Saturday, June 18, 2011

Christian Zionism

    Christian Zionism (CZ) is the belief of some Christians that the establishment of of the modern state of Israel in 1948 is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. CZ is similar to but not identical with a 19th century movement to restore the Jews to the Holy Land that was called Restorationism.
    Today CZ is Israel's best friend and most stalwart supporter. Israel officially acknowledged that by the establishment in 1980 of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.
    My concern is especially that CZ plays in the US Congress by lobbying in support of Israel together with Jewish Zionist groups. Many American evangelicals also support Israel, although not all are Christian Zionists (CZs).
    CZ uses many biblical texts to prove their position. Apart from any problems that I have with a proof text methodology, I disagree with their hermeneutics, and I object strenuously with their conclusions regarding Israel.
    In this post I will not debate at length the use CZ makes of the Bible. That would require a major article, or even an entire book. My concern is especially the political stance of CZ regarding Israel.
    Many CZs believe that the return of the Jews to their own land and their conversion to Christianity are necessary parts of the return of Christ. This belief is rooted in the dispensationalism of John Darby and Cyrus Scofield.
    The latter also predicted that the Islamic holy places would be destroyed and the Temple in Jerusalem would be rebuilt. Hal Lindsey is a contemporary popularizer of dispensationalism.
    Other CZs, especially in Britain, reject dispensationalism, yet hold very similar views. While still others reject the idea that the conversion of the Jews is necessary.
    In the US, CZs have heavily influenced the Republican party. CZs typically support a hawkish foreign policy and have little sympathy for the claims of the Palestinians. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson are only two examples of the prevalence of this view.
    CZ has met with much opposition, also in the US. In the Middle East, The Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism (August, 2006) was very critical of CZ because of its imperialistic, colonialistic, and militaristic attitude. In the US, the National Council of Churches also published criticisms of CZ, as have several denominations.
    CZs have supported Israel not only by lobbying in behalf of that country but also by adopting illegal Israeli settlements and sending money to them. While this is especially true in the US, CZs in other countries do the same.
    I emphatically reject the sloppy dispensational theology that underlies much of CZ. I am even unhappier about the political stance of all CZs, regardless of their adoption of dispensationalism, regarding Israel.
    CZ is inherently incapable of having a balanced view of the Palestinian-Israeli question. Therefore CZ must be rejected out of hand, not so much for their theology as their politics.
    As I have said many times already in this blog, I want to maintain a balanced view of the Palestinian-Israeli problem; I am neither pro-Palestinian nor pro-Israeli. Therefore my criticisms of CZ should not be interpreted as anti-Israeli, much less anti-Semitic.
    If you feel that I have been unfair in my treatment of CZ or unbalanced with regard to the modern state of Israel, please respond by adding your comments below or on Facebook. Please do the same too, if you do agree with me. I am interested in gaining an idea of who is reading my postings.
    Note: I already have access to statistics about how often people read this blog, and even when.
    Thanks in advance for your comments.

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