NRB Members Participate in First-Ever Christian Media Summit in Jerusalem

Gordon Robertson
Gordon Robertson, CEO of Christian Broadcasting Network, talks about In Our Hands, a CBN documentary about the Six-Day War in 1967, during the Christian Media Summit in Jerusalem, October 16. (Government Press Office Photo)

JERUSALEM (NRB) – Members of National Religious Broadcasters made several presentations during a “first-ever” Christian Media Summit hosted by the Israeli government, October 15-18 in Jerusalem.

The objective of the Summit – held during the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem – was to strengthen cooperation with Christians around the world, especially via media serving those communities. The Government Press Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage sponsored the Summit.

Gordon Robertson, CEO of Christian Broadcasting Network, talked about the CBN documentary, In Our Hands, which retells the story of the Six-Day War in 1967 that resulted in the reunification of Jerusalem. He was joined by the film’s writer and director, Erin Zimmerman – the “genius” behind the project, Robertson said.

The film goes to great lengths to just tell the facts about the war, including shooting in Jerusalem with Israeli actors, telling the story of the war from the perspective of the soldiers, he said.

“We went above and beyond to make sure it was absolutely accurate,” Robertson told about 130 participants from 35 nations on the second day of the Summit.

“We need to tell this history, because this is the real history of what happened,” he said, noting the film was released on May 23 in nearly 800 theaters in North America.

The documentary has been well-received, he said, grossing about $2.6 million – double what was expected. The film has been seen around the world, including an Arabic version shown recently in the Middle East.

Robertson said the importance of the film was demonstrated late last year when the United Nations – with the United States abstaining from the vote – declared Israel’s possession of East Jerusalem to be illegal.

Noting that Israel has been a “remarkable steward” of the holy sites in East Jerusalem the last 50 years, Robertson said it’s unthinkable that the Palestinian Authority would be given control of the area.

“As a Christian, I say, ‘No way. That should never happen,’” he declared.

He told the Christian media to allow Psalm 126:3 – “Then they said among the nations, the Lord has done great things for us” – to shape their work in covering Israel.

“You can be part of that fulfillment,” he said.

Chris Mitchell and Davis Parson
Chris Mitchell, Israel Bureau Chief for CBN News, talks about media bias in coverage of Israel during a panel discussion during the Christian Media Summit, October 17. David Parsons with International Christian Embassy Jerusalem looks on. (NRB Photo) 

In a panel discussion about media bias in coverage of Israel on the third day of the Summit, CBN News Israel Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell said, “Our role is to help make sometimes a very complicated and complex region understandable so that people can know what to do.”

Mitchell said one of CBN News’ roles is to cover under-reported stories – such as the growth of Christianity in Islamic nations and the persecution of Christians.

“We need to tell their story so people can pray for them, so people can take action and advocate on their behalf,” he said.

Mark Jenkins, producer of The Victory Hour, a ministry of Grove Avenue Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, told NRB Today that one of the benefits of the Summit was to “meet with and compare notes with others in Christian media,” noting NRB members understand the value of association and collaboration.

“While Christian journalists are free to express their opinions – including criticism of policy decisions or other actions of the Israeli government – they tend to be more balanced and fair” than mainstream news media, he said.

Jenkins praised the Israeli government for holding the event, noting the opportunity of interacting with high-ranking government officials – including the Prime Minister, President, Cabinet members, and other government leaders – is a “privilege normally afforded to secular media outlets.”

Michael Little and Jim Smith
Michael Little, Principal Representative to Israel for the Christian Broadcasting Network and Chairman of the NRB Board of Directors, and James A. Smith Sr., NRB Vice President of Communications, visit following an address by President Reuven Rivlin at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, October 18. (NRB Photo)

Michael Little, Principal Representative to Israel for the Christian Broadcasting Network and Chairman of the NRB Board of Directors, told NRB Today the government “rolled out the red carpet” for Christian media during the Summit.

The “strategic significance” of the event, he noted, was seen in a comment by Israel President Rueven Rivlin at the President’s Residence on the final day of the Summit when he said media people going out in peace is “beyond a miracle.”

Little added, “I hope NRB members will accelerate their media coverage of Israel, the significance of the Holy Land, and especially the heritage we have together as ‘People of the Book.’”

In addition to addresses by government officials, the Summit included panel discussions covering topics such as Islamic terrorism, media bias, Palestinian human rights, and BDSM (the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction Movement), as well as tours in and around Jerusalem focusing on Israel’s security, the settlements debate, biblical archeology, and Israel’s high-tech economy and entrepreneurship.

At the invitation of the government, NRB made recommendations for prospective invitees to the Summit, although government officials were responsible for making the invitations and planning the event.

Editor’s note: This is the third of a three-part series, “Dateline Jerusalem: Christian Media & Israel.” Part 1, “First-Ever Christian Media Summit Hosted by Israeli Government,” ran in the October 26 edition of NRB Today. Part 2, “Architect of Israel’s Security Fence – ‘Father of Maps’ – Prays for Peace,” ran in the November 2 edition of NRB Today

By James A. Smith Sr., Vice President of Communications

Published: November 9, 2017


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