(Editor's Note: Dr. Ginn's review and critique of Professor Timothy P. Weber’s article “How Evangelicals Became Israel’s Best Friend,” published in Christianity Today magazine of October 5, 1998, has become even more valuable in understanding the current explosion of Christian Zionism.)
For many years I have urged Americans in general and Christians in particular to awaken to the strange relationship between the modern state of “Israel” and the evangelical-fundamentalist Christian communities in America. I use the term “strange” because the concept of such a partnership was unheard of until recent times. For eighteen hundred years, give or take a few, Christendom was at odds with Judaism and all its intricacies, which is putting it mildly, and Jews have always keenly felt the total estrangement. Christians believed that an unbridgeable chasm separated the two. That has now changed.
In the article mentioned above, professor Weber of Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois furnished an excellent background for the development of this “love-hate” relationship. It is a love-hate relationship because Jewish leaders saw an opportunity to exploit evangelicals vis-à-vis their dogma of dispensationalism, and evangelicals, though sticking like glue to the theme of “God’s chosen people” (the Jews), have by and large insisted on the necessity of converting them to Christ. Some evangelicals go so far as to say that Jews have an unconditional covenant with God and don’t need converting. This is an extreme view and, in my opinion, biblically incorrect.
Some have expressed surprise that Christianity Today would publish an article that seems to be (at last!) a refutation of dispensationalism in an evangelical magazine, since it might be risky to do so. Such exuberance is premature, however, for Professor Weber, while raising important questions, fails to object to related issues that help to solidify the whole. Nevertheless, he does suggest that evangelicals might be better served if they re-examined their dispensationalist doctrine. He refreshingly states: “Part of the problem is the overconfidence evangelicals have about their prophetic views.” (p.49) To that I can add a hearty “Amen!"
It was not Weber’s intent to present the biblical case against dispensationalism, a case that can be firmly established with key points---the important reasons---for rejecting dispensationalism as heresy. I would call attention to dispensationalists’ peculiar interpretation of Daniel 9:24-27 which includes their egregious silence regarding the torn veil that separated the Holy of Holies at the time of the crucifixion of Christ, and their misinterpretation of the reasons for the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70. Their anachronistic assignment of the “great tribulation” in Matthew 24, their incompetence in dealing with Romans 11:26, their unwillingness to deal with Galatians 3, 4 and 6:16, and finally their hyper literal treatment of the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ (Revelation), are glaring faults in their dogma that long ago should have seen the light of day via seminaries and publishing houses.
Perhaps the greatest disappointment with Weber’s piece is his endorsement of the popular and widely accepted version of the Holocaust, and his politically correct view of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, i.e., that they are what the Jews say they are, the product of either Russian Czar Nicholas II and his government, or plagiarized material from other sources such as the Geneva Dialogues written by Maurice Joly. These unfortunate mistakes attenuate Weber’s otherwise excellent essay on the problems of dispensationalism. He apparently is the victim, along with millions of others, of the most efficient and clandestine propaganda offensive ever mounted, a sustained effort finely tuned with Talmudic and Zionistic casuistry. Marxist dialectics, born of Talmudic casuistry, were used by secular and left-wing Jews (Bolsheviks) who ravaged Russia after 1917. These dialectics are closely related to the phenomenon of evangelical ties to “Israel”, and they continually manifest themselves in our everyday political and legal worlds.
Weber apparently falls prey to the (now Popular) left-wing bombardment of “right-wing conspiracy theories” (p.42) by rehashing the involvement of Henry Ford who provided greater circulation in America for The Protocols. In an atypical, almost snide remark, Weber uses Arno Gaebelein, a past prominent figure in fundamentalist Christian circles, as an example of those who love some Jews more than others (p.43) “Though he could not be sure,” says Weber, “Gaebelein thought that The Protocols were ‘from the pen of apostate Jews’ who were responsible for Russian Bolshevism….” (p.43) According to Ralph Lord Roy, Gaebelein changed his mind, but my research shows that he was correct in the first place.
One doesn’t need to believe in the genuineness of The Protocols in order to demonstrate that they essentially emanated from Talmudic-Cabalistic doctrines. In my booklet Strong Delusion I made this statement:
“I will not attempt to prove that The Protocols originated in secret Jewish meetings as some claim. No matter what evidence is presented in favor of that view, as such an argument would be denied by a horde of ‘experts.’ Actually, it is not necessary to give such proof now that we have Michael Higger’s, The Jewish Utopia.
