationship with fundamental Christianity, “right-wing” or otherwise. He in fact supports Darwinism and human logic, demonstrating a rationalist worldview rather than a Christian one.

As we consider the Norway shooting, we first and foremost must pray for the families and friends of those who lost their loved ones. We especially grieve for the families of the teenagers – unarmed kids – whom Breivik murdered in the name of freeing Europe. This man did not come upon armed enemies. He came to an island filled with children, dressed as a police officer to gain their trust. He called them to himself and then began to shoot them down at close range, following them to where they hid in tents and where they fled to the lake to escape. The grief felt in Norway right now is unimaginable, and our hearts and prayers go out to all the living victims of the rampage.

It is a horrific shame that the news outlets immediately began proclaiming that Anders Behring Breivik, the Norway Shooter, is a Christian fundamentalist. Breivik has willingly admitted that he has no personal relationship with God or Jesus, and his actions have nothing to do with what Jesus Christ taught.

What Breivik Believes:

On Friday, Breivik released a pdf file describing his beliefs and motivations for his attacks. His major complaint is against the Muslim invasion of Europe, along with the Marxists and multiculturalists he believes are letting it happen.
Breivik’s stated goal was to, “cause maximum amount of damage to the Labour Party to stop its recruitment” and to stop “a deconstruction of Norwegian culture and mass-import of Muslims.”

Breivik is not pro-Christianity. He is simply anti-Muslim. He possesses a desire to preserve the historical Christian culture of Europe, as though he were preserving apple pie and baseball in America or wieners and schnitzel in Germany. In fact, while the papers declared Breivik to be a Christian fundamentalist, he specifically placed himself against a government based on Christian fundamentalism.

He writes: “It is therefore essential to understand the difference between a ‘Christian fundamentalist theocracy’ (everything we do not want) and a secular European society based on our Christian cultural heritage (what we do want).”

Breivik’s version of Europe’s Christian culture has nothing to do with faith in God at all. It’s all about the non-Islamic cultural legacy of Europe.

He says: “So no, you don’t need to have a personal relationship with God or Jesus to fight for our Christian cultural heritage. It is enough that you are a Christian-agnostic or a Christian atheist (an atheist who wants to preserve at least the basics of the European Christian cultural legacy (Christian holidays, Christmas and Easter)). The PCCTS, Knights Templar is therefore not a religious organisation but rather a Christian ‘culturalist’ military order.”

While seeking to preserve Europe’s cultural heritage, Breivik envisions a perfect Europe coming about through ‘Logic.’ He states, “‘Logic’ and rationalist thought (a certain degree of national Darwinism) should be the fundament of our societies.”
Ah. Rationalist thought. That’s just it.

Breivik did not kill those kids because of any verse in the Bible or because he believed God told him to. He’s a believer in the human mind. He killed those teenagers and set off a car bomb in Oslo because, according to his rationale, it was the first step in achieving his purposes. He used his perfectly decent, albeit twisted, reasoning ability to justify the slaughter of dozens of unarmed human beings.

Many will argue that Breivik is insane, but Breivik’s writings are not the ravings of a lunatic. His writings are lucid and practical. He has simply taken the human ability to make logical choices and has removed from his equations all morality and the value of individual human life. Breivik, like the Nazis or Communists or any other group that justifies mass murder, demonstrates where human logic can lead in the absence of moral absolutes.


Islamic fundamentalists have been repeatedly guilty of using violence in their efforts to bring humanity into submission to Allah, and there is a general world assumption that religious fundamentalism always eventually leads to violence in God’s name.

True Christian fundamentalism, however, would never lead to the shooting of teenagers. It couldn’t, because true Christian fundamentalism bases itself on the teachings and person of Jesus Christ. The real problems we Christians sometimes cause do not come from obeying Jesus, but from not obeying Jesus. Joshua took over the Promised Land, and David killed Goliath, but Jesus Christ never told his disciples to go out and commit violence in his name.

Jesus said:

“But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise,” (Luke 6:27-31).

That’s what Jesus taught.

