The Friends of Israel Statement on
the Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting


We are devastated by the needless and tragic loss of life on Saturday, October 27, 2018, at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood.  Once again, the Jewish community is the victim of one of the most ancient hatreds known to mankind—anti-Semitism. A gunman took advantage of the freedoms afforded to Americans and walked into a synagogue uncontested, where he attacked Sabbath worshipers. This was pure evil.

Declaring, “All Jews must die!” he revealed a heart that stands opposed to God’s heart.  Through the prophet Isaiah, God says, “Woe to those who call evil good” (Isa. 5:20). The gunman said he was “going in,” believing his action was good; but it was a cowardly and graphic display of wickedness. 

We uphold the victims, their families, and everyone affected by this tragedy in our thoughts and prayers. We know that their lives have been changed forever.

As part of the covenant God made with Abraham, He promised to bless those who bless Abraham (Gen. 12:3). God reaffirmed this covenant with Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s descendants—the Jewish people. Nowhere in Scripture does God ever say He has withdrawn, cancelled, or transferred this promise to anyone else. What the gunman should have done was enter the synagogue and thank the Jewish people for blessing the world.

Someday, this man, who brazenly took innocent Jewish lives, will meet the Maker of the universe. He will come face to face with the One who also promised to curse those who curse the Jewish people. Perhaps, before then, he will recognize how heinous his thoughts and actions were and will feel true remorse and repentance. To that end we will pray.

We are left to wonder how such a tragedy can happen, and why the Jewish people continue to be singled out for hatred. Anti-Semitism is a reality that has shaped the Jewish community for many ages. In the days of the psalmist, the Jewish people’s enemies sought to cut them off so their name would be forgotten forever (83:4). But the psalmist also said the enemies of the Jewish people are the enemies of God. This is still true today.

They did not succeed in the psalmist’s day, nor have they since. But failure has not stopped them from trying. Anti-Semites have persecuted God’s Chosen People throughout history; and in the past 1,500 years, the persecution was often perpetrated by those who identified as Christians. Given the legacy of anti-Semitism carried out in the name of Christ, it is not hard to understand why many Jewish people fear Christianity.

But the truth is that, as Christians, we should love whomever God loves. The Lord loves the Jewish people “with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3).  All Christians should do likewise. After the church began, God reaffirmed that the Jewish people are beloved (Rom. 11:28). Jesus taught His followers to be marked by love and compassion, and not by hate. Hatred is the tool of the Evil One and is not of the Lord.

Since our founding 80 years ago, The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry has been proud to identify as Christians who love the Jewish people. We are privileged to stand in solidarity with them, and we mourn with the Jewish community and strongly condemn the attack in Pittsburgh. We abhor and oppose anti-Semitism in any form, whether verbal or physical. It is wrong.  

We pray the peace of God will comfort all who are hurting, and we ask for His blessing upon His Chosen People.

 

Jim Showers
Executive Director/President
The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc.