Memorial 82

SPECIAL DIRECTIONS: Israel's Right to Exist

Whereas, The Wesleyan Church has noted the growing global anti-Semitism, and opposition to the State of Israel and to Zionism (the right of the State of Israel to exist and defend itself); such opposition ignores the profound and ancient connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel, and the modern history of the rebirthing of the State of Israel after approximately 3,400 years; equally troubling, this opposition is often linked to a resurgent supercessionism, the doctrine that the church replaces Israel as God's covenant partner; this theology has led historically to anti-Semitism and the tragic holocaust and pogroms resulting in the death of millions of Jews;

Whereas, In the tragedy of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict there are two claimants to justice - Jews and Arabs - and true reconciliation efforts must recognize this reality; we urge The Wesleyan Church to support peace efforts between Israel and the Arab world that recognize the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, and its right to firm and secure borders, without any threat of terrorism;

Whereas, Scripture reveals that God loves the Arab and Jewish people and promised both of them land as an inheritance; God expresses his love for Ishmael and promises to make of him a "great nation" (Gen. 21:18), alongside the nation of Israel (Gen. 25:12ff.); God indeed kept his promise to Ishmael, as the Arab nation today has multiplied to 22 Arab states with a combined population of 350 million, and extensive territories dwarfing the Land of Israel and its population of seven million; from a biblical perspective, it is simply unjust for the Arabs, the sons of Ishmael, to claim not only what God promised them but also the one land God promised to Israel; Israel currently has only approximately one half of 1% of all the land in the Middle East, with the remaining approximately 99.5% being held by surrounding Arab nations. Israel does not "occupy" its tiny portion of land; it, based on God's Word, "owns" it;

Whereas, Genesis 12:1-3 speaks clearly that those who bless Israel will be blessed and those who curse Israel will be cursed; The Wesleyan Church desires to be blessed, not cursed; that being said The Wesleyan Church, unlike so called "mainline" denominations, will not in any way participate in campaigns involving or calling for boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) against Israel;

Whereas, Israel's claim to legitimacy as a Jewish state rests not only on broadly accepted standards of international law, but also on the words of the Hebrew prophets; Jews have maintained a presence in the Land of Israel throughout history, and have constituted the majority population in Jerusalem since the mid-nineteenth century; the state of Israel was born in response to the homelessness and suffering of the Jewish people in exile, which reached its horrible climax during World War II; the very words of Scripture, shared by Jews and Christians, foretell a Jewish return to the land of Israel after centuries of exile: "For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land" (Ezek. 36:24); this restoration is evident in our own times; and

Whereas, We, as The Wesleyan Church, are the spiritual offspring of John and Charles Wesley whose theology was set forth in clarity in the hymns of Charles; calling them "Abraham's favour'd seed," Charles Wesley wrote lyrics regarding the Jews returning to Israel in his hymns published by him and his brother John in 1762; Charles based a hymn entitled Almighty God of Love* on Isaiah 66:18-20, which speaks of the re-gathering of Israel to Mount Zion (Jerusalem); Charles Wesley's hymn contains the concept of Paul, 'And so all Israel will be saved,' (Romans 11:26) and made a clear theological statement about the rebirth of Israel, a full 186 years before the 1948 rebirth of the State of Israel:

We know, it must be done, For God hath spoke the word,

All Israel shall their Saviour own, To their first state restor'd:

Re-built by his command, Jerusalem shall rise,

Her temple on Moriah stand, Again, and touch the skies."

Resolved, That the following statement be included in the "Special Directions" of The Discipline of The Wesleyan Church:

"The Wesleyan Church affirms the right of the sovereign State of Israel to exist and to defend itself from all opposition and forms of terrorism. We stand in opposition to anti-Semitism in all of its manifestations."


Tim Kirkes, Secretary

Committee on Memorials

Not Recommended

General Conference

____ Adopted ____ Not Adopted

*Full text of Charles Wesley's hymn looking forward to a restoration of Israel and His re-gathered people:

Almighty God of love

Set up the attracting sign

And summon whom Thou dost approve

For messengers divine.

From Abraham's favoured seed

Thy new apostles choose

In isles and continents to spread

The dead-reviving news.

Them snatched out of the flame

Through every nation send

The true Messias to proclaim

The universal Friend.

That all the God unknown

May learn of Jews to adore

And see Thy glory in Thy Son

Till time shall be no more.

O that the chosen band

Might now their brethren bring

And gathered out of every land

Present to Zion's King.

Of all the ancient race

Not one be left behind

But each impelled by secret grace

His way to Canaan find!

We know it must be done

For God hath spoke the word

All Israel shall their Saviour own

To their first state restored.

Rebuilt by His command

Jerusalem shall rise

Her temple on Moriah stand

Again, and touch the skies.

Send then Thy servants forth

To call the Hebrews home

From west and east, and south, and north

Let all the wanderers come.

Where'er in lands unknown

Thy fugitives remain

Bid every creature help them on

Thy holy mount to gain.

An offering to their God

There let them all be seen

Sprinkled with water and with blood

In soul and body clean.

With Israel's myriads sealed

Let all the nations meet

And show Thy mystery fulfilled

The family complete.

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