- - Wednesday, September 21, 2016

(1) 88 Senators Signed AIPAC’s New Pro-Israel Letter. Here’s Why Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Ben Sasse Didn’t. |TabletMag

…Signatories to the letter included everyone from progressive stalwarts like Elizabeth Warren and Chris Murphy, to Hillary Clinton running mate Tim Kaine, to conservative leaders like John McCain and Mike Lee. It’s an impressive bipartisan display seldom seen in today’s polarized Washington, and a reflection of historically high pro-Israel sentiment in the United States.

That said, the letter is largely symbolic. Obama and past presidents can and have disregarded Congress on Israel and many other matters of foreign policy. Moreover, with its emphasis on “one-sided” U.N. resolutions, the missive leaves room for U.S. peace parameters, which would be presented as a balanced proposal.

But precisely because the letter is a symbolic gesture, it is particularly noteworthy which senators did not sign it—chief among them Republican leading lights Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Nebraska’s Ben Sasse. All three legislators are seen as the future of the party, and all three consider themselves passionately pro-Israel. The reasons they did not sign, then, offer a window into the shifting pro-Israel landscape in DC and the challenges any effort to forge a bipartisan consensus will face in the years to come.

For Cruz, the letter’s enthusiastic embrace of the two-state solution gave him pause. “I support the spirit of Sens. Gillibrand’s and Rounds’ letter to President Obama, which is to urge him to oppose any anti-Israel activities at the United Nations Security Council,” the Texas senator said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the language in the opening paragraph declaring the ‘two-state solution’ as the ‘only’ resolution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians undermines this well-intentioned effort, and makes it impossible for me to sign. This matter is an internal one for Israel to decide, and it is not the place of the United States—or the United Nations—to impose a solution on a sovereign nation.”

Cruz’s stance reflects an important shift on the right of the Republican party. George W. Bush was the first American president to make the two-state solution the official policy of the U.S. government. That goal has since been adopted by both major political parties in America and Israel, and formed the backbone of the bipartisan approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In recent years, however, support for two states has eroded on the right, in part due to skepticism among Republican voters and in part due to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s hedging on it during his reelection campaign. The two-state solution was subsequently removed from the 2016 Republican party platform.

(2) David Brooks, via Eric Metaxas : Christian Colleges Prospering Amidst Their One-Dimensional Secular Counterparts |CNS

…So why is David Brooks so bullish on Christian higher ed?

The New York Times columnist gave his reasons for optimism at the recent 40th anniversary celebration of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Brooks is a graduate, by the way, of the University of Chicago, and he teaches at Yale, my alma mater. There’s no need for Christians to feel in any way inferior, he says, acknowledging that while his Ivy League students are “amazing,” they’re pretty one-dimensional.

“They’ve been raised in a culture,” Brooks says, “that encourages them to pay attention to the résumé virtues of how to have a great career but leaves by the wayside … time to think about the eulogy virtues: the things they’ll say about you after you’re dead. They go through their school with the mixture of complete self-confidence and utter terror, afraid of a single false step off the achievement machine.” It’s flat, lifeless, and soul-killing.

But Christian schools attempt to educate their charges in three dimensions. Brooks told Christian college leaders that Christian universities “are the avant-garde of 21st century culture.” Christian colleges “have a way of talking about and educating the human person in a way that integrates faith, emotion and intellect. [They] have a recipe to nurture human beings who have a devoted heart, a courageous mind and a purposeful soul. Almost no other set of institutions in American society has that, and everyone wants it.”

(3) Should an Evangelical Theological Society admit members who affirm gay marriage?, by Denny Burk

…Bottom line: The ETS has shown little interest in drawing more boundaries or in strictly enforcing the current boundaries. If that situation holds, shouldn’t we expect more presentations from members affirming gay marriage? Gundry is arguing that this is exactly the kind of Society we need to be. I am wondering how many members agree with him. I could be wrong, but my sense is that the vast majority of ETS members don’t agree with him. But having said that, I see no evidence that the Society has the will to do anything about it.

I have no plans to spearhead another effort to amend ETS’s doctrinal basis. But members should recognize that ETS is a democratic society. Thus ETS will be what its members allow it to be. Our policies allow for members to affirm gay marriage so long as they base their arguments on the Bible. If the members allow this slow-motion drift in the direction of affirming gay marriage, they should not be surprised when the Society is eventually gutted of its evangelical identity. And that is something that Carl Henry, Roger Nicole, and the other founders never intended for ETS.

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