Why the World Council of Churches is very, very wrong – and the world needs to know

editor - 25 February 2021

Rev. Frank Chikane – the moderator of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA), and an “icon of the anti-apartheid struggle” – recently made statements in a Zoom meeting attended by over 300 Christians in which he demonized the State of Israel.

“We need to begin to say to those who support Israel to brutalize Palestinians that the blood of the people of Palestine will be sought from them because they collaborate by allowing this system to continue,” he said.

The meeting was a launch of a new film about the pro-Palestinian activism of Michel Sabbah, the former Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.

Chikane said the Palestinians were “dealing with the same demons we dealt with in South Africa, except that in their case, the demons have invited many other demons to make their struggle much more difficult.”

“We must get to Europe,” Chikane said after the film. “Especially to our Christian brothers and sisters, to say to them, ‘You know the sins of the past which were committed against the Jews must not be used as a reason to allow more sins to be committed against the Palestinians.’”

Following a report by Dexter van Zile in The Algemeiner, the WCC tried to distance itself from Chikane’s remarks which, it claims, were not made on behalf of the WCC. The WCC asserts that it “works with churches and other organizations for a just peace in Palestine and Israel through all possible non-violent, political and diplomatic means.” “The WCC does not promote boycotts based on nationality in this or any other context. Nor does it espouse economic measures against Israel. It does, however, have a longstanding policy position in favour of boycotting goods and services from settlements (considered internationally as illegal) in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

The attempt by the WCC to distance itself is far from convincing. First because Chikane is the official moderator of the WCC Commission, and second because in this webinar he was introduced as the WCC moderator.

This incident is just another symptom of a much deeper and more pervasive problem. Writing in JNS on 18th February, British journalist Melanie Philips rightly interprets Chikane’s remarks as reflecting a widely-held Christian supersessionist worldview, which “holds that the Jews were stripped of God’s favor because they denied the divinity of Jesus. Christians, therefore, inherited God’s promises and became the “new Israel” while the Jews were damned. This murderous doctrine was driven underground for a time by the Holocaust, but was given new life by the emergence of Palestinian Christian liberation theology. This fused the falsehood that the Palestinian Arabs were the original possessors of the land of Israel with theological, anti-Jewish supersessionism. Such fusion gave the Palestinian Arab claim to the land of Israel the status of supposedly holy writ, turning the State of Israel into an ungodly interloper and its defenders into the enemies of God.”

Philips laments the lack of Christian response to Chikane’s outburst which shows how deeply rooted this thinking is in the church:

“Extreme as it was, Chikane’s diatribe on Zoom illustrated an even more unpalatable state of affairs—the silent acquiescence of church leaders in the contemporary mutation of Christianity’s own murderous history, and its virulent spread into the cultural arteries of the West.”

A study of the WCC’s policies and activities reveals a deep antipathy towards Israel, Zionism and the Jewish people.

Let there be no mistake. Supersessionist theologies in general – and Palestinian liberation theology in particular – are fundamentally wrong from a Biblical perspective. The WCC and others who hold to these views distort both scripture and history to support their case.

The WCC’s frequent references in its position papers over the years to international law are highly problematic. First, it is somewhat surprising that the WCC relies on international legal arguments; one would have thought a body representing Christians should primarily be relying on the Bible for support of its arguments. But even then, WCC misquotes and misuses international law. For example, its claims that the occupation is “illegal” is totally false.

God’s word speaks about an everlasting connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel. The church of Christ also should take notice of the many thousands of years of historical roots of the Jewish people in the land of Israel.

The church is grafted into God’s eternal and never-ending covenants with the Jewish people. He is bringing His people home, in fulfilment of His promises. The nations who come against Jerusalem and the Jewish people will be judged by the Lord when He comes.

The WCC is blinding the eyes of Christians and others worldwide. This is exactly the pride and blindness that the Apostle Paul warns about in Romans 11, and Jesus foretells in Revelation 3 as characterizing the church in the last days. It is anti-Christian, because it is opposed to the character and purposes of Christ Himself.

The truth is that there are millions of Christians worldwide who do not share the WCC’s views. These are a largely-hidden, faithful remnant who believe in Scripture and love the Jewish people.

Christians for Israel stongly condemns the WCC’s delegitimization of Israel and demonization of the Jewish people.

The Editorial Team – Israel & Christians Today

Dexter van Zile in The Algemeiner: “The call during which Chikane made these remarks was organized by Christian organizations that share the stated goal of “peacemaking” in the Holy Land, but have a well-documented history of singling Israel out for condemnation while downplaying Palestinian hate, incitement, and violence towards Israel. These organizations included Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, Christ at the Checkpoint, Kairos Palestine, and the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation. Kumi Now, a Sabeel-supported activist organization,  also co-sponsored the event.”
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Melanie Philips writes in JNS: “Even in relatively godless places like today’s Britain, the assumption that Christians stand for truth, justice and compassion means that even secular people tend to believe what they say. The pernicious falsehoods that such Christians pump out about Israel are therefore regarded as unchallengeably true.”
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Dexter van Zile responds to the WCC’s attempt to justify its position: “The notion that the WCC has not promoted the BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] movement is simply laughable.”
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Tali Feinberg writing in South African Jewish Report, quotes Rev. John Atkinson, who participated in the meeting with Chikane: “What I found most concerning was the ease with which Chikane moved seamlessly between the South African apartheid struggle and the Israeli/Palestinian situation, a claim that has been shown to be false on numerous occasions,” he said. “One would expect that someone who was at the forefront of the struggle in South Africa wouldn’t devalue that struggle by such a comparison.”
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Scripture for the week: Revelation 3:14-22

14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds,that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.
22 Whoever has ears, let them hearwhat the Spirit says to the churches.”


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