The Co-op, the Methodist Church, Israel and God
Anyone who seeks to discipline another person’s child can expect a negative parental response.
Behind the most recent scandal involving a Methodist minister and the Co-op bank there is the possibility that God was just doing what he said He would.
Amongst the God's promises to Abraham, He said to patriarch concerning the nation Israel:
"I will bless those who bless you, and those who curse you I will curse" (Gen 12:3).
Inasmuch as God calls the Jewish people "My people" (Ex. 3:10) it is the exclusive prerogative of the Almighty – if and when necessary – to bring discipline to bear.
A parent may chastise one of his or her children, but woe betide anyone else who tries to do it. In the same manner the Almighty will come down on those who feel it their duty to chastise the Jews.
Over the past couple of years and through to the present day both the Methodist Church and the Co-op have been engaged in the anti-Israel Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions (BDS) agenda. This campaign, aimed at damaging Israel's economy and international standing, is in effect a self-righteous and de facto anti-semitism which purports to stand on the moral high ground; condemning Israel while simultaneously ignoring the actions of the real pariah states in our world today.
With regard to God's warning: "whoever curses you I will curse" (Gen. 12:3) there are two different Hebrew words translated into the same English word "curse". But the two original words are quite different, and the English translation obscures the true meaning. In effect the verse says: "Whoever speaks badly of you (qalal) I will bitterly curse (arar)".
What has happened in relation to the Methodists and the Co-op – in a fashion which speaks so much of divine orchestration (you just couldn't make it up) – is that both the denomination and the commercial outfit have been humiliated and exposed, respectively and simultaneously, by the hand of God who remains true to His Word.
"inevitably this raises questions of the church as to how trustworthy it is."
Rev. Gareth Powell, assistant secretary to the Methodist Conference
In one sense Israel is no worse than most Western nations and is certainly better than most of what we see in the rest of the Middle East and the world beyond. But that is not the point. The issue is that the Jewish nation – whether the Methodists, the Co-op or Uncle Tom Cobley and all like it or not – have been and continue to be chosen by God to work out His purposes in our world.
It would be quite pointless to say "heaven help" others who aspire to bringing judgement to bear on Israel, as in fact 'heaven' will do the exact opposite. Through the prophet Joel, God warned: "I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgement against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land" (Joel 3:2).
It may be that the Co-op, the UK Methodists and ex-Rev. Paul Flowers have been most recently feeling the sting. It remains to be seen if the world – and even much of the church – will learn the lesson.