Most Christians are interested (and many absorbed) by the topic of the future of Israel and how, in the wake of the New Testament emphasis on the Church as the people of God (Gentiles included), Israel still matters. The New Christian Zionism: Fresh Perspectives on Israel and the Land looks like an important book discussing that topic from various angles, judging from the review on the My Digital Seminary blog. Here are some excerpts of the review:
Like many in my age group, my upbringing was filled with New Year prophecy updates and Left Behind novels. Growing up in the Calvary Chapel family (and still happily in it!), this was my bread and butter. But also like many my age, I have found myself reconsidering some childhood assumptions. In light of the modern Christian shift against supporting a national state and prophetic future for Israel, The New Christian Zionism is an opportunity to reconsider a dominant but former consensus of the past, but with fresh argumentation for a fresh generation. . . .
Given the modern distaste and even disgust for Zionism, McDermott is quick to set out what it is not. It is not to be confused with dispensationalism and a specific detailed end-times forecast. Instead, it “looks to a long history of Christian Zionists who lived long before the rise of dispensationalism” (p11). Though I find this distinction a little overstated, given that at least two of the authors are progressive dispensationalists, the point is still received. The New Christian Zionism does not depend on a particular Israel-church distinction or end-times schedule. Moreover, it is not merely nationalism, due to the historical presence of Jews. Nor merely Christian, but shared with ancient rabbinic opinion. Nor is it about land theft, racism or establishing a theocracy.
A possibility to consider, maybe national Israel isn’t the good guy in biblical prophecy. Maybe (as I believe) the so-called “mystery-babylon” is Jerusalem itself. Turns out a bunch of stuff makes more sense if you do that.
This is actually a view that gets attention in scholarship for a simple reason: In the OT, the “whore” language (cp. the harlot riding the beast) is used many times of apostate Israel. Some wonder if John is not thinking of Jewish opposition to the Church for that reason. I’m not persuaded by the trajectory, largely because of the distinctly Gentile typology for the antichrist figure (that’s a subject in the “almost here” Hermon book).
But folks should know why anyone pays attention to the Israel angle.
If the church is Israel, wouldn’t unbelieving Jews be considered theological gentiles?
Since the NT basically says such distinguishing terms don’t apply to the people of God, I think using it that way would create confusion (and be misinterpreted).
I was not aware of this book until you posted this review. Ordered it on Amazon because of it. I am glad that it is ecumenical, especially including views from messianic jewish scholars and progressive dispensationalist scholars.
I’ve been chatting with the editor of this work (I think it’s this one – can’t see the page right now) about coming on the podcast. Stay tuned!
Nice! I have enjoyed the book so far. Hopefully you can make it happen.
I suggest that you read F. Martin’s and J.W Wartick’s reviews on Amazon… disconnecting oneself from “any dependence upon nineteenth century dispensationalism” doesn’t mean you get a “fresh perspective on Israel and the Land”? I am going to order this book on my Kindle, as I’ve been studying the subject for some time, but I can’t help feeling the title is just a disguise to promote zionism without being accused of having a dispensationalist bias, which to me, especially if you consider the secular nature of the actual state of Israel, can’t (ever?) be compatible with a proper understanding of Jesus-Christ’s fulfilment of the OT’s promises. It’s the “ever” that I’m still wrestling with somehow and I am hoping to find something truly “new” in this book… but frankly, I doubt it (again, read the reviews I mentioned above!).
I’ve just downloaded the ebook “Whose Promised Land?:The continuing conflict over Israel and Palestine”, by Colin Chapman (you can find it in paperback and epub at christianbook.com)- judging from the index, Chapman walks you through all the promises in the OT and then goes on to the New (if it interests someone, I can post the index here)… I’m also going to read two books I just received by Stephen Sizer, to get a balanced view (Zion’s Christian soldiers? The Bible, Israel and the Church + Christian Zionism, Road-map to Armageddon?).
In any case, thanks so, sooooo much for everything you do and share, Michael… it’s absolutely amazing, and I can’t tell you how much it has helped me in my approach and understanding of the bible and it’s “milieu”. I’m waiting impatiently for your “Reversing Hermon”. By the way, the cover is beautiful!
The Lord bless you always, and greetings from Switzerland!
P.S You should write a book about “redeeming the time”. I just don’t understand where you find time to do all that you do… You must have 3 or 4 lives built in one or live in a different time-zone! And please don’t pretend you’re not some kind of extraterrestrial, we’ve all got proof! (Actually, that would explain it all… 🙂 )