Christian Zionist Activist Brian Schrauger on “Christ at the Checkpoint”

artworks-000074661810-22ixss-t500x500Yishai Fleisher is Israel’s only English talk show host on AM/FM radio in Israel (Galey Yisrael 106.5 FM), in this show he talks about the ongoing “narrative war” within Israel and how it is extremely conflicted. To elaborate and present an alternative, Christian version, he is joined by Christian Zionist and Israel activist Brian Schrauger. They talk about a new narrative that is has become more prevalent in the Christian world that paints “Christ at the Checkpoint” and is designed to create anti-Israel sentiment within the evangelical Christian world. Be sure to listen in and get informed!

Listen to the show here.

How Evangelical is Christ at the Checkpoint?

catc massChrist at the Checkpoint claims to be the new guardians of Evangelical orthodoxy as it pontificates and declares Christian Zionism to be a heresy.

However, just how evangelical is Christ at the Checkpoint? Putting aside the one-size-fits-all caricature presentation of all Christian supporters of Israel as rubber-stampers of all Israel says and does along with the convenient claim that support of Israel also equates to having no compassion for Palestinians. What are evangelicals at CaTC doing taking Roman Catholic Mass? And why has CaTC edited the caption and taken out any mention of CaTC? Embarrassed maybe! Were there just so many Roman Catholics at CaTC that they needed to have a Mass in an Olive grove?

Many Evangelicals would regard taking Mass as something inconsistent with Evangelical convictions and indeed the Protestant end of the Evangelical spectrum would see that as beyond the boundaries of what can be considered Evangelical and become something else, called Ecumenical.

source

A Palestinian holds a board with song lyrics as International Christian activists attending the Christ at the Checkpoint conference join Palestinians for a Catholic mass in a West Bank olive grove as a form of nonviolent resistance against the Israeli separation barrier that threatens to further divide land belonging to the town of Beit Jala, March 14, 2014. The lyrics read, “Oh, God of peace, rain down peace on us. Oh God of peace, fill our hearts with peace.” (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

A Palestinian holds a board with song lyrics as International Christian activists attending the Christ at the Checkpoint conference join Palestinians for a Catholic mass in a West Bank olive grove as a form of nonviolent resistance against the Israeli separation barrier that threatens to further divide land belonging to the town of Beit Jala, March 14, 2014. The lyrics read, “Oh, God of peace, rain down peace on us. Oh God of peace, fill our hearts with peace.” (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

International Christian activists attending the Christ at the Checkpoint conference join Palestinians for a Catholic mass in a West Bank olive grove as a form of nonviolent resistance against the Israeli separation barrier that threatens to further divide land belonging to the town of Beit Jala, March 14, 2014. If built as planned, the wall would separate the Cremisan monastery and a valley of olive groves from the rest of Beit Jala. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

International Christian activists attending the Christ at the Checkpoint conference join Palestinians for a Catholic mass in a West Bank olive grove as a form of nonviolent resistance against the Israeli separation barrier that threatens to further divide land belonging to the town of Beit Jala, March 14, 2014. If built as planned, the wall would separate the Cremisan monastery and a valley of olive groves from the rest of Beit Jala. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Who Funds Christ at the Checkpoint?

Look who is funding CaTC:

According to JNS news

The U.S., U.K., and Dutch governments are helping to fund an upcoming conference called “Christ at the Checkpoint,” which attempts to sway Evangelical Christian opinion against Israel and whose themes have anti-Semitic undertones, according to a new report issued by the Jerusalem-based watchdog group NGO Monitor.

The report titled “Christ at the Checkpoint: How the U.S., U.K. and Dutch Governments Enable Religious Strike and Foment in the Mideast Conflict,” first obtained by JNS.org, examines how the American and European governments are directly and indirectly funding the conference.

“Direct and indirect funding to the organizers of Christ at the Checkpoint is mystifying and deeply concerning to us,” said Yitzhak Santis, Chief Programs Officer and “BDS in the Pews” Project Director at NGO Monitor.

