Questions & Answers

Is Christian Zionism Biblical?

  • The biblical basis for Christian support for Israel is known as Christian Zionism or Biblical Zionism.It is rooted in the belief that the Land of Canaan was given to the Jewish people as an everlasting possession for the purpose of world redemption.

 

Why have some Christian groups tried to portray Christian Zionism as a heresy?

  • In recent years, those behind the public campaign to demonize and delegitimize the State of Israel have opened up a new front in the Christian world. A few voices -- representing a very small minority of Christians -- have begun to attack Christian Zionism as an extreme and even heretical theological position because it gives credence to the truth that Israel's modern day restoration was not a political accident but rather was ordained by God.

    • Those who criticize Christian Zionism as an extreme or heretical position completely overlook the fact that an overwhelming number of Christians support Israel. According to a recent poll 80 percent of American Christians feel a moral obligation to support Israel.

     

  • There should be room for respectful disagreement among Christian denominations and theologians on politics and the scriptural significance of Israel, but many of today's attacks on Christian Zionism distort facts, history, and theology.

    • Theologically, Christian support for Israel centers on one's understanding of the Abrahamic Covenant, and whether it still applies to the Nation of Israel. Those who do not believe that God's Covenant with the Jewish people is still valid generally support what is known as Replacement Theology.This theology was the root of anti-Semitism throughout centuries of Christian history.

    • Politically, the debate about Israel in the Christian world centers on whether one accepts the Palestinian narrative -- which demonizes and delegitimizes the people and State of Israel. This narrative distorts facts and rewrites history in an effort to vilify and demonize the people of Israel to the point that it is nothing but a new expression of age-old anti-Semitism.

 

Overview of Theologies vis-a-vis Israel

Christian Friends and Foes of Israel by David Parsons, ICEJ, February 2009

Israel Land & People by Rev. Malcolm Hedding, ICEJ

In Defense of Christian Zionism by Rev. Malcolm Hedding, July 2006

 

Responses to this campaign from Christian Zionist organizations

The New Anti-Semitism by James A. Showers, Friends of Israel, January 2013

The Jerusalem Declaration by the Protestant Consultation on Israel and the Middle East, November 2012

ICEJ Response to 'Open Letter': Denouncing Israel Does Nothing for PeaceOctober 2012

Scholars' Response to 'Open Letter': Christian Perspective on Land for PeaceOctober 2012

Targeting Evangelicals for Palestine by Mark Tooley, Institute for Religion and Democracy, November 2011

A Goliath in the Church by Dr. Paul Wilkinson, Hazel Grove Full Gospel Church, July 2011

The Myth of Palestinian ChristianityRev. Malcolm Lowe, April 2011

Turning a Blind Eye to Murdered Christians by Mark Tooley, Institute for Religion and Democracy, August 2009

Where the Christian Left is Wrong by Elwood McQuaid, Friends of Israel, June 2009 Jerusalem Post

The Danger of Christian Zionism, Friends of Israel Editorial, May 2009

Is Christian Zionism the same as Dispensationalism?

  • Dispensationalism is a theology that holds a favorable view of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. However, it is not the same thing as Christian Zionism.
    • Dispensationalism is a biblical interpretation that was developed in the writings of John Nelson Darby and the Plymouth Brethren in the 19th century. It was propagated through works such as the Scofield Reference Bible, widely used in the United States. Dispensationalism understands God to have related to human beings in different ways under different Biblical covenants in a series of dispensations, or periods of history.

 

 

 

Resources

Christian Friends and Foes of Israel by David Parsons, ICEJ, February 2009

Christian Zionist Hall of Fame

Do Christian Zionists focus on the Old Testament more than the New Testament?

  • Christian Zionism is based on the entire Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, and considers both to be the inspired Word of God.

 

  • Those who oppose Christian Zionism, however, tend to focus on the New Testament and to exclude or allegorize whole portions of the Old Testament. For instance, Rev. Naim Ateek, of the Sabeel Center for Palestinian Liberation Theology, has called for the "deZionization" of scripture. He does not recognize the inspiration of most of the Old Testament.

 

Resources

New Testament Confirmation of the Tenets of Biblical Zionism

Do Christian Zionists support Israel in order to bring back Jesus?

  • Christian Zionism is not based on prophecy or eschatology, but rather on the promises that God makes in the Abrahamic Covenant. The Hebrew prophets foretold the exile and return of the Jewish people to their land, but they were only confirming the timing of what God had already promised to Abraham.

 

  • Christians do not believe that they can cause events like the return of Jesus. Only God has control over these events. Christian Zionists do, however, find joy in being involved in the fulfillment of prophesies, such as the regathering of the Jewish people from the four corners of the earth, but they recognize that no man -- only God -- could have facilitated this miracle.

 

  • Christian Zionists' primary motivation in supporting Israel is the belief that God initiated a spiritual law of blessing so that those who bless the Jewish people will be blessed, aligning themselves with God's eternal redemptive plan. Similarly, those who oppose His people will find themselves in direct opposition to God's redemptive plan.

 

Resources:

Evangelicals and Israel: What American Jews Don't Want to Know (but Need to) by Robert W. Nicholson, Mosaic Magazine, October 2013

What motivates Christian Zionists? by Shelley Neese, The Jerusalem Connection, October 2012

Christian Zionists are Grateful by David Parsons, ICEJ, October 2012

Are Christian Zionists against peace?

