O Jerusalem, Jerusalem – With such high stakes, Christians need to engage in thoughtful, respectful conversations with Israelis, Arabs and each other about how to find true and lasting peace. [My new op-ed for Fox News.]


(Washington, D.C.) — Today, FoxNews.com published a new column of mine. While I wouldn’t have written the headline quite the way they did, I am grateful they allowed me to lay out my thoughts in an op-ed significantly longer than they usually run. 

Here is the column in full:


By Joel C. Rosenberg, December 9, 2017

Many evangelical Christians are rejoicing over President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to begin planning to move the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv.

However, other evangelicals who love Israel and believe Jerusalem is the biblical and historic capital of the Jewish State see the timing of the president’s decision as a mistake. They are concerned the move will cause more tension and violence, not create conditions more conducive to peace.

Most Palestinian and other Arab Christians in Jordan, Egypt and elsewhere are also opposed to the decision for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that they worry renewed violence could be directed at them and their children.

As a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, an evangelical and a resident of Jerusalem with my wife and kids, these issues are not just theological or theoretical for me. They’re personal.

I love Jerusalem. And because I love Jesus, I love both Israelis and Palestinians dearly and equally because I believe God does. The last thing I want to see is more division, violence, terror or injustice of any kind.

I long to see peace between the two sides. I pray and work for the day when both peoples can truly live side by side, and among each other, in safety, security, freedom and prosperity.

I long to see peace between the two sides. I pray and work for the day when both peoples can truly live side by side, and among each other, in safety, security, freedom and prosperity. 

Toward that end, on Monday at the National Press Club in Washington, I helped launch a new organization called the “Alliance For The Peace of Jerusalem.”

We are a group of evangelicals scholars, pastors, authors and ministry leaders who believe that now more than ever, the Church needs to be faithful to the Psalmist’s command to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6) as well as to “seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14).

We also believe evangelicals need to be faithful ambassadors of God’s love and compassion to both Jews and Arabs, who find themselves trapped in a cycle of seemingly never-ending conflict. And we believe evangelicals need to be ambassadors of grace toward Christian brothers and sisters who have different (and deeply held) views of how best to achieve peace.

As we approach the 70th anniversary of the rebirth of the State of Israel on May 14, tensions between Israelis and Palestinians will no doubt increase.

For some, this will be a year of thanksgiving to the God of Israel who made ancient promises to the Jewish people and is keeping those promises in modern times. For others, however, the anniversary of the creation of modern-day Israel will be a year of pain, even anger. They call it al Nakba – the Arabic term for “The Catastrophe.”

Presidents and prime ministers, kings and their counselors, have been confounded for decades on how to achieve peace between Israel and its neighbors. It should not be a surprise that pastors, priests and lay leaders are often confounded by how to apply biblical principles to most effectively resolve a conflict with roots going back thousands of years.

The last thing the Church needs is to engage in a snarky political firefight over some of the most contentious issues on the planet. Rather, we need to engage in thoughtful, respectful conversations on what the Bible teaches about Israel and its neighbors, and how we can play a more constructive role as peacemakers. 

As the Alliance begins our work, we conducted a comprehensive survey of the attitudes of American evangelicals toward Israel, the Palestinians and the peace process as we enter this historic year. The results were fascinating. Let me draw out three key points.

First, American evangelicals have a remarkably deep love for Israel and the Jewish people.

Our survey confirms that the people of Israel have no better friends in the U.S. than evangelical Christians.

  • Eight in ten evangelicals believe that the Abrahamic Covenant was an unconditional promise God made to the Jewish people for all time – a mere 5 percent disagree.
  • Eight in ten believe the rebirth of the State of Israel was the fulfillment of Bible prophecy – only 20 percent think it was merely an interesting geopolitical event.
  • And nearly eight in ten (76 percent) believe that Christians should support the Jewish people’s right to live in the sovereign State of Israel.

The survey makes clear that evangelical Christians of all ages, ethnicities, incomes and regions of the country overwhelmingly believe that God has made binding promises to Abraham and his descendants: to make them a nation; to give them a land; and to make them a blessing to the rest of the world.

The survey also finds that evangelicals believe that God is in the process of keeping his promises – that he is graciously bringing the Jewish people back to the Land of Israel after 2,000 years of exile, and rebuilding the State of Israel in the heart of the Middle East against all odds.

Second, American evangelicals want to obey Jesus’ command to love Israel’s neighbors.

  • 59 percent believe Christians should do more to love and care for the Palestinian people, and 66 percent of younger evangelicals believe this.
  • 73 percent are concerned for the safety of Christians in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority.
  • 41 percent agree with the statement: “Jewish people have a biblical right to the land of Israel, but also have a responsibility to share the land with Palestinian Arabs.” Another 28 percent disagree, while 31 percent say they’re not sure.

Too often, we hear an “either/or” tone when Christian leaders speak about their love for Israel or the Palestinians. But the God of the Bible is not “either/or.” He is “both/and.” He loves Jews and He loves Arabs. So must the Church.

Third, evangelicals aren’t convinced they understand enough about God’s plans for Israel. 

In fact, 72 percent of evangelicals say they want to know more about what the Bible teaches about Israel’s future.

So that’s the good news. But there is some challenging news in the data as well, specifically when it comes to younger evangelicals.

Millennials are sending the Church a sobering message. They’re not against Israel. But the survey makes it clear that many of them really don’t understand Israel’s place in the biblical narrative. Thus, their support for Israel is nearly 20 points less than the support voiced by their parents and grandparents.

Extrapolate that going forward. Unless the Church gives younger believers an understanding of God’s love and plan for Israel, evangelical support for the Jewish State could plummet over the next decade as millennials represent an ever-larger percentage of the Church body.

The raging controversy over President Trump’s decision on Jerusalem – and evangelicals’ conflicted views over how best to advocate peace – underscore the need for the new group Alliance for the Peace of Jerusalem.

As we head into the new year, we need educate the Church – particularly millennials – about God’s love and plan for both Israel and its Arab neighbors, and to mobilize them to both pray for and seek peace in a dark and troubled region. 


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