Must Christians Support Israel?

[Cross-posted at RedBlueChristian]

I’ve heard many Christians imply or explicitly state that Christians ought to be supportive of Israel in ways that exceed our support of other nations. This is predicated on the notion that Israel is still a nation of God’s chosen people. I’m curious what their theological basis for believing this is.

The argument, as I understand it, is that God never backs out on a promise, let alone a covenant. Thus, the state of Israel, as the remnant of that once mighty nation, is favored by God. As such, Israel deserves the unwavering support of Christians, who are bound to protect that which is made holy by God. For me, this argument fails in two ways.

For the first, let’s assume that the Mosaic covenant (Exodus 19-24) is still in effect. In that case, I do not believe that the political entity known as Israel is identifiable as the other party contractually bonded with God. Through the work of Jesus Christ, Jews and Gentiles are united in one Mystical Body of Christ (c.f. Ephesians 2:13-18), and that body, the Church, is the new Israel. God did not stop favoring Israel. He did, however, redefine who are Israelites. In other words, in this view the Mosaic covenant was transferred to the Church and the modern political entity of Israel is not in a unique covenant with YHVH. Therefore, it deserves no extraordinary protection or unquestioning support from Christians.

For the second means of failure, we need not assume that the old covenants were transferred to the Church. Rather, the old Mosaic covenant (2 Corinthians 3:14; Hebrews 8:6,13) was terminated and replaced with the new Messianic covenant (Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Hebrews 8:8,13; 9:15; 12:24). The people of Israel were bound by the covenant to adhere to the Law. Since Israel had not adhered to the Law, God was not obliged to fulfill His end of the bargain, yet He continued to do so. During the times the Israelites did respect the Law, God made them a great nation. However, when they did not, He allowed invasions, exiles, and other calamities to befall them. Ultimately, the life, death, redemptive suffering, and resurrection of the Messiah were the final fulfillment of the Law and the old covenant. Jesus established a new covenant with a new Israel, chosen not by racial descent but by grace through faith, bound not by Law but love. In this view, even if the political Israel is identifiable with the nation of the old covenant, that covenant has been fulfilled and no longer binds either party. The Church is the new Israel and therefore the political nation of Israel deserves no extraordinary protection or unquestioning support from Christians.

In light of these two interpretations of God’s covenantial relationships with Israel and the Church, I wonder how Evangelicals and Fundamentalists defend the belief that Israel is still representative of God’s holy people. I’m no scripture scholar, so do not take my questions and assertions as surety on my part. I look forward to discussing this issue with those having opposing views. Given the current strife in the Holy Land, Christians’ role in the affairs of Israel has become a matter of some importance.

Update 03/24/06: Jerry Falwell has provided a perfect example of the kind of Evangelical reasoning I’m talking about.

There are three key reasons why Christians must support Israel.

 

* For Humanitarian Reasons.

* For Political Reasons.  The State of Israel has the only true democratic system of government in the entire Middle East and has been America’s most faithful supporter in the region.

* For Religious Reasons.  The founding of Israel as a nation in 1948 was ordained of God to provide a homeland for the Jewish people and to prepare for the future return of Jesus Christ.  The Abrahamic Covenant demands it.

  • I’m all for humanitarian aid, but I think it should be offered to all civilians hurt by this conflict, regardless of nationality.
  • Since the State of Israel has received unwavering support from the United States, I’m not surprised that it’s America’s most faithful supporter in the region. Anyhow, why should "faithful support" from them guarantee future unquestioning support from us?
  • The founding of Israel in ’48 was ordained by God?!? Says who? Proof, please.

Comments 45

  1. Peter wrote:

    Personally, I think most evangelical and fundamentalist Christians who advocate unswerving support for Israel do so less for those theological reasons and more because they believe it will hasten the rapture.

    Posted 21 Jul 2006 at 1:15 pm
  2. Funky Dung wrote:

    Hmm. Could be.

    Posted 21 Jul 2006 at 1:37 pm
  3. Peter Kirk wrote:

    You wrote that:

    Since Israel had not adhered to the Law, God was not obliged to fulfill His end of the bargain…

    The problem with this argument is that God has chosen to oblige himself by making a promise with an oath, in fact I have heard it described as the strongest oath in the Bible:

    8 He remembers his covenant forever,
    the promise he made, for a thousand generations,

    9 the covenant he made with Abraham,
    the oath he swore to Isaac.

    10 He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree,
    to Israel as an everlasting covenant:

    11 “To you I will give the land of Canaan
    as the portion you will inherit.”
    (Psalm 105:8-11, TNIV)

    If, as you suggest, God can and did simply decide not to terminate and replace this oath, what confidence can any of us have that he won’t renege on his promised to us? But of course he won’t renege on any of his promises, because

    God is not a human, that he should lie,
    not a human being, that he should change his mind.
    Does he speak and then not act?
    Does he promise and not fulfill?
    (Numbers 23:19, TNIV).

    Posted 21 Jul 2006 at 2:45 pm
  4. John wrote:

    Certainly if you watch the 700 Club you can see Robertson and others saying that we have to put all the Jews into Israel so that God can smote them all with greater efficiency. It is the Israel as a divine Auschwitz model.

    Posted 21 Jul 2006 at 2:48 pm
  5. John wrote:

    Whoops, Peter’s post was updated while I was typing mine, I didn’t mean it as a response.

    But to respond to his post :), the covenent with the Israelites was always conditional. If you look through Leviticus (as the thread on homosexuality has had me doing a lot of lately), you’ll see that there is the standard structure of God is granting you land of the bad people, if you do what the bad people do, he’ll take it right back.

    And certainly when Jesus prophesizes the destruction of Jerusalem, there’s a sense that he’s saying that they’re getting what they’re having coming.

    Posted 21 Jul 2006 at 2:54 pm
  6. Funky Dung wrote:

    One of us is misunderstanding how covenants work. Perhaps it is I. As I understand covenants, there are two kinds, unilateral and bilateral. The Abrahamic covenant was unilateral, i.e., God didn’t ask for anything in return. The Mosaic covenant, on the other hand, was bilateral, i.e., if Israel didn’t uphold its end God didn’t have to uphold His. In a bilateral covenant, if either fails to keep their end, the covenant becomes moot at the other party’s discretion. God would never fail to keep a promise. Mankind does it all the time, though. In the case of the Mosaic covenant, God maintained it until, as part of His divine plan, the time was right for Him to become flesh as the Messiah. Still, He only upheld it conditionally during before that time.

