Christian Zionist Author to Evangelise Lebanese Refugees
Richard Bartholomew printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Nov 12, 2006 at 04:10:41 AM EST
Joel C Rosenberg, a former assistant to Benyamin Netanyahu and Steve Forbes turned apocalyptic Christian novelist,  has founded a new aid agency, called the "Joshua Fund". The Fund's two "humanitarian aid" efforts are the "Project to Bless Israel" and the "Project to Bless Lebanon". As its website explains:
The Joshua Fund is partnering with the Israeli Knesset (parliament) and the "Love For Israel Relief Fund," a project of Knesset Social Welfare Lobby. Together, we will provide humanitarian relief for families in northern Israel who live under the poverty level and have recently had their lives and homes devastated by Hezbollah missiles and rockets...Needy Israeli families will be invited to the party where they will be given the opportunity to "shop" for Hannukah gifts for their children, food stuffs, clothes, diapers and other essentials.
Meanwhile, Lebanese refugees will get "Bags of Blessing", to be distributed by Campus Crusade for Christ and local evangelicals:
...They will include non-perishable food items such as beans, rice, pasta, canned meat, processed cheese, oil, and powdered milk. In addition, each Bag will contain basic supplies such as soap, candles, matches, and aspirin, and a Jesus film DVD in Arabic.

Lebanese refugees are a particular target for evangelism just now; back in July I blogged on how an official for Samaritan's Purse had claimed that the Israeli bombardment had "softened the hearts of many Muslims."

However, despite Rosenberg's personal background as a Jewish convert to Christianity, the "needy Israelis" will be spared a similar "Jesus film DVD in Hebrew", for obvious political reasons. Instead, Rosenberg has some more subtle evangelism in mind - although a bit of unsubtle self-promotion is involved:

The Joshua Fund is currently translating The Ezekiel Option into Hebrew and Russian for publication in Israel in 2007. The Ezekiel Option, written by Joshua Fund founder and president Joel C. Rosenberg, is a political thriller about the threat of a Russian-Iranian alliance to destroy Israel based on the Biblical prophecies found in the Book of Ezekiel, chapters 38 and 39. Written from an evangelical Christian perspective, the novel takes readers on a geopolitical and spiritual journey into God's plan and purpose for the Middle East.

Rosenberg's previous apocalyptic novels (The Last Days and The Last Jihad) were the subject of an interesting piece at The Revealer in 2004.

Rosenberg's partners in this new venture are his wife Lynn, Tim Lugbill (of the National Association of Manufacturers) and his wife Carolyn (of Going Global Matters), Steve Klemke (senior VP of KCM Mining and "luxury car guru") and his wife Barb, and Amy Knapp. There's also Edward Hunt, who with the Rosenbergs directs November Communications, Inc., which helps leaders "discover, develop, and deliver their message at home and around the globe": particularly, it seems, former Iraqi General Georges Sada, whom I blogged on here. Hunt's wife Kailea is also involved; she works for Global Impact Ministry at Lon Solomon's McLean Bible Church in Virginia ("Impacting secular Washington for Christ").

Other projects include Bibles for Iraq; a launch party for David Brog (whose work I discussed here); and meetings with Shimon Peres, Saeb Erekat, and the 1994 Prime Minister of Jordan.

Here's his author bio at Tyndale. Includes this gushing detail:
U.S. News & World Report says Rosenberg's novels are so close to reality he seems like a "modern Nostradamus."

by Richard Bartholomew on Sun Nov 12, 2006 at 04:19:36 AM EST

I wonder what they found in Lebanon that they want to get their claws into.

After all, at least a couple of them are connected to profit-oriented organizations.

I also wonder how the people getting these items are going to take it.  If they're not careful, they will offend people more than any good they think they may do.

For instance- canned pork or pork products.

by ArchaeoBob on Sun Nov 12, 2006 at 10:36:47 AM EST

Now, I am against aggressive forms of evangelism and evangelism done in terrible terrible taste.  For instance, taking advantage of bad situations such as with the refugees or the tsunami victims.  However, evangelism and missions are essential to evangelicalism.  My grandparents were international missionaries and my cousin is currently a missionary in Africa.  Moderate/Mainstream Baptists such as myself financially support missionaries who do engage in personal evangelism.  Too often those on far right give evangelism a bad name.  However, evangelism does not have to be manipulative.

I get the feeling here that all forms of evangelism off limits and associated with the Religious Right.  Is evangelism of any kind permissible?

by Big Daddy Weave on Mon Nov 13, 2006 at 02:11:30 AM EST

Having been burned by evangelists and having them try to DESTROY my tribe's traditional ways, I am personally hostile to most forms.

If you want to evangalize, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT and let your life reflect Christ.  If people ask, explain- but don't try to trick people into asking and don't start preaching if someone does.

Indeed, I consider missionaries to be EVIL.  They come in with the primary goal of changing people to their religion- and at best, helping people is way down on their list.  If they DO help people, it's to pressure them to come to the preaching.  Most missionizing is dishonest at best.  They ignore the realities of life, and focus on pseudoreligiousity.  I refer to them as "spiritual headhunters"- seeking numbers to brag on instead of helping people (who are often in real pain!)

I also have SEEN missionaries abuse people and sponge off of churches "back home".  

One (fundamentalist) group from this area was going to send missionaries to MY tribe- claiming that our traditional faith was "heathen devil worship and witchcraft".

Our traditional faith is a form of Christianity that predates Columbus.  We have a eurocentric church on our reservation.  We may have different names, but they are for the same persons.

I'm also aware of missionary work among western tribes- trying to destroy our culture, while prattling about all the good they were doing to anyone who would listen.  

In one case, at least, the mission boarding school was being run by pedophiles and all of the children were abused.  

The Episcopal Church in Canada was sued over this.

I know one of the children (adult now).  He's several years younger than me, and still dealing with the destruction done to his soul.  Not all was due to sexual abuse either- spiritual abuse because of his ethnicity was also a factor.

So- think LONG AND HARD before you support any form of missionary work.  Much of it is actually a scam- and most of it is actually very destructive.

by ArchaeoBob on Mon Nov 13, 2006 at 10:56:41 AM EST

Actually, my grandmother's cousin was a medical Baptist missionary who died tending the sick in Nigeria in 1938 aged 30, so I don't personally have a thing against missionaries as such. I also believe that missionaries should be free to spread to their message for reasons of free speech and free expression.

However, I also think that some missionaries, through arrogance and a failure to reflect on their own power-relations with the peoples they are targetting, can be harmful.

by Richard Bartholomew on Mon Nov 13, 2006 at 05:29:01 PM EST

I'm sorry for the way that other fellow Christians treated you and your tribe.  My family and I have suffered greatly from the politics of SBC Fundamentalists.

Like I said previously, evangelism (when done correctly) is not manipulative.  

I hope you do not view missions/evangelism as a characteristic unique to the Christian Right.  Giving our tithes and offerings to fund missionaries and mission trips is central to who we are as Mainstream/Moderate Baptists.  We too have fought the fundamentalists for decades.  Your experience does not reflect how millions of us do missions and lead a missional lifestyle.  Even more liberal denominations such as the Alliance of Baptists participates in missions.  The Alliance funds schools in Sri Lanka, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Ecuador (etc.).  In recent months, the Alliance made headlines because their license to travel to Cuba (to do missions) was revoked.  

Anyways, I hope you will not associate all who are involved in missions/evangelism with the Religious Right.

by Big Daddy Weave on Mon Nov 13, 2006 at 04:37:36 PM EST

Is by asking a question- are the solutions and things that these missionaries doing culturally sensitive and appropriate, or do they ignore the views of the people in order to push a eurocentric agenda and value system?

An example- the Assemblies of God are derisively called the Clap Claps by one culture that I know of- because in that culture you do NOT clap in worship, and the A/G church DEMANDS it in their services.

In our culture worship is largely done through dance and feasts.  How many times have I heard sermons against dancing???

In other words, are they blind to how the people they are missionizing think?  (People do NOT think alike!!!)

I now look with DEEP suspicion on ANY missionary work.  If the missionaries were willing to take the WORST instead of demanding the BEST for their use, then the attitude towards them in general (as being offensive thieves and working for ethnocide) might change.

It would also help if they just preached the Love of God and Christ Crucified, and left the other baggage at home.

Or in other words, if they don't understand it, don't mess with it (and DON'T JUDGE until you DO understand).

by ArchaeoBob on Mon Nov 13, 2006 at 06:45:53 PM EST

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