Mar 6 2012
[TBC: Although we may not agree with every position this author takes, it is helpful to understand that Israel's right to exist is not based solely upon the theology of J. N. Darby, as some falsely and increasingly charge. As the author notes: "what is necessary to sustain Christian Zionism is what the theologians used to call 'the higher view of scripture' -- that is, the conviction that Scripture speaks from the perspective of eternity -- the perspective from which history is all over and its content all known."]
Christian Zionism 101 [Excerpts]
Just as much of the most defamatory stuff about Jews and Zionism comes from Jews (Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein come to mind) so, increasingly, does much of the most inflammatory abuse against Christian Zionists come these days from Christians and notably from authoritative Church bodies.
Official Church statements of at least forty years' standing have denounced Christians who are active in organizations which befriend Israel as mindless tools of Israeli politicians -- simple-minded people who are, without exception, "unfamiliar with the realities on the ground", whose vision is beclouded by "Fundamentalist" teaching taking the "heretical" form of "dispensationalist millennialism." In WCC literature and in the literature of the participant denominations, the very term "Christian Zionist" is treated as a contemptible oxymoron: Christian Zionists are, in fact, a callous, cynical, xenophobic, political lobby, controlled by a coterie of pretended Christians who are in reality instruments of right-wing Israeli politicians.
It gets worse. Defamation of Christian Zionism and Christian Zionists is no longer confined to the mainline churches but has also taken firm hold in what are normally called "Evangelical circles." An organization called Evangelicals For Middle East Understanding, whose founder is Professor Donald Wagner, believes that Christian Zionists "have surrendered the central doctrines of Christianity for a nationalist political ideology - Zionism - whose very morality is inconsistent with biblical teachings.
Christian Zionism is not the creation of Nineteenth Century freelance theologians. [It was a part of] mainstream Protestant theology of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, renewed in Anglican circles in England in the late Eighteenth Century and appearing as a significant emphasis in the preaching of the Great Revival and subsequent revivals which produced the mainstream Evangelical churches of the Nineteenth Century in the United States.
By contrast, the Christian and secular adversaries of Christian Zionism approach historical reality in a spirit of willful amnesia and denial. They have forgotten, if they ever knew, the story of the creation of the present State of Israel. Christian anti-Zionist books characteristically make no reference to the events which led to Israel's creation in 1947-1948; they prefer to discover it somewhere along the course of recent events, an obstacle to the happiness of all the other people in the Middle East -- something that was just dropped spitefully into their peaceful midst by the retreating European Empires. Thus they spare themselves consideration of such realities as the desperation of the Jewish people and the urgency of putting a State in place in British Palestine, the iron-clad promises that had been made by the League of Nations and all the major powers of the time and the solid agreement among the major superpowers.
1. Paul C. Merkley, "'These Pigs on the Face of the Earth': A review of Norman Finkelstein, Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History (University of California Press, 2005), Review of Books and Culture . January/February, 2006, pp. 38-39.
3. Donald E. Wagner, Anxious for Armageddon (Scottsdale, PA: Herald Press. 1994), p.104.