    In summary, God bound Himself to an oath, but that oath could be broken by the other party He made the covenant with, Israel.

    Posted 21 Jul 2006 at 2:54 pm
  7. John wrote:

    There may be a technical argument that the Mosaic “covenant” was actual a contract for the reasons you stated. But that’s pure semantic self-pleasuring.

    Posted 21 Jul 2006 at 3:05 pm
  8. gbm3 wrote:

    I don’t have much time to write now, but, how about:

    As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:
    “A voice of one calling in the desert,
    ‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.
    5Every valley shall be filled in,
    every mountain and hill made low.
    The crooked roads shall become straight,
    the rough ways smooth.
    6And all mankind will see God’s salvation.’ “[a]
    7John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 9The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” Luke 3

    and

    7But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. Matthew 3

    Are these passages relevant?

    gbm3

    Posted 21 Jul 2006 at 3:39 pm
  9. Anthrakeus wrote:

    It should be noted that in force or not, the Mosaic covenant doesn’t lend support to Zionism. The operative phrase in the covenant is “To you I will give the land of Canaan”, not “I will let you conquer the land of Canaan”. The problem with Zionism is that it’s the Judeo-political equivalent of Pelagianism, do-it-yourself. Within Jewish theology there is a sense of exile. And indeed from the destruction of the Temple until the late 1800’s Jews saw themselves as a people in exile. Even if they happened to live in Palestine, they didn’t have power. Until Zionism, the way to regain the convenant promises was to await the Messiah. However, the Zionists (most of whom, at first, weren’t even practicing) decided that waiting wasn’t fun, so they started to build up weapons in Palestine waiting, not for divine assistance, but for the best political situation.

    To this day there are Orthodox Jews in Palestine, whose families have been there since well before the Nazis, who refuse to recognize the Zionist government, precisely because there should be no Jewish state in the Holy Land, unless it is ruled by the Messiah.

    Posted 21 Jul 2006 at 5:20 pm
  10. Peter Kirk wrote:

    Thanks for the comments, Anthrakeus. I am not trying to support Zionism or suggest that Christians should back the Israeli government whatever it may do – although it does have to do something about Hezbollah. But don’t forget that Joshua had to fight even though the land had been promised. There is no place in the Bible for sitting back and letting God do everything for us, instead we are called to work for him and the extension of his kingdom. Of course I mean that in a spiritual sense, not a territorial one. But Zionism is the Judeo-political equivalent not to much of Pelagianism as of Christian mission and evangelism, of actively going out as the Apostles did to win new people in new lands for Christ’s kingdom.

    Posted 21 Jul 2006 at 5:39 pm
  11. The Waffling Anglican wrote:

    I expect most (Western) Christians support Israel because it’s the only religiously tolerant, reasonably free, reasonably capitalist, functional democracy with generally Western values in the area. Not too many Christians have been martyred by Israeli terrorists lately. Lebanon used to be a nice country as well; it might be able to return to that state if someone wipes out Hezbollah.

    Posted 21 Jul 2006 at 6:05 pm
  12. Job wrote:

    I believe it is imperative to support Israel. Not really because they are Jewish, or along any other religious lines. But, just because they are our friends and allies. And because they hate terrorism as much as we do.

    Posted 21 Jul 2006 at 6:32 pm
  13. Peter Kirk wrote:

    See my own latest blog posting for some background to my interest in this subject. Hezbollah have spoiled by summer, but they have also shown themselves to be real terrorists and a threat to world peace in the same league as Bin Laden’s lot. So in principle I support Israel’s attempts to get rid of them, although I wish they could have shown more respect for the lives of ordinary peaceful Lebanese, most of who hate Hezbollah almost as much as the Israelis do.

    By the way, I am not the same Peter who made the first comment on this post.

    Posted 21 Jul 2006 at 6:43 pm
  14. Sean wrote:

    God hasn’t ended his covenant with Israel, but His covenant has been expanded to cover everyone. Each new covenant that God entered into expanded the coverage of God’s relationship to His creation. There was a personal covenant, a family covenant, a tribal covenant, a national covenant, etc. Now there is a universal covenant. God’s covenant is open to anyone and everyone. Now Israel, the people not the modern nation, may still occupy a special place in God’s heart and they may still have a great role to play, but I agree that it is not correct to equate Israel, the people, with the modern nation-state. So Christians do not have to support the state of Israel in anything and everything it does.

    That being said, as a moden nation-state, that state and its people deserve being treated as we would treat anybody else. They are a democracy, to a degree… and allies… to a degree. They may not be the best of allies, but they’re certainly better than, say, France… assuming one still counts France as an ally these days.

    But even being a democracy and a strategic ally does not entitle them to slavish support from anybody. But as a people and a nation, they are under attack. Over the decade or two they have tried to engage in a peace process. They have tried to make a two-state solution work. They offered Arafat 95% of everything he ever asked for, excepting the destruction of Israel and Jerusalem. They’ve tried to make it work. In return, what do they get? Suicide bombers, and now missiles. Missile in ever increasing numbers and range.

    As any other people are entitled to defend themselves, so are these people. If the sovereign state of Lebanon is unwilling or unable to stop the attacks on Israel by Hezbollah, then Israel exercise her right to self-defense and put a stop to it.

    Is Israel perfect? Not by a long-shot. And neither are the Palestinians, nor any of Arab/Muslim governments surrounding Israel. But this is a case of a terrorist group supported by a country that denies the Holocaust while encouraging another one. This terrorist group is lobbing missiles into Israel after kidnapping its citizens and soldiers.

    While I want to see peace in that region, peace cannot be achieved by one party sitting on their hands while another party lobs missiles at you.

    And what if some cease-fire is declared? The current fighting stops. As has happened in the past. Hezbollah regroups and re-arms. The track record of the UN in these kinds situations is dismal. The UN has been on that border for years and done nothing. In a few months or a year or two the violence starts again. Only next time maybe Iran ships Hezbollah a nuke? Or Syria ships them some chemical or biological weapons?

