Yes, I am a member of the UMC and most Methodists are really good
Methodists have an 'official' church doctrine but often times its
individually hold different doctrinal beliefs - some liberal and some
conservative. But the UMC teaches tolerance and asks its members to
for 'dialog' with those of other faiths and today it encourages
a dialog with those of Islamic faith. I kinda like their policy of
members to get to know and understand others in other faiths and come to
an understanding that we are all Gods Children. Within the UMC
don't hear condemnation of Mohammad or Islam like Jerry Fallwell and
fundamentalist Baptist espouse.
Thank God. When I saw Pat Robertson praying for the "retirement" of three
Supreme Court Justices on the news, I almost lost it.
But no, the Methodists were lovely people. I was impressed by the
and variety of views I encountered during a Bible study with them. Glad
hear you're not a scary Christian (in which category I will unreservedly
lump Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. And possibly Franklin Graham. Not
sure about him yet.)
Both Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson are dispensationalists. There is a
major problem with
being a Christian and being dispensationalist as well. Most Jews are
dispensationalists, and many Christians are trying to be both.
A Christian who believes in Christ and His Golden Rule, cannot be a
dispensationalist at the same time. The below will illustrate the issue.
THE GOLDEN RULE
Jesus in Mk 12:30: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,
and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength:
this is the first commandment.
31: And the second is alike, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as
thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
"DISPENSATIONALISM IMPACTING U.S. FOREIGN POLICY"
By Tom Valentine
Published in THE SPOTLIGHT national newspaper
During the 19th century, long after the birth of Christ, a former
con-man came up with his own twist on the teachings of the Bible that is
taught by some people virtually as "scripture." It is having a major impact
on the world today, particularly U.S. policy in the Mideast.
This peculiar philosophy, known as "dispensationalism" is political, and
most emphatically not biblical. Yet many Christians in America consider it
"gospel." It states, that since YHWH gave Palestine to the Jews, whatever
the Jews do to the Palestinian natives to take the land, then and now, is
"God's will" and must be supported.
A courageous author who has investigated this bizarre phenomenon was
the guest on the Jan. 15 broadcast of The SPOTLIGHT's weekly call-in talk
forum, Radio Free America, with host Tom Valentine.
The guest, Grace Halsell, a veteran international journalist, author of 10
books and a professing, Bible-believing Christian, described her findings
regarding this influential politico-religious force in her new book, Forcing
God's Hand: Why Millions Pray for a Quick Rapture, which is available for
$12 from Liberty Library, 300 Independence Avenue, SE, Washington, D.C.
What follows is an edited transcript of the interview with Ms. Halsell.
Valentine's questions are in boldface. Ms. Halsell's responses are in
How did you come about writing this book?
Let me go back to the very beginning. I've written a number of books and
lived around the world in many different countries. I was born in Texas and
I set out very early to see the world: Japan, South America etc. Actually, I
went to the Middle East after I had been almost every place else and I did a
book, Journey to Jerusalem. This was about 20 years ago. In that book, I
lived with the Christians and Muslims and Jews and told their story and how
they were living in Palestine and Israel.
One day I started living with the Jewish settlers who were taking land
illegally from the Palestinians and many of these Jews were Americans who
had moved over there from Brooklyn, N.Y. One of these was Bobby Brown, a
third generation American who had moved to the Middle East. Sitting in this
illegal colony outside Bethlehem, I heard Brown say, "You know God gave us
all this land and the Palestinians all have to leave."
That hit me very hard because I had to ask myself what I believed as a
Christian. Was God in the real estate business? Was he really giving land
and taking it away from the people who had been living there for about 2,000
So that question in my mind stayed with me and then later I began to
take these tours with Jerry Falwell and meet Christians who condoned what
Bobby Brown was doing, which was taking guns and illegally confiscating land
from the owners who lived there. This led to this latest book, which is
called Forcing God's Hand: Why Millions Pray for a Quick Rapture.
