Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Palin's church and Jews for Jesus

Ben Smith of Politico reports on the many reasons that Jewish voters may be wary of Palin. The reason that repels me the most is that her church recently hosted one of the leaders of Jews for Jesus, who gave a sermon that expressed classic Christian, anti-Judaic, supersessionist theology.

An illustration of that gap came just two weeks ago, when Palin’s church, the Wasilla Bible Church, gave its pulpit over to a figure viewed with deep hostility by many Jewish organizations: David Brickner, the founder of Jews for Jesus.

Palin’s pastor, Larry Kroon, introduced Brickner on Aug. 17, according to a transcript of the sermon on the church’s website.

“He’s a leader of Jews for Jesus, a ministry that is out on the leading edge in a pressing, demanding area of witnessing and evangelism,” Kroon said.

Brickner then explained that Jesus and his disciples were themselves Jewish.

“The Jewish community, in particular, has a difficult time understanding this reality,” he said.

Brickner’s mission has drawn wide criticism from the organized Jewish community, and the Anti-Defamation League accused them in a report of “targeting Jews for conversion with subterfuge and deception.”

Brickner also described terrorist attacks on Israelis as God's "judgment of unbelief" of Jews who haven't embraced Christianity.

"Judgment is very real and we see it played out on the pages of the newspapers and on the television. It's very real. When [Brickner's son] was in Jerusalem he was there to witness some of that judgment, some of that conflict, when a Palestinian from East Jerusalem took a bulldozer and went plowing through a score of cars, killing numbers of people. Judgment — you can't miss it."

Palin was in church that day, Kroon said, though he cautioned against attributing Brickner’s views to her.

Ugh - it was God's judgment on Jews for not believing in Jesus that led to the deaths of people this summer from Palestinian terrorist attacks?

If Obama endured months of attacks for his membership in his church in Chicago and had to publicly dissociate himself from it, I think that Palin should also be asked what her views are on theology like this, and whether this theology has affected her thinking on Jews and Israel.

1 comment:

  1. I am a staff worker with the Jews for Jesus organization. Most blogs and news services have quoted the same snippet of the 30-minute message that David Brickner of Jews for Jesus delivered at Sarah Palin’s church, giving the false impression that he believes that terrorist attacks are God’s judgment on Israel for not believing in Jesus. I appreciate that you posted the link to the BeliefNet blog where people can read the entire message and see Brickner's remarks in context. You can also read or listen to the entire message for yourself at Please also take a look at Brickner’s comments concerning his message at Wasilla Bible Church, as well as interviews by Christianity Today and MSNBC with Brickner about this issue, at Among other things, Brickner says, "The comments attributed to me were taken out of context. In retrospect, I can see how my rhetoric might be misunderstood and I truly regret that. Let me be clear. I don’t believe that any one event, whether a terrorist attack or a natural disaster, is a specific fulfillment of or manifestation of a biblical prediction of judgment. I love my Jewish people and the land of Israel. I stand with and support her against all efforts to harm her or her people in any way."