    Peace is not just the absence of armed conflict. But most of the time that is all the UN, the media, and all the so-called “peace activists” ever try for and ever achieve: the absence of armed conflict. That does not breed true peace. The underlying animosity and conflict still remains until it flares up again in an even worse armed conflict.

    If Lebanon is to succeed as a democracy and open society, it may be necessary for Hezbollah to be reduced to a militarily insignificant player. For Israel to protect its citizens it may be necessary for Hezbollah to be reduced to a militarily insignificant player. Will that cause more suffering now in Lebanon to those civilians that are truly not supporting Hezbollah? Yes. But will it be less than what they may endure in six months or a year or two after a cease-fire when the conflict breaks out anew? That’s usually the pattern.

    And does that course of action risk widening the war and bringing Syria and/or Iran into the war? Possibly. But if so, it only means they are being drawn in now before they are prepared, in order to save their proxies, Hezbollah, who got more than they bargained for. If they are willing to come in now out of desperation, then they would be willing to come on their own in the future when they are prepared, perhaps with nukes. But I don’t think they will come in now. I think Iran used Hez to take the spotlight off of them, and Hez, following orders, bit off more than it can chew.

    Is it possible that the constant attempts to broker c0ease-fires only extends a conflict long enough for it to become generational and systemic. Hatred becomes a societal value. Constant low-level violence becomes a duty until it flares up into ever worsening battles and wars. The hatred increases. The barbarism increases. Eventually, no act becomes unthinkable. At some point, WMD will be used.

    Do I believe all this? Do I think it better to let Israel win, this once, and eliminate Hezbollah as a military force? Do I believe that by trying to stop this conflict we are only postponing the conflict until it become much worse? What’s a Christian to do?

    I don’t know. I don’t know if I believe it. I don’t know if its true. But I worry that it might be.

    If Israel does go into Lebanon after Hezbollah, the US, NATO, and every force of good-will should lay it out in no uncertain terms to Iran and Syria about what the consequences will be if they intervene. If the UN wants to do some good then they should cut off the flow or arms, supplies, and funds to Hez from Syria and Iran, by force if necessary.

    But am I willing to treat Hezbollah, a terrorist organization, as an equal of Israel, and try to broker or force a cease-fire that leaves this terrorist group in southern Lebanon within missile-lobbing distance of Israel? Or leaves Hezbollah anywhere if they’re still armed? No. I’m not. Hezbollah’s track record is clear. There can’t be peace in the region with an armed Hezbollah. Lebanon won’t or can’t disarm them. The UN can’t disarm a quadriplegic. Israel is under attack and they’re apparently getting ready to take on the task. Maybe it has to be done.

    In the meantime, praying for true peace while accepting God’s will, seems like the only real course of action that I can recommend without reservation. And praying for the conversion of Islam… and Judaism… or at least, at this moment, of Hezbollah.

    Posted 21 Jul 2006 at 6:50 pm
  15. John wrote:

    “I expect most (Western) Christians support Israel because it’s the only religiously tolerant,”

    There are entire peoples living within its borders who are denied any political authority, and any hope for a funcioning economy purely because they’re muslim arabs. Even outside of the palestinian terroritories, non-jews have a hard time finding an education to advance themselves.

    “Not too many Christians have been martyred by Israeli terrorists lately.”

    Well, I don’t know how we care to define martyring, but a large number of Catholics are killed by the Israeli government regularly. The raids into the West Bank in the past years have killed large numbers of Catholic. My uncle, a Catholic Brother, lived in Bethlehem and founded Bethlehem University. His students, Catholic and Muslim, were regularly machine-gunned for sport by the IDF.

    “But, just because they are our friends and allies.”

    In what way have they showed themselves to be our friends and allies? What have we ever gotten out of this alliance other than a bulls-eye for terrorists around the world? If anyone can think of a time that Israel has ever done anything for us, let me know. It seems to me that we give them 3 billion dollars a year in exchange for nothing at all.

    “And because they hate terrorism as much as we do.”

    Their country was founded via a terrorist war against the British. They blew up hotels and barracks, and assisinated leaders. Their fight against Hezbollah has nothing to do with the methods being used. Those are just technicalities of the war.

    “Hezbollah … have also shown themselves to be real terrorists and a threat to world peace in the same league as Bin Laden’s lot.”

    How have they done this? They have in no way expanded their scope. They are a regional group. This is and has always been a local conflict. Nothing has changed that.

    “They may not be the best of allies, but they’re certainly better than, say, France… assuming one still counts France as an ally these days.”

    On what grounds would you like to revoke France’s status as an ally? It disagreed with us on the grounds that it did not believe that we had provided adequate evidence that Sadam had WMDs and that they posed a global threat. Since it has become clear that we fabricated that data, it seems fairly unreasonable to hold a grudge about it. Also, we have fought alongside the French in two world wars and in Korea. They fought the Communists in Vietnam. They aided us in the Balkans and in Afghanistan. And we don’t even have to pay them billions of dollars a year to get this relationship. They are clearly better allies than the Israelis; who frankly kinda make us their bitch.

    “This terrorist group is lobbing missiles into Israel after kidnapping its citizens and soldiers.”

    Firstly, the missile attacks did not begin until after Israel started bombing Lebanon. While they’re tragic, they are the natural response to Israel’s actions. If you fire bombs are a country, you can expect that country to fire bombs back. Secondly, “kidnapping” is a loaded phrase. Did Israel kidnap the large numbers of Lebanese it is holding captive? It is well established in military custom that one side can capture enemy soldiers in the hopes of setting up a prisoner exchange.

    “Do I think it better to let Israel win, this once, and eliminate Hezbollah as a military force?”

    This is a false choice. Is there any reason to think that this will happen? Are we having much luck eliminating terrorist groups in Iraq? Did Israel have much luck destroying Hezbollah that last time it occupied souther Lebanon?

    “praying for true peace while accepting God’s will”

    If you believe that wars are the result of God’s will, then you are as bad as any of the people over there are.

