The strong support for Israel and Christian Zionism among charismatic-Pentecostals in Germany finds confirmation in a recent development. The board of the BfP, the largest Pentecostal union in Germany, which represents approximately 600 Pentecostal churches, decided to enter into an official partnership with the ICEJ.
Simultaneously, Kirche im Aufbruch, a charismatic organization, and Glaubenszentrum Bad Gandersheim, a Bible school originally aligned with Christ for the Nations, committed to make Israel a central and foundational concern. All three are now a member in the German branch of the ICEJ.
The Pentecostal European Fellowship (PEF) likewise committed to support Israel, and aims “to create a lobby in Europe which will have positive influence on European relations to Israel.” The PEF’s objective is to have all member churches adopt its point of view on Israel. Ingolf Ellßel, President of BfP and also on the board of the PEF: “We have recognized that the ministry of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has filled a vacuum which we see in the churches today, and we are in agreement as a board that in the future we will cooperate with the ICEJ.” (David Parson, 2007: “Klarer Stand für Israel, Wort aus Jerusalem /Winter:17)
This significantly enhances the standing of the ICEJ by giving it a semi-official and representative status. With this, these organizations take a clear stance on the Arab-Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts. Going beyond support for Jewish people and communities, they also commit themselves to political lobbying on behalf of a state. While the two, state and people, have much to do with each other, they are not identical, and the distinction is crucial: one errs much more easily in supporting a state (with its often selfish or opportunistic policies) than in supporting the rights of a people or a religious community.
It needs to be asked whether the leadership of these bodies is showing adequate spiritual, theological, and political discernment in this decision. In the eyes of the Arab world and the Middle East churches, partnering with the ICEJ must surely disqualify the BfP and the PEF from any peace-bringing or mediating role in the Middle East.