Understanding a World in Crisis
A friend writes:
Last Saturday we went to a series of lectures at Grace Community Church called “Understanding a World in Crisis”. Three lectures were delivered by Mathias Kern. Professor Kern is an adjunct professor at the Masters College, and has been involved in advising senior government officials in a number of countries for many years. He is […]
Grab the podcast using this link, or download / listen to the MP3 files individually here:
As a follow-on from the previous post, this get interesting. From Calvin Smith’s blog:
The RPP website has posted a link to a statement just issued by the Council of Christians and Jews critical of Stephen Sizer for linking to anti-Semitic websites from his blog. The Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, Bishop of Manchester and chair of CCJ, said.
The content and the delay in removing the link from Mr Sizer’s Facebook page was disgraceful and unbecoming for a clergyman of the Church of England to promote. Members of the CCJ have described the website as ‘obscenely antisemitic.’
The full CCJ statement is available here. It is important to note that this statement is issued by a longstanding interfaith organisation and a Bishop of the Anglican Church. This is not (as some extremists will claim) a Zionist conspiracy.
Is Stephen Sizer anti-Semitic? It is a serious charge and not for me to say (others in the Anglican Church will now decide). I have sought to avoid some of the more extreme language in the current debate and avoid this term unless absolutely proven. In negotiations prior to our televised debate Stephen made clear he felt there was no place for discussing anti-Semitism (and other issues) in such a debate. I believe such a position is dangerous as it can be misconstrued, unfortunately it also meant we never had the opportunity to discuss this issue reasonably and openly.
But one thing is clear: when CCJ state, “We are conscious that The Revd Stephen Sizer’s contributions have caused widespread disquiet and hurt in both communities and led to confusion and polarization of views” they have identified a key aspect of this whole debate. Indeed I raised this very issue towards the end of my television debate with Stephen. The polemical and unnecessarily pejorative nature of the current debate is not helping anyone, and it’s certainly not contributing to a nuanced understanding of the complexities of the Middle East. For that Stephen must take his fair share of blame.
I do hope we can all, at some stage, get to a less emotive and more objective examination of the Middle East crisis and the relationship between the Church and Israel.
“Has the Church Replaced Israel?” A live debate between Calvin Smith and Stephen Sizer broadcast on Revelation TV 9th November 2011.
This 1h 30m debate is well worth a watch if you are interested in Israelology and Christian Zionism (small PDF).
Stephen Sizer has published a number of books dealing with this subject, and turned his PhD thesis into a book titled “Christian Zionism”.
Calvin Smith is the principal of King’s Evangelical Divinity School (UK).
Sizer’s polemical writings are offensive to many Christians (myself included), and Smith did well to highlight and condemn Sizer’s labeling of Christian Zionism as “deviant heresy” and “another gospel” (around 1:06 in the debate).
Other critiques of Sizer can be found here: seismic-shock.com