Presbyterians escalate war on Jews

pcusaBy Jonathan S. Tobin

In February of this year I wrote about the latest instance of the Presbyterian Church USA engaging in hostile behavior toward both Israel and the Jewish people. A new study guide and companion CD about the Middle East published by an official Presbyterian group sought to delegitimize Israel and whitewash those who wage war and terrorism against it. Even worse, it compared Zionism to anti-Semitism and said that American Jews who supported Israel were not faithful to their religion. On top of the denomination’s past flirtations with the BDS (boycott, divest, sanction) movement that seeks to wage economic war on Israel, the study guide demonstrated just how deep the hatred for Jews had become among some church officials. But an even more recent incident illustrates that these episodes are not aberrations but reflect a clear desire on the part of church cadres to treat any normal contact with Jews as beyond the pale.

What has happened is that a Virginia Beach pastor who was slated to take a leadership role in a church forum at its annual General Assembly has been pressured to resign by Presbyterian Church USA officials. What was his offense? Taking part in two trips to Israel sponsored by a Jewish group. As Rev. Albert Butzer relates in a piece he wrote about his experience for The Presbyterian Outlook, he had looked forward to being the official moderator of the Committee on Middle East Issues at the denomination’s General Assembly. But he was forced out when it came out that he had gone to Israel on trips organized by the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond, Virginia. Though he had previously been to the region on two trips organized by the Palestinians, the mere fact that he had been exposed to Israel’s side of the story in the conflict was enough to brand him as untrustworthy.



Comments 8

  • Peter,
    “Since the summer of 1940 … it was well known in the West what was going on in the camps and ghettoes…. You will find the GAs of 1936-40 dominated, as they are today by pacifists”
    doesn’t make sense. If the Jewish holocaust wasn’t public knowledge until 1940, what’s wrong with pacifism from 1936 to 1940? Even the Jewish movie moguls – so I understand from recent publications – submitted all their films to the German ambassador in Burbank for pre-release approval.

  • Andrew: In response.

    The US entered WW2 Dec 8 1941, after something called Pearl Harbor, they made a movie about it.
    As to the Jews. Since the summer of 1940 due to those who escaped and came to America, Britain, it was well known in the West what was going on in the camps and ghettoes. I recommend you visit the Presbyterian Historical Society in Philly and access the archives of the old UPCNA, the lineal predecessor to the PCUSA. You will find the GAs of 1936-40 dominated, as they are today by pacifists, appeasers, anti-Semites, careerist denomiantional functionaries, and self-important academics.

    Also hostility to evangelicals in the wake of the Fundamentalist-Modernists schisms. Without Pearl Harbor most American mainstream Protestants would have been more than happy to let Hitler settle his little problem. What concern is the Jews to us anyway. Things really have not changed al that much over time.

    As to your beloved PCUSA. The PCUSA is not America, not a religious or ethical force in America, not even a voice in the public square. It is a dying, dysfunctional, and intensely unhappy collection of narrow-interest political and social pressure groups. The only thing which unites them is just how much money they can shake off the every dwindling denominational money tree. I recommend you do some basic research on the subject matter which you seem to take such an active interest in.

  • “We all know the Fatah/Hamas-Israel question will be settled, or not, regardless of what some minor liberal religious sect in America does or does not say.” Why’d we fight in Worl War II, Peter? We knew the Jewish question would be settled regardless of what “America does or does not say.”

  • The PCUSA’s membership is so small it will not have any impact on the State of Israel. The denomination is simply farting into the wind.

  • The reason why the PCUSA seems to want to start a fuss with Israel and the Jews is because it’s so easy and risk-free. GA could pass a resolution calling for all Jews to move to New Jersey and the land be given to Hamas. We all know the Fatah/Hamas-Israel question will be settled, or not, regardless of what some minor liberal religious sect in America does or does not say. As they could pass another resolution saying the definition off marriage is now between 2 dogs and 3 cats. Again, risk free, human behavior and national social policy will be determined regardless of what Detroit says or does not say. Risk free. As any number of resolutions from climate change to abortion access. Again risk free, as they are nothing more than pointless rhetoric speaking points only meant to fire up the radical base.

    Now, develop policies on liberating faithful churches from the corrupt and apostate cabal, apart from property in trust or per capita shake-downs, that takes courage and fortitude. Grant affected churches and clergy free affiliation with presbyteries that reflect their confessional world view, that take courage and honor. Because it does directly affects what OGA and Louisville care about the most, money and power. The only thing they care about.