Read full article here

Messianics will win theological points at CATC, but at a cost

In 2012, Wayne Hilsden gave a very interesting presentation on God’s plans for the Jewish people, according to the Bible. His talk was warmly received and politely listen to. He engaged in a friendly discussion with Gary Burge, and was otherwise made to feel most welcome.

Hilsden went aware of the conference’s terror links, yet determined to override these concerns by winning hearts and minds through his Biblical theology. His thinking seemed reasonable enough. The logic goes something like this:

If someone can talk to anti-Israel Christians in the language of Scripture, and argue convincingly why God loves the Jewish people and keeps His covenant with them, then this would be a great opportunity. Then these Christians would be so impressed, they might just drop their associations with terror leaders and take a more reasonable position towards Jews – having met some Jews with whom they shared spiritual fellowship and belief in the New Testament.

You will hear riffs on this version throughout the pro-CATC Messianics, who seem genuinely convinced they are doing God’s will, and ignore an obvious issue about CATC’s problematic terror connexions that even the Palestinian press is aware of.

The CATC Messianics instead see the CATC terror issue as just background noise.

The CATC Messianics are convinced that Israeli Jews (including many Messianics) pointing out the CATC terror connections are misguided people who don’t understand the real theological issues at play.

At 2014, the CATC Messianics will be listened to and applauded – just as they were in 2012. They will be allowed to make seemingly bold statements like “God’s love for Israel is everlasting”, “God has brought the Jewish people back into the land”, and “all Israel will be saved,” and will see themselves as brave for saying so.

But truthfully, theology about Jews is not a particularly huge issue for CATC. It is instead a red herring.

Continue reading

Christ at the Checkpoint in Awad’s Own Words

In the following video Alex Awad tells us that the founding idea behind Christ at the Checkpoint had nothing to do with reconciliation between Palestinian Christians and Messianic Jews, rather finding a justification from the Bible for Palestinians to live in the “Holy Land”. He present an extreme scenario that the only option from Christian Zionists was for Palestinian Christians to leave the land and let Jews get on with it. I can’t think of anyone stupid enough to say that let alone believe it!

The myth of CaTC being a reconciliation ministry has been revealed. Awad talks about oppression and injustice and the separation wall. Sadly, he totally ignores the reason for it, which is the reign of suicide bombings that indiscriminately took the lives of Israeli men, women and children in cafés, buses, streets and other public spaces. Since the Wall, which is undoubtedly an ugly and disruptive imposition, terror attacks have plummeted by 90%. The primary responsibility of any government is the protection of its own citizens, and that is what Israel had to do with the Wall. If the Palestinians denounced and rejected terror, I am sure the wall would come down very quickly.

Awad therefore talks about these unnamed extreme Christians who told him the land belongs to the Jews, which he interprets to mean he must leave the land. Rather than do that he helps establish CaTC to find a Biblical justification to live in the Land, not to reconcile with Messianic Jews. Israel always had a mixed multitude and laws to accommodate strangers and aliens living amongst them, so it really is not that hard to find a Bible justification for them living in the land, no need for a conference to find that!

Awad seeks to give some mystical sense to reading the Bible in the shadow of The Wall, as if some new revelatory insight will come your way. In fact what they want for CaTC is to have American Evangelicals to come and experience Palestinian daily life and get emotionally affected so much by it that it will change how they read the Bible, to the extent that they no longer see any place for Jews in the Land or indeed in the definition of Israel.

So there you have it, this is not about reconciliation, not with Messianic Jews (2:27mins) or even Christian Zionists, Awad had his chance to say it, but didn’t because the agenda of Christ at the Checkpoint is not reconciliation but propaganda in the shadow of the checkpoint, emotional blackmail in the shadow of the checkpoint, political anti-Israeli activism thinly veiled as theology in the shadow of the checkpoint.

Messianic Jews invited to CaTC are being allowed to come and talk about Replacement Theology and reconciliation, but CaTC is more about politics than it is about theology. Unless those Messianic Jews who speak this year challenge the politics of hate towards Israel they will have missed the point of them going to CaTC.

The challenge for Palestinian Christians, in the shadow of the checkpoint, (and I do not diminish the genuine difficulties or pain in their lives), is to maintain a testimony that is untainted by the anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic extremism of their surrounding society, not to theologize it.