Zion's Christian Soldiers?: The Bible, Israel and the Church

Overview

Many Bible-believing Christians are convinced that God blesses those nations that stand with Israel and curses those that don't. This belief has had a significant influence on attitudes toward the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the Middle East. Claims made in books like The Scofield Reference Bible and Hal Lindsey's The Late Great Planet Earth have fed into contemporary Christian Zionism, with radical implications for how we view our faith and the world in which we ...
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Overview

Many Bible-believing Christians are convinced that God blesses those nations that stand with Israel and curses those that don't. This belief has had a significant influence on attitudes toward the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the Middle East. Claims made in books like The Scofield Reference Bible and Hal Lindsey's The Late Great Planet Earth have fed into contemporary Christian Zionism, with radical implications for how we view our faith and the world in which we life.

Stephen Sizer contends that this view is based on misinterpretation of the Bible. He provides an introduction to Christian Zionism and a clear response and positive alternative based on a careful study of relevant biblical texts.

This clear, straightforward volume includes tables and diagrams, questions for Bible study and further reflection, and a glossary of terms. It concludes with a previously unpublished sermon by John Stott titled "The Place of Israel." Here Sizer offers encouragement for readers to dialogue on the relationship between Israel and the Christian church and a more constructive view of the future and our role in it.

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Editorial Reviews

Doctor - Stan Moody
"Sizer hits another home run! His treatment of the kingdom of God as both present and transcendent points the believer to the future—not the past."
Gilbert Bilezikian
"Thank God, at last here comes a book that challenges the pseudotheology that, by giving precedence to the old covenant over the new, relegates the church to the status of concubine in order to make Israel the bride of Christ. In clear and measured terms, the author demonstrates from Scripture that God's purposes for history are not driven by a narrowly selective racist obsession, but rather by his eternal design to create the church, the new community dearly secured through the cross for all Christ-followers, both Jews and Gentiles."
Paul S. Boyer
"In this very readable new work, Anglican vicar Stephen Sizer offers a biblically based interpretation of the relationship of Israel and the Christian church. Turning to the current upsurge of Christian Zionism, Sizer examines its deeply flawed misreadings of key biblical texts and its troubling public-policy implications. Not only Sizer's fellow evangelicals, but everyone interested in this vital topic, will find Zion's Christian Soldiers? an illuminating and highly valuable study."
Gary M. Burge
"Few themes in biblical studies could be as important. Christian Zionism has brought to the church an interpretation of Israel and the Bible that future generations will criticize harshly. It is every Christian's obligation to understand what they are saying and how it should be evaluated. Writing in a style that is accessible to everyone--and with a passion that is sure to ignite strong responses--Sizer outlines the landscape of the problem and its solution."
Doctor - Paul Copan
"Stephen Sizer deftly exposes the many exegetical missteps of contemporary Christian Zionists. He advocates a more just and Christ-centered alternative to the politically and ethically problematic views espoused by many contemporary end-times popularizers. I hope this book prompts a courageous and healthy rethinking of Zionist theology toward a more constructive, biblical perspective."
The Right Reverend - Kenneth Cragg
"This work deals expertly with a vital theme. For this Christian zealotry perverts the truth of Christ in three tragic ways. It ignores or repudiates the equal stature under God of all peoples in nature and in grace; it flouts a Christian conscience by discounting injustice and oppression; and it sees no Christian ministry to the hope and pleas of original Zionism itself. Thus, it darkly violates both Christian sympathy and Christian faith."
Hank Hanegraaff
"In this seminal work based on a careful analysis of how the Bible explains the relationship between Israel and the church, Stephen Sizer underscores crucial distinctions between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. Just as it is a grievous sin to turn a blind eye to the horrors of anti-Semitism, so it is a grievous sin to turn a blind eye to a Zionist theology that divides people on the basis of race rather than uniting them on the basis of righteousness, justice and equity."
