I have many hobby-horses. The goal of my having many is that I can flog each in turn, thus giving the appearance of being more than a one-trick pony and perhaps having a balanced and reasonable view of the world. For example, I haven't posted about baptism in weeks. Is it working?
Anyway, the hobby-horse for today is "Christian" Zionism (scare quotes inserted for reasons which will become clear very quickly). I noted as I was perusing this month's edition of Evangelicals Now an article explaining why Christians should support the state of Israel. I didn't have time to read it in huge detail as I had no intention of paying for it, but I think I picked up the gist.
It awoke my rage.
I want to tell you a few things that I think about "Christian" Zionism. I am not at this stage trying to be balanced; if I were, I would tell you that I support the right of the state of Israel to exist and to defend itself, and I deplore almost all of what goes on in the name of the Palestinian cause. But I am not trying to be balanced, I'm trying to make a rage-fuelled point. So here goes.
Point the first: Christian Zionism is a theological aberration. The EN article makes the mistake of all CZs, in that it absolutely fails to read the OT Christologically. It does not consider the Biblical prophecies regarding Israel to be fulfilled in Christ, and therefore the cross and resurrection of Christ come across as a stepping-stone along the path rather than the absolute climax of the covenant (to steal a phrase). This failure is serious. It fails to give Jesus the glory he deserves, because it does not see the OT as being all about him. (I understand the potential refutation, namely that good CZs see the future of Israel as being about Jesus' reign. Nevertheless, it is not the historical Jesus, the revealed Son of God, about whom they are talking. I can go into this in more detail if it would help anyone). It also fails to give the Church its proper vocation by reserving it for the nation of Israel. To cap it all, it denies the Christian hope by continuing to apply OT prophecy to a strip of land on the eastern Med rather than to God's new creation. Error, error, fatal error.
Point the second: Christian Zionism is a political nightmare. CZ drives much more of the world's foreign policy than it should. CZ means that a country can carry on an illegal occupation without anyone who has any influence objecting. CZ means that a huge refugee crisis can rumble on for decades without much being done about it. CZ means that a country can attack its neighbours and know that there will be no comeback. Nightmare.
Point the third: Christian Zionism is a public relations disaster. Christians, those who should be siding for the weak against the strong, instead stand up for a nation which has the backing of the major world powers. They do not speak up for the oppressed. They do not campaign for justice. They argue for the right of one people to occupy a land by divine right even though that land was already full of people. Why should people not look at us and conclude that we have abandoned Jesus' message? That is what I would think if I saw this nonsense from the outside.
The point is that CZ is not in line with the gospel. It is not in line with it theologically: it does not honour Christ. It is not in line with it politically: it does not advance God's Kingdom rule. It is not in line with it in terms of witness: it does not paint an attractive picture of Christ to the world. It is not Christian, but only "Christian" at best. Could we put it to bed now please?