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The idea of Christ Followers supporting political Israel is a movement no more than 70 years old, having no roots in, nor identity with the Evangelical Movement that helped to found and define America. This development has led Chuck Carlson to conclude that Christian Zionism is neo-Christianity, a new form of Christianity.
In this 24 minute podcast, Chuck Carlson discusses his article by the same title (posted below) and expands upon it with the help of Craig Hanson and Tom Compton. [Links referenced in the program: "A Theological Response to Christian Zionism By Dr. Rob Dalrymple (podcast)" and "James Perloff on Christian Zionism and the New World Order (podcast)."]
The idea of Christ Followers supporting political Israel is a movement no more than 70 years old, having no roots in, nor identity with the Evangelical Movement that helped to found and define America.
Recent reviews of Wikipedia posts reveal that Christian Zionists' claim to being a traditional or evangelical religion is based on distortions of statements made by several church founders. These including Charles Wesley and Puritan, John Owen. In fact, Christian Zionists, from the Southern Baptist Convention to hundreds of independent dispensational churches, is in its entirety a new religion. It is dating back only to 1948, the date the State of Israel was created by the US-dominated, post-WWII United Nations. It appears to have no theological connection to the “Restorationism” movement of the 16th to 18th centuries. Those founders desired to convert all “Jews” to be Christ Followers, but say nothing about supporting a political, warring state of Israel.
New Oxford American Dictionary defines Christian Zionism as “a movement for (originally) the re-establishment and (now) the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel. It was established as a political organization in 1897 under Theodor Herzl, and was later led by Chaim Weizmann.”
(For more detailed history of Christian Zionism, we defer to Dr. Stephen Sizer, long time Church of England Vicar of Virginia Waters Congregation in Surry.)
The media has usually confused the matter of who are the Christian Zionists by referring to this new sect as “evangelicals,” which blankets many mainline denominations that do not see political Israel of today as part of Old Testament prophesy. The Christian Zionist label has stuck because some “dispensational” church leaders openly profess militant attachment to the State of Israel. Strangely, some have accepted and even advertise the label, Christian Zionist, John Hagee being the most infamous of such proud adherents.
In the most recent presidential election, the media told us that Donald Trump received 81% of the “evangelical” vote, credited with his win. We were left to our own devices to determine which churches or sects the media meant, but we observe that Trump secured this vote by making it clear that he planned to treat the state of Israel generously and support it militarily.
At one time, Lutherans, Methodists and the United Church of Christ and others were all considered “evangelicals,” simply because they openly evangelized, or recruited members. In contrast, the modern application of the term “evangelical,” especially by the US secular media, means Zionist-leaning. The mainline churches are not Zionist-leaning by doctrine. Many have sadly remained silent on the subject. Rather, the Zionist fanatical churches are generally those that answer to the label “dispensational,” a 20th century term popularized beginning in 1917 with publication of the Scofield Reference Bible, and republished in ever-more-detailed versions several times since.
The Scofield 1967 Edition was the first successful dispensational work after the State of Israel came to be. It has become the standard for churches that wish to justify support for the political state of Israel as theology rather than world politics. It is also used by church leaders to justify US foreign wars in the Middle East. The theory, converted to new theology, is that if any state has a conflict with Political Israel, it becomes a mortal enemy of God. This new theology could not have been invented before there was a physical state of Israel in 1948. As a direct result of this new religion, the dispensational movement, ideologically at the top of many Zionist-leaning churches' agenda, has comprised the primary Christian support for war, from Iraq to Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and now a mystery war against “ISIS.”
Christian Zionist supporters have attempted to claim attachments and historical roots with the Puritans, Congregationalists, Methodists, and others, alleging that founders also promoted the notion of a Jewish return to “reclaim” a state in Palestine. We find these claims to be provably untrue from the writings of Wesley, Owen, and others.
Parties who appear to be Zionist supporters have misrepresented the writings of these well-known evangelicals, as reported in Wikipedia, in attempts to manufacture the connection that we do not find to exist. Christian Zionist have stretched the truth in a failing attempt to make their manufactured 20th Century theology seem to be an historic one. Specifically, they openly claim roots to the teaching of the so-called “Restorationist” movement.
We invite researchers to read about “Christian Zionism” in Wikipedia's notes. Statements from leading Puritans and Methodists during the 18th and 19th centuries show that evangelicals' interest in the Jews was pure, unvarnished evangelism. Wesley and Owen both wanted to convert Jews to Christ, but reflect no stated interest in the politics of the Middle East, nor any animosity toward the then present inhabitants. Early leaders of the growing evangelical (nor Zionist) churches of the day wrote of their desire to convert Jews to Christianity, but never to create a Zionist state on someone else's property. Thus, modern-day dispensational Christians, or Christian Zionists, by whatever name, is a religion that must stand by itself with little or no theological supporters among historic evangelicals and traditionalists, Protestant or Catholic. – CEC
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