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Stephen Sizer says different things to different audiences

27 Sep

1) Rev. Sizer is one of the authors of the ‘Seven Affirmations’ of the conference ‘Christ at the Checkpoint 2012’. These include the following affirmation: ‘Messianic Jews are the brothers and sisters of all who follow Jesus or Yeshua. We are one family bound together in a fellowship of love. Although diversity in political opinions as well as theological emphasis inevitably exist, we refuse to allow these views to hinder our fellowship in Jesus.’

Yet on 6th October 2011 Rev. Sizer said this at a public meeting at Rivercourt Methodist Church:

‘There are certainly churches in Israel/Palestine that side with the occupation, that side with Zionism. One of my burdens is to challenge them theologically and show that they’ve repudiated Jesus, they’ve repudiated the Bible, and they are an abomination.’

‘Abomination’ is the strongest word in the Christian vocabulary (think of Matthew 24:15). The churches Rev. Sizer refers to are indigenous Israeli congregations made up of born again evangelicals who describe themselves as Messianic Jews. Most Christians would find it hard to imagine any circumstances in which they would describe a whole group of genuinely evangelical churches as ‘an abomination’, yet that is how Rev. Sizer refers to our brothers and sisters in Israel.

His comments were recorded on this video (they come about a minute and a half into the video):

Rev. Sizer has since issued an apology on his blog for his comments (see below, click to enlarge). He says by way of explanation, ‘The event was stressful not least because of the heckling from certain Zionists present.’ Yet in the video there is no sign of any interruption or stressful interaction. The comments are not made under pressure and give every appearance of careful consideration – who develops a ‘burden’ on the spur of the moment? More importantly still, Rev. Sizer only apologised ten days after the original comments were made, when heavy criticism of his words had begun to appear. It is therefore hard to believe that any apology would have been forthcoming if there had not been critical observers present at the meeting. This underlines the point that Stephen Sizer says different things to different audiences. As a result it is difficult to trust the integrity of the apology.

2) In an email to a Jewish supporter of Israel dated 8 December 2008, Stephen Sizer wrote, ‘I respect, accept and defend the right of Israel to exist. Period.’

However, in a blog post dated 14 October 2010, Rev Sizer commented ‘Bring it on’ in response to disgraced journalist Helen Thomas’s call for Israelis to ‘get the hell out of Palestine.’ The blog post is reproduced below – click on the screenshots to enlarge.

(NB By ‘Palestine’, Helen Thomas clearly means the whole of the land, not just the West Bank. This is clear from her reference to Poland and Germany, which were departure points for Holocaust survivors emigrating to the Middle East after World War II. Her call for Israelis to return to Poland and Germany would make no sense if she had in mind Jewish settlers in the West Bank – she would simply have told them to return within Israel’s borders.)

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Posted by on September 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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