With God On Our Side takes a hard look at the theology and politics of Christian Zionism, which teaches that because the Jews are God’s chosen people, Israeli government policies should not be questioned, even when these policies are unjust.
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With God On Our Side takes a hard look at the theology and politics of Christian Zionism, which teaches that because the Jews are God’s chosen people, Israeli government policies should not be questioned, even when these policies are unjust. Critics of Christian Zionism argue that this flawed ideology has led to ethnic discrimination and great suffering among the Palestinian people, including thousands of Palestinian Christians.
Is there a Biblical alternative for Christians who love and support the people of Israel? A way that doesn’t favor one people group over another but instead promotes peace, security, and reconciliation for both Jews and Palestinians?
Languages: ENGLISH / ARABIC
Subtitles: ENGLISH Over ARABIC Dialogue
Format: Widescreen (16:9 Aspect Ratio)
This film underscores the need for urgency, for the sake of Israel as well as Palestine, of making a just peace in the Holy Land. The viewer accompanies a young narrator on a pilgrimage to Israel and the Occupied Territories. We see violations of international law, especially the moving of Israelis into settlements on Palestinian land. We are confronted by the oppressive ideology in the victimization of Palestinian and Israeli Arabs. Christian Zionists rationalize these violations with insistence that Jews are the only “chosen” because of their suffering and the “land promise” by God to Abraham. Startling sights and compelling interviews convey the great tragedy that Christian Zionism undergirds offending Israeli politics. This skewed teaching, the film proposes, enables not only violation of human law but of God’s law of loving neighbor. Can the Bible be used to justify crimes against humanity? Can the kingdom of God possibly be realized by violent dispossession? “End-times theology that causes rejection of an ethnic group, or a brother like me, is a sin,” declares Salim Munayer, academic dean of Bethlehem Bible College and founder of Musalaha Reconciliation Ministries. Using the Bible to justify nationalistic purposes is idolatry. The Apostle Paul teaches in Colossians and Ephesians that “chosen people” are not a racial group but people in right relationship with God, “Jew and Gentile” together, all children of Abraham by faith. “Political opinion that causes prejudice toward another people puts us at risk of losing the heart of God,” another interviewee in the film posits. “We must decide whether we use the lens of prophecy or the lens of justice.” With God on Our Side signals a hope that Christian Zionists will change through the persuasive voices of progressive Christians and Jews. It posits that support of Israel “right or wrong” is an adopted formula of world Christian empire that actually threatens Israel’s survival. Tom Getman, a former NGO executive in D.C., Palestine, and Geneva, is now a consultant on international affairs
With God on Our Side is a documentary that questions the theology and political aspirations of Christian Zionism, which throws unquestioning support behind the Israeli government. But some of Israel's policies cause injustice and suffering to its Palestinian citizens. Is there a Biblical way to support Israel while also promoting peace and reconciliation for Jews and Palestinians alike? Sober, thought-provoking, and directly addressing modern-day practical, moral, and theological dilemmas, With God on Our Side is highly recommended especially for church DVD libraries.
Director Porter Speakman, Jr.’s film examines both the theology and Biblical basis of Christian Zionism and takes us to Palestine to show us what the situation is like for the Palestinians living there. It becomes obvious that American and British Christians who give uncritical support to the Israeli government are supporting a great injustice against a poor and powerless people. The sad thing is that when a Christian Zionist leader is confronted with this, he discounts the problem because it is God’s will as espoused in the Bible that is working out in current history. This view is held by a great many Evangelicals: one of the surprising statement in the film is that it is not the so-called “Jewish Lobby” that prevents our government in Washington from dealing with Israel and the Palestinians on an equal basis. It is the huge number of Evangelical Christians who because of the Bible and their belief that supporting Israel will hasten the Second Coming of Christ, that makes any questioning of Israeli policy politically impossible. Christian Zionists believe in a literalist interpretation of God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12, and to other passages that declare that Israel is to drive out or destroy the inhabitants of the Promised Land. (Just prior to watching this film I had read my way through Joshua and Judges again, and the passages justifying the extermination of the men, women, children, and cattle of the resident people turned my stomach!) There is a concise and helpful history of Zionism and the founding of modern Israel using photos and newsreel clips that is very helpful—and also unsettling because the facts fly against the widely held myth about peaceful Jews founding Israel and always being attacked by the Arabs. The filmmakers go on to suggest that there is another way of interpreting the Scriptures, as well as one of supporting Israel but holding it accountable for the injustices that it commits. Almost all of the Palestinians that are in the film are Christians—indeed the filmmakers make the point that Western Christians who come to such shrines as Bethlehem never engage the resident Christians there, who could give them a truer picture of conditions than tourist usually gain. One Palestinian who has suffered greatly at the hands of the Israelis speaks movingly of coming to the West and regaining his ability to love and forgive the Israelis for what they are doing. He ends his testimony with the note that he still hopes the situation can be changed without violence. This is an excellent film for a church school or other such group to watch and discuss.
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