    All of this is not to condemn Israel. I only speak disprortionately against them because the other side of the argument has already been well made.
    Neither side in this conflict is particularly rosie, and we show no good light on ourselves by siding with either them. We should be for peace and stability, but being for that means we cannot be aligned with any of the parties.

    Posted 21 Jul 2006 at 8:03 pm
  16. Sean wrote:

    I am not revoking France’s status as an ally. Don’t put words in my mouth. They’ve been revoking it themselves since the end of WWII. I’m just recognizing the situation that France has created.

    You totally lost my benefit of the doubt with your “Since it has become clear that we fabricated that data” comment. That is simply the wishful thinking of a desperate left that has a rabid dislike of Bush and isn’t finding much traction with mainstream America. Too many of the world’s intelligence services all agreed about the WMD, many of them not great friends of ours, for there to be a credible fabrication. And while there is no evidence of a fabrication, there is some evidence that some existing stocks of WMD made their way into Syria.

    I could say that if you think kidnapping soldiers in a time of peace in hopes of setting up a prisoner exchange is an acceptable practice then you are as bad as any of the people over there. But I won’t do that, because impugning someone that way is an ugly thing to do.

    Besides that, Hezbollah is not a sovereign nation they are not signatories to the Geneva Convention and they do not follow it. If they take such actions at any time as kidnapping, they can expect the kind of reaction they are currently receiving.

    I did not say that I believe wars are the result of God’s will. Do not put words in my mouth. I said we should pray for peace. But, as Jesus said when He prayed, we have to recognize that we don’t always get what we pray for. God does not cause evil, but evil occurs through our sin. God does not compromise our free will, so that evil happens due to our sin, but God may take that evil that men do and bring about a greater good out of it to confound those who commit that evil. So while we may pray for peace now, it may not happen, but I am confident that whatever happens, God will, in the end, turn it to a greater good. Once again, I could say that anyone who believes they know God’s will and what God’s will is or isn’t is really putting themselves in God’s place… and that makes them worse than any of the people over there. But I wouldn’t do that because it would be an ugly thing to do.

    So chill out and take it easy. As I stated in my comment, I don’t know about those issues I mentioned. I said I worry about them. I was simply worrying about them out loud. I hoped to spark a discussion, but not to be proclaimed as bad as any of the people over there, which is about as bad an insult as I can imagine these days.

    Take a hike, pal.

    Posted 21 Jul 2006 at 11:51 pm
  17. John wrote:

    Well saying that France has been revoking its allied status is simply right wing non-sense.
    And what situation is this that France has created? I’d try to provide a counter-argument, but you’ve not provided any argument to counter.

    While there is certainly room for debate as to whether it was reasonable to believe that Iraq had WMDs prior to the invasion, the specific evidence that we presented to the United Nations was fabricated. Colin Powell said as much.

    If there are prisoners being held to be exchanged you must consider questioning your deffinition of peace. Israel kidnapped two palestinians from gaza days before the the palestinians kidnapped a soldier and started off this whole go around.
    I do not mean to defend Hezbollah, but merely to say that there is a great deal of moral ambiguity in this situation.

    Let me apologize for overstating, or at least crudely stating my response to your comment on God’s will. I didn’t think that you meant God had brought this about, was why I was so cavalier in my phrasing.
    What I should have said is that we should be very wary of seeing God’s will in events such as these. Humans make these messes, and humans need to clean them up. There is great danger in adopting a fatalistic attitude. Was all I meant to say with that.

    Lastly, I would like to point out that we’ve veered significantly from the initial question (and I take a great deal of the blame for that). The question was what attitude Christians should take towards Israel. I would say that this is ultimately in ill framed question. We should look at American foreign policy as Americans. The goal of that policy shuold be to advance American interests around the world. Christianity has little role in that.

    Posted 22 Jul 2006 at 1:44 am
  18. Peter Kirk wrote:

    In response to John’s point that

    There are entire peoples living within [Israel’s] borders who are denied any political authority, and any hope for a funcioning economy purely because they’re muslim arabs.

    The Muslim and Christian Arabs living in places like Nazareth, internationally accepted as within Israel’s frontiers, enjoy full and proportional representation in the democratically elected Knesset, and a standard of living which, even if lower than the average Jewish level, is higher than that of most other Arabs, except for the few made rich by oil. They also have good access to higher education. Yes, they have their political grievances, but they are basically those of ethnic minorities who have found themselves on the wrong side of a border anywhere in the world – grievances which cannot be resolved at least while the world is divided into territorially defined nation states. And that is not a plea for anything like a one world government, because I don’t think that would fix the problem either.

    As for the Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza, if they had chosen to work alongside Israel (and if Israel had been more positive towards them), I’m sure a solution could have been reached which would have given them similar benefits, and reasonable if not complete political autonomy within the borders of Israel. They have not chosen that route, and they are entitled to that choice, but having chosen continued confrontation they can hardly complain at the economic consequences.

    Posted 22 Jul 2006 at 6:59 am
  19. Tom Smith wrote:

    I haven’t read all the comments yet, but there is one thing I’d like to point out. If it’s already been mentioned, disregard this note.

    “The people of Israel were bound by the covenant to adhere to the Law. Since Israel had not adhered to the Law, God was not obliged to fulfill His end of the bargain, yet He continued to do so.”

    You’re mistaken. A “covenant” is not identical to a “contract.” A contract can be breached, and so terminated. A covenant, however, may be breached many times without its ever losing force. If you and I have a covenant to eat lunch at Burger King on Wednesdays, it doesn’t matter how many times you fail to show; I’m still bound to eat lunch at Burger King on Wednesdays.

    Posted 22 Jul 2006 at 9:03 am
  20. Tom Smith wrote:

    “I expect most (Western) Christians support Israel because it’s the only religiously tolerant, reasonably free, reasonably capitalist, functional democracy with generally Western values in the area.”

    Why are those things relevant to a Christian attitude toward Israel? It seems to me that religious tolerance, capitalism, and democracy aren’t Christian values, but the values of modernity.

    “The question was what attitude Christians should take towards Israel. I would say that this is ultimately in ill framed question. We should look at American foreign policy as Americans. The goal of that policy shuold be to advance American interests around the world.”

    Why should our American citizenship trump our Christian faith in this matter?

