The Great Evangelical Disaster
Growing numbers of Americans are becoming disgusted with evangelicals. You see words like "warvangelicals," "bloodthirsty,""war mongers" and "Armageddonites." Those who say these things have a thorough-going contempt for Evangelical Christianity. Why?
During the presidential debates, Jon Basil Utley noticed how Evangelicals push for war more than any other social issue. He caught this watching the rejection of Ron Paul, the limited government, pro-family, anti-abortion, constitutionalist, who has two brothers who are ministers. Utley saw how evangelical leaders were endorsing Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum - the big government "conservatives" who were zealous to back Israel and aggressive war.
Utley further cited the striking example of Joseph Lieberman:
"Earlier there was a major far leftist candidate who supported all the issues that evangelicals oppose, and was a vocal proponent for expanding Israeli settlements on the West Bank and promoting the war on Iraq. He was overjoyed when open homosexuality became allowed in the military, he supports abortion, gay marriage and the leftist agenda for big, intrusive government; power to labor unions as well as expanded, unconstitutional police powers within the U.S. Evangelicals adore him and went all out to support him 2006, when he lost his primary race and ran as an independent for the Senate. He is Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut."1.
Dispensational premillennialism, lately called Christian Zionism, is a branch of Christianity which holds to the establishment of Israel as a nation and the return of the Jews to "their" land as key fulfillment of Bible prophecy. CNN claims 59% of American evangelicals now believe the Jews to be direct descendants of Abraham, whose friends God blesses and whose enemies God destroys. Many also look forward to a final Armageddon, their war to end history and bring the return of Christ for a thousand year reign in a rebuilt Jerusalem temple.
Enter Ron Paul, who wants to cut all foreign aid (including the three billion a year to Israel) and pull out of the Middle East, and presto, you have the answer to the rejection of Ron Paul. Moreover, by one poll, as many as 30 million Americans "favor Israel." All this has led congress to unqualified support for national Israel.
By 2002 the L.A. Times reported on "an overwhelming pro-Israel congress" and an "unflagging congressional support for Israel." The Republican party, now called by some "the war party," may have as many as 44% evangelicals who are ardent Zionists and backers of an ever constant US warfare state.
From Rural England to Mainstream Christianity:
Where did all of this come from? Between 1862 and 1877 England's Plymouth Brethren began sending its leader J. N. Darby to America. Through a series of six visits, Darby spread his premillennial rapture ideas. Around that time a wealthy, powerful New York lawyer and world Zionist Louis Untemeyer began cultivating one C. I. Scofield. One scholar wrote, "Scofield, an ambitious liar, a former criminal, a wife deserter who ruined his own family, somehow was what the Illuminist Untemeyer was looking for."
In 1909 the prestigious Oxford University Press published the Scofield Reference Bible. Its popularity soon spread dispensationalism world-wide. C. E. Carlson writes: "Scofield's success as an international Bible editor without portfolio and his lavish living in Europe could only have been accomplished with financial aid and international influence." 2 Darby's ideas and Scofield's foot-noted Bible have evolved into today's dispensationalism, premillennialism and Christian Zionism.
These ideas have morphed into a "last days" obsession that has made staggering growth for decades with novels, movies, and pulpits aflame with its message. Charles E. Carlson summarizes the disastrous results: "A 100 year old offshoot of fundamental Christianity has almost single-handedly legitimized wars in Arab states since 1991." 3
In the book Dark Crusade: Christian Zionism and U.S. Foreign Policy, Clifford Kirakofe traces Zionism's climb to power:
"Working in the U.S. Senate as a foreign policy staffer, I saw first-hand the process by which the Christian Right emerged during the 1980s. Over a decade I watched its rigidly pro-Israel stance first challenge and undermine our foreign policy and national security ... Then in early 1980s, the neoconservative movement, a Jewish intellectual network, began tutoring the Christian Right in foreign policy with a particular emphasis on pro-Israel political action. The Christian Right soon aligned itself politically with the Jewish pro-Israel lobby spear headed by American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
"By the mid 1980s an intimate working relationship had developed among the New Right, the Neoconservative movement, and the Jewish pro-Israel lobby. This alliance tightened its political bonds and intensified its political activity in Washington, DC, and across the nation, during the 1990s. It also prepared the domestic political situation that would enable President Bush's later catastrophic crusade in the Middle East - wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and confrontation with Syria and Iran." 4
We Evangelicals need to realize we are a significant part of the cause in the Middle East wars. The church's "end times" confusion has locked us into unconditional support of national Israel and played its role in the deaths of 100,000 innocent people. The Muslim world believes Christians to be in an all-out war against Islam, and the backlash is fanning the flames of Muslim fanaticism and persecution of Christians.
The New American magazine just reported, that according to some estimates, more than 150,000 Christians are murdered every year for their faith around the world. Over three-fourths are in Muslim nations, and this, it claims, is the result of US foreign policy. 5
Doctrinal Shift Needed:
Christians must go back to the Bible and ask, "What does God say?" and take a second look at so-called "doctrines" and "prophesies" that lead us inescapably to war.
The following was accepted orthodoxy before 1830 and is a good place to begin:
1. The Israel of God is the Christian church not the Jews in Israel.
2. They are Khazar Jews from central Russia, "having Turkish and Hun background in their blood and not Jewish ancestry at all." 6
3. Revelation and the New Testament were written to the early Christians--for us, not to us.
4. Time indicators ( "time is near," "shortly," "at hand") all show Revelation happened to the people living then (except the final judgment and consummation).
5. "Coming on clouds of glory" is apocalyptic imagery of judgment, just as it was in Isaiah 19:1. Jesus came within the generation living at that time. (Matt. 24:34)
1. Jon Basil Utley, War, Social Values and Ron Paul
2. Charles E Carlson, We Hold These Truths, whtt.org/new whtt/main.php?nid=3307
4. Clifford A. Kiracofe, Dark Crusade: Christian Zionism and US Foreign Policy, (I.B. Tauris, 2009), 136.
5. The New American , April 23, 2012, (American Opinion Publishing), "Christian Massacres: A Result of U.S. Foreign Policy",10
6. John L. Bray, What the Bible Says About Israel, John L. Bray, 2002,10
See Stephen J. Sizer, Christian Zionism: Road-Map to Armageddon? Leicester Inter-Varsity Press, 2004
Joseph M. Canfield, The Incredible Scofield and His Book, Ross House Books,1988
Gary Demar, End Times Madness
Getting it Right ... David Seppi