 

  • As a sovereign nation, Israel has the right and privilege to give away part of its land should the Israeli government wish to do so in pursuit of peace. However, Joel 3 sounds a very clear warning against those who seek to do Israel harm by dividing up her land. All nations should heed this warning before pressuring Israel to do what they themselves would never do, and in so doing, weaken Israel and threaten her security.

 

  • Christian Zionists believe that the land of Israel -- which includes Judea and Samaria or the "West Bank," as well as Gaza -- is the everlasting possession of the Jewish people. However, their right to live on the land is conditional on their relationship with God. This is why Israel's borders have changed throughout history and may continue to change in our time.

 

  • Christian Zionists support Israel's right to exist in peace and security, as a Jewish state with defensible borders.

     

 

Resources

A Biblical Stand on Zionism II: The Question of Land by Rev. Malcolm Hedding, ICEJ, March 2006

Aren't Christian Zionists warmongers who just want to see Armageddon happen so Jesus can return?

  • War is a terrible thing. No Christian should ever look forward to it.

 

  • Christian Zionism is not based on prophecy or eschatology, but on the promise that God made to Abraham and the Jewish people. Interpretation of prophecy is speculative. There are many opinions in the Christian Zionist camp about how and when events will take place, and a wide range of theories about which events may have already occurred.

 

  • Throughout history there has been great spiritual opposition to the Jewish people and God's promises to them. War has plagued Israel's history, and there are prophetic portions of scripture that indicate it will continue to do so. One such event is a large battle that is mentioned briefly in the New Testament, but described more fully in the Hebrew books of Ezekiel, Daniel, Joel, and Zechariah. Some Churches devote significant time and energy to studying these scriptures in the same way that many Jewish movements study these prophetic passages, anticipating literal fulfillment of them.

 

  • There is a problem when Christian students of prophecy study and discuss these events without appreciation for the human element in the stories, making the Jewish people "pawns" in their end time charts. It is always helpful for these students of prophecy to tour Israel, and meet the people of the land. This inevitably leads them to develop a better appreciation for the sacrifices and suffering on all sides of the conflict, which would only increase in any future war.

 

Resources:

Annihilation or Redemption? By David Parsons, October 2012

The Worst I'll Ever Do, By David Parsons, October 2012

Armageddon Now? By Rev. Malcolm Hedding, ICEJ February 2010

Swords into Ploughshares: Christian Zionism and the Battle of Armageddon By David Parsons, ICEJ

Do Christian Zionists support injustice?

  • Justice is an important question for Christians in the Israeli-Arab conflict. God loves justice (Isaiah 61:8) and requires His children to do justly (Micah 6:8), but Leviticus 19:17 makes it clear that justice must be based on the facts. One has to carefully weigh the facts in the Arab-Israeli conflict in order to arrive at what is truly just.

 

 

Are Christian Zionists racist and anti-Arab?

  • Christians who are pro-Israel are not anti-Arab. On the contrary, Christians are commanded to be a people of love recognizing that God loves all people the same (John 3:16).

 

  • Those who do not have a heart for the Arab peoples of the region do not reflect God's heart. God's promise that Ishmael would have twelve princes and would be a great nation (Genesis 17:20) has been fulfilled. Isaiah 19 speaks of a great visitation by God to the Arab world, which will usher in a revival among the neighboring countries of Israel.The ICEJ encourages Christian Zionists to have God's heart for the Arab people and to pray regularly for them.

 

 

  • There are more than 24 Muslim countries, 26 Christian countries, and only one Jewish state -- Israel. Yet, only Israel is singled out as racist for having an official state religion. Just like all other nations, the Jewish people have the right to their own state. This is a not racism; on the contrary, it is a response to centuries of racism and persecution against the Jewish people. Thus, supporting Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state cannot -- and should not -- be considered racist.

 

ICEJ Resources:

Christian, Jewish leaders call for halt to persecution of Middle East Christians 2014

Tragic Fate of Iraqi Christians by David Parsons, ICEJ, October 2014

Israel's Troubled Neighbor Syria by Susan Michael, ICEJ, October 2013

Egypt My People by Dr. Juergen Buehler, ICEJ, August 2013

Cry of the People of Egypt by Susan Michael, ICEJ, August 2013

A Burden for Bethlehem's Christians by David Parsons, ICEJ, May 2013

The Real Root of the Christian Exodus by David Parsons, ICEJ, June 2012

ICEJ Study: Urgent Social Needs in Israel's Arab Sector March 2011

Under Siege: The Brutal Targeting of Middle East Christians by David Parsons, ICEJ, February 2011

The Plight of Christians in the Holy Land by David Parsons, ICEJ, July 16, 2006

Our Battered Brethren by David Parsons, ICEJ, January 2006

Troubled Town of Bethlehem by David Parsons, ICEJ, December 2000

Other Resources

World Council of Churches Stands By As Christians Perish, Churches Wither by Malcolm Lowe, Protestant Consultation on Israel and the Middle East, October 22, 2013

Demonizing Israel More Important Than Defending Persecuted Christians? by Michael Curtis, American Thinker, October 7, 2013

Turning a Blind Eye to Murdered Christians by Mark Tooley, Institute for Religion and Democracy, August 17, 2009

The Beleaguered Christians in Bethlehem by Khaled Abu Tomeh, May 2009