    Posted 22 Jul 2006 at 4:25 pm
  21. Anthrakeus wrote:

    Actually, there is no legal difference between “covenant” and “contract” in the Hebrew legal tradition (they are both legitimate translations of the word “b’rith” (cf. B’nai Brith- sons of the covenant). It just happens that English has a lot of words; most languages don’t. The exact nature of a contract in the Semitic legal tradition depended principally on circumstance, not on title. It should also be noted that most Semitic laws were seen as irrevocable, no matter what (cf. Esther v. Haman). In the English legal tradition “covenant” was simply a weighty pact. For example the “Covenanteers” in Scotland were those who favored Presbyterianism and opposed bishops within the Scottish Kirk (Scot. Eng.; = Church). The “covenant” entered into was a pact to support Presbyterianism and other anti-subsidiarist policies. Devolution would have made these guys very happy.

    Most legal historians see the Mosaic covenant as a form of “suzzerain/vassal” agreement (think liege lords of the middle ages). Much as the English appointed Rajahs in India to run the day to day business of the various territories (rajahstans), so in the Ancient Near East Egypt and Assyria vied for vassal states in between them (cf. US/Soviet policies in the Cold War). God was setting Himself up as the protector of Israel, and gave precise instructions on the duties and privelages of this agreement, as well as tribute exacted (sacrifices). There are even parallels in some of the ceremonials of the various covenantal agreements in the Bible and those ceremonies performed when a treaty was reached with a conqueror.

    You guys have been reading way too much Scott Hahn.
    —————————-
    Peter,

    Joshua received a command from God to conquer. No such request was made of Ben Gurion. It was only the rejection of the theology of exile and messianism that allowed for Jewish thinkers to support Zionism. This movement began among irreligious Jews (and many a Communist, which is why there are still Kibbutzim in Israel). It was only in the 1930’s (about 50 years into the movement) that practicing Jews even started showing up in Israel (other than those who had lived there since the Ottoman Empire’s day). Speaking of Israel as a “Jewish” State had only ethnic connotations at first, only taking on a religious meaning as a sort of political spin to gain support after the Holocaust. Few leaders in Israel even attend Synagogue, let alone follow the Law.

    Posted 22 Jul 2006 at 5:12 pm
  22. The Waffling Anglican wrote:

    Mr. Smith
    My point was that most Christians support Israel, not for the reason stated in the article that modern Israel is necessarily the successor of the Biblical Israel, but rather because such support is warranted by the realities of the situation on the ground. There is nothing particularly “Christian” about that support, except possibly for the fact that we are to be men of good wiil, and most men of good will support Israel over the bloodthirsty, maniacal, Islamofascist terrorist barbarians who seek her destruction and the death of her citizens. There is nothing particularly “non-Christian” about it, either. If this is a case of “American citizenship trumping Christian faith,” then I completely fail to see it.

    If you wish to actually do something to help the Lebanese people, then do what you can to increase the rate at which the members of Hezbollah reach the gates of hell.

    Posted 22 Jul 2006 at 7:20 pm
  23. Bryan Davis wrote:

    It’s a shame that a really interesting question was hijacked by a few political chest-bumping threads.

    But it looks like there’s a majority consensus: There is no biblical requirement to aid the modern nation of Israel, leaving Christians to their own social or moral judgement on whether or not our loyalty to Israel is required.

    But to the several who have suggested that God’s covenant with the Hebrews (and thus the Nation of Israel?) is still in effect, does this truly translate into an imperitive for Christian aid? When the Hebrews were enslaved in Egypt, did God lay this onus at the feet of those individuals and nations outside of the Hebrews who honored him?

    Posted 23 Jul 2006 at 11:23 am
  24. Funky Dung wrote:

    I go away for a couple days and I come back to 15 new comments. Wowsers!

    “I believe it is imperative to support Israel. Not really because they are Jewish, or along any other religious lines. But, just because they are our friends and allies. And because they hate terrorism as much as we do.”

    Yes, we support our allies, but we generally don’t give them carte blanche approval as we seem to be giving to Israel. If you think Israelis have never committed atrocities, you’re deluding yourself.

    I think G.K. Chesterton sums up my thoughts well. He was addressing unchecked patriotism, but his comment applies equally well to support for allies.

    “‘My country, right or wrong’ is a thing no patriot would ever think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying ‘My mother, drunk or sober.'”

    Posted 23 Jul 2006 at 1:04 pm
  25. Funky Dung wrote:

    “Lastly, I would like to point out that we’ve veered significantly from the initial question (and I take a great deal of the blame for that). The question was what attitude Christians should take towards Israel. I would say that this is ultimately in ill framed question. We should look at American foreign policy as Americans. The goal of that policy shuold be to advance American interests around the world. Christianity has little role in that.”


    But it looks like there’s a majority consensus: There is no biblical requirement to aid the modern nation of Israel, leaving Christians to their own social or moral judgement on whether or not our loyalty to Israel is required.”

    I agree. “Should America give unquestioning support to Israel?” and “Should Christians give unquestioning support to Israel?” should be separate questions. The reason I felt a need to write this article at all is due to the fact that a lot of Christian conservatives seem to believe that the answer to the first question is “yes” because the answer to second question is “yes”. we can debate American foreign policy til the cows come home, but it’d be a mostly moot discussion in this context. The only relevant question here is the second.

    “You guys have been reading way too much Scott Hahn.”

    Is he wrong? If so, I’d very interested to learn how/why. Seriously. I’d know bupkis about covenants if it weren’t for Hahn’s books. If I’ve been given false or misleading information, I’d very much like to be correctly informed.

    Posted 23 Jul 2006 at 1:22 pm
  26. Sean wrote:

    I agree. “Should America give unquestioning support to Israel?” and “Should Christians give unquestioning support to Israel?” should be separate questions. The reason I felt a need to write this article at all is due to the fact that a lot of Christian conservatives seem to believe that the answer to the first question is “yes” because the answer to second question is “yes”. we can debate American foreign policy til the cows come home, but it’d be a mostly moot discussion in this context. The only relevant question here is the second.

