News Articles

SBC leader attends meeting with Israeli prime minister

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Morris H. Chapman, president and
chief executive officer of the Southern Baptist Convention’s
Executive Committee and other evangelical leaders attended a
meeting Jan. 19 with the Israeli prime minister in
The New York Times, in a Jan. 21 edition, said the
private meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel followed a
rally at a hotel in Washington attended by about 1,000
Christian and Jewish conservatives. The prime minister is in
the nation’s capital for meetings with President Clinton and
Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat concerning the stalled peace
negotiations. Israelis leaders believe many Christian
evangelical leaders support the Jewish state in negotiations
with the Palestinians.
Chapman told Baptist Press that when the invitation was
issued to meet Netanyahu, “I was delighted to accept. Most
Southern Baptists, as do most evangelicals, have a long
record of appreciation for and support of Israel.
“I was grateful to hear the prime minister’s
perspective on the state of affairs of the region and his
thoughts not only about peace in Israel but about other
threats to peace around the world,” Chapman said. “Mr.
Netanyahu raised valid concerns that for peace to prevail
there is a necessity for Palestinians to renounce violence
and terrorism and to repudiate a section of their charter
that calls for the destruction of Israel. It seems apparent
to me that the strength and security of Israel is a key to
the peace of the region, and perhaps that of the entire
Chapman said he knows that Southern Baptists care about
the Middle East, and “am quite sure that scores of thousands
of them pray regularly for the region, its leaders and its
people. One of the things I personally asked Mr. Netanyahu
was how Christians may pray for him.”
“While I had the opportunity to meet with the prime
minister personally, it is well known that Southern Baptists
individually form their own assessment of world affairs,”
Chapman said.
The New York Times quoted Jerry Falwell, well-known
conservative Virginia Baptist pastor, after the meeting who
said there are about 200,000 evangelical pastors in America.
Falwell said he hoped to ask these pastors through e-mail,
faxes, letters and telephone calls to “go into their pulpits
and use their influence in support of the state of Israel
and the prime minister.”
Although a number of evangelical leaders apparently
were at the private meeting, no further information
regarding participants was given the media.

    About the Author

  • Herb Hollinger