How to Speak with your Pastor about Israel without being a Flake

Posted: May 12, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Crazy Tamborine ManXSmall

Those eyes would scare anyone

My last post was “7 reasons you really need to visit Israel, especially if you’re a pastor and/or Bible teacher”

Today’s post is a natural follow-up. It’s for all of you who believe your pastor(s) don’t have enough of a heart for Israel and you want to talk to them about it in the right way.

First of all, I want to commend you for your love for Israel and the Jewish people. All of us need that heart — especially because God does.

We see God’s heart for Israel in Deuteronomy 7:6-8:
“For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.  7 The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples;  8 but because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you…”

Paul had God’s heart for Israel:  “….I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart.  For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh” (Romans 9:2, 3)“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.” (Romans 10:1) Paul  reveals how Gentile followers of the Messiah have an obligation to the Jewish people, for “salvation has come to the Gentiles,  to make Israel jealous.” (Romans 11:11)  And then, Paul gets very practical concerning our need to support the Jewish people — even materially: “For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things.” (Romans 15:27)

There are pastors who believe God has cast away the Jews and replaced them with the Church — as the “new and true Israel.” This is heresy, and I will write about this in a future post.

But I also meet pastors who have a genuine heart for Israel — but they are very reluctant to openly support Israel for some very natural reasons:

  • Many didn’t hear much about Israel where they studied theology and feel ill-equipped to teach on the subject.
  • Many worry that if they teach about Israel they will stir up controversy in their congregation.
  • There are also the pastors who have had a bad experience with so-called “Israel freaks.” Such well-meaning folks have a seemingly naive, romantic, infatuation with Israel. The stereotypical “Israel lover” is the one wearing puffy sleeved silk tops, plays a tambourine badly (driving the worship leader and drummer crazy), and has an oversized shofar strapped to his back ready for battle.There are pastors who love Israel but get totally weirded out by such people. I really get that.
  • And finally, many pastors have met people who love Israel, but their focus is almost entirely on political support, and have little concern for the spiritual state of Israel.

Because I’m a pastor myself, I think I can offer you some insider tips on how speak to your pastor about Israel.

Here are my top 6 tips:

1. Pray for your pastor. If you really care about your pastor you’ll already be praying for him, right?

2. Respect your pastor, recognizing his God-given authority in your life. (Remember David’s attitude of respect toward King Saul despite their conflict).

3. Submit to your pastor. Good pastors take such people very seriously. Hebrews 13:17 says:  Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”

4. Know and study the Scriptures.  When your pastor sees that you have a good knowledge of “the whole counsel of God,” he will more readily listen to your theology on Israel. Recognize that your pastor needs to protect the flock from strange teachings, tangents and divisive issues. Your pastor is well aware of the warning  in Romans 16:17: “….note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.”

5. Be patient.  Take into account your pastor’s background and training. He may have learned “replacement theology” in college or seminary. Don’t expect him to instantly throw out what he absorbed at a formative time in his life.

6. Time your first conversation well.  Consider when is the best time and how much time for the first conversation. Your pastor might be stressed with a load of work and concerns. Don’t try to schedule an appointment just before his busy weekend of public ministry. And don’t try to talk to your pastor immediately following your attendance at a conference on Israel. Wait until you’ve had some time to process and pray through the exciting things you’ve experienced.

In my next blog I’ll give tips on what you should do the first time you meet with your pastor about Israel. (By the way, if you fill in your EMAIL address in the box in the top left hand corner of my side bar you’ll get a notice in your INBOX at the moment I upload a new post).

Do you have a heart for Israel? Have you shared this with your pastor? What kind of response did you get? Can you offer one or two tips of your own on how to speak to your pastor about Israel? My friends and I would love to hear your comments below.

Comments
  1. Excellent posting, Pastor Wayne. It follows what much of my personal experience has been. I find that more and more churches want to learn more and explore our Hebrew roots.

  2. Luc HENRIST says:

    Thanks for your post. The more I know about this issue and the more I am amazed that pastors and christians who read the same Bible that I read just don’t seem to “get it”… It can be frustrating sometimes but like you say, we must be patient….

