Seven ladies and four men took up posts on the public sidewalks of the two street-exposed sides of The Church On The Way Sunday morning, December 3, 2006, in Van Nuys, CA. Inside the church, Pastor Jack Hayford spoke about the demonstration before his sermon, and The ushers distributed a printed half-page antidote to Project Strait Gate: Where Do We stand?-- Concerning the commentary and critique presented by the group conducting “The Vigil.” It reads in part:
“Outside our sanctuary today, you may have noticed some individuals picketing or distributing literature opposing The Church On The Way…The distinct sense of duty we hold toward honoring the Jewish peoples and Israel are based on the instructions of God’s Word (Romans 9-11), and we hold no apology for that Biblical stance.”(Endnote 1)
The Elders’ statement is clearly an answer to the Open Letter to: The Church On The Way, Pastor Jack Hayford, by Charles E. Carlson, Dec 03, 2006. (Endnote 2)
Where Do We stand?-- goes on to say that the Church believes in praying “equally” for Jews and Palestinians and Arabs.
However, the attendees’ attitudes did not reflect this even-handedness; many of those who came and went told us in plainest of language: “This Church is for Israel.”
Few, if any, said anything about praying for Arabs. Furthermore, at least three of the Vigilers had attended or still attend the church, and none could recall hearing any specific prayers for the Palestinians or Arabs or Iraqi victims.
Positive results were noted by the Vigilers, who stood at their posts for fully four hours. Laura, on her first Vigil, stated:
“I had several people approach me, more curious than anything. With the exception of the guards swiping the articles out of the hands of the parishioners and stating, "You don't need to read this", I found people rather open…the highlight of the vigil for me came in the last 30 minutes. First, as I was standing alone on the corner of the block as the church let out, holding the "Who Would Jesus Bomb?" sign, two men passed me and commented, "Now that is Christlike!"…What was frustrating for me was that the parishioners kept asking me, 'What do you get out of this,' and I didn't have an answer.”
Some showed they were angry; one Vigiler reported she was intentionally bumped by a church official on the sidewalk and a few improper words were reported by both sides between attendees leaving after the sermon and Vigil members. One lady vigiler said she was grateful for the presence of a TCOTW pastor who kept a protective eye on her. Many positive responses were also reported. We were especially encouraged by the extensive, friendly and honest scriptural discussions we had with some of the younger Pastors, who took literature and exchanged addresses with Vigilers.
After more than 55 vigils we find each new one is a learning experience. The Church On The Way used a dozen or more men and several women, including at least six of its staff Pastors and a flock of Elders, to create a defense against Project Strait Gate information. It was formidable.
Greeters on the sidewalks and parking lots escorted attendees past us…a female Vigiler said it reminded her of the abortion clinic’s response to a demonstration for life in front of a Planned Parenthood Clinic. Escorts met the incoming attendees and warned them not to talk to us. One or two used basketball style offensive tactics to screen off the incoming guest from the Vigiler’s handout’s. But we are determined and resourceful and a good amount of literature got through to those coming and going.
The Church on the Way arranged its second defensive perimeter on church private property, which we were warned not to trespass. There they confronted the minority who had accepted our literature. Several of the six staff pastors present, plus a dozen or more ‘Elders’ gently lifted (and presumably destroyed) the Project Strait Gate literature from the hands of the parishioners, usually with a few whispered words in the ear of each.
One was about 17 years old, and had accepted our three pamphlets from this writer with a few words of advice about thinking for himself. He was with a female parent and some siblings. As soon as he crossed into private property a youngish pastor confronted him and adroitly plucked the papers from his hand, prying them loose with a few quiet words in his ear.
Your writer could not resist a speech at point blank range. My words could be clearly heard by all nearby as I scolded the pastor, accusing him of insulting the intelligence of the entire congregation and depriving this young man of the right to read and think for himself. I did not let up, but asked the young man to return from the church ground and talk to me in the neutral zone. He did not, but he listened, and finally the small group, seemingly embarrassed, huddled in prayer around him. The Prayer was about Project Strait Gate. The young man faced me while the lengthy prayers were spoken, obviously confused, intimidated and stunned by the attention he had gotten. I doubt if he will ever forget the seed planted that morning in Van Nuys, CA.
Group imprecations (condemnatory prayers) and curses are not new to Project Strait Gate volunteers. The important question is this:
What does Strait Gate Ministries know that The Church On The Way does not want its attendees to read or hear?
For an answer we turn to the flier TCOTW officials handed out to each attendee when he or she left. Where Do We stand?-- Concerning the commentary and critique presented by the group conducting The Vigil, provides what seems to be Jack Hayford’s transparent and confusing scriptural support for his false prophecy in support for Israel. It is worth discussing. It cites: “Romans 9-11” as justification for placing the present state of Israel ahead of the rest of humanity.
Pastor Hayford could hardly have chosen better words to make our case than we find in these 86 verses in which there is a clear context that denies the prophecy he preaches in his pulpit and tape ministry. In general, the letter from Apostle Paul to the Roman Church contains nothing that would allow a follower of Christ to sit idly by while Arab women and children are murdered, much less to cheer on Israel’s daily assassinations of its neighbors.