My presentation will simply attempt to show that The Protocols fit nicely with Higger’s book, whose authenticity cannot be denied. If these works are similar and their linking holds, all Jewish denials of The Protocols will be moot! This will be devastating to Talmudic polemicists." (p. 11)
It is indeed a sad thing that contemporary scholars such as Timothy Weber have been deprived of solid evidence implicating “apostate” Jews in the Bolshevik crimes committed against the Russian people, or perhaps they have seen the evidence and refuse to believe. They typically drag out The Protocols and proceed to use them as prima facie evidence that those who believe them are extremists undeserving of serious consideration. This stigma is the result of incessant propaganda that exudes from the mass media, usually prompted by Jewish organizations like the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith or others too numerous to mention. When certain buzz words such as “anti-Semitism” or “Protocols” are used by the dominant media, the masses are expected to genuflect in obeisance to Orwellian Newspeak. God Himself has been made controversial by the use of this tactic. Millions of Christians have been taken in. The marriage of “Israel” to modern evangelicals is a strong indication of the effectiveness of Jewish leverage.
Professor Weber makes some valid points. In summarizing the features of the final days preceding Christ’s return as envisioned by dispensationalists, including the so-called battle of Armageddon, he observes:
“Obviously, the key to this entire prophetic plan is the refounding of Israel, as a nation state in Palestine. Without Israel, the whole plan falls apart.” (p.41)
Yes, the key element in dispensationalism is the refounding of Israel, but if these modern chiliasts had practiced proper hermeneutics, the torn veil that separated the Holy of Holies in the temple would have been the major key for preventing their offbeat doctrine. When Christ was crucified it was torn from top to bottom thus signifying that the manifestation of God was no longer there. This was prima facie evidence that Christ by His death had put an end to all sacrifices for sin and was now the eternal High Priest. Any future sacrifices of animals would be an insult to God and His Son. This meant that the temple was no longer needed by Israel and its destruction in A.D.70 was the end of the commonwealth. Israel as nation was no more. It ceased to exist. Therefore, if dispensationalists were to interpret the Bible correctly as eighteen hundred years of church history have shown, there would never have been an expectation by Christians of a regathering of Israel. In 1948 when Jewish zealots announced that Israel was reborn as an independent political-religious entity, no Christian should have believed that it was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.
It is true that had the Jews not established such a state, dispensationalists would still be gazing at the horizon, trying to catch a glimmer of what they erroneously believed would occur. If present-day “Israel” were to cease existing, dispensationalists would be hard pressed to justify their dogma. If I may be allowed to predict the future of “Israel,” it will indeed cease to exist just as every other nation will, because the sovereign Lord will return in judgment. All impostors, whether political or personal, will perish.
According to Weber, there was a small group of dispensationalists in the late 1900s who were not content to let God guide the course of history. They were more anxious to see Jews move back to Palestine than most Jews were. And today, we see more of the same in the Temple Mount faithful supporters who would like to give the rebuilding of the temple a little shove. Such an ardent, religious emotionalism would likely start a war, but their Christian particularism seems to ignore the risk.
“Dispensationalists had a dark side that grew out of its beliefs about the Jews’ complex role in prophecy,” says Weber. Though dispensationalists believe that Jews are the chosen people and therefore have a glorious future, at present they will suffer because they “are under the power of Satan.” (p. 43) When dispensationalists received news of the Holocaust, Weber tells us, they had mixed emotions. They were horrified at the persecution, but believed that such suffering might serve to turn them to Christ, and also increase their desire for a homeland.
This “dark side” of dispensationalism, in my view, contributed in some measure to the present accusation by Jewish leaders that the New Testament and Christians were to blame for the Holocaust. If dispensationalists were aware (most Americans were not) of what was happening under the Nazis, why did they not sound the alarm to the Christian community? It was their “resignation”, as Weber puts it, to the inevitable fate of the chosen ones who must suffer prior to their redemption. Orthodox Christians have not seen a future glory for Israel and thus would ideally condemn persecution of any human beings. Either way, unfortunately, Jewish leaders today are critical of both dispensationalists and Orthodox Christians.