    For the record, in case my first overly long ramble didn’t make it clear, no nation… no people… is entitled to unquestioning support by Americans or Christians. I guess more than the question of support and how much, I am concerned with what to do in the particular situation. And I’m concerned with not just what to do to make the immediate situation better for those suffering due to this conflict, but what to do that’s best for the long term to end conflict in this region. I’m worried that like all else in America, we will go for the quick fix, the instant gratification that will put a band-aid on the situation now and make the problem “go away”. Only it won’t have made the problem go away, but will leave it to fester and turn gangrenous and become much more dangerous later… to the region and the world. What to do about… well, I confess that I don’t have any great answers either. But I don’t what to patch up the symptoms and leave the real problem(s) festering.

    Posted 23 Jul 2006 at 1:36 pm
  27. Funky Dung wrote:

    “For the record, in case my first overly long ramble didn’t make it clear, no nation… no people… is entitled to unquestioning support by Americans or Christians.”

    Agreed.

    “I guess more than the question of support and how much, I am concerned with what to do in the particular situation.”

    I’m concerned, too, but I hadn’t intended to address that issue with this post.

    “And I’m concerned with not just what to do to make the immediate situation better for those suffering due to this conflict, but what to do that’s best for the long term to end conflict in this region. I’m worried that like all else in America, we will go for the quick fix, the instant gratification that will put a band-aid on the situation now and make the problem ‘go away’. Only it won’t have made the problem go away, but will leave it to fester and turn gangrenous and become much more dangerous later… to the region and the world. What to do about… well, I confess that I don’t have any great answers either. But I don’t what to patch up the symptoms and leave the real problem(s) festering.”

    I’m not certain there is a fix, quick or otherwise. The people of that region have been at each others’ throats for millenia. What makes us think they’re going to kiss and make up now or in the near future?

    Posted 23 Jul 2006 at 5:32 pm
  28. gbm3 wrote:

    From Funky’s original writing:

    In light of these two interpretations of God’s covenantial relationships with Israel and the Church, I wonder how Evangelicals and Fundamentalists defend the belief that Israel is still representative of God’s holy people. I’m no scripture scholar, so do not take my questions and assertions as surety on my part. I look forward to discussing this issue with those having opposing views. Given the current strife in the Holy Land, Christians’ role in the affairs of Israel has become a matter of some importance.

    I’ve seen lots of segments on the news that shows fundamentalist Christians and other Christians aiding those in the modern nation of Israel. I ask myself why.

    They quite often give a response in terms of the Rapture (as Peter said on July 21st, 2006 at 1:15 pm (from the book of Revelation)). Perhaps in formulating an understanding of why fundamentalist Christians aided in forming (yes, they helped the lobby) and supporting the new state of Israel, we should discuss the Rapture and a Catholic Christian’s take on it.

    For me, the formation of the modern state of Israel was terrible in so much as practicing, law abiding Jews did not favor its formation (especially at the start).

    As I mentioned at July 21st, 2006 at 3:39 pm:

    7But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

    Having “Abraham as [their] father” no longer is enough to shepherd God’s people. It takes the Good Shepherd Jesus Christ to lead and guide the people of God, Jew and Gentile alike, not the modern State of Israel.

    However, the State of Israel is a sovereign state worthy of support from all nations. The only thing is that Christians shouldn’t view the modern state of Israel as equivalent to the tribes of Israel in the Bible.

    gbm3

    Posted 23 Jul 2006 at 8:10 pm
  29. Tom Smith wrote:

    “My point was that most Christians support Israel, not for the reason stated in the article that modern Israel is necessarily the successor of the Biblical Israel, but rather because such support is warranted by the realities of the situation on the ground. There is nothing particularly ‘Christian’ about that support. . .”

    Then we are in agreement. I never implied that you believed Christians *should* support Israel. I was simply trying to get someone to explain why Christians should support Israel because it’s democratic, capitalist, and supports religious freedom, even though I realize that this may not be your position. Democracy, capitalism, and religious freedom are not Christian values — they’re *modern* values.

    “If this is a case of ‘American citizenship trumping Christian faith,’ then I completely fail to see it.”

    That question was not directed toward you, but toward John, who posited that we should approach American foreign policy primarily as Americans, and secondly as Christians — that notion strikes me as being utterly Erastian and out of place in a Christian worldview (though I happily seek correction).

    The above question is an excellent segue into this one:

    “‘Should America give unquestioning support to Israel?’ and ‘Should Christians give unquestioning support to Israel?’ should be separate questions. The reason I felt a need to write this article at all is due to the fact that a lot of Christian conservatives seem to believe that the answer to the first question is ‘yes’ because the answer to second question is ‘yes’.”

    I take it that you disagree with them that believe Christians should support Israel on religious grounds, and that these religious grounds suffice for supporting American pro-Israeli foreign policy. I must say that I disagree — should we bifurcate our religious convictions and the way in which we interact with the world? I contend that the answer is in the negative. If Christianity does indeed include support of modern Israel , then shouldn’t Christians support it through American foreign policy?

    I can think of another issue in which Christianity has much to say about politics: abortion. In a hypothetical referendum, would you vote for abortion because its legality is better for America, even though your religious convictions tell you that it is immoral? I would think that the answer should be in the negative.

    Now, supposing Christianity does indeed demand support of modern Israel, why would you not support it?

    Posted 24 Jul 2006 at 3:03 pm
  30. The Waffling Anglican wrote:

    Tom
    My apologies for assuming the “trumping Christian faith” comment was directed towards me; it seemed so at the time from the context.

    Regarding Christian support for Israel: I actually do think Christianity demands support for Israel. I do not, however, believe that requirement derives from any intrinsic property of the Israeli state, and therefore believe the requirement is susceptible to change depending on conditions.

    Christianity demands, IMHO, religious tolerance, respect for justice, liberty, and human dignity. Modern or not, I think a very strong case can be made that those values are products of Christianity, and intrinsic to the practice of true religion.

    Israel, though far from perfect, is a lot better representative of those principles than any other nation-state in the vicinity – for quite some distance! In addition to the Moslem states, I would put Israel up against Albania, Serbia, Romania, Belarus, and any number of other “Western” countries with supposedly Christian majorities (Albania is Moslem).

