The New Christian Zionism: Fresh Perspectives on Israel and the Land

Edited by Gerald McDermott (IVP Academic)

In certain circles, the cause of Christian Zionism has acquired a bad odor. Some would-be sympathizers cringe at its history of dubious end-times speculation, while others want to avoid blessing the government and military policies of modern Israel. The theologians and historians included in this volume propose, as its title suggests, a new Christian Zionism, grounded not in the belief that Israel is “a perfect country” or “the last Jewish state we will see before the end of days,” but in sound biblical theology and common-sense political wisdom. They are “convinced,” explains McDermott, that Jews “deserve a homeland in Israel” and that their “efforts to establish a nation-state, after two millennia of being separated from controlling the land, [are] part of the fulfillment of biblical prophecy.”

The Street Is My Pulpit: Hip Hop and Christianity in Kenya

Mwenda Ntarangwi (University of Illinois Press)

In America, Christian rap aficionados have Lecrae, Trip Lee, and Tedashii. In Kenya, their champion is dreadlocked 32-year-old Juliani. A self-described born-again believer who resists being pigeon-holed as “gospel” or “secular,” Juliani “is arguably one of the most popular hip-hop artists in Kenya today,” writes Ntarangwi, an anthropologist at Calvin College. “His name has been used to promote new farming techniques, cell-phone products, environmental issues, political change, wildlife conservation, and economic programs, among many others.” Ntarangwi, himself a Kenyan, has spent years researching East African hip-hop and youth culture, while getting to know Juliani personally. The resulting study opens a window on one dimension of how younger, politically conscious Kenyan Christians express their faith.

Return to Justice: Six Movements That Reignited Our Contemporary Evangelical Conscience

Soong-Chan Rah and Gary VanderPol (Brazos)

One hallmark of post–World War II evangelicalism is its renewed focus on social concern. And while culture-war activism often gets the lion’s share of popular media attention, this reawakening has drawn strength from a diverse blend of movements and inspirations. In Return to Justice, a scholar (Rah) and a pastor (VanderPol) take a closer look at institutions like the Christian Community Development Association and World Vision, and causes like child sponsorship and racial reconciliation. Their account shows that “evangelical social concern had an additional source found not in [evangelical apologetics], but in direct encounters with injustice, oppression, and raw human suffering in the Global South and the inner cities of the United States.”

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