Surprised at Ted Cruz' Being Booed at a Christian Event? A Palestinian Version of Replacement Theology is Likely to Blame

A lot of people were shocked when U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas was booed at an event highlighting Christian persecution. What was further surprising was that he was the keynote speaker. The group was called "In Defense of Christians." The dinner was held at a hotel in Washington, D.C.

What got audience members' ire was the potential presidential candidate's favorable comments about Israel. Among his comments were the following:

“Today, Christians have no greater friend than the Jewish state.”

After receiving boos, Cruz could be heard saying:

“Those who hate Israel hate America, and those who hate Jews hate Christians, and if this room will not recognize that, then my heart weeps that the men and women here will not stand in solidarity with Jews and Christians alike who are persecuted by radicals who seek to murder them.”

Cruz also stated:

“If you hate the Jewish people, you are not reflecting the teachings of Christ, and the very same people who persecute and murder Christians right now, who crucify Christians , who behead children, are the very same people who target and murder Jews for their faith for the same reason.”

Within a short time, Cruz said the following and then walked off stage:

“If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you”

The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry gives a great summation of Palestinian Liberation Theology which it sees as Replacement Theology.  Here is an excerpt:  

[Note Naim Ateek is the founder of the Sabeel Center]

Believing his people cannot accept the “dangerous theology” of Zionist Christians, Dr. Ateek helped develop Palestinian Liberation Theology (PLT), which he and the Sabeel Center say provides a relevant way to interpret Scripture for Arab believers who need a healthy dose of encouragement living in Israel. Today PLT is the primary doctrine of Palestinian Christians, rooting and grounding them in a highly politicized form of Replacement Theology.

Later, the article states:  

PLT is Replacement Theology. Wrote Shelley Neese, vice president of The Jerusalem Connection Report,

Replacement Theology teaches that the Church superseded Jews as the benefactor of God’s covenants. PLT goes one step further saying that the Jews never had a place of favor in the first place. In some cases, they erase Israel from the Bible altogether. Many Palestinian Churches that teach PLT have changed the Psalms by removing every reference to “Israel” and “Zion.”

PLT blatantly disregards God’s eternal promises to the Jewish people by manipulating Scripture to suit its needs. 

Wrote Neese, “It is a dangerous propaganda tool cleverly wielded by Sabeel to undermine Israel’s right to the land. All the while, this anti-Semitic politically-driven theology void of the Gospel hides behind a façade of peace, justice, and love.”

In, Neese concludes his description of Palestinian Liberation Theology as follows:  

From Ateek’s perspective, the Israeli occupation is the root of all evil. He makes no apology for Palestinian terrorism or its contribution toward the plight of Palestinian Christians. There is no recognition that Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist government, is a far greater threat to Palestinian Christians than Zionism.

Ateek presents PLT as a theology based on justice, but he redefines Godly justice to fit a sociopolitical context. The result is more narrow than ever before, as God is only on the side of Palestinians. Sabeel says "Christ is not in the tanks and jet fighters, fighting on the side of the oppressors… God is in the city ofGaza, in the Jenin camp and in the old city of Nablus, Ramallah, and Bethlehem.”

Sabeel enjoys the active support of many of the mainline liberal denominations (i.e. PC (USA) and the United Church of Christ). These church groups ignore the danger of Sabeel’s theology. But PLT is not just an ill-informed misguided teaching. It is a dangerous propaganda tool cleverly wielded by Sabeel to undermine Israel’s right to the land. All the while, this anti-Semitic politically-driven theology void of the Gospel hides behind a façade of peace, justice, and love. As Jesus Christ warned his followers, “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

If you were to read pages 100 through at least page 108 [hit the "previous" button/hyperlink on the top of the page until you get to p. 100] of "Faith and the Intifada(Orbis Books 1992), you would find the following:  

1) Israel is a European entity that colonized the land
2) Israel needs to pay reparations to the Palestinians as Germany had to do after the Second World War
3) God called the Jews to live among the peoples of the world as a light, not to be a separate state, so they should stay in their respective nations of "residence" and do that
(one has to wonder if their rhetoric about colonization, no right to the land in the first place and called to be light where they are would also imply the present Jews going "back," by force if need be)

The problem with the above is that the Sabeel Center and publications like "Faith and the Intifada" oppose the Scripture's teaching that God has made promises to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that are everlasting, including the possession of the land.  Also, the Scripture clearly predicted the return of the Jewish people to their land after exile in the land of Babylon (see Ezekiel 37; Ezra and Nehemiah to name just a few).  

In the vision of dry bones, Ezekiel wrote the words of the Lord which stated:  

21 and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. 22 I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.23 They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God.  Ezekiel 37:21-23 (NIV)

In conclusion, if you were shocked by Cruz' treatment at an event that included Palestinian Christians, don't be.  Regrettably, this is to be expected and it is a growing movement among Palestinian Christians and Western Christian denominations as well.  We've only seen the beginning, I am afraid.  

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