    As a neutral example, I would use France. I am no Francophile; I have had a “Boycott France” sticker on the back of my pick’em-up truck for several years. However, in any contest between France and Nazi Germany, I do believe that Christianity and not just politics requires me to support the French. I think the same circumstances apply between Israel and her current adversaries. Should Israel become truly fascistic or truly oppressive (as opposed to current propaganda), I reserve the right to change my mind, as the Christian obligation to support her would then change.

    You may deduce from this that I do not believe – in this case – that the religious obligation can be separated from the political situation, but rather derives from the political situation and the relative moral position of the two sides.

    In terms of the current unpleasantness, I have great sympathy for the people of Lebanon. Several members of the Maronite parish I attend every Wednesday are either currently in Lebanon or in the process of evacuating. However, Lebanon has for years been unable to overcome the power held by Hezbollah, and that reality has left the Lebanese in their current predicament – watching their once-lovely country turn into a Palestinian encampment and suffering the explosive results of their unwanted guests’ actions. I still unapologetically maintain that the best thing for Lebanon – and its only chance for returning to “nice country” status – is for the membership of Hezbollah to be removed from Lebanese territory to the realms of he-whom-they-serve-whether-they-want-to-admit-it-or-not. Nor (addressed to other commentors) do I see any biblical evidence for divine pacifism in the face of danger to the community.

    Posted 24 Jul 2006 at 4:13 pm
  31. Funky Dung wrote:

    “I take it that you disagree with them that believe Christians should support Israel on religious grounds, and that these religious grounds suffice for supporting American pro-Israeli foreign policy.”

    On the other hand,

    I do not believe that there is a religious imperative for Christians to recognize the State of Israel as a holy nation favored by God. Therefore, there is no imperative for Christians to support Israel simply because it exists, and certainly not to do so unquestioningly.

    I must say that I disagree — should we bifurcate our religious convictions and the way in which we interact with the world? I contend that the answer is in the negative. If Christianity does indeed include support of modern Israel , then shouldn’t Christians support it through American foreign policy?”

    I never suggested such a bifurcation. You’ve mistaken me for John. On the other hand…

    “Now, supposing Christianity does indeed demand support of modern Israel, why would you not support it?”

    Suggesting that Christians should use political means to reach Christian ends in Israel is not the same as suggesting that America should work toward Christian ends in Israel. The latter assumes that America is a nation governed by Christian priciples. This is a debatable assumption.

    Posted 24 Jul 2006 at 4:55 pm
  32. Funky Dung wrote:

    “Israel, though far from perfect, is a lot better representative of those principles than any other nation-state in the vicinity – for quite some distance! In addition to the Moslem states, I would put Israel up against Albania, Serbia, Romania, Belarus, and any number of other ‘Western’ countries with supposedly Christian majorities (Albania is Moslem).”

    The salient point is that your support for Israel is conditionally based on political circumstances, rather than unconditionally based on doctrinal demands.

    Posted 24 Jul 2006 at 5:00 pm
  33. Anthrakeus wrote:

    Scott Hahn isn’t wrong per se. The problem is that Scott Hahn tends to blur the line between generally accepted facts and his theories (which may, nonetheless, be correct). Regarding covenants there are two facts that affect what he is saying (or at least what people who read him are saying). a) the agreements made between God and various OT figures are paralleled by other (even secular) agreements, and b) most laws in Semitic legal systems were seen as perpetually and irrevocably binding. Often those who are of the school of which Scott Hahn seems to be the type act as if God’s covenant was a completely unique thing, which it wasn’t. In some sense this is why Christ had to teach a “new covenant”, the old was taken to be too much like worldly covenants.

    Also, the word used to describe the Mosaic code was berith, which the Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius lexicon translates as “between men: treaty, alliance, league…between God and man: alliance…covenant”. The Strong’s dictionary has similar breadth of meaning. In Joshua chapter 9,

    And they went to Josue, who then abode in the camp at Galgal, and said to him, and to all Israel with him: We are come from a far country, desiring to make a league with you. And the children of Israel answered them, and said: Perhaps you dwell in the land which falls to our lot; if so, we can make no league with you.

    the word league translates berith.

    Now this doesn’t mean that the Hebrews saw their covenant with God as exactly like civil laws, but there wasn’t the strong dichotomy people often think having read things like St. Paul’s Biblical Center’s introductory sessions.

    In addition, the schema of covenants with increasing scope is only reached with some oversimplification (alright for neophytes, but not for those who have a lot of biblical knowledge). God also made agreements with the judges and the prophets, many of which had far smaller scopes than that with David. Also the covenants with Adam and Noah (while they covered at the time only a single individual and a single family) at the time constituted covenants with every living person.

    Posted 24 Jul 2006 at 5:47 pm
  34. Tom Smith wrote:

    “I never suggested such a bifurcation. You’ve mistaken me for John.”

    No, I haven’t.

    “‘Should America give unquestioning support to Israel?’ and ‘Should Christians give unquestioning support to Israel?’ should be separate questions. The reason I felt a need to write this article at all is due to the fact that a lot of Christian conservatives seem to believe that the answer to the first question is ‘yes’ because the answer to second question is ‘yes’.”

    Perhaps I have mistaken you. What do you mean in the above quotation?

    “Suggesting that Christians should use political means to reach Christian ends in Israel is not the same as suggesting that America should work toward Christian ends in Israel.”

    It’s true that they aren’t identical — but for our purposes, namely, the achievement of Christian ends in American foreign policy, both are desirable. For our purposes, then, the distinction is unneeded.

    “The latter (that America should work toward Christian ends) assumes that America is a nation governed by Christian priciples.”

    It doesn’t assume that at all. Of course America should work toward Christian ends — for that matter, so should every nation, regardless of confession. That America was not founded upon Christian principles is irrelevant. All Creation is commanded to glorify God, not merely that part of Creation which acknowledges Him.

    Posted 24 Jul 2006 at 6:25 pm
  35. Funky Dung wrote:

    I’m not certain this scripture quote is relevant, but since reading the latest batch of comments, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head.

    “Another parable he put before them, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the householder came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then has it weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, `Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No; lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”” – Matthew 13:24-30

    Posted 27 Jul 2006 at 11:15 am
  36. Funky Dung wrote:

    Those wishing to continue discussion of the original topic might find this recent Dappled Things post interesting. Since Fr. Jim doesn’t have comments set up on his blog, I encourage folks to comment here.

