Recently, there were a series of attacks by some Messianic Jewish leaders on Bethlehem Bible College, in response to a video made by the Media department at the College which appeared on the College’s website. There were specifically three attacks that appeared on Israel Today magazine. The whole issue is related to the war on Gaza. We are extremely grieved by the harsh and unjustified nature of these attacks. Therefore, and since these attacks were made public, it is with sad hearts that we at Bethlehem Bible College write the following response to the three attacks.
First, a word about the video in question, which was the target of the attacks. This video was done in order to reflect the pulse of the Palestinian street in Bethlehem – hence it is called “Voices from Bethlehem” (not Bethlehem Bible College). The careful observer will notice that the people interviewed come from various backgrounds: some young and some old; some Christians and some Muslims. These voices reflect the frustration and anger of men and women who everyday see the blood of their compatriots in Gaza spilled and homes destroyed over families. They also express the desire of Palestinians to live in peace and dignity.
As for Bethlehem Bible College’s position and views about the war on Gaza, they were clearly presented in a previous statement that we posted online.
We thank God that these attacks do not represent all Messianic believers. Over the years, we held and continue to hold strong relationships – despite the many differences – with many Messianic believers. We continue to pray that God uses both communities together to extend the kingdom of God.
It was unfortunate that these attacks appeared in the “anti-Arab” “hate-promoting” Israel Today magazine. The magazine, which claims to be Christian, is clearly politically and ideologically motivated and one-sided, and we do not see it as an appropriate medium for dialogue and understanding. (In addition, many questions have been raised in the past by the Messianic community about the theology and beliefs of the people in charge of the magazine.)
We were also discouraged by the spirit of these attacks. There was no sympathy – let alone the prophetic conscience – in these three Messianic voices. The attackers did not seem to care for the yearnings of these “voices from Bethlehem”. The accusations made – which we unequivocally deny – were very harsh and used strong condemning language and made ultimate judgments, as if we are the oppressors not the ones living under occupation and injustice. Even if we erred (and we sometimes do!), one would expect some charity and grace!
In brief, we were saddened when we saw the attacks because as brothers and sisters in Christ, we are bound by our commitment to one another – even correcting one another when we disagree, all in the spirit of Matthew 18, which calls believers to first seek face to face dialogue before making judgments. The accusations in these attacks are false and baseless, and many of the allegations are based on statements taken out of context. We would have preferred if the authors of these false accusations would have consulted with us for clarification before attacking us.
We at BBC invite the three authors of these articles for open face to face dialogue to talk about our disagreements. We will continue to reach out to our Messianic brothers and sisters. God has placed us in this land to be His light to our peoples, and this should always be our main mission.
Bethlehem Bible College
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