I would assume that the Jews living there (and being Old Testament
people) would say, "Well, God dealt in real estate then. Why not now?"
That's correct. So these are the questions I raised and which I am raising
in this current book. I think, I definitely do answer the question in the
book. As a Christian, I think I believe in the message of Christ, which is
peace and brotherhood and love and not murder and not confiscation of land.
I very definitely come out and say that Christ's message is what we need to
accept if we want peace in the world.
You're originally from Texas. In your book you examine how the Southern
Baptist Convention has been manipulated by this theory.
There are 16 million Southern Baptist Convention members and the entire
leadership has been taken over by this group of what I call, these "militant
Christians" who support Israel, and whatever Israel does. You know, you can
criticize France or China or even the United States, but you're not supposed
to criticize Israel because the Southern Baptist convention leadership says
that everything Israel does is orchestrated by God.
That's a very unique perspective and many of the big television
evangelists promote this point of view. In your book you explain that the
Southern Baptists were actually taken over by these people who say that you
aren't supposed to criticize Israel in what was essentially a political
It really was. It started in the 1960s, led by two men, and it became
very political. It was a real coup. They took it over and turned it
political. It became such a big force that they are very active in politics
and they can actually be highly influential in politics, telling people whom
to vote for.
This idea that Israel can do no wrong and that everything Israel does is
directed by God, actually came to the American Christian churches out of
England through a theory called "dispensationalism."
Yes, this is quite a new belief theory, that didn't exist in
1,800 years. It came about just 200 years ago. It originated in England
with a man named Darby and it was made popular in this country by
Cyrus Scofield through his reference Bible. He wrote his theory within
his Bible, on the margin, so that it became like a reference book. But
some people reading that book take his words as almost the word of
God. He believed that everything important in all of history must center a
round Israel. Everything.
I became a Christian about 15 years ago after having explored a lot of
different philosophies. When I started looking into Christianity, I came
across this Scofield philosophy and it's quite influential. I found that the
Moody Bible Institute was promoting Scofieldism.
So many seminaries are owned or controlled by them. The seedbed for this
is the theological seminary in Dallas and they educate all of the professors
who go out and head up other seminaries. So it's a vast, growing movement
with all of the teachers and students who are learning this. There are
countless seminaries teaching this doctrine.
I rejected Scofieldism when I investigated it, and I see it as being
much more political than it is "Christian." It is highly political and it
gets so that it controls what goes on in the White House and controls what
goes on in Congress. It's a vast number of Christians who are influencing
Congress and the president. I give any number of examples in the book.
An article in The SPOTLIGHT written by Charles Fischbein, a former
high-ranking figure in the Israeli lobby in America, pointed out that even
former President Reagan and his attorney general, Edwin Meese, were praying
for Armageddon to come during the Reagan era. Yes, that is very true. Ronald
Reagan was tied very much into this belief system.
What exactly is it, that they be lieve?
Well, Reagan undoubtedly tied in with this idea, that there has to be an
Armageddon. The reason they support Israel so much is, that they say Israel
has to be the "landing base" for Christ. And while many of these people
don't like Jews as Jews, they do love Israel and make a cult of the land of
Israel and they want everything protected for Israel and what Israel wants,
they say Israel should get, since Israel has to be the "landing base" for
I read the Bible for myself and I didn't see anywhere that Christ needed
a landing base. (Laughing.) It does get a little absurd, doesn't it? Well,
Christ is king in our hearts and whatever he wants will be done and I think
he's been crowned king for all Christians already.
It seems like these Scofieldian dispensationalists who say we must
support Israel are saying that, "Christ didn't do it right the first time,
so he's got to do it over."
Well, they want to force God's hand. God has to do it their way. It's pretty
egotistical on their part, it seems to me, instead of "Thy will be done." It
is like writing dogma your own way, and, as I said, it is a fairly recent
dogma and it has become kind of a cult.
