Christ at the Checkpoint
We are a community of evangelical Christians who believe that following Jesus with integrity means that our lives are formed by our love for God, the teaching of the Bible and a fearless life of discipleship in the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We believe that one of the first hallmarks of discipleship is love for both our own community and for our enemies. We wish to find Jesus at the center of everything we do and to make his life our life. Which means finding courageous love for Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews alike.
We also believe that our discipleship requires a prophetic voice. We feel compelled to address the injustices that have taken place in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine, particularly the Palestinian lands under occupation. We gather with many communities from around the world to say that our present circumstances are intolerable and do not reflect the righteousness of the Kingdom of God. We abhor violence. And we believe that standing up nonviolently to injustice is an acceptable expression of our faith.
We do not condemn the Jewish people and we reject any forms of anti-Semitism. In fact, many of our supporters are Israeli Jews who believe that the present Israeli treatment of the Palestinians does not reflect the deeper moral values of Judaism itself. We simply wish to find a life in the entire Holy Land that is free of discrimination and injustice, where each person can live without prejudice toward their race or religion. This also means we reject theologies that lead to discrimination or privileges based on ethnicity. Worldviews that promote divine national entitlement or exceptionalism do not promote the values of the Kingdom of God because they place nationalism above Jesus.
Since 2010, under the leadership of Bethlehem Bible College and led by Palestinian Christians, we have sponsored an international conference every other year exploring the obstacles to peace in our world and the opportunities for peace-making that spring from our Christian faith. We pray that we are faithful to Jesus and regularly confess our shortcomings when we fail to exhibit Jesus’ highest call to love. We also call upon evangelical Christians everywhere to join us in the hope that we can build a better world where goodness and truth reign free and where the love and fairness of God are common.
We invite you to join us. Our next gathering will be in May, 2018, and we hope you will join Christians from throughout the world from a wide diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints. We believe that the conversations that begin in these gatherings will result in the hope we need in our world.
The Christ at the Checkpoint Manifesto
- The Kingdom of God has come. Evangelicals must reclaim the prophetic role in bringing peace, justice and reconciliation in Palestine and Israel.
- Reconciliation recognizes God’s image in one another.
- Racial ethnicity alone does not guarantee the benefits of the Abraham Covenant.
- The church in the land of the Holy One has borne witness to Christ since the days of Pentecost. It must be empowered to continue to be light and salt in the region, if there is to be hope in the midst of conflict.
- Any exclusive claim to land of the Bible in the name of God is not in line with the teaching of scripture.
- All forms of violence must be refuted unequivocally.
- Palestinian Christians must not lose the capacity for self-criticism if they wish to remain prophetic.
- There are real injustices taking place in the Palestinian territories, and the suffering of the Palestinian people can no longer be ignored. Any solution must respect the equity and rights of Israeli and Palestinian communities.
- For Palestinian Christians, the occupation is the core issue of the conflict.
- Any challenge to the injustices taking place in the Holy Land must be done in Christian love. Criticism of Israel and the occupation cannot be confused with anti-Semitism and the delegitimization of the State of Israel.
- Respectful dialogue between Palestinian and Messianic believers must continue. Though we may disagree on secondary matters of theology, the gospel of Jesus and his ethical teaching take precedence.
- Christians must understand the global context for the rise of extremist Islam. We challenge stereotyping of all faith forms that betray God’s commandment to love our neighbors and enemies.