Jesus told his followers he would send them the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17, 15:26, 16:13), and the Holy Spirit truly sets those who love Jesus apart from the members of all of the world’s religions. The Spirit of God does not promote evil and destruction. As Paul the apostle told the Galatians, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law,” (Galatians 5:22-23).

The problem we Christians have is not that we are too filled with the Holy Spirit or too in love with God. If we were, we would obey God. We would be filled with the fruit of the Spirit, full of the wisdom and love of Christ. We Christians cause problems not when we stick to the fundamentals, but when we are not fundamentalist enough.

Norway shooter Anders Behring Breivik is definitely not a fundamentalist Christian, and his justifications for murdering 76 people on Friday should give pause to any who think that human rational thought will ultimately lead to utopia.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

The UN's hostile obsession with Israel

From Israel Today

In September, two important events, both dangerous to Israel, will take place at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.

The first is the Palestinian Authority's effort to win international support for its unilateral bid for statehood.

The second is closely related: the third World Conference Against Racism, dubbed "Durban III."

The first such conference was held in Durban, South Africa. Both that and the second Durban conference quickly disintegrated from legitimate discussions on racism into orgies of anti-Israel sentiment.

The question both of those gatherings raised, and which Durban III is certain to raise again, is why the world has such an unnatural obsession with bashing Israel?

This enormously informative video presentation put together by the Messianic-led Jerusalem Institute of Justice explains how an organization that claims to protect human rights is doing just the opposite when it comes to Israel.

This clever little video explains why.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Hamas Hangs Two Arabs for ‘Collaborating’ with Israel

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu reports that Hamas has hung two Gaza Arabs for allegedly collaborating with Israel. Such executions are legal under Palestinian Authority law.

The Hamas Interior Ministry announced the executions after appeals were rejected for convictions handed down in 2004. Human rights activists have not commented on the executions.

Earlier this year, a Hamas firing squad executed one man convicted for helping Israel, and three others are on death row.

The IDF routinely relies on collaborators for information on the location of terrorists, smuggling tunnels and weapon storerooms.

The Palestinian Authority law allows a death sentence for the offenses of collaborating with Israel, murder and drug trafficking, but execution orders must be signed by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, whom the de facto Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh does not recognize.

Abbas also has previously approved executions, mainly for the crime of selling property to Jews, an offense punishable by death from the time of the Jordanian occupation of most of Judea and Samaria.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Mountains of speculation from molehills of fact

Within hours of the attacks on the World Trade Centre ten years ago, stories that every Jew who worked in the twin towers was absent from work on September 11 were spreading on the web like a virus.

It didn’t take long for anti-Zionists to try to pin the massacre in Norway on Israel. The theory began with a way-out blog but has now reached Al Jazeera, reports Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu.

Because Neo Nazi Anders Behring Breivik made statements favourable to Israel, anti-Israeli elements have tried to find a convoluted line of evidence that could link Breivik’s crazed rampage with Israel’s secret service, Mossad.

The initial anti-Israeli reaction began with a self-styled investigative journalist’s blog in the United States but gained more prominence on the Al Jazeera website in a column written by Wayne Madsen, who claims to be a former U.S. military analyst.

The fervently anti-Israel website “American Veterans Today” carried a post that claimed “it is after all, pretty clear that a car bomb of such magnitude, and an operation of such sophistication is not exactly something a layman can put together with such apparent ease: it would surely take some specialist knowledge, and the question here is, who could provide such knowledge, and such a vast amount of lethal explosives?

Al Jazeera published an article by Gilad Atzmon, an Israeli-born jazz saxophonist and political activist known for his criticisms of Zionism, Jewish identity, and Judaism. According to Atzmon :“The [Norwegian] Labor Party Youth Movement have been devoted promoters of the Israel Boycott campaign. Many of the children who were gunned down by Breivik earlier had held up anti-Israel signs."

“I am not in a position at present to firmly point a finger at Israel...” Atzmon said cautiously, “but assembling the information together, and considering all possibilities may suggest that Anders Behring Breivik might indeed, have been a Sabbath Goy."

“Within its Judaic mundane-societal context, the Sabbath Goy is simply there to accomplish some minor tasks the Jews cannot undertake during the Sabbath. But within the Zionised reality we tragically enough live in, the Sabbath Goy kills for the Jewish state.”

Atzmon’s concluded, “The full facts of the Norwegian tragedy are, as yet, unknown, but the message should by now be transparently and urgently clear to all of us: Western intelligence agencies must immediately crackdown [sic] on Israeli and Zionist operators in our midst, and regarding the terrible events of the weekend, it must be made absolutely clear who it was that spread such hate and promoted such terror, and for what exact reasons.”

Never let it be said that Israelophobes allow facts to get in the way of their deranged fantasies.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

True colours?

I hold my hand up and confess that when I heard the news of the killings in Norway yesterday, I thought "Muslims". I was shocked this morning to hear Anders Behring Breivik, the 32-year-old suspect in Friday's attacks, described as "a fundamentalist Christian".

The first comment on the "Freethinker" website came from "Miltz": "Still at least we see the christian community showing their true colours".

Breivik's Twitter account, however, has only has one post, a quote from Utilitarian philosopher John Stuart Mill: "One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests."

His Facebook page apparently reveals very little about him except an interest in libertarianism and a clear belief in the power of the individual. As far as I can tell, there are no quotes from Christ.

So why does the media insist Breivik is a "Christian" instead of a libertarian or a disciple of J S Mill?

Can't you guess?

Friday, 15 July 2011

More on Stephen Sizer's Malaysian interview

Stephen Sizer’s eccentric understanding of the Bible raises a number of questions.

First: he was interviewed by a Malaysian reporter for a Malaysian paper. As Malaysia is a Muslim country, the reporter was presumably a Muslim and the vast majority of her readers would be Muslim. Why is Rev Sizer telling a Muslim country that the vast majority of Christians don’t understand their own holy book? Why is he telling Muslims that most Christians believe “absolute rubbish”? Sizer is undermining the credibility of Christians in the eyes of Muslims.

Second: Sizer doesn’t appear the least bit concerned about the “slightly provocative” nature of the article. In fact he appears pretty chuffed that his interviewer, who is more than likely a Muslim, writes with such evident alacrity and glee that an Oxford-educated Christian cleric thinks most of his co-religionists are a bunch of Charlies.

Third: Stephen says that being one of God’s chosen depends on “faith”. I note he isn’t more specific about what “faith” is or who the object of saving faith is. The implication is that Jews don’t have “faith”, which is why they are not the people of God. But Muslims do have “faith”. Could it be that the lady interviewer was so pleased with the Christian cleric’s answer because it affirmed her in her Islamic “faith”?

At a meeting in Dundee earlier this year, Stephen Sizer declared that he doesn’t get involved in politics; he is primarily an evangelist. He has told me that he has visited Iran, Lebanon and other Islamic states in order to be a witness. But telling a Muslim that “faith” identifies you as one of God’s people is irresponsible. “Faith” never saved anyone. What saves is faith in Jesus the Messiah as Saviour and Lord and Son of God. Muslims believe none of those things. If that was an attempt on Stephen’s part at being a witness to a Muslim lady, he needs to take a crash course in personal evangelism.

I suspect that if he had told the interviewer that the people of God are those who believe in the crucified Son of God, the interview would not have appeared in print.

Sizer says he can't help it if the media misrepresents him. But there is no suggestion on his blog that the article is anything other than accurate. In fact, Sizer appears quite pleased by the interview.

I am drawn to the conclusion that in spite of his pleas, Stephen Sizer went to Kuala Lumpur to bash Israel and to bash those who believe the Jewish people in some way remain the people of God.

Are the Jews God’s Chosen People?

Not according to Rev Dr Stephen Sizer (pictured).

A few weeks ago, the vicar of Christ Church, Virginia Water was in Malaysia participating in a lecture tour organised by Muslim organisation Viva Palestina Malaysia. Shahanaaz Habib of the Star Newspaper interviewed him and he was so impressed by her “rather provocative article” that he posted it on his blog:

“‘Absolute rubbish’, replies Reverend Dr Stephen Sizer when asked about the popular Christian view that Jews are the chosen people and that Israel is the Holy Land which gives them the right to return.

“The senior pastor of Christ Church in Surrey, England, who has a master’s in theology from Oxford University, stresses that the New Testament never once mentions that the Jews are the ‘chosen people’ nor does it say that the land belongs to the Jews.

“In fact, he adds, the Hebrew scripture doesn’t say that either.“‘God’s chosen people are not based on race but based on faith,’ he insists.”

So both Jews and Christians have been getting it wrong for thousands of years. We thought the Bible – both Old and New Testaments – taught that Israel was “the people of God”. But they’re not.

How does the claim that the New Testament “never once mentions that the Jews are the ‘chosen people’” stack up against the New Testament itself?

Well, in one sense Rev Sizer is correct; there is no verse that says “the Jews are the ‘chosen people’.”

But does it need to? If the Old Testament teaches the Jews are God’s chosen people, why should we assume that the silence of the New Testament means they no longer enjoy “favoured nation” status? Should we not, instead, expect to find – if Sizer is right – an announcement that the Jews are no longer persona grata with God?

But, says Sizer, even in the Tanakh we find no evidence that the Jewish people are God’s chosen. It’s all based on faith. Really? How about these verses?

Ex 3:10: “Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

1Sam 9:16: “Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over my people Israel. He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have seen my people, because their cry has come to me.”

2Sam 7:10: And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more.”

Ps 81:11: “But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me.”

Ezek 34:30: “And they shall know that I am the LORD their God with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people…”

It is possible, of course, that Stephen Sizer will say that the actual term “chosen people” does not appear in any of these verses. Well, try these verses for size…

Dt 7:6: “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God." The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”

Dt 14:2: “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”

1Chron 16:13: “O offspring of Israel his servant, sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!”

Ps 33:12: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!”

Ps 105:6: “O offspring of Abraham, his servant, children of Jacob, his chosen ones!”

Ps: 105:43: “So he brought his people out with joy, his chosen ones with singing.”

Is 43:20: “The wild beasts will honour me, the jackals and the ostriches, for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people…”

“God’s chosen people are not based on race but based on faith”, insists Stephen Sizer, but the verses listed above are applied indiscriminately to all the Jews. If Sizer wants explicit statements, where does God ever say that only those Israelites who possess faith are his people?

In Amos 3:2, God warns Israel: “You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”

With privilege comes responsibility. Not every Israelite loved God with his whole heart but, because he was an Israelite and because he was chosen, his punishment would be more severe. To whom much is given, much is required.

But what about the New Testament? Is Sizer correct when he claims the New Testament is silent about the Jews being the “chosen people”?

The objection is a smoke screen. It’s similar to the one raised by those who deny the deity of Jesus: “Jesus never said he was God.” Well he may not have said “I am God” in so many words but if someone is accorded all the titles of God, and if he speaks like God and acts like God, the chances are pretty high that he is God. Jesus didn’t need to go around declaring his deity any more than the Queen of England or the President of the United States needs to constantly jog our memories about their status.

The New Testament, of course, never states explicitly that the Jewish people are “the chosen people” but the evidence is there.

Mt 2:6: “And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.”

Addressing a crowd of Christ-rejecting Jews, Peter states in Acts 3:25: “You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.”

In Romans 9:3ff, Paul writes in the present tense about his “brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh”:

“They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

In Romans 11:28f, he says of the Jews: “As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”

God called Israel because he chose to, and he will not revoke that call or the gifts he bestowed on them. That is why Paul could say in Romans 2:9: “There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first …”

He is repeating what Amos said centuries before: “You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”

That is why the gospel, although it is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes”, it is (present tense) and remains, “to the Jew first” (Rom 1:16).

Does the New Testament teach that Jewish people are still the chosen people? You bet!