Written by Jim Fletcher
Everywhere today in the evangelical world, there are attacks on Zionism. Many of us share the ideals of Zionism - the belief that the Jews have a right to settle in their ancestral land - and that sense of kinship has been strong for decades.
Now, there are powerful forces seeking to undermine Christian support for the Jewish state. Much of that opposition behaves as if Zionism came from the pen of Hal Lindsey 40 years ago.
It's a common tactic. A parallel is the withering attacks some in the evangelical world make against their brothers and sisters who believe Genesis 1-11 is straightforward, accurate history. Scholars like Mark Noll allege that a belief in a "young earth" is an invention of George McCready Price and Henry M. Morris.
This is an easily refutable lie, yet it is considered gospel by center-left Christians, who can't stand the assertion that the Bible is in fact what it claims to be.
Jesus and the apostles believed Genesis was real history, and that belief in the Church continues to this day. For example, Morris's Institute for Creation Research has given birth to other ministries, such as Answers in Genesis, Creation Truth Foundation, and Creation Ministries International. These ministries arose from the work of British creationists and scientists in the 18th and 19th centuries. These inconvenient facts render books like Noll's The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind mortally flawed, at best. Unfortunately, they are required reading in America's Christian colleges, and students don't know the premise is biased and wrong.
Back to Israel.
A natural outgrowth of rejecting Genesis is the rejection of the Jews as legitimate heirs to Israel. We are seeing this happen across the board. Finally, the wrong scholarship of a few generations of liberal Christians has paid off.
Much like the contention that creationism is a new invention of a few simple-minded fundamentalists, there is the popular idea that "Christian Zionism" was heralded-in with the publication of The Late Great Planet Earth. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Levi Parsons and Pliny Fisk, young missionaries from New England, journeyed to the Holy Land in 1819, and felt certain that Zion would be rebuilt and the exiles would be called home. American presidents like U.S. Grant, John Adams, and Harry Truman were strongly supportive of Zionism.
Charles Spurgeon preached from the pulpit of London's Metropolitan Tabernacle that Ezekiel 37 was future history, and that there would be a sovereign Jewish state in Palestine. The poet Emma Lazarus advocated for a return of the Jews to establish their state. William Blackstone appealed to President Benjamin Harrison that two million Russian Jews wanted to settle Palestine; he did this because he believed Isaiah is true.
And here's a fascinating historical nugget: Professor George Bush, a Hebrew scholar, wrote Valley of Vision; the Dry Bones of Israel Revived in 1844. Would that his descendants, two of whom ascended to the highest office in America, would have internalized these ideas.
In every generation of world history, there have been Bible believers and people who didn't believe in the Bible. This same sad contrast is in our world today. For every Lindsey or Spurgeon, there is a Mark Noll or John Shelby Spong. The Zion-haters foster hard attitudes toward the Jews.
In his extraordinary book, Don Isaac Abravanel: Statesman and Philosopher, Benzion Netanyahu wrote, "The spearhead of the drive against the Jews [in the Middle Ages] in Spain, as against those of any other medieval country in the west, was the clergy."
How pathetic. We see the same anti-semitic strain in the Church today, whether from Sunday school teachers like Jimmy Carter, or the gang from Middle East Churches for Peace, who constantly advocate against the Jewish state.
Those who don't like the very fact of Israel do everything in their power to denigrate its supporters. But it is those supporters who see reality for what it is, and glory in the one true God, who alone has the power to bring history to its proper conclusion.
At the end of that history will be millions of Jews, standing on their feet, in their own country.