The Jewish perspective of “Christian” is colored by centuries of persecution, by the vile acts of a long line of despots who hounded their forefathers, killing millions in the process. And tragically, even today antisemitism is still alive and well on planet Earth! Often this antisemitism is tied to a misunderstanding of Scripture. As followers of Christ, we must realize that in the minds of many Jewish people, the acts of Hitler and others like him are thought to have been done in the name of Christianity.
The Christian Zionist Heritage Center at the Jerusalem World Center is going to help change that mistaken impression with the message that true Christians love, care for and support the Jewish people. We are going to tell the story of the amazing support that Christian Zionists have provided during the time when the Jews were scattered around the world, and especially in leading to the rebirth of Israel as a nation.
The Christian Zionist Heritage Center will be a hightech, fully interactive museum that will tell this vital story in an entertaining and involving way. We are presently negotiating with three major Israeli companies with expertise in developing interactive experiences to ensure that everyone who comes will gain new understanding and insight into the sacrifices and support Christians have provided to Jewish people.
Of course we will tell well-known stories such as those of Oskar Schindler and the ten Boom family. Though most of us know them well, they must be told to new generations—and we are working with the government of Israel to make the Christian Zionist Heritage Center part of the educational experience for Jewish schoolchildren. We will also tell less well-known stories such as that of Horatio Spafford.
Spafford wrote one of our best-loved hymns “It Is Well With My Soul” following a great family tragedy. This wealthy friend of evangelist D. L. Moody lost much of his fortune during the Chicago Fire. He sent his wife and daughters to Europe, intending to join them later, but received a telegram from his wife letting him know that all four of their girls had perished in a shipwreck. Spafford took a ship to England as when he reached the spot where his daughters died he wrote words of comfort and peace that we still sing today.
But many people do not know that in September 1881, the Spafford family committed to a life-changing move. Horatio and Anna determined that they should leave the United States for the Holy Land. He wrote to a close friend, “Jerusalem is where my Lord lived, suffered and conquered, and I, too, wish to learn how to live, suffer and, especially, to conquer.” They and a small contingent of men, women and children emigrated to what would become the nation of Israel. Moving into a house in the Old City of Jerusalem, they established the American Colony. Spafford and his friends were determined to simply serve the Jewish people by meeting the needs of the underprivileged, distressed, and exiled.
We believe that this lasting witness of salt and light will be touching lives far into the future.
The Christian Zionist Heritage Center will tell these stories and many more so that new bridges of love and understanding between Christians and Jews can continue to be built far into the future. The Lord has providentially given us a location directly opposite the new Museum of Tolerance that is being constructed—one of the biggest tourist attractions in Israel. We believe that this lasting witness of salt and light will be touching lives far into the future.