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February 10, 2015

Church of England Lowers the Boom on Stephen Sizer

Rev. Dr. Stephen Sizer, a profligate purveyor of hostility toward Jews and Israel, has finally been held to account in a meaningful way. It took a lot longer than it should have, but when the Church of England finally decided to act, it really lowered the boom, extracting a promise from Rev. Sizer that he would bring his antisemitic antics to an end or resign. In a letter to his bishop, Sizer promised not to post any more links or even make any more public statements about the Middle East – ever – and to stay off social media for the next six months. Sizer said that if he breaks his promise, he will resign as vicar an Anglican Church in Virginia Water, England.

Sizer made this promise to Right Reverend Andrew Watson, the newly appointed Bishop of Guilford, who is shown in a video above making the announcement about Rev. Sizer’s promise.

Bishop Watson’s decision to lower the boom was a long time coming. For more than a decade, Rev. Dr. Stephen Sizer has been attacking the doctrine of Christian Zionism, a theology he regards as heretical. That’s his right as a Christian theologian, but as he has assailed Christian Zionism, he has demonized Israel and promoted hostility toward its Jews, portraying them as undermining the democratic process, particularly in the United States.

And in his vitriolic and hyperbolic attacks on Christian Zionism and its alleged influence on the American government, Rev. Sizer has also promoted anti-Americanism, portraying the U.S. as doing the bidding of the Jewish state and in so doing, bringing disaster onto Arab and Muslims in the Middle East (as if their leaders have not themselves brought disaster onto the countries they govern).

Sizer has brought his message of contempt to audiences in that bastion of freedom and democracy, Iran, speaking at an anti-Israel conference held in that country in 2014. He has also made numerous appearances on Iran’s antisemitic television station, Press TV. In 2009, he told Alan Hart that that Israeli Jews might face exile because of their inability to make peace with the Palestinians, as if Israel can bring a unilateral end to its conflict with Hamas. Sizer also spoke at an Iranian-organized Holocaust denial conference held in Jakarta in 2008 at which conference organizers said hateful things about Jews and Israel.

Sizer himself has even suggested that Jews were responsible for the attack on September 11, 2001, which resulted in the deaths of more than 3,000 U.S. citizens. Osama Bin Laden took credit for the attack but that’s not good enough for Rev. Sizer.

In his 2004 book on Christian Zionism, Rev. Sizer suggested that it was Jews, and not Al Qaeda that perpetrated the attack. It’s right there in a footnote on page 251 of his text Christian Zionism: Road Map to Armageddon (Inter-Varsity Press, 2004) highlighted by the indefatigable blogger at Hurry Up Harry, which also quotes a now-hidden 2010 entry on Sizer’s blog, in which he promotes the same theory that blames Israel for 9/11.

On one hand, the editors at Inter-Varsity, who published Sizer’s 2004 book, should be ashamed of themselves for printing a text that promoted such a baseless conspiracy theory. (The book has been translated into Farsi for Iranian audiences, by the way.) But on the other hand, maybe there was something providential about the feckless incompetence of the folks at Inter-Varsity Press.

By publishing a 2004 book in which Rev. Sizer promotes the notion that the Jewish state perpetrated 9/11, Inter-Varsity helped give lie to a recent statement in which the vicar denied that he ever believed such theories. “I have never believed Israel or any other country was complicit in the terrorist atrocity of 9/11, and my sharing of this material was ill-considered and misguided.”

If Rev. Sizer never believed that Israel perpetrated 9/11, then why did he repeatedly draw attention people who said it was responsible for the attack? His denial just doesn’t make any sense. Any reasonable person would conclude he agreed with the accusations against Israel; that’s why he repeated them.

Sizer made this statement on January 30, 2015 after his superiors at the Church of England finally indicated that they had enough of his antics. They lost their patience with Sizer after he posted on Facebook a link to an article accusing Israel for 9/11. That was the straw that broke the camel's back.

After some deliberation, the Bishop of Guilford placed Rev. Sizer under a cone of silence under which he will “refrain entirely from writing or speaking on any theme that relates, either directly or indirectly, to the current situation in the Middle East or to its historical backdrop." He is also barred from attending any conferences related to the subject. He cannot even recruit others to speak on his behalf about issues related to Israel.

In response to this decision, Rev. Sizer’s supporters in the 9/11 Truther community (and they are legion) have complained that his right to free speech has been usurped.

Not by a long shot.

Sizer is an ordained minister on the Church of England. As a result of his ordination, Rev. Sizer is obligated to speak and behave in a manner that does not bring scandal or shame onto the church he serves – an obligation that he has failed to fulfill for quite some time.

In response, the Church of England finally acted. If Rev. Sizer wants to keep promoting hatred and contempt, he can do it, just not as an Anglican vicar.

Sizer, a man of the cloth, has lent credence to naked Jew-hatred and for that he and his church should be ashamed.

Thankfully, his actions have finally received the rebuke they deserve.

Posted by dvz at February 10, 2015 01:23 PM

Comments

Apologies, but I don't see the 6 months time limitation you referred to re: his social media absence promise, where is that?
As for this church accountability agreement, I think it's (1) unbiblical, and (2) not helpful to Jews. Unbiblical for many reasons, but besides that Sizer misdefines ministry of gospel (which is necessarily controversial) to uniting faiths (absolutely not true), the Bible is overwhelmingly about Israel and Middle East both historically and prophetically, so censorship on that means disobedience to proclaim whole counsel of God. This move is against Jews because having his outrageous lies on display reveals antisemitism, a good thing -- he spurs backlash in the Church to disassociate w/him. Back in the day Sizer was somewhat listened to, now almost nobody takes him seriously. Bible teaches EXPOSING not covering up such false teachers.

Posted by: ER at February 10, 2015 06:36 PM

What a shameless outrageous misleading and untruthful piece lecture this article is!

Posted by: Max G at February 10, 2015 10:02 PM

Unfortunately, Sizer is only the tip of the iceberg. There are too many clergy who patronize their flocks with pretended knowledge on any number of issues and abuse the trust placed in them by parishioners, or even the occasional pew sitter. Had Sizer been an ordinary fellow, he'd have had to endure the scrutiny of his peers. His collar protected him and should be removed.

Posted by: Jill Scaheffer at February 11, 2015 08:39 AM

Stephen Sizer is not anti semetic. He speaks up for peace and justice for all in the Middle East.

Posted by: alan taylor at April 29, 2015 07:51 AM

The fact of the matter is that the British establishment,including the Church of England, have hopelessly underestimated the role of Christian Zionism in the US and its influence in shaping US foreign policy in the Middle East , and of course indirectly its influence in fuelling the rise of Al-Queda and latterly ISIS. Clearly
Israel itself was not the cause of 9/11 and Dr.Sizer should have known better than to suggest that - it was the US influence on Israel that played a critical role - hence the US WAS TARGETED , NOT ISRAEL !!

Posted by: Christopher Ryecart at June 15, 2015 12:49 PM

Church of England, some years ago, had a page on its website, thanking God for.... wait for it... other prophets of God

including muhamad.

That says it all really.

Posted by: Mark at September 19, 2015 12:43 PM

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