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Are Christian leaders speaking into the Israel/Hamas Conflict in a manner that reflects our best understanding of a Christian worldview?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #150 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

Since just after the Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas surprise attack on innocent civilian Israelis in Israel, I’ve been bothered by how some leaders, including Christians, seem to be parsing this conflict.

On 10/7, Hamas terrorists crossed into Israel and perpetrated heinous, barbarous, cruel, and sickening carnage upon Israeli civilians, killing 1,139 people, including 764 civilians and 373 Israeli security personnel. This coordinated armed coercion included murder, butchery, torture, burning, and weaponized sexual violence involving rape, mutilation, extreme brutality against women and girls. And it included kidnapping some 252 victims and holding them as hostages, some of whom have been returned, most of whom are now dead, presumed dead, or believed still in captivity. To add considerable insult and humiliation, the savage raid was videoed by Hamas killers who wore Go-Pro cameras and later in their celebration, pride, and arrogance shared the videos with the world.

Since that time, Israel’s military, called the Israeli Defense Force or IDF, invaded the Gaza Strip and have been seeking to eradicate Hamas, wiping out every operative and eventually the group itself. As of May 8, 2024, over 36,000 people (34,844 Palestinian and 1,410 Israeli) have been reported as killed in the Israel-Hamas conflict, including 97 journalists (92 Palestinian, 2 Israeli and 3 Lebanese) and over 224 humanitarian aid workers, including 179 employees of UNRWA.

Despite the gut-wrenching brutality of 10/7, it has not been Hamas but the IDF that has attracted near world-wide condemnation for what is perceived as disproportionate killing, indiscriminately killing thousands of women and children, or intentionally engaging in a military operation aimed at genocide of the Palestinian people.

Now remember, the Palestinian death toll figures have consistently been taken from the Gaza Health Ministry, controlled by Hamas, yet these figures have been reported on mainstream media as if there is no question concerning their accuracy.

Recently, the UN revised these casualty figures significantly down, then denied they had done so.

All this sets the stage for Christian leaders to make comments that I find bothersome for their shallow theology or selective presentation of facts.

1-Comments lack nuance, meaning they tend to be one-sided, which is understandable and not necessarily bad if the full story is considered. Some leaders present a certain narrative that omits questions, issues, or developments that might cause one to question their message. Mainstream Media does this every day, i.e., they don’t provide news as much as interpretative slants that fit their political view. They knowingly omit inconvenient truths.

2-From the get-go, many Christian leaders have called for “ceasefire,” which seems logical, right? No one wants to perpetuate war and killing…well, except Hamas. I’m not quibbling with Christian leaders calling for ceasefire per se, but my eyebrow goes up when I note that their demand for ceasefire:

a) is generally aimed at Israel, not Hamas,

b) is presented as the moral equivalent of a biblical mandate about loving one’s enemy, that is, the only way to show this is ceasefire,

c) is shared as a panacea, meaning an automatic cure to what ails the region.

3-Christian leaders sometimes say that if people, in this case nation-states, would “just sit down and talk with their enemies,” then peace would be established. But one problem here: Hamas states in its founding documents that it does not recognize Israel’s right to exist. Hamas hates Israel and has vowed never to cease actively attempting to destroy Israel as a nation-state.

Consider these few quotes from Hamas’ primary documents:

“Palestine symbolizes the resistance that shall continue until liberation is accomplished, until the return is fulfilled and until a fully sovereign state is established with Jerusalem as its capital.”

“Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine. Its religious, historic, and civilizational status is fundamental to the Arabs, Muslims, and the world at large. Its Islamic and Christian holy places belong exclusively to the Palestinian people and to the Arab and Islamic Ummah. Not one stone of Jerusalem can be surrendered or relinquished.”

“The establishment of ‘Israel’ is entirely illegal and contravenes the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.”

“There shall be no recognition of the legitimacy of the Zionist entity.”

“Hamas believes that no part of the land of Palestine shall be compromised or conceded, irrespective of the causes, the circumstances and the pressures and no matter how long the occupation lasts. Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea. ‘

How will talks proceed when in this case at least one side does not believe the other has any right to exist?

4-Christian leaders frequently say, “Violence always leads to more violence.”

But what if violence is perpetrated by bad actors seeking to destroy others? What then is the proper response?

If a terrorist group slaughtered, raped, and brutalized Americans in a surprise invasion into our country, all the while videoing the carnage, then also kidnapped American citizens, subjecting them to sexual degradation, abuse, and murder, what would these Christian leaders want the US military to do?

Would Christian leaders really stand up and say, “Violence begets more violence”? Would they argue we should sit down for talks with the perpetrators? Where in this scenario is there room for self-defense?

Some Christian leaders, while not declaring themselves as such, sound like romanticists or idealists or pacifists, because their comments seem bereft of any understanding of evil or sinful depravity in the human heart. Their comments don’t acknowledge that one reason God created government is as a protection against the ravages of evil in the world. God gave legitimate government authority to use coercive force to preserve peace, establish justice, and insure domestic tranquility.

In fact, in shouting “Violence leads to more violence” and calling for immediate ceasefire, these leaders fail to recognize that in a fallen world, sometimes legally constituted governmental and military force must use violence as the only means available to stop violence.

Cries of “Violence always results in more violence” also suggest those who embrace this incomplete philosophy equate the absence of violence with the presence of peace and justice.

In other words, if I don’t hit back, if I don’t return fire, i.e. the absence of violence, then there is peace? Or rather, maybe what we get is not peace but appeasement toward the bad actors. What we get is kowtowing, enablement, surrender, subjugation, or enslavement  wherein the evildoers are allowed to escape justice and are allowed to return another day to reap dark deeds upon the innocent.

I’m not making a case that those who respond in self-defense or as arbiters of justice, peace, and security want violence, that they want to kill. No. It is that they understand human nature, as Ronald Reagan did when he talked about “Peace through strength.”

5-Some Christian leaders are pro-Israel, and some are pro-Palestine, while showing little concern for people on the side they oppose. Among both sets of leaders there are a few who sound prejudiced or worse. Commentators in both camps make the questionable arguments mentioned above. Both are quick to summarily condemn the other side, acting as if bumper sticker theology or meme politics hold ready-made solutions. I don’t sense much subtlety in these views; they’re sure God is on their side.

We’d be better served if Christian leaders wrestled with evil, violence, peace, and justice in Christian worldview terms. This means we label bad deeds as morally unacceptable, no matter who commits them.

A Christian worldview is not idealist or pacifist, but realist, understanding both sin in a Satan-dominated fallen world and the power of the Sovereign God.

Christian worldview recognizes there is always sin on all sides of human conflict, but does not wash away accountability for evil via the currently popular “bothsideism,” an illusion of respectability for certain points of view or certain sides that’s created without evidence.

A Christian worldview hurts for the “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd,” (Matt 9:36) who suffer and die, no matter who they are. And a Christian worldview demands we work to aid them, no matter who they are.

A Christian worldview proclaims hope in the transformative power of the Gospel, in Jesus Christ whose sacrifice is for all – Israelis, Palestinians, Americans, Iranians, Jews and Arabs, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Houthis.


Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s

And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2024  

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