As anyone who visits this blog knows by now, Dr. Mac Brunson, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville has decided to use the church facilities at FBC Jacksonville to host an event called "A Time to Stand With Israel".
The purpose of FBC Jax in hosting the event is not clear, but the pastor's office has stated that it is one way we can "show the love of Jesus to our Jewish friends". This is certainly debatable, since the objective of the event is NOT to witness to the attendees, but instead to honor the Jewish nation and to raise funds for a Jewish hospital while not directly addressing the Jews' need for Jesus Christ. Believers at FBC Jax have consistently been taught by our pastors over the years the most loving thing we can do is to tell people - Jew or Gentile - about Jesus Christ; the most unloving thing we can do to a lost person is affirm them in their lost condition and beliefs and not tell them about Jesus. So as I have said numerous times in the past weeks on this blog it is sad - no, it is a tragedy - that the pastor of our church has decided to host this event at our church. A worthy event? Yes. Consistent with our church's mission and message? Clearly not. Perhaps in his speaking slot at the event Mac Brunson will use this as an opportunity to tell the message of Jesus, but it is doubtful.
Don't agree with me that its a sad thing we are hosting this event not focused on Jesus' Messiahship? Think I'm crazy saying its an absolute tragedy that we are handing over the use of our facilities to men who are going to use our resources to glorify Israel while not proclaiming Jesus is their Messiah? Well then listen to the Executive Director of "Jews for Jesus". I came across an article of his that really says what I have tried to say here on this blog the last week.
You've probably heard of "Jews for Jesus", a 35 year old evangelistic organization whose mission is "to make the messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to our Jewish people worldwide. " Jews for Jesus is headquartered in San Francisco and has many ministries throughout the world focusing on bringing the message of Jesus Christ's messiahship to the Jewish people. David Brickner is their Executive Director. Listen to what he wrote in his May 12, 2006 article entitled "Omission: The Sin Against Israel", where he points out the danger in these kinds of events; he refers to an article written by Robert Stearns urging Christians to support Israel politically, while ignoring their need for Jesus Chris. Note below that he addresses directly "Christians United for Israel", John Hagee's group that sponsors these same types of non-evangelistic events to support the nation of Israel.
I know this is long, but you have to read this. I've added my own highlights. If you want to read Mr. Brickner's entire article, click here.
Good deeds sometimes do more harm than good. That’s right. If we busy ourselves with doing good while omitting what is best, then what is good eventually shrivels into a sorry substitute for what is best....Nowhere in his article does Stearns make the slightest mention of Israel’s desperate need to know her Messiah. Nowhere does he tell Christians that their prayers for more Israelis to come to saving faith is an important part of Christian support for Israel.
Stearns directs an organization that stands side by side with a growing number of organizations that encourage Christians to support Israel, and instruct churches on how to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Yet there is an aching, gaping omission regarding the gospel of our Messiah Y’shua, and the need for the people of Israel to receive Him.
When it comes to Israel’s well-being, this glaring omission threatens to undermine all the good intentions and good deeds that characterize several Christian organizations.....
How can Christians teach one another to pray for the peace of Jerusalem but fail to mention the Prince of Peace? Soothing words of comfort and kind acts are good as far as they go, but they cannot prevent the inevitable loss that every soul who dies without Jesus must face.
We recognize the validity of ministries whose main focus is not gospel proclamation, but those that ignore or, at times even contradict, the need for Jewish people to receive the gospel go against the clear teaching of the Scriptures.
How did Jesus pray for Jerusalem? He wept over the city and said “If you had known. . . the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes….How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings...” (Luke 19:41-42; 13:34). Jesus was so committed to peace for Jerusalem that he stretched out his arms and died upon a cross to purchase that peace with His own blood.
How did the apostle Paul pray for Israel? “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved…. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh” (Romans 10:1; 9:3).
The Scriptures should inform our support and prayer for Israel, and yet they do not factor into the plans or purposes of many organizations. Indeed, they are an embarrassment to some. For them, omitting any mention of Israel’s need for the gospel clearly is not an oversight; it is intentional. In describing the most recent and potentially powerful of these organizations, a group called Christians United For Israel, in this month’s Charisma magazine comments, “To engender the trust of the Jewish community, the organization is to be ‘non-conversionary’ in its approach to Jews…hoping Christians will not let theological concerns stop them from supporting the state of Israel.”
To Christians United For Israel I would like to say, here’s a news flash. Theological concerns absolutely must guide our support of Israel; otherwise that support will become unbiblical and unchristian. Who ever said that we can’t support Israel and also stand firm for the good news of Jesus Christ for Israel? Indeed, we must do nothing less.....
Now more than ever we need Christians to stand for the gospel going to Israel....Any Christian who wants to show the love of God for Israel needs to remember that the greatest way to say, “I love you,” is to tell of God’s love in Jesus. To withhold that message of love from the people of Israel is like never having said I love you at all.
Mr. Brickner published another article recently on these topics here where he says:
Unfortunately, many Christians who genuinely love Israel have a hard time understanding that political efforts cannot take the place of the more difficult, seminal and enduring work of Jewish evangelism. Many Christian organizations that support Israel gain friends and allies by agreeing not to talk about the gospel....A growing number of evangelicals seem willing to avoid this biblical command [proclaiming the gospel to Jews] in the interest of better relations with Jewish leaders here and in Israel.
Hear that Team Brunson? You want to "show the love of Jesus to our Jewish friends"? Either hold this event as an evangelistic event to proclaim the gospel, or have the organizers and sponsors (whoever that is, no one seems to want to claim this event as their own) hold it at some other site so the attendees (and others in our community) don't get the wrong idea that we affirm them in their lost condition without Jesus. I think Mac knows what is right, but is afraid to change at such a late date. His "we're hosting it but not sponsoring it" statement this past Sunday is a small admission that he knows he has no business holding this event at his church.
Its never too late Mac to do the right thing. We're waiting and watching.