Carla has written an outstanding post about a group of theological movers and shakers that she so aptly calls ‘The Smiley Face Club’. She has done a lot of research and connected all of the dots and has made it perfectly clear where all this postmodern conversation is leading. Make no doubts about it, there is a divide going on and its becoming increasingly hyperbolic in nature.
a local Christian university (Trinity Western University) had hosted the Canadian premiere of a film called With God on our Side. Reliable eye witnesses and disgusted acquaintances of mine reported that the whole thing was extremely biased and slanted, and that even the post-film Q&A panel was stacked against Israel. After hearing about their exasperating experiences I thought that perhaps a better name for the film might have been "Without God on Our Slanted Side."
So lo and behold, the other day I found out that the smiley face club likes this anti-Israel thing! [source]
You can really see the language being used through film and media is meant to divide people. McLaren, and others like him, hates any form of Christian Zionism and has pretty much lumped us into a group that has been in the past been called ‘a deviant heresy’.
If you have no idea about who is in this ‘Smiley Face Club’ and what the implications of this group will have on those who believe that Israel has prophetic importance yet to be played out, you simply must read what Carla has penned.
With the presupposition of the film title ‘With God on our side’ this automatically puts people on a… ‘with us and God’ or ‘not with us so you are against God’ mentality. This kind of language is polemical rhetoric and is not helpful at all. They are doing the very same thing that they criticized George W. Bush for doing!
I for one would really love someone like Calvin Smith or Jacob Prasch to comment a bit further on this because I think there will be a lot of Christians who will naively lap up this ‘New type of Supercessionism’ which leads ever so gently into anti-Semitism.
However, I did find THIS on Jacob’s site that you may want to check out!
And Calvin Smith has in the past expressed his concern when he wrote the following…
An Anglican priest who recently attended a Palestine conference organised by the Federation of Islamic Student Societies today blogs of his participation in the conference. Revd Stephen Sizer also refers to the Jerusalem Declaration, a document he helped draft and which he says “repudiates Christian Zionism as a deviant heresy”.
This is strong language indeed. Of course, it is no secret Revd Sizer has widely publicised his intense dislike of Christian Zionism, which he has every right to do. But surely labelling millions of fellow Evangelical Christians deviant heretics goes too far. [source]
Mixing in various circles – both church and academic – I’ve encountered many Christians who have become troubled by the language and anti-Israel stance taken by several vocal supercessionists. Ironically, while such books were celebrated when they were first published, I’m discovering that many Christians are now increasingly uncomfortable with the evermore extreme rhetoric and some of the platforms from which several supercessionists are denouncing fellow Christians, simply on the basis that they are Christian Zionists or regard Islamism as a dangerous threat. For example, one well-known writer has travelled to Iran – recognised by many Western nations as a rogue state (as evidenced by how they all pulled their diplomats from an anti-Israel speech given by the Iranian President this week) – to denounce Christian Zionists. In another case, Patrick Sookdheo, leader of the Barnabas Fund which highlights the plight of persecuted Christians abroad (including in Muslim lands), was criticised at a meeting by several supercessionists who identify with the Palestinian cause and also advocate a more sympathetic approach to Islam, The result was that Sookdheo eventually received death threats on several Islamists websites. So not only is the issue of Israel and supercessionism hotting up, it is also symptomatic of a wider ideological struggle currently taking place within Evangelicalism over how to respond to Islam. [source]
I don’t think this issue is going to go away and fade into the background quietly, especially when the Middle East really heats up. In fact, I think it will continue to get nasty as the battle lines are drawn in the sand by ‘The Smiley Face Club’ because remember….God is on their side.
Boy, do we live in interesting times today or not?