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Evangelicals and IsraelThe Story of American Christian Zionism$
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Stephen Spector

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195368024

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195368024.001.0001

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Criticisms of Christian Zionism

Criticisms of Christian Zionism

(p.111) 6 Criticisms of Christian Zionism
Evangelicals and Israel

Stephen Spector (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses criticisms of Christian Zionism. There are four principal charges: First, that evangelical Christians support aliyah (Jewish emigration to Israel) mainly because it speeds the battle of Armageddon, the mass conversion or death of the Jews, and Christ’s Millennial kingdom. Second, that evangelicals’ true motive is to convert the Jews. Third, that Christian Zionist theology distorts Christianity: that it misunderstands biblical covenants and ignores the scriptural emphasis on doing justice, relieving suffering, and showing compassion to the oppressed, who, in this view, are the Palestinians. The fourth major criticism is that the evangelical Zionists’ biblical worldview allies them with extreme right-wing Israeli politicians in opposing any exchange of land for peace. The chapter discusses efforts to evangelize Jews, and notes the beliefs of Messianic Jews. It examines the claim by some evangelicals that Christians are the heirs to God’s promises to Israel; that the covenantal promises to the Jews are conditional; and that modern Israel is not the fulfillment of prophecy. The chapter notes the role of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in opposing Christian Zionism and Israeli policies. It also considers the limits on empathy toward the other in this conflict.

Keywords:   Aliyah, covenantal promises, empathy, evangelizing Jews, Messianic Jews, Millennial kingdom, right-wing Israeli politicians

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