• OPINION \ Apr 25, 2002
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    Has the Great Commission been modified?
Has the Great Commission been modified? The Bible stresses, among other things, the powerful themes of love, forgiveness and compassion, not only toward one another as Christians, but toward all mankind.

As I watch the atrocities and unjustified killing amongst the Jews and Arabs in the Holy Land, I cannot help but remember Jesus? words ?But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you".

Walking in the light of my faith, and, in obedience to God's commandment, I must therefore, love, forgive and show compassion to all, Jews and Arabs included.

From an Arab American perspective, however, I must also make a distinction between the physical political Israel, and the spiritual Israel, the latter being the Church.

I am burdened and deeply saddened when I see the many televangelists, use their pulpit to promote the idea that the state of Israel can do no wrong. They justify and condone its violence/retaliation against their Palestinian neighbors, whereas the same violence/retaliation carried out by the Palestinian Arabs, is condemned and cursed. We seem to promote two standards of judgment against the same evil; violence. Violence violates and denies love, and must be hated and condemned no matter who undertakes it.

As a Christian listening to those televangelists I get the impression that the Great Commission for Christians has been terribly modified to preach and save a political Israel, and that it is no longer to preach the Gospel to all the nations to save lost souls. A political theology is being advocated to advance hatred toward the Palestinians, and support for Israel at any cost. A theology that robs and deprives the spiritual Israel, the church, from the peace, love and compassion that God wants for all of humanity, Arabs and Jews alike.

God in the Bible promised certain great blessings to the descendent of Abraham, the Jews and the Arabs. Yet we are being conditioned by this political theology to abandon any peace plan leading to a Palestinian state and a secure Israel, thus promoting peace, harmony and basic human rights for both states.

Instead of preaching peace and reconciliation, as they must, those televangelists continue to promote hate and division among the two cousins and descendent of Abraham. I am so fortunate to serve on the board of directors of Echo of Christ, a ministry devoted to preaching and modeling reconciliation between Arabs and Jews.

The Bible tells us that the real peace of Jerusalem shall only come when the Lord returns and rules the earth for a thousand years. Would it be too much for those televangelists to preach a" temporary peace" and reconciliation in the meanwhile? I pray that they would, so that killing and terror will cease, and peace, love and compassion will prevail, at least until Jesus returns.

God loves the Jews and the Palestinians alike. God does not show partiality, He loves all. As a Christian Arab I can do no less. How about the political televangelists, can they do less?