Theodor Herzl is celebrated as the founding father of Zionism. He is a leader much admired in the pro-Israel Christian community. A lesser known figure though played a significant part in Herzl’s life, work, and thought. He is Rev. William Henry Hechler, whom Herzl called the “Father of Christian Zionism. Their close cooperation serves as a symbol and precursor of the growing friendship and connections we enjoy today between the Jewish and Christian communities. Like Hechler and Herzel, we are better together and stronger together. Below, I hope my thoughts will add another dimension to honor these Fathers of Christian and Jewish Zionism motivating us to stand together at this pivotal moment in history with the only Jewish state in the world.
History highlights many Christian Zionists
Three Christians are my favorite role models. British Major General Orde Charles Wingate is credited with laying the foundation for the Israel Defense Forces when stationed in Palestine beginning in 1936. He later died in a military operation in Burma.
Secondly, the beloved author Corrie ten Boom who was arrested, then imprisoned in a concentration camp for hiding Jewish families in her home in Holland. She lived to tell the stories of God’s greatness and inspired millions with her selfless faith. And last, my favorite theologian, the brilliant Rev. Dietrich Bonhoeffer who eventually gave his life trying to rouse the German church to the Nazi danger. His leadership in the resistance movement landed him in Flossenburg where Nazis hung him a few weeks before the Allied liberation.
Who are we?
I define Christian Zionism this way. Foundational to our value system, we endorse the biblical “deed” God transmitted through scripture written by Jewish hands. In my view, the deed codifies in a legal sense God’s ownership of the Land of Israel and delegates its management to the Jewish people. Millennia have passed yet the deed and delegation remain. We defend the historical fact that Israel is the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people. We consider its modern establishment as part of God’s plan and embrace Isaiah 66:8: “Who has ever heard of such things? Who has ever seen things like this? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children. Can a nation be established in a day?” We say a resounding “Yes.” Nineteen forty-eight fulfilled this statement when modern Israel experienced a rebirth unlike any other nation in history.
Christian Zionists reject boycott, divest, and sanctions; some Christians embrace BDS
Decades ago mainline churches started divorce proceedings from Israel. The Presbyterian Church USA called for divestment from companies doing business in Israel. Now mainline Methodists and The Episcopal Church among others have lent their call for divestment, adding to the funeral pyre of classical Christian belief by demonizing God’s people, the apple of His eye. This hierarchy — which proclaims Christ and the Bible — slanders the nation that birthed our faith, giving us our Jewish Savior and the Old and New Testaments. That Jesus was a Jew is undeniable. That God passed the Bible to the world through Jewish scribes is a fact. That our Christian faith was birthed in the rich soil of Jewish culture and tradition cannot be denied.
Even when the Second Intifada was at its worst — where terrorists killed more than a thousand Israelis — some mainline churches seemed more concerned about the Caterpillar company selling bulldozers to Israel. It mattered not that Israelis bulldozed Palestinian terrorist homes in hopes that it would serve as a deterrent to murder. Israelis destroying terror homes is still another opportunity for mainline churches to criticize Israel while neglecting to speak out against the Palestinian Authority’s “pay to slay” policy.
The rising tide of anti-Semitism’s toxic poison is oozing out of a sore the world may have thought would never fester again. This time anti-Semitism is not only an infection promoted by Muslim religious fundamentalism, it is wrapped in the hierarchy’s garb in certain Christian denominations which have lost their moral compass by condemning the wrong people.
Christian Zionists are realists
First, due to our own faith, we understand the imperfection of humankind. This includes ourselves and all citizens of the world. It is valuable to pursue perfection, yet it is unattainable. We don’t idolize Israel; rather we choose to be a reliable friend in a world flowing with the sewage of anti-Semitism.
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Source: Christian Post