Posted by: Heather | October 28, 2009

Why Do so Many Christians Love Israel?

The following is an excerpt from an email I sent to someone on a political mailing list who asked the group why so many people in the pews in America (and on the Christian radio stations) support Israel.

I suppose I can’t offer much of an explanation for the views or actions of the average churchgoer beyond my own experience when I was one. I knew nothing of Jewish people and less of Israel, but I ended up living in a Chabad community outside of Toronto for a year, and I was struck with an immediate, unreasonable love for the Jewish people–all Jewish people. I saw scriptures I had been told were “done away with” come to life before my eyes, and my heart broke for these beautiful people who took God so incredibly seriously that they put me to shame in every way. Christ wept and longed to gather his people to him. I can think of no other reason for my own weeping and longing than that. Forgive my purely anecdotal evidence. Average churchgoers may have different reasons or better reasons, but that’s what happened to me.

It may be that churchgoers are feeling the tug of Abraham’s covenant on their souls, and their support of Israel is just the first step in acknowledging that area as their own homeland too. It is their homeland too.

I do want Israel to survive, expand, and dwell in peace in the land, but I don’t see myself hastening or delaying the battle that’s coming over Jerusalem or Christ’s return because of that hope. Unless I’m misreading Zechariah 14, Israel will be in the land when Christ returns and they look on him and recognize him; to me, that means that whether I want unbelieving Israel in the land or not, she will be there at that time, and, from what follows in the text, it’s especially important not to be on the losing side of that battle against Jerusalem.

I’m not a dispensationalist at all, for what it’s worth. I am comforted when I hear Christian radio announcers like Janet Parshall support Israel, but I am baffled by almost everything else that I hear from her and others. I would agree that the theology underpinning Christian broadcasts is too often “unthinking,” or at least inconsistent. The same could be said for average churchgoers and presumably just about anyone else at one time or another. Still, it’s frustrating if only for the wide influence the radio personalities have.

I’ll share with you this one last thought about the modern church: in my view, she is Samaria in John 4. I fear for the church; she has made the same mistake the Pharisees made in that she has traded the doctrines of men for the commandments of God, but listen to what Jesus says to the woman at the well in verse 22: “You worship what you do not know…” She’s believing in the coming of the messiah, but she’s caught in a land of man-made religion. She does not know the God she’s worshiping–yet. But one day, the spirit and the truth will collide, and true worship will come out of that. Thank God, right?

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