The topic of Christ at the Checkpoint 4 is “religious extremism”, and one of their main speakers is John Azumah.
Azumah has a few things to say about this topic.
In an article about Boko Haram for Lausanne, theologian John Azumah tried to contextualise the group’s massacres against Christians, claimed Boko Haram’s beliefs had been distorted by the media, and suggested that Nigeria’s Christians were the radicalised ones who now needed counselling.
Azumah’s piece concluded in positive terms, suggesting Boko Haram are in fact an anti-secular group could be an example for evangelicals:
“Lastly, ‘de-secularisation’ groups like Boko Haram may be calling the evangelical communion to a long overdue conversation about the effects of the secularisation of society and culture on religious commitment.”
The structure of this sentence expresses approaching admiration Islamist terrorists who murder Christians, because they are an “anti-secular force”.
But really, is any of this surprising? Christ at the Checkpoint is organised by the Bethlehem Bible College. One of their board members thinks suicide bombers make a “supreme sacrifice“, and another thinks they are “martyrs“.
There are clear connections between Bethlehem Bible College staffers and PFLP networks. Moreover, Bethlehem Bible College produced a pro-Hamas video last summer, whilst its teacher Salim Munayer claims Hamas used its terror tunnels for food and drink, and defending Gaza .
Christ at the Checkpoint is not against religious extremism; it is facilitating it.
RPP would encourage Israeli Messianic Jews to speak at the next CATC conference in order to point out the charade of CATC itself, and publicly challenge the ideological justifications and equivalences towards terrorism which emanate from the Bethlehem Bible College.
We encourage prayer for any Israeli believer whose conscience does allow them to speak at CATC, and we urge them to simply highlight the religious extremism of Christ at the Checkpoint.
Last time round, CATC’s guest of honour (who didn’t show up in the end) was a man who oversaw a re-enactment of the Sbarro restaurant suicide bombing, which killed 15 people, including 7 children and a pregnant woman.
Messianic leaders from Israel neglected to mention the depravity of this terror re-enactment by the CATC’s intended guest of honour, when they spoke at CATC last year.
Without this challenge, there is little purpose of Israeli Messianics participating in Christ at the Checkpoint.
John Azumah’s attitude to Boko Haram is of a piece with Bethlehem Bible College’s attitudes towards Hamas and the PFLP, and it merits a robust challenge.