  3. Chip Kendall says:

    Are you saying I’m going to have to put away my puffy sleeved silk tops, gold bling, star of david tambourine, shofar and IDF patches?? Now that’s heresy right there!! ;)

  4. I used to belong to a group, many years ago, called Living Flame… and ended up operating under the wrong umbrella! the group name… sure didn’t meet the expectations of the right kind of living! and I hope that time has healed all matters of concern! and Dear Wayne, I can so understand some of the reasons that you mentioned….above! many in agreement! initially, when I first came to the church to which I now attend…. I shared my passion for Israel…. didn’t mean to stirrup the pot… but now… I remain low key in any conversations about Israel…and I so love Israel and the jewish people…. it truly is a part of my heart! I seek now to encourage ministries, with scriptural hangings, that support Israel…. ones that walk in integrity, that I know of, that is! and I also choose to encourage the church with scriptural hangings for missions… in our church endeavours! I still believe the scripture….. I will Bless those whom Bless my people….. but I do not share that these days…. to lay my passion to rest… is a ongoing challenge…. I so love the Lord…. and seek him continually….. as sanctification is a ongoing process!! Blessings & Shalom!

  5. danchappell says:

    Hi Wayne. I am for Israel and follow her steps in the world. I pray also for all the region. Your comment about the shopher was so true. I am a gentile not a Jew. I don’t want to be a Jew. My call is to be so filled with the Kingdom in my life and my walk that it causes the Jew to notice and compare, hopefully make them jealous. I have come to realize my bible college education may have missed it. I understood at the time that when the last gentile comes to The Lord, the Jews will come. Now I believe the term” The fullness of the Gentiles” means this gentile,me, will be filled with the fullness of Christ and His nature in me will draw the world. The Jews are extremely smart as well incredibly analytical. For me to imitate them will not register much to them above being a ” wannabe.” God has wired them the same way as He has us and that is, to recognize truth when they see it. The only way this can be done is to realize I was NOT saved to save the Jew or gentile. I was saved to give God pleasure. In this place His heart, power and wisdom becomes mine. The by product is the great commission flowing in a natural way though my every day walk. We do not please God by serving Him but by loving him. We carry the wonder of this relationship to the world and of course to the apple of His eye, the Jew. Bless you

    • Dan, very insightful. I’ve been teaching this approach a lot lately. In fact, I taught this in Jakarta earlier today in a Prayer Tower during the Empowered 21 Asia conference. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Coral says:

    I hope in future blogs you’ll address Replacement Theology–maybe one point per blog? For example, when people say, “God is through with Israel!” – what do you say as a reply? Blessings to you and Ann…

  7. Carrie Irwin says:

    I have a difficult task. Last week my pastor used Israel and the latest bombing in Syria as an example of hatred. He has regularly used comments, an I have tried speaking to him, but he is not open and we have left and come back to the church several times knowing our disobedience in the understanding that God did NOT say to us get up and go.We are still at this catholic church, but are following the jewish feasts as opposed to the church feasts. We feel there will be a time and place, and have much anticipation and hope regarding the church coming to terms with its sins against God and the jewish nation, especially since the new pope francis has been elected. It is a painful and long journey, but YHVH is our hope! And I more and kore excited to see what He is going to do! Only do you have any advice on how to speak against the antisemetic spirit that seems to be plaguing the church? It pastors and yes, even its people?

  8. Carrie Irwin says:

    I have a difficult task. Last week my pastor used Israel and the latest bombing in Syria as an example of hatred. He has regularly used comments. I have tried speaking to him, but he is not open and we have left and come back to the church several times knowing our disobedience in the understanding that God did NOT say to us get up and go.We are still at this catholic church, but are following the jewish feasts as opposed to the church feasts. We feel there will be a time and place, and have much anticipation and hope regarding the church coming to terms with its sins against God and the jewish nation, especially since the new pope francis has been elected. It is a painful and long journey, but YHVH is our hope! I am more and more excited to see what He is going to do! Only do you have any advice on how to speak against the antisemetic spirit that seems to be plaguing the church? It pastors and yes, even its people?

Please leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s