Sunday, June 3, 2018

Brazil's March for Jesus turns into a march for Israel

I'm not a fan of the various Marches for Jesus, which tend to be dominated by charismatics, uniting on the lowest common denominator. I never participated in the Edmonton version, which seems to have faded away in recent years, but I once found a songbook that someone had dropped during one of these marches, and it wasn't until song number 29 that the cross was mentioned. The early church didn't hold marches to try to make Jesus popular.

I'm a Christian Zionist, i.e., I believe that the land popularly known as Palestine is the land that God gave to the Jewish people and is their proper home. God chose the people of Israel as those through whom the Messiah would come to Israel and then to the world, but the Jewish people still have to come to God the same way the rest of us do: through faith in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, shedding His blood to pay the penalty for sin. I worship the God of Israel, and I'm concerned that Christian Zionism seems to be turning into a worship of Israel itself. Submitted for your approval, the following example, where Jews who are presumably not Christians are invited to participate in a March for Jesus, begging the question, is this a march for Jesus or a march for Israel?

As reported by Marcus M. Gilban of Jewish Telegraphic Agency, June 3, 2018:

Israel’s counsul Dori Goren, center, joined Evangelical Christians, who waved Israeli flags and prayed for the Jewish state during the March for Jesus on May 31, 2018, in Sao Paulo.

SAO PAULO (JTA) — About 2 million people cheered for Israel during an annual Christian march in Brazil.

Evangelical Christians waved Israeli flags and prayed for the Jewish state during the March for Jesus held Thursday in Sao Paulo.

For the first time in nearly 20 years, Jewish officials were invited to attend the event, including Israel’s consul Dori Goren and the president of the local B’nai B’rith branch, Zelia Sliozbergas.

“Attending the march is our way to express our gratitude for the Evangelical people and the Brazilian people,” said Goren, addressing the gathering from the stage. “The people of Israel bless Brazil and the evangelical people of Brazil.”

The consul received applause for saying that he expected to see the Brazilian embassy transferred from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem soon. He recalled the role of Brazilian diplomat Osvaldo Aranha, who presided over the United Nations vote in 1947 in favor of the resolution that partitioned the British Mandate of Palestine into two states, Jewish and Arab.

“There is a very important alliance between Brazilian Christians and the State of Israel,” Gorel told the Gospel Prime news website. “It was a blessing to be able to see the affection of Brazilians for their country and that it was a great celebration of friendship between the two peoples.”

Pilgrims from Argentina, Mexico, the United States and some African countries joined the event, a 2.5-mile parade surrounded by sound trucks playing gospel music.

Established in 1993, Sao Paulo’s March for Jesus is among the biggest religious events in Brazil, the country with the world’s largest Catholic population and second-largest Christian population after the United States.

Sao Paulo is home to half of Brazil’s 120,000-strong Jewish community.

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