Dick Lucas
"A workmanlike study that confronts many treasured and traditional opinions with frankness and sensitivity. An added bonus is the Stott sermon, hitherto unpublished, a masterpiece of clarity in an area marked too often by confusion and unjustified assertions."
Paul L. Maier
"How should Christians respond to the cascade of prophecy literature flowing from the pens of Hal Lindsey, John Walvoord, Tim LaHaye, John Hagee and others, who claim the Bible itself as authorization for Christian Zionism in all its forms and goals? Probably it is high time to stop regarding their overliteral misinterpretations as the curiosities they are and awaken to the fact that they are also very dangerous misreadings of prophecy passages in Scripture, which could lead to catastrophic conflict in the Near East. To help Christians become the peacemakers they ought to be, rather than firebrands inflaming the world with wrongheaded ideas about the end times, Stephen Sizer's new book Zion's Christian Soldiers? is an ever-so-necessary antidote to the present prophecy mania. With crystal logic and gifted pen, he dismantles the often-grotesque claims made by prophecy specialists and restores sanity to the discussion."
Greg Albrecht
"Zion's Christian Soldiers? ought to be on the required reading list for all students of the Bible. Here is basic and fundamental methodology that challenges many evangelical assumptions about 'end-times prophecy.' Here is a sound-minded, Christ-centered critique of a popularly accepted, but nonetheless fatally flawed, perspective that leads to many spiritual dysfunctions. If you find yourself troubled by saber-rattling political rhetoric coming from many pulpits, Zion's Christian Soldiers? will reacquaint you with the Prince of Peace."
Norton Mezvinsky
"Stephen Sizer's book Zion's Christian Soldiers? is a powerful, easily readable, theological refutation of Christian Zionism. In his analysis, Sizer destroys the major arguments of Christian Zionist advocates by primarily citing and interpreting Old and New Testament passages. Although especially valuable reading for evangelical Christians, this book deserves careful study by all people interested in the role played by religion in the Arab-Israeli conflict."
Chris Rice
"Stephen is a faithful minister of the Bible where it concerns Bible prophecy and the modern nation-state of Israel. I remember that when I began studying the second intifada in 2001, finding Stephen's website was like finding buried treasure! . . . . Zion's Christian Soldiers? will offer simple and straightforward answers to the major assertions of noted Christian Zionist leaders from a thoroughly evangelical reading of the Bible. Sizer carefully engages American popular figures such as Hal Lindsey and John Hagee, who are influencing millions of evangelicals into doomsday celebrations. He unpacks in patient detail the heart of the Scriptures that Christian Zionists ignore. I am so very thankful for this kindly teacher. In a day and age in which cynicism, hate, impatient rhetoric and stewing resentment mark our conversations on this topic, Stephen Sizer is able to speak the simple truth. Would to God that many hear and receive this very timely message."
The Rev.; Canon - Richard K. Toll
"There was a time when Christians believed that the earth was the center of the universe. It was not only an error in science but also false church doctrine lasting long after Copernicus and grasping the hearts and minds of Christian literalists who sanctioned punishment and even death for proponents of a larger view of faith and the universe. The history of Christianity is not lacking in false ideas that enjoy popularity for a time then fade under pressure of reason, knowledge and experience. Rev. Sizer exposes a modern version of serious religious error in Zion's Christian Soldiers? focusing on the tenets of a dangerous biblical liberalism whose vision of God is nationalistic in its bizarre loyalty to the Jewish State of Israel and militaristic in its enthusiastic anticipation of a literal Armageddon. This is an important book for theologians and peacemakers."
Doctor - Stephen Travis
"A timely and important book. Controversial but persuasive, it deserves to be read by everyone who is prepared to think afresh about God's purposes for the church, Israel and the politics of the Middle East."
Don Wagner
