Thursday, February 18, 2016

Israel Politics and Dispensationalism

Yes, Israel Politics and Dispensationalism! Somehow politics always comes into this.

There are two main areas which get people worked up regarding dispensationalism. One is the pretribulational rapture and the other is Israel. And they often go hand in hand. If you don’t like the pretrib rapture you cite John Darby and the 19th century in order to invalidate it. If you don’t like the dispensationalist view of Israel you cite John Darby and the 19th century.

I’ll focus on the latter.

A friend recently sent me an article by Rod Dreher, a culturally conservative Christian columnist and writer. Dreher moved away from Catholicism and embraced the Eastern Orthodox faith.

I found a 2014 article in which he writes disapprovingly of Ted Cruz’s support of Israel. Dreher also claims to be pro-Israel and pro Christian. To his credit, he supports Israel’s right to exist and defend itself and says it’s not a matter of religion for him. He adds that, because of the savagery of the other states, it’s easy for a Westerner like himself to sympathize with Israel, even though it isn’t perfect.

So he claims to stand by Israel. Well, sort of….

Dreher also writes that, unlike Israel, Middle East Christians can’t defend themselves. Hence, that means making alliances with unsavory characters:
“People who have to be afraid at every moment for their lives don’t have the luxury of being morally selective in who their friends are.”
Elsewhere he observes that equating America with the new Israel in context to “jingoism” comes dangerously close to idolatry. He admits that Israel stands above its neighbors but doesn’t like it being used as a voting magnet thereby possibly offending ME Christians (e.g., Ted Cruz):
“…US Christians who come out of a dispensationalist theological tradition will never take a more nuanced view of Israel, because they believe that the establishment of the Jewish state is a prophetic precursor to the Second Coming of Christ. But there are many conservative Protestants who do not necessarily share that absolutist 19th-century theological view, and who simply do not know much of anything about Christianity in the Middle East.”...keep reading

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