Pastor Edwert Jeffers ‘burdened’ by Israeli-Hamas War’s impact on the church

Pastor Edwert “Ed” Jeffers pays tribute to Alleyne DeRoche at her funeral on Feb. 24 at Faith Apostolic Church on Pacific Avenue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
Photo by Nelson A. King

Though his usual response to requests for his views on the Israeli-Hamas War is “no comment,” Brooklyn Pastor Edwert “Ed” Jeffers said, he, however, has found himself “burdened by the reality that this war has impacted the church.”

“Our congregants are having regular discussions, even arguments, concerning the reports that are coming out of that fighting,” Jeffers, the Vincentian-born pastor at Bethany Deliverance Church, an evangelical church on Rogers Avenue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, told Caribbean Life exclusively on Saturday.

“Our members have very strong opinions for or against the two parties involved in the fighting,” he added. “As pastors and leaders, we often must remind our members that the answers are usually found in the word of God (the Bible).”

Pastor Jeffers noted what he described as some basic facts surrounding the conflict: “Hamas has committed horrendous acts of violence against defenseless Israeli civilians and has even taken many hostages; Israel has responded by declaring war on Hamas and has vowed to wipe out Hamas from existence; too many lives are being lost; the war needs to end; one thing we have all agreed on is that no one has the right to attack innocent people indiscriminately, regardless of our belief system.”

In response to where does his church stand on the conflict in Gaza, he said, “as a pastor, I do not have a church; no one owns the church.

“The church is the body of Jesus Christ our Lord,” he said. “He is our head, and we follow His teachings, as laid out in His word (the holy Bible).”

Being guided by Christ’s teachings, Pastor Jeffers said he does not have “a personal opinion outside of what the Bible has instructed us to follow.

“Allow me to remind the body of Christ (the church) that we cannot be distracted by the many voices and opinions of the world,” he added.

Pastor Jeffers said the “wise man,” Solomon, in the book of Proverbs, reminds us that “there is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

He said if there was ever a time when this statement was factual, “it is now.”

Pastor Jeffers also pointed to Isaiah 53:6: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his way, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

“Thanks be to God, who has given us His son, our Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ, to point us back to the true and living way,” he said.

By stating in John 14:6 that, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me,” Pastor Jeffers said the Lord tries to redirect His people to follow His examples.”

In the words of the familiar Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 5, he said the Lord sat His disciples down and taught them, among other things: “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy; blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God; blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake; blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Jeffers said the Lord did not make empty statements; “He demonstrated by proofing to His disciples.”

“His trial, death, burial and resurrection prove that He practiced what He preached,” he said.

In a subtle reference to the Israeli-Hamas conflict, Pastor Jeffers referred to Isaiah 59, stating: “No one calls for justice; no one pleads a case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments; they utter lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil. Their deeds are evil, and acts of violence are in their hands.

“Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood,” he added. “They pursue evil schemes; acts of violence mark their ways. The way of peace they do not know; there is no justice in their paths. They have turned them into crooked roads; no one who walks along them will know peace.”

So, Pastor Jeffers said “justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.”

He said justice is “driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter.

“Truth is nowhere to be found,” Pastor Jeffers added. “And whoever shuns evil becomes prey. The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice.”