Changing the World: November 29 – Supporting Palestine


I never expected to agree with everything that ‘365 Ways to Change the World,’ by Michael Norton, suggested. So it comes as no surprise to me to find a suggestion with which I have an issue – so to speak.

The suggestion for today is about buying Palestinian olive oil as a show of solidarity with the Palestinian people and their plight. However, I am loathe to do this.

Why? Is it because I support the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians? No, I do not support the oppression of the Palestinian people. But neither do I support the anti-Israel rhetoric that seems to be continually doing the rounds.

I would love to see an end to the occupation of lands captured during the 1967 war and do not support Israeli settlements in these areas. However, one does need to remember the fact that Israel did not start that 1967 war and the surrounding nations have largely set an agenda since the birth of the modern Israeli state to crush it. There has also been an unending campaign of terror against the Israeli state and Israel has a right to defend itself.

It would be great to see lasting peace in Palestine and for that to happen both sides need to address the important issues I have mentioned here and others. But it is both sides that need to do it – not just Israel and not just the Palestinian people. It is both sides. That is what I support here.

A response to reading ‘365 Ways to Change the World,’ by Michael Norton

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‘The Reformers and Their Stepchildren,’ by Leonard Verduin


I have been reading ‘The Reformers and Their Stepchildren,’ by Leonard Verduin, in the last week or so. It is not the first time that I have read this book, having read it some time ago – probably 10 years ago now I would say.

This is a book that I would recommend to any believer, but particularly to a Reformed believer, whether he be Paedobaptist or Baptist. Verduin seeks to analyse the Reformation and the relationship between the Reformers and their ‘stepchildren’ from a Biblical standpoint, rather than any particular denominational standpoint. Though he does defend the stepchildren, he does so only when they are in line with Scriptural teaching on the point being discussed within that particular chapter.

Who are the stepchildren? The stepchildren or the ‘second front,’ as Verduin also describes them, are those believers who sought a complete reforming of the church. In fact, it may be fair to say that these believers sought a complete break from the Romish church, and a new church built on the teachings of Scripture and modelled on the New Testament church alone.

The frustration for these nonconformist believers was that the reform movement only went so far and did not result in the complete renewal that they desired and that the situation required.

Thus far I have read only the first two chapters of the book and once again I am finding it a very worthwhile read. I find myself in substantial agreement with the position of many of the stepchildren and with Verduin. With as much respect as I have for the Reformers, such as John Calvin, Martin Luther and John Knox, I too would have found myself frustrated at the level of reform achieved by them (though they were better men than I). A complete break and renewal would have been the way forward I believe.

The first two chapters deal with the joint secular-religious church-state that was set up at both the time of Constantine and then at the Reformation in the various Protestant nations that embraced the Reformation. They deal with the all-embracing religion that was constructed in such centres as Geneva and the ‘unified’ approach to it, as well as the reaction of the stepchildren and their withdrawal from it.

This book is as close to a must read for believers as there is I think – especially of the Reformed persuasion.

My copy of the book (paperback) is by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. and was printed in 1964.