In academic settings, Christian Zionism gets a bad rap. At best, it’s considered a gross misreading of the Bible, self-indulgent theology on the part of Christians. Worse, Christian Zionism is said to ignore the plight of Palestinians and uncritically support Israel and its politics.
But a new conference, being held today in Washington, proposes a different view.
A Palestinian leader who lives in Israel describes how a Jewish state can indeed protect his rights. An attorney probes the charge that Israel violates international law. A Christian ethicist considers the proposition that no Christian should give allegiance to an earthly state, much less a Jewish one. An expert in church disputes unpacks the arguments made against Israel.
These scholars suggest we can support Jews’ return to Israel, according to the promises of Scripture, with sound, responsible theology… and without needing to adhere to the premillennial dispensationalism often associated with Christian Zionism.
The traditional dispensationalist version of Christian Zionism attaches Israel and the church to an elaborate schedule of End Times events dominated by the Great Tribulation and a rapture of the church that leaves Jews and the rest of the world behind. Originating in the 19th century, this school of thought was popularized through the notes of the Scofield version of the King James Bible, then further developed by Hal Lindsey’s Late, Great Planet Earth and the best-selling Left Behind series.
While some of the speakers hold to a new “progressive dispensationalism” that differs from the Scofield version, the majority propose a Christian Zionism without any version of dispensationalism at all. For us, Christian ...1
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