Christ at the Checkpoint in the Media

A lot has been written and said about Bethlehem Bible College's third international conference - Christ at the Checkpoint (of which I am the director). We are now in the process of making all the talks of the conference public online, and I strongly encourage those who were not able to attend the conference or watch the live feed to watch these talks and join in the conversation. In addition, I strongly recommend reading the daily blogs that were written about it (Thanks Alice Su!!)
Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3 - Day 4 - Day 5.

We were overwhelmed by the attention the conference received from Christian, Jewish and secular media. Here I highlight some of the articles that were posted online and that discussed the conference:

Attention was given to the conference because of a statement from an Israeli official denouncing the conference - and this was first reported by Israel Today and then reported in Haaretz and Algemeiner and other places. Arab media also got into the discussion - see the report of Almonitor. My response to the statement was featured in Christianity Today. Of course, I wish CT engaged more with the actual message and content of the conference, not simply the "controversy" surrounding it. Christian Post also covered this issue.

Of course, there were many others who were not pleased with our conference. The Institute of Religion and Democracy made a statement before the conference that basically called the participants in the conference "dangerously naive". What is sad is that the IRD and Tooley simply threw the typical "anti Israel" and "liberation theology" label at us, without really engaging with any of our stands or statements.

Palestinian media also engaged with our conference, naturally supporting it and applauding evangelicals for coming to listen to a new perspective (the Palestinian one). See Maan News pre-conference report here, which featured an extensive interview with me. See also PNN's coverage.

Jewish and Israeli media were very interested in the conference as well. The Jewish Daily Forward produced an in depth report of it. The reporter was actually there - and she made interviews and reported in a very engaged manner. A point that was strongly emphasized and discussed is that Israel is beginning to lose the Evangelical support. See the article by major Israeli newspaper Haaretz. See also the report of the Times of Israel. This was also reflected in many pre-conference articles by Jewish and Christian media sources which sited the conference as one reason among many as to why evangelicals are beginning to question any uncritical support to Israel. See articles by the Jewish Week, Mosaic, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, BuzzFeed, and Middle East Forum.

Read also Ryan's article on the conference and its challenge to Christian Zionism. Alice wrote a very honest open letter to Christian Zionist based mainly on her experience in the conference. Both were published in +972 magazine.

Here is also a report in the Swedish Christian newspaper Dagen.

All of these articles reflect that CATC is being seriously discussed in many Christian and Jewish circles. They show that the Palestinian voice is being heard and taken into account. A dialogue is taking place - and this pleases us. (See the article by Daoud Kuttab on the dialogue that took place in the conference on replacement theology). CATC is beginning to have an impact. It is our hope that this dialogue that started in Bethlehem four years ago, and the raising awareness about issues on the ground, that this will contribute, even if in a small manner, towards bring peace and justice in Palestinian and Israel.


Even the leading Christian newspaper "Dagen" in Sweden had a good article about the conference

"There is an ongoing change. Many younger evangelicals seek justice, they are unhappy with the old patterns that is about good and evil. They want dialogue.

- Many evangelicals come here and see the reality on the ground with their own eyes. They reconsider their theology. Meanwhile, Palestinian Christians heard the voice more and more, they speak for their own cause, he says ( Munther Isaac ) see link Dagen
Munther Isaac said…
Thanks for showing me the link. I appreciate it.
A-K Roth said…
Mr. Isaac,

At the same time, there is also much dismay at the mixing of politics and religion from the CATC, the fact that the very name of the project brings one back to the old and hurtful Christian thoughts of Jews as killing Christ. There is no getting around that destructive connotation, especially since so many of the palestinian leadership now refer to all palestinians as the crucified Jesus. It is a crazy, false, and damaging trend. I have sympathy for palestinian Christians who live under hardship, but not much for politicized Christians in Sweden and elsewhere who buy into a skewed and hurtful document.

As for the previous commentator's words about the old patterns of good and evil: It can be found right now in the mentality that brought forth CATC and the Kairos Palestine document. For in that document one can, for example, read clearly words that the israelis have "sinned against God and humanity" or words to that effect. Disclaimers that it only refers to israeli leaders means to many nothing, because of the overall tone; no blame of sin against God and humanity is directed against palestinian terrorists, who deliberately murder innocent civilians. Instead the writers expressively honor all those who died in the resistance. No exceptions for murderes of civilians.

Of course dialogue is what is needed. But thoughts of good and evil seems to flourish in many Christian circles. It will lead to no good.