Several years ago, Dr. Stephen Sizer said, “There are certainly churches in Israel/Palestine that side with the occupation [of the West Bank, Gaza and Golan Heights], that side with Zionism. One of my burdens is to challenge them theologically and show that they’ve repudiated Jesus, they’ve repudiated the Bible, and they are an abomination.”
Sizer made this pronouncement at the same time that he was expressing his desire for friendship and dialogue with Messianic Jews in Israel. Sizer has a habit of trashing Israel in one venue (like when he is speaking to Islamic leaders) and then oozing love toward us in another.
It doesn’t appear that he realized he was being recorded. However, the video was publicized. After much pressure was put upon him, Sizer offered some sort of apology for the benefit of his accusers who “need to see things in black and white.” He comes across in the apology as far more irritated with the fact that he has to apologize than concerned with the shocking nature of his quote.
Sizer seems miffed and stunned that people are offended. Without expressing what he actually meant when he said we are an abomination, he withdrew the comment. And to be honest, when I watched the video, I wasn’t sure whether he was referring to Palestinian Christians who love Israel or Messianic congregations or both—but his apology is directed to Messianic Jews, so it is safe to assume we were his target.
I thought that was the end of the matter, but I was wrong!
In a debate Sizer shared with my good friend and apologist Dr. Michael Brown recently, Dr. Brown confronted him with the quote. Sizer first denied that he made the statement, responding with light laughter, “I didn’t say that.” Maybe that was because Dr. Brown got a word or two wrong.
But then Dr. Brown informed him that he had the quote in front of him. Dr. Sizer asked him to repeat it. Dr. Brown did, adding that it was at a Q&A at Rivercourt Methodist Church, Kingstreet Hammersmith, Oct. 6, 2011.
There was silence. The moderator asked Dr. Sizer to respond, to which he reluctantly says, “I am comfortable with that comment,” thus rendering his repentance and apology a sham and showing his true face to Messianic Jews here in Israel, where he will show up any day now for an anti-Israel conference and once again seek fellowship with Messianic Jews.
I recommend listening to the whole debate here—or just the part where Sizer is confronted with his quote at 50:20.
Ron Cantor is the director of Messiah’s Mandate International in Israel, a Messianic ministry dedicated to taking the message of Jesus from Israel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Cantor also travels internationally teaching on the Jewish roots of the New Testament. He serves on the pastoral team of Tiferet Yeshua, a Hebrew-speaking congregation in Tel Aviv. His newest book is Identity Theft. Follow him at @RonSCantor on Twitter.