The Capranica

Comments on theology and life

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Location: Hemet, California, United States

Co-Pastor of First Baptist Church of San Jacinto, California

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Things Liberals Boycott

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is urging denominational divestment from a number of US companies because, as the Prebyterians assert, they are helping Israel in the occupation of Palestinian territory. The New York Times story linked above notes that only one company was targeted for divestment on the Palestinian side of the struggle due to their alleged funneling of money to families of suicide bombers. What is the rationale behind this move? Is the rationale theological? Minimally. Some within the Presbyterian Church of American (a somewhat more conservative branch of Presbyterians), issues an open letter through Knox Theological Seminary some time ago, urging Christians not to support Israel based on their eschatological stance. Based on their Covenant Theological grid of viewing the world and the Scriptures, they assert that the current secular nation of Israel has no biblical right to the land (the church has replaced a political Israel) and therefore should not be supported by evangelicals. No doubt this Covenant kind of theology is a foundational aspect for the more liberal brand of Presbyterians in the PCUSA. I agree that the current secular state of Israel is not the one mentioned by the prophets as those who should inherit the land, but not because of a skewed view that the Church has somehow spiritualized all of the Old Testament promises to Israel. Jeremiah 31:31-34 suggests that Israel and Judah will inherit the land when their heart is changed and the nation once again obeys the Lord. However, the PC USA no doubt is more influenced by their social liberal leanings, of which the NY Times report draws attention. Rather than enter a debate on the Israeli/Palestinian issue, I find it interesting as to what it is that will draw the ire of liberal professing Christians. Southern Baptists were mocked by the press and other religious groups for their boycott of Disney and Disney's open support of the homosexual movement. While I do not stand with the co-belligerence movement among many evangelicals (see Steve Camp's articles on evangelical co-belligerence), they at least are motivated to address issues with more moral and some biblical foundations. Is it the church's responsibility to use financial clout to bring about political pressure and force political policies? When you abandon the spread of the evangel, what else is left to do? When you no longer accept the Bible as an authoritative source for the church's emphasis and directives in ministry, how else is a socially liberal leaning denomination to spend their time and money? When the denominational headquarters is removed from local church control (be wary fellow Southern Baptists), what else should we expect from politically minded denominational executives? When the emphasis of our cause has become nothing more than social justices to the exclusion of the preaching of the cross for the salvation of the lost, we should not be surprised when churches become purely political. Evangelicals in America are headed in a similar direction. Theology is becoming less and less important. The Bible is becoming more and more plagued with evangelical doubt and disinterest. So, we pursue conservative political issues. Now the liberals, who have adopted a more stringent rejection of Scripture's authenticity and authority, are pursuing their more liberal political positions. Are the evangelical churches in America headed toward a similar state of ministry emphasis. From my vantage point the slide has begun.


Blogger mrclm said...

I don't think we are called as a church to be co-beligerants, but we can participate on an individual basis. How and where I choose to spend my money (as informed by Biblical priciples) is very important. I can choose to use my (very limited) influence to inform those around me about my beliefs on any subject, not limited to just the Bible.

Big Chris
Because I said so

8/10/2005 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger mrclm said...

Piper on Making Room for Atheism

Check it out.

Big Chris

8/10/2005 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Kyle Walker said...

You too can be the Pope....for $19.95...

I know too well the cost that has come with this PCUSA stance. However, your rightly argued critique of the continued lack of Biblical grounding among liberal Christians aside, is it not correct that Israel is being encouraged toward injustice by a Dispensationalist Christianity that is blindly permissive of Israel's policies no matter what?

Perhaps the method of the divestment was wrong but the issue remains and should be addressed. Even the nation that is favored as the fulfillment of the Kingdom still has accountability to God's justice and should be held accountable for her justice to the aliens in her midst(entire OT should be cited here especially the prophets)

Good to find you, Bret. Glad to know this forum exists for us to continue our longstanding theological dialogue and wonderful friendship.

8/15/2005 11:18:00 PM  
Blogger Bret Capranica said...

Kyle! I wondered if I could draw you out from hiding! How thrilling to see you in the blogosphere. You really need to e-mail me so we can catch up.

As I said in the post, my dispensationalism does not lead me to believe that the current secular state of Israel is the one to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies regarding the land. A redeemed Israel will.

Perhaps originally politics was driven by dispensationalists with an agenda. While I admit there are a number of dispys out there who are plugging for a God-hating Israel to have the land based on covenant promises, I seriously doubt that their influence is what is actually driving politicians today.

Outside the theological debate, it seems that Israel is making greater strides for peace and justice at the present moment than the Palestinians. We shall see.

Be sure to send in your check or money order for popedom! You too. . .

8/16/2005 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger Kyle Walker said...

Okay, now I have to find your e-mail....I could put mine on here but people warn me about that. Supposedly creepy critters rove the net and find e-mail addresses to immerse with spam.

I'm going to surf for you on your church site.

For those of you who don't know Bret and I began a Presby-Baptist discussion that began in high school and hasn't ended. It began over infant baptism and has covered almost everything. And, yes, we had the Greek out and everything there in the high school cafeteria. What nerds we were! Okay, fine, maybe we still are!

8/17/2005 01:11:00 AM  

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