Dec 24 2007

Christian Zionist influence retracting

Published by at 8:24 am under Articles,Christian Zionism

Why Evangelical Support for Israel is shrinking?

By Daoud Kuttab

An unexpected result has emerged in the US following the one-day Annapolis meeting aimed at kick starting Palestinian Israeli negotiations. Christian Zionists admitted that their power has started to weaken. “The evangelical support for Israel is shrinking,” stated the Jerusalem Connection International in its latest newsletter entitled ”Post Annapolis where do we go from her?” Wikipedia says that Christian Zionism “is a belief among some Christians that the return of the Jews to the Holy Land, and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, is in accordance with Biblical prophecy and, furthermore, that bringing the Jews home will hasten the Second Coming.. This belief is primarily, though not exclusively, associated with Christian Dispensationalism, mainly in English-speaking countries outside Europe. British theologian and preacher John Nelson Darby who lived in England in the 19th century is regarded as the father of dispensationalism and its prodigy, Christian Zionism.

The Jerusalem Connection, which highlights the letters USA in the middle of the word Jerusalem, is run by a retired brigadier general in the US army, the Reverend James Hutchens. Hutchens, who says he demonstrated in protest, along with other Christian Zionists, outside the Naval base in Annapolis blames the reduction in evangelical support for Israel to a handful of evangelical leaders who signed a statement” supporting the two-state solution.”
Hutchenson admits that “more and more evangelical pulpits are silent about Israel.” But in case his followers are worried he interjects by stating: “Oh the Christian Zionists are still alive and well and “for Zion’s sake they will not keep silent.”
The 80 leading Christian evangelical leaders who signed the statement that was published in Christianity Today’s November 28th edition are perhaps the brightest and best among evangelicals. But unlike what Hutchenson says they are not “naïve, misguided and dead wrong about Israel.” Although they have become more vocal about their position of late, evangelicals support for a two state solution should not be a surprise to those following the position of America’s largest Christian group.
Evangelical leaders like Professor Ron Sider of Evangelicals for Social Action, who have been publicly supporting issues of justice and peace in the Middle East is joined by presidents of Christian universities (like Wheaton University) and theological seminaries (like Fuller), heads of major charities (like World Vision) and editors of publications like Christian today and Sojourners. They have been consistently calling for a balanced solution to the conflict.
Christian Zionism has also been suffering of late from a strong theological attack of their hawkish ideas from fellow evangelicals. Critiques from learned evangelicals such as Rev Don Wagner of North Park University and from the UK Rev. Steven Sizer have exposed the theological corruptness and emptiness of the Christian Zionist advocates. Earlier efforts by Reverend Colin Champ in his book “Whose Promised Land?” now in its fourth edition, has for years laid the ground for debunking these theological myths that support aggression against Palestinians using religious terminology.
Palestinian Christian efforts led by Canon Naim Ateek of the Jerusalem-based Sabeel Center for Palestinian Liberation theology has also been a major contributor in the weakening of both theology and its application. They have powerfully rejected the warped attempts by Christians in the west to use the Bible in defense of the unjust practices of right wing Israelis (including officials in the army and government) and fundamentalists Jewish settlers.
Today’s Christian Zionists have also been weakened by the failures of the policy of their political leader, President George W. Bush. The failure in Iraq, which President Bush he said, was decided, based on divine calling, followed by the recent intelligence report on Iran has had yet more cooling effects. Pushing for war in Iraq and more recently Iran has been publicly espoused by Christian fundamentalist leaders. Christian Zionists and other fundamentalist Christians who try to use the Bible to interpret today’s political news have regularly found in news from the Middle East a gold mine to pick and choose as they please.
The rise and fall of religious fundamentalism has often paralleled political success or failures. Messianic Jews were excited about the 1967 victory that they began an expansionist settlement activity in the West Bank (what they called Judea and Samaria) that has not been reversed since. The Khomeini revolution in Iran encouraged Islamic export. And for Christian Zionists the ascension of Bush and Sharon were signs from God that their radical theology was finding an executive arm. As these once God sent politicians lose power, so does the theological underpinnings that rose with them.

Daoud Kuttab, a Palestinian journalist is a Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University. Born in Jerusalem Mr. Kuttab is of the Christian faith. His email is

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Christian Zionist influence retracting”

  1. David McCombson 25 Dec 2007 at 3:13 pm

    If you have ever read E.M. Forster’s short story ‘the machine stops’ it remarks on a trend that is exhibited in your article here. Communications (Oral or in writing) commenting on communications which comment on communications. The idea is to insulate the recipient of the communication from the ‘dirty’ facts, and present ‘ideas’. The problem with this approach is that the truth is buried in layers of obfuscation presented as ‘ideas’. You should present a fact or two. The fact is God Himself promised the land in question to the seed of Abraham. The fact is we need not be militant about it, because what God promises, He Himself will accomplish. Christians see the beginning of that fulfillment in Christ’s first visitation, when God emptied himself and became a man. The fact is that God warns us not to be against his chosen, the seed of Abraham.

    The fact is the seed of Abraham are his chosen for the sole purpose of God injecting himself into His creation through the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ, as prophesied by the prophet Isaiah. So they have a special relationship with God.

    The fact is we are ALL God’s children and we need to stop hating each other. We need to stop the instruments of hatred, whether madrases or churches or political systems, which are all ungodly lies from Satan himself.

  2. Richard Silversteinon 30 Dec 2007 at 12:40 pm

    Daoud: Thanks for pointing me to the Christianity Today statement. It is easy for progressive Jews to become dispirited when all they hear about from the evangelical community is the ranting of fanatics like Hagee & Robertson. It is so good to know there are clear eyed evangelical leaders who know that justice will only come fr. compromise bet. the 2 sides.

    Thanks for all yr work on ending the conflict.

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