I guess they get a lot of pleasure and satisfaction with the certitude
that they can say like Jerry Falwell: "I'm not worried about Armageddon. You
know why? I ain't gonna be here." It's like the idea that "me and my crowd
are sure to be raptured and sit in the sky in grandstand seats and watch the
destruction of earth below with all of the millions, billions, of other
people being destroyed."
In other words, the followers of this theory, that Scofield concocted
and which has now become influential in so-called "mainstream" Christian
thinking believe, that they are going to be looking down and watching the
people on earth murdering each other. It sounds to me like they are the
ancient Romans and the others are the ones in the lion's den. It doesn't
sound Christ-like to me at all, that Christ would enjoy watching people
burn. But as Jerry Falwell said, "I'm not worried . . . I ain't gonna be
In the meantime, though, they have this very, very powerful alliance and
it gives them a lot of recognition and gives them a vast following. Tim
LaHaye sells millions of copies of his book about the rapture. Hal Lindsay's
book, The Late Great Planet Earth, was a major best-seller. I read Lindsay's
book right after I became a Christian and I couldn't find where he was
making these connections.
This is a danger to America, because so many millions of people readily
buy into this theory that's being taught by LaHaye and Falwell and Pat
Robertson. It's no wonder that the Muslims are upset when they hear Falwell
and Robertson talking the way they do. Pat Robertson is an extremely
powerful man. You point out in your book that in 1982 when Israel invaded
Lebanon, Pat Robertson rode into the fray in an Israeli jeep. In the war
that followed, 200,000 Lebanese and Palestinians were killed and wounded.
Robertson said that Israel was "doing God's will." He actually believed
Oh yes, this cult of Israel is so real to some people. It's rather
frightening. What interests me is that some of these Christian churches are
now sponsoring the appearance in their churches of Solomon Gershon whose
mission in life is to replace the Muslim mosque there in Jerusalem that is
holy to a billion Muslims around the world. He wants to rebuild Solomon's
temple at that spot and he's worked very hard to breed up a red calf. Yes,
he wants to sacrifice a red calf there. But, of course, the mosque has to be
destroyed and that could trigger a war very easily. However, they don't
worry about that. And Christians are raising money to promote this. This is
very real and Christians are raising money for an impending act of
terrorism. Already there have been over 100 assaults on that mosque.
By far the most powerful lobby in America is the pro-Israel lobby and
now we have Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell and all of their followers and
they all believe that Israel can do no wrong. It is a powerful alliance
between these militant Israelis and these militant Christians. No wonder
that Israel gets all of this foreign and military aid from the United States
and has for decades. And the Israelis, in addition, have been selling
high-tech weaponry to the Red Chinese and only The SPOTLIGHT was
reporting it. This all ties in to what you are talking about regarding this
alliance between the militant Israelis and the militant Christians.
Neither one would be so strong without the other.
You can't call it an Israeli philosophy, though. It's actually a really
weird twist on Christianity, that is only 200 years old and has no
connection with the Bible or anything in Christianity's history. How in the
world could Darby, the English originator of this theory convince anybody of
this? Actually, the ones who got convinced were the Americans. It was not a
big movement in England. But now these militant Christian evangelists such
as Falwell and Robertson are beaming this theory around the world with their
You point out in your book that in March 1985, Jerry Falwell, speaking to an
assembly of rabbis in Miami, pledged to "mobilize 70 million conservative
Christians for Israel." Falwell also took credit for converting Sen. Jesse
Helms (R-N.C.) into one of Israel's staunchest allies and then Helms soon
was permitted to become chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Commit tee.
So is it Christianity or is it politics in Christian clothing?
I did document the fact, that Israel had given Jerry Falwell a jet
airplane, which is a nice gift. He uses it to go around and he uses that
jet, politically, I would say. I personally heard Jerry Falwell thank
Israeli leader Moshe Arens when I was traveling with Falwell. He didn't know
I was writing a book, but I traveled with two of his delegations that went
Published in THE SPOTLIGHT national newspaper