Eden Hill Journal
Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.
- Name: Bill
- Location: Maine, United States
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Monday, April 17, 2006
Although I have vaguely been aware of Christian Zionism, it hasn't dawned on me that it is a current phenomenon. Then again, it hadn't dawned on me that Jewish Zionism is a current phenomenon, but I'm not a member of any Jewish circles. I am, or at least have been and know many who still are, a member of fundamentalist evangelical Christian circles. Yet I was never made aware that the Scofield Bible or the Moody Bible Institute were instruments of Zionism. I don't dispute for a moment that they are. It makes sense that they are. But I have never had a Christian attempt to make me aware of that fact.
The other day I had a long discussion with my older (half-) brother who has been a born-again fundamentalist Christian for decades and who played a crucial role in the 1960s bringing a fundamentalist ministry to my town. We tend to disagree about religious matters. Politically he is a George Bush faithful. As he was preparing to leave, I asked him if he is a Zionist. His somewhat surprised response is "What's that?" I think he actually was being serious too. He's never given much thought to the politics of Zionism. Zionism is, by the way, both in the Jewish movement and in the Christian sense, a political movement, not a religious one.
But Zionism ties in to Christianity with the "end times" teachings of dispensationalists. Although most evangelical Christians are exposed to the ideas and beliefs of dispensationalism, they are not aware that these are theories. They are taught that these beliefs are Biblical truths. Yet they never even hear the words dispensationalism or Zionism. Zionism in Christianity is the belief that the Jews are to repopulate Israel and Jerusalem and rebuild Solomon's Temple in order for the "end times" of Biblical prophesy to begin. Dispensationalism and Zionism mean to Christians that God is preparing to destroy this earth in the very near future.
Christian Zionism, the political movement resulting from religious dispensationalist teaching, has deep roots in fundamentalist evangelical Christianity. Why is it that Christians are not aware of this? Why is it that my brother asked, "What's that?" Why do these Christians not openly discuss their religiously motivated political views? Why is it that they don't even admit to themselves that they have them?
I think it's because Christian dispensationalism is a "Fuck it!" type attitude. "Fuck the world. God's getting ready to destroy it so why should I care! I can't wait for the Rapture! Bring it on! I'm so sick of this sinful world!" I've written about this Christian attitude in the past and had Christians reply with denial. Christians, they say, are instructed in the Bible to be good stewards of the earth. What these Christians forbid themselves to admit is that there is a conflict of major proportions between the notion of Christians as stewards and the dispensationalist view that we are in the "end times."
There is a conflict here of proportions great enough to split churches that discuss dispensationalism. End times teaching and God's support of Israel are taught, but not as what they are, militant religious political theory cloaked as Biblical truth. Christians are not allowed to realize that dispensationalism and Christian Zionism compete with the more rational Biblical view of Christianity as the preserver of God's Creation.
Personally, I'm inclined to go along with the idea that the Messiah of the Bible was meant to be the leader who brought enlightenment and preserved God's Creation. I see a conflict spelled out in the Bible between doing what is right, what God intends to be done on earth, preserving and protecting and continuing Creation, and doing what is wrong, what Satan the deceiver has sought from the beginning, the consumption and eventual destruction of Creation. The Bible is about that struggle, a struggle we can see happening in every aspect of our own lives between being consumers and being conservationists, Daniel Quinn's struggle between being "takers" and being"leavers."
I am not a dispensationalist and I am not a Christian Zionist and I am not waiting for the commencement of the "end times." I am not looking forward to the destruction of the earth. I don't wish to be a "taker." I guess that is why I am no longer a Republican.