Jan Markell is founder of Olive Tree Ministries and host of the radio program "Understanding the Times." She writes in a column entitled "The Silence of the Shepherds" that she's hearing from Christians that their pastor hasn't mentioned the crisis in the Middle East that began on October 7 in the Gaza Strip.
"I'm getting emails and a lot of calls into the ministry from people who are in, I would say, fairly solid churches. I don't think that's the issue," she tells American Family Radio on Thursday. "But for some reason, the leadership – mainly the pastor – has chosen to be quiet about this."
Doctrinal issues possibly may be at play in some cases, she says. "I suspect some of these outfits may [teach] replacement theology – the Church is Israel," she suggests. "And in other cases, I think that the leadership sees this as a political issue … and they don't want to get involved in a political issue."
Markell acknowledges that broaching the topic might not be popular, or seeker-friendly, or purpose-driven, or a path to church growth – but she also argues it should be hard to ignore another 9/11-type event in Israel.
"At the very least, we should be praying on a humanitarian level for the suffering [occurring in Israel]," she urges. "And I wouldn't even have raised this [issue], but the emails and then the calls coming into my ministry have been overwhelming."
The ministry leader says the longer the war rages on, the harder it will be to ignore.
"In many cases, these folks [who are contacting us] are approaching their church leadership and they're getting met with, in some cases, kind of … 'snarky' answers. I hope this will change, and I think it will because the people in the church are applying pressure."
Syndicated columnist Ben Shapiro, who is Jewish, has described the terrorist attack on Israeli citizens as "a second Holocaust." Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has used similar language, describing the attacks by Hamas as "the worst crimes committed against the Jews since the Holocaust."
According to the latest reports, almost 5,000 people have been killed in the war on both sides, including at least 1,400 Israeli civilians and soldiers.