"Stephen Sizer's thorough research, theological analysis and historical contextualization make this volume the 'go to' book on the topic of Christian Zionism. As Christian Zionism continues to grow within Western evangelical churches and parachurch agencies, we are reminded that it is now a significant political force in shaping U.S. policy in the Middle East. Additionally, its global reach through satellite broadcasting and the Internet adds another significant challenge to Christian missions. Now the gospel of Jesus Christ is represented in a militant, Crusade, Western Zionist construction that is not only hostile to Muslims and Arabs, but is an utter contradiction to the message of love, reconciliation, and good news to the poor and marginalized, whatever their economic status, political orientation, race or creed. After studying this volume and utilizing resources at www.christianzionism.org, you will be better equipped to challenge the false gospel of Christian Zionism."
Bruce A. McDonald
"This book is an eye-opener to the muddled but militant attitudes among modern evangelicals (particularly Americans) toward the State of Israel. Sizer reveals not only the highly questionable exegeses of Christian Zionism, but also the movement's alarming political agenda and its fallout in our war-torn world. This is a book that every thoughtful evangelical should read."
Dr. Stan Moody
"Sizer hits another home run! His treatment of the kingdom of God as both present and transcendent points the believer to the future--not the past."
Dr. Paul Copan
"Stephen Sizer deftly exposes the many exegetical missteps of contemporary Christian Zionists. He advocates a more just and Christ-centered alternative to the politically and ethically problematic views espoused by many contemporary end-times popularizers. I hope this book prompts a courageous and healthy rethinking of Zionist theology toward a more constructive, biblical perspective."
The Right Reverend Kenneth Cragg
"This work deals expertly with a vital theme. For this Christian zealotry perverts the truth of Christ in three tragic ways. It ignores or repudiates the equal stature under God of all peoples in nature and in grace; it flouts a Christian conscience by discounting injustice and oppression; and it sees no Christian ministry to the hope and pleas of original Zionism itself. Thus, it darkly violates both Christian sympathy and Christian faith."
The Rev. Canon Richard K. Toll
"There was a time when Christians believed that the earth was the center of the universe. It was not only an error in science but also false church doctrine lasting long after Copernicus and grasping the hearts and minds of Christian literalists who sanctioned punishment and even death for proponents of a larger view of faith and the universe. The history of Christianity is not lacking in false ideas that enjoy popularity for a time then fade under pressure of reason, knowledge and experience. Rev. Sizer exposes a modern version of serious religious error in Zion's Christian Soldiers? focusing on the tenets of a dangerous biblical liberalism whose vision of God is nationalistic in its bizarre loyalty to the Jewish State of Israel and militaristic in its enthusiastic anticipation of a literal Armageddon. This is an important book for theologians and peacemakers."
Dr. Stephen Travis
"A timely and important book. Controversial but persuasive, it deserves to be read by everyone who is prepared to think afresh about God's purposes for the church, Israel and the politics of the Middle East."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830853694
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 7/24/2008
  • Pages: 199
  • Sales rank: 1,340,815
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Sizer is the vicar of Christ Church, Virginia Water, Surrey (England), and a visiting lecturer at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, and various other seminaries and theological colleges in the United States, Britain and the Middle East. He is chairman of the International Bible Society U.K. and a director and trustee of the Amos Trust, Friends of Sabeel and Highway Projects.

Sizer is the author of A Panorama of the Bible Lands and In the Footsteps of Jesus and the Apostles. He has written extensively on the church in the Middle East, the ethics of pilgrimages, dispensationalism and Christian Zionism. He is a frequent visitor to the Middle East.

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Table of Contents

Preface
1. Introduction: For the Love of Zion
2. The Bible Tells Them So: Is It Possible to Read the Bible Too Literally?
3. Israel and the Church: Who Are God's Chose People?
4. The Promised Land: From the Nile to the Euphrates?
5. Battle for Jerusalem: The Eternal Capital of the Jews?
6. The Coming Last Days Temple: Ready to Rebuild?
7. Overture to Armageddon: Want to Be Left Behind?
8. Conclusions: The Last Word on the Middle East?
The Place of Israel: A Sermon by John Stott
Glossary
Notes
Recommended Further Reading
Index of Biblical References
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