    But we all know nothing of the sort will ever happen at any GA, now or in the future. Because on those matters, matters that really count to bring true peace and unity, the GA, and their Louisville handlers, collectively and individually have proven time after after time to be gutless, spineless cowards. Afraid of their own shadow and wall-flowers who follow whoever has the floor and gavel.

  • Jonathan,
    Correct “the study guide demonstrated” to “the study guide demonstrates.” The link for ordering Zionism Unsettled: A Congregational Study Guide is $10 includes a CD. Correct “just how deep the hatred for Jews had become among some church officials” to “just how deep the hatred for Palestinians had become among some church officials.” That’s an exaggeration. No one accused the “church official” Al Butzer of hating the Palestinians. He was listening to both sides. But impartiality ends at the point where one accepts gratuities from one of the parties.
    How can I “place all requested per capita money in a special designated account – outside of your church?” When I put a dollar in the plate, do I cut out George Washington’s head to indicate witholding of per capita?

  • Well said, Faye. An option I support is contained herein.
    Many Faithful Presbyterians continue to live amidst many transgressions against the Bible, the Historic Reformed Faith, the Westminster Confession and Presbyterian polity.
    I encourage Faithful Presbyterians to become proponents of BDS: boycott/divest/sanctions. Put economic and political pressure on the PCUSA to stops its headstrong charge into the ‘broad gate.’ “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” – Matthew 7:13-14 (1984 NIV).
    Support of BDS measures against the PCUSA necessitates action by individuals, churches and presbyteries throughout the PCUSA. One or two people will not be heard. One or two churches will not be heard. One or two loyal presbyteries will not be heard.
    Individuals who hold to the foundation of the Presbyterian Church (not to be confused with
    ‘The Foundations of Presbyterian Polity,’ pages 1-15 in the Book of Order 2013-2015) know it is time to initiate DBS against the PCUSA!
    Send a personal letter to the Stated Clerk and the Executive Presbyter of your Presbytery. The information is on the website of your Presbytery. Do this after you decide what you as an individual will do:
    (1) I will no longer participate in per capita giving
    (2) I will encourage like-minded family, friends and fellow church members to do the same; and
    (3) Will invest that money until such a time as the PCUSA returns to its historic Faith and practices and then, contribute those funds.
    (4) I will gladly support the ministry, staff, and mission of my Presbyterian Church but will refuse and refute any overture to place even one cent in the hands of our presbytery and the PCUSA.
    One way to grab the attention of employees/servants is to diminish the amount of remuneration they can use for unworthy causes. The Reformation Faith has not gotten their attention. The clear word of God has not gotten their attention. The Christian Faith once and for all delivered has not gotten their attention. The significant number of churches leaving the PCUSA has not gotten their attention – but it is giving them exorbitant amounts of money to continue their heresy and apostate behaviors and teachings.
    Grab their attention as they grab on to their ‘gracious separation’ blood-money!
    I am quite sure that a significant drop in per capita dollars to the apostate agencies and their personnel will get their attention.
    It is well past the right time to withhold the dollars that permit this apostasy to continue and to gain momentum.
    Be good stewards, place all requested per capita money in a special designated account – outside of your church. If/When Christ is honored, the Bible is accorded its rightful place in the PCUSA, the monies can be sent to the reformed presbyteries for a Christ-honoring mission by the humbled and repentant PCUSA.
    Keep those funds outside your church – including any ‘memorials’ because they will have to be surrendered if and when your church decides to leave the PCUSA.
    I encourage you to continue to support missions and missionaries outside of PCUSA agencies. Research will reveal individuals and causes that are Christ-honoring and faithful!
    Stand up to apostasy and heresy. Unrighteous leaven has already defiled our regional bodies as well as the national body and blasphemed the work and mission of the Church of Jesus Christ.
    Let the corruptible PCUSA body be buried in death that the power of God which raised the dead body of Christ might raise the PCUSA to Christ-honoring new life.

  • The behaviors of PCUSA and the General Assembly regarding Israel and the Jews are incredibly grievous and appalling. Obviously, they have forgotten their Biblical mandate to “pray for Israel”. It appears they are apostate as well given the same-sex marriage and ordination debacle. May God purge the church of these groups and send us a revival through his spirit.

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