On the contrary, Paul speaks much about the corruption of those claiming to be Abraham’s physical descendants” and what a sorry lot that they had become in the first century BC. Paul also clearly states in Romans 10:12 that, under the new covenant of Jesus, there can be no racism:
“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him;”
How could Project Strait Gate have chosen a verse that more clearly states our case? No one who claims to be on the Strait Way of Jesus can place Israeli’s lives ahead of Arab lives! The apostle Paul clearly tells his followers that “Jews and Greeks” (non-Jews) are all the same to Jesus’ from that time forward. The “chosen ones” are those who follow The Way of Christ. Paul himself is a converted Pharisee who says his mission is to the non-Jews, and he tells the Jews living in Rome:
“I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.” (Rom 11: 13-14)
Clearly Paul says he is working hard to evangelize the Greeks so the Jews will see, become jealous, and also follow Jesus, as Paul did. The message of Jesus does away with racism, and is repeated over and over in the 87 verse passage Pastor Hayford cites to make his case, which he says: “The distinct sense of duty we hold toward honoring the Jewish peoples and Israel are based on the instructions of God’s Word (Romans 9-11), and we hold no apology for that Biblical stance…”
We agree with the Pastor to the extent that we should honor every Jew who deserves honor, but we should not honor them above other people, nor should we honor those who do evil in front of our eyes, as TCOTW seems to do. Paul tells us in the very chapters Pastor Hayford picked that “the chosen” are not the Israelites who claim they have Abraham’s blood, but those who follow in the Way of Christ. Why is The Church on the Way so far from the Strait Gate? How can it dwell in racism when Paul condemns racism in the very chapters this huge church cites as its authority for being racist?
False prophet churches usually deal in Bible snippets, rarely presented in context, as Jack Hayford has done. This writer is surprised, pleased and grateful that he cited three Chapters of Romans…usually we get a smattering of Bible verses cut and pasted together scrabble fashion to confuse and confound us. I thank the Pastor for being so forthright, and we are listing below twelve verses out of those same three Chapters that tell us quite clearly that, (a) those who follow Jesus are the “chosen” ones from his time on, and (b) the Jews of Paul’s day were corrupted and lost unless they too followed Christ’s Way. (Endnote 3)
If Pastor Hayford’s citation is a hasty error or typo and some other chapter and verse was intended, other than Romans 9-11, we invite him to correct himself. Otherwise we would like to hear Pastor's answer to this response. If these are the words Pastor Hayford uses as his excuse for supporting Israel’s assassinations, occupation of Palestine, and wars in the Middle East we would like to know how these acts are justified by Christ, who loves all?
Project Strait Gate chose The Church On The Way (and about 54 more) to Vigil because its teachings are apostate and destructive to human life by rendering God’s word falsely. The churches we vigil are those that normally ignore the fact that today’s Israel is overwhelmingly secular and godless at the very top of its leadership. The European Jews who invaded Arab lands have less gentic connection to Jacob than this writer does to Eric the Red, which is not much. Worse yet they ingnore Abraham’s religion, and most deny Christ.
No Israeli alive can prove any lineage to Jacob, Abraham or Ishmael. Abraham’s DNA is not available. Yet lineage seems to be what The Church on the Way relies upon, even though Paul denied it. Stripped of the niceties of prayer for all, this church uses supposed bloodlines that were lost three millennia ago to justify pro-Israel racism.
If Pastor Hayford really wants to “love your enemies and do good for those who persecute you,” as Jesus instructed, and if its members really pray “equally” for the Palestinians and the Israelis as it claims, Project Strait Gate agrees. We believe we need to treat Arabs and Jews alike. This does not mean allocating them equal prayer time while looking the other way as our government gives guns to the Israelis while systematically starving the Palestinians.
We respectfully ask Jack Hayford to allow us to make a presentation to The Church On The Way. Or at least debate us on this issue on neutral ground. What can they possibly fear from the truth? Such a debate would allow Pastor Hayford to make his case understandable. We suggest this question:
Is the present day political state of Israel a fulfillment of biblical prophesies?
We would like to see Jack Hayford debate “YES", if he really believes this.
Project Strait Gate’s says NO!
We say the State of Israel is an artificial, political subdivision, once part of Syria that borrowed its name from an ancient tribe, but was created by the United Nations' edict in 1947, not by the God of Abraham. This Israel is not in the Bible. When a simple majority of 70 million "evangelicals" see it our way there will be lasting peace in the Middle east
(Endnote 1)The Church answers
Strait Gate's letter to Pastor Hayford
(Endnote 3) Twelve verses selected from Romans, Chapters 9 -11, that tell us only those who follow Jesus are “the chosen of God” and Jews are no exception.
Chapter 9:6: “…all who are descended from Israel are not Israel. (7) Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary…it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring.”
9:27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel:
"Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved.
9:28 "For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality."
But Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it.
9:32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the "stumbling stone”.
10:3 Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.
4 Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him;
21 But concerning Israel he says, "All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people."
23 And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
11:13-14 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.
11:15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead