Do Jews have a divine right to the Promised Land? Are American pastors dismissive of Arab Christians in Israel? Should Christians treat the Israeli-Palestinian dispute differently than other conflicts? As pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, John Piper has been addressing these contentious questions for years. After he began informally discussing them with David Brickner, executive director of Jews for Jesus, we invited them to share some of their discussion with our readers. We begin today with Brickner's response to some of Piper's recent writings and sermons, and will continue tomorrow with Piper's response.
It is an honor to dialogue with you on the important and timely subject of Israel/Palestine, the land and the people. I am deeply aware of your uncompromising commitment to the cause of Christ among all peoples, including the Jewish people. The opportunities you have consistently extended to Jews for Jesus to share our ministry with the family at Bethlehem Baptist Church—and the way you have stood your ground in supporting Jewish evangelism, even after receiving considerable pressure from Jewish community leaders—speak volumes. There can be no doubt that what we share in common is far greater than the areas where we may disagree.
Yet, if I understand your views regarding the modern state of Israel and its current conflict with its neighbors correctly, I do have some real concerns—particularly in light of the current political climate (the U.N. vote on Palestinian statehood) as well as a growing trend among certain Christian polemicists against Israel (see Gary Burge and Stephen Sizer). I believe our exchange will demonstrate to readers that, despite the heated arguments that ...