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Who are Christian Zionists and who is attacking them?

Reader comment on item: [Christian Zionism:] Israel's Best Weapon?

Submitted by Ami Isseroff (Israel), Jun 13, 2006 at 05:38

Dear Daniel,

The article raises important points, but we need to understand (or find out?) who exactly are Christian Zionists and who is attacking them, and why. They are not a uniform group and the support that Bush's policies enjoy in the USA is not due primarily to the most vociferous and extreme proponents of Christian support for Israel. I am sure that Condoleezza Rice is a Christian and that she supports Israel's right to exist. I doubt if she subscribes to all the ideas of Pat Robertson.

"Christian Zionism" may denote three different things:

1. Support of any Christian for the existence of Israel as a state, and for giving Israel a fair hearing in attacks such as the divestment campaigns. This is due to rational and theological considerations, including recognized guilt for the Holocaust and Christian anti-Semitism, for which "replacement theology"* was a doctrinal underpinning.

2. Support for restoration of the Jews, a movement that began in the 16th and 17th centuries and was inspired by the reformation and the vulgate translation of the bible, which discredited replacement theology.

3. Belief in 'dispensationalism' rapture and armageddon, and the desire to bring about about armageddon in order to see the second coming of Christ. (The doctrine of Darby, adopted and adapted in the USA by various evangelist groups and caricatured by people like Stephen Sizer).

Opponents of Christian Zionism are trying to paint all Christian support for Israel as #3- dangerous fundamentalist fanatics, and to discredit it in this way. Their approach is that there are only two choices - either be an anti-Zionist or support dangerous extremists. In fact, most Christian support for Zionism is not based on #3 but on #1 and #2. The people who are trying to overturn the Presbyterian divestment decision are not believers in Armageddon and rapture, but rather people who believe in fairness and common sense, and this is true of groups like Anglicans for Israel and others.

See http://www.zionism-israel.com/Christian_Zionism for some additional background.

* Replacement theology is the doctrine that all the promises that God made to "Israel" in the old testament were transferred to the Christian Church because the Jews sinned and denied Jesus as the Messiah.

Submitting....

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