If today’s politically incorrect turn out to be accurate in the assessment that “Israel” is an illegitimate state and Jerusalem is the headquarters of the avant-garde of the “beast” system symbolically described in the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, such figures as Hal Lindsey and Carl F. H. Henry must be considered as having played key roles in the present dilemma. Weber says that Henry, a former editor of Christianity Today (who received his Th.D. degree from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, the school where Professor Weber teaches) “announced a prophecy conference in Jerusalem” in 1971. Fifteen hundred delegates from 32 nations attended and received a greeting from Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. The Israeli government provided the meeting hall free of charge. “That started a flood of favored treatment of American evangelicals from the Israeli government.” Tour groups began to flock to the country (p.46)
The previous year, 1970, saw the publication of Hal Lindsey’s book, The Late Great Planet Earth. We were told that it was a world wide best seller (27 million copies?). If I were a detective investigating an important case I would try to learn how Zondervan Publishing House managed such a successful project, and how Carl Henry pulled in 1500 people from 32 countries. These questions may very well have reasonable answers, but they should at least be asked. The fact that “’Israel played its fundamentalist card’” (p.46) tells us that political and religious strings were pulled in the right places to implement its agenda. My research through the years has convinced me that dispensationalism is a modern refinement of ancient Jewish chiliasm (millennialism) and as such should be suspect in terms of political intrigue to establish and maintain “Israel” in the Middle East. If this sounds like a conspiracy theory, so be it. Marxists and pseudo-liberals are allowed to denigrate “right-wing” conspirators (remember Hillary Clinton’s accusation?). The same free speech rights must apply to others.
Professor Timothy Weber tells us that “American evangelicals were finding their political voice” by the time Hal Lindsey wrote the 1980s: Countdown to Armageddon. Because they were concerned about what was happening to their country “ …they formed groups like the Moral Majority and the Religious Roundtable to help elect Ronald Reagan …” After the Six-Day War they organized Christians Concerned for Israel which later became the National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel. Its goal was to educate the country, especially Christians, about the importance of U.S. Support for Israel. In effect, I believe it was an Israeli front. Prominent evangelicals such as Kay Arthur, Terry Meeuwsen of Pat Robertson’s 700 Club, Paige Patterson who was president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Cal Thomas, Senators Trent Lott and Sam Brownbach, Congressmen Dick Armey, Dick Gephardt and Tom DeLay attended. Jerry Falwell, John Hagee and Southern Baptist Morris Chapman and Richard Land, as Weber states, also represent the dispensationalists’ love for “Israel”.
A very important point made by Weber is that grass roots groups have formed among evangelicals, some of which, are primarily teaching others about “…..the Jewish roots of their own faith.” (p.47) This is especially disturbing to non-dispensationalist Christians who see a fundamental conflict between Judaism and New Testament Christianity. They believe that the primary doctrines of the New Testament confirm the prophecies of Jeremiah 31:31-32, Daniel 9:24-27and Hebrews 10:1-22, et al., that is, that the Old Covenant was made obsolete and Christianity is the offer of salvation via Christ to both Jew and non-Jew. This is not “replacement theology” as some now claim, but rather that true Israel and the true Church are synonymous. Throughout the history of humankind, God’s desire has been that the hearts of people would be right in terms of confession of sin and desire to live under the principles of truth, love and justice. When God called Abraham, it was with this in mind. The seed of Abraham was Christ (Pauline doctrine) and all who trust Him are Abraham’s true children.
Judaism (Rabbinism) developed during the exiles of 721 and 586 B.C. and was never identical to the Mosaic economy established at Mr. Sinai. Dispensationalism cuts the ground from under New Testament teachings, but its advocates fail to grasp either the concept or the significance of the matter. It is not too much to insist on the utter difference between Judaism and New Testament Christianity. Such a shotgun wedding crucifies afresh the Son of God.
Professor Timothy Weber’s essay is a much needed and refreshing wake up call to Christians to start questioning the dogma of dispensationalism. I give him an “A” for that. Regretfully, I had to assign him a “D” for allowing other false issues to stand, matters that I have mentioned herein.
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THE FINAL APOSTASY
Dr. Gordon Ginn, Ph. D.
Apostasy means 'falling away' from the fundamentals Jesus of Nazareth taught. The Final Apostasy, Ginn tells us, is of a massive defection of Christians from their faith, the apostasy declaring Christ's work as failed or left incomplete. This is called chiliasm or futurism, that denies completeness of God's work in Jesus, making God a failure and Jesus a half done Messiah. Dr. Gordon Ginn's theological insights are clear for seekers of God's truth in the New Testament. Paperback. c. 2002. 193 pages.
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