Prominent evangelical backs out of pro-Israel event over proselytizing disclaimer

Reported by Jim Brown for One News Now. Copyright 2006, 2007 American Family News Network

Christian radio talk-show host Janet Parshall, a high-profile American evangelical known for her strong support of Israel, has dropped out of a Jerusalem conference sponsored by a Christian caucus of the Israeli Parliament. Parshall says she decided not to speak at the conference after she learned that the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus condemns” and does not associate with groups that share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Parshall says she is also troubled that the strict religious political party Shas has yet again introduced legislation in the Knesset that would give up to a one-year prison sentence for people who share the gospel in Israel. “I thought, wait a minute: we can’t just blindly support Israel,” she observes. “We have to be able to tell them, as a friend, [that] you can’t do that. You can’t silence us.”

The Christian radio commentator says Israel understands by now who evangelical Christians are and that their very nomenclature as evangelical Christians “means that we share the love of Jesus Christ.” Individual Israelis may not accept Jesus as the Messiah, she notes, but they “cannot silence us from sharing [the gospel] with whomever might be interested in that message.”

Also, Parshall points out, there is the added problem of censoring Christian evangelism, i.e., that “as Israel begins to move deeper and deeper in that direction, they start to replicate their Islamic neighbors.” The talk-radio host says the Apostle Paul was given the exact same message in Jerusalem, told to “stop talking about the empty grave.” But Paul did not follow that dictate, the American evangelical asserts, and neither will she.

As a staunch evangelical supporter of the Jewish state, Parshall says she has never run into such a dilemma at a pro-Israel conference before. Meanwhile, the evangelical spokeswoman notes, she believes an “evolution” has occurred in the Christian pro-Israel lobby, often characterized by “a kind of blind support that says no matter what Israel does, Israel can do no wrong.”

However, Parshall contends, “I don’t believe that of our government and I certainly don’t believe that of the Israeli government. And friends tell friends, in love, when they see things that they think are wrong.”

But Parshall says there are some in the Christian pro-Israel lobby who harbor such a “blind allegiance” to Israel that they even foster a belief that there is a different plan of salvation for the Jews. “That’s not true,” she insists. “Scripture says there’s one name under heaven whereby all men will be saved.”

Unfortunately, Parshall observes, this condemnation of evangelization by the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus may mark the beginning of a new era in which Israel tells evangelical believers, “We’ll take your aid, your support and your tourist dollars, but we won’t take your Jesus.” Christians should not have to “choose between the cross or Israel,” the American evangelical says.