    CNN seems to be hyping the notion that what’s going on in the Middle East may be more than just the wicked choices of men, but actually the inexorable fulfilment of end-time prophecies. Two evangelical Protestant writers were recently on to discuss their views that this is more than crummy politics, it’s prophecy. One of the parts that worried me the most:

    … Rosenberg claimed that he had been invited to the White House, Capitol Hill, and the CIA to discuss the Rapture and the Middle East, and noted — several times — that the apocalyptic events described in his novels keep coming true….

    It worried me not because I believe their teachings about the Rapture and the imminence of the End may be true, but because it suggests that at least some figures of our government may be looking at the troubles of the Middle East through the lens of warped theology.[…]

    Posted 28 Jul 2006 at 8:25 am
  37. Bryan Davis wrote:

    Funky, whilst re-inserting the original thread topic, wrote:

    Those wishing to continue discussion of the original topic might find this recent Dappled Things post interesting…

    It worried me not because I believe their teachings about the Rapture and the imminence of the End may be true, but because it suggests that at least some figures of our government may be looking at the troubles of the Middle East through the lens of warped theology.[…]

    So, if we accept that (a)Americans, American Christians, and Christians do not owe unconditinoal support to the state of Israel, and (b)”at least some figures of our government” could be steering the mid-east ship in such a way as to facilitate a flawed understanding of apocalyptic theology, what can be done about it?

    I mean this both from the perspective of hyper-partisan (but not in an unprecedented way) politics and the “issue fatigue” that has ensued, and generally. Politics are conducted for all manner of silly reasons, including poorly-thought out religious reasons. I hate the idea of the carnage of war being inflicted on anyone for silly reasons, but it certainly happens. If this is flawed theology, won’t time bear out the underlying idiocy, a law The Late, Great Planet Earth and the original Jehovah’s witnesses prediction.

    Of course, if you’re not suggesting anything is to be done about it besides pointing and snickering at the crazy people, I’m all for that!

    Posted 29 Jul 2006 at 4:29 pm
  38. Anthrakeus wrote:

    Bryan,

    I for one support monarchy, thus avoiding the need to worry about the insanity of elected officials.

    But seriously here folks…

    I think the most important thing we can do is what we are doing right now. Ask the question. If the only reason the US supports Israel is for theological reasons, our politicians will look pretty silly saying so. Now, if anyone here supports Israel for other reasons (like those already stated here: democracy, freedom, stability, etc.), okay then. I’m not a big fan of Israel. But then again, some of why is religious.

    Posted 31 Jul 2006 at 1:29 am
  39. Peter Kirk wrote:

    Anthrakeus wrote:

    I for one support monarchy, thus avoiding the need to worry about the insanity of elected officials.

    But what about the insanity of monarchs? I suppose on your system that is the only justification you have for the rebellion on which the USA is based. But then I don’t think George III was yet insane in 1776.

    Posted 31 Jul 2006 at 5:08 am
  40. Anthrakeus wrote:

    I don’t support the American Revolution. Were I alive then I would have been a loyalist (as were those of my ancestors on this continent in 1776). I don’t consider the Revolution morally justified.

    Posted 31 Jul 2006 at 2:08 pm
  41. jchfleetguy wrote:

    This has been a great discussion – which I am late to. One point:

    The founding of Israel in ‘48 was ordained by God?!? Says who? Proof, please.

    Is this in line with me “proving” the Bible is the Word of God? Frankly, none of this is provable. It is interesting that “fate and history” planted Isreal in the middle of Palestine even though that was one of the last places the founders of Zionism wanted to go. It is also interesting that Hebrew is about the only “dead language” to come back from the dead. God’s hand? who knows.

    As to the question of God’s covenant with physical Isreal (the Jews) as opposed to spiritual Isreal (the church) – what of the last part of Romans? Paul definitely presents that physical Isreal still figures in God’s plans despite their rejection of the messiah. Then, of course, there are all sorts of places in Revelations. Here is an article on The Relationship of the Chruch to Isreal

    On the political side: the Lebanese peace treaty required that Hezbollah be disarmed and the Lebanese government secure control of southern Lebanon. Instead, they made Hezbollah the de-facto army of southern Lebanon because they were viewed as heroes for running Isreal out of the country after the last occupation. I cannot think of why Isreal should trust any promise by the government of Lebanon to secure southern Lebanon; nor can I think of any reason Lebanon hasn’t “made its own bed” here.

    The original treaty needs to be unheld. Hezbollah must be disarmed and the Lebanese government and army must control southern Lebanon. It seems that an outside agency will be necessary to accomplish that. It will either be the Israeli Army (the worst choice) or a multi-national force (not currently apparent) that, as opposed to the current UN “peacekeepers”, actually disarms Hezbollah and gives control of the country to its own government.

    Posted 08 Aug 2006 at 4:54 pm
  42. Anthrakeus wrote:

    A consistent error in the Israeli debate is a false dichotomy. Just because the Lebanese are wrong doesn’t make the Israelis right.

    As to the question of God’s covenant with physical Isreal (the Jews) as opposed to spiritual Isreal (the church) – what of the last part of Romans? Paul definitely presents that physical Isreal still figures in God’s plans despite their rejection of the messiah.

    Could you provide citations. It’s been a while since I sat down and read Romans straight through, but I don’t recall such a message.

    Posted 10 Aug 2006 at 1:11 am
  43. Bryan Davis wrote:

    Just because the Lebanese are wrong doesn’t make the Israelis right.

    I’m consistantly amazed at how many people don’t understand this!

    Posted 10 Aug 2006 at 9:29 pm
  44. jchfleetguy wrote:

    RE #43: Citation in Romans: I will let this article lead you through: “There is a Future for Isreal”

    Posted 11 Aug 2006 at 2:24 pm
  45. Love wrote:

    Would you rather support Israel or Iran?

    Posted 13 Aug 2006 at 9:14 am

Trackbacks & Pingbacks 6

  1. From Faith At Work Blog :: Main Page on 18 Jan 2007 at 7:53 pm

    should be maintained by ministers and indeed all the faithful at Ministry with an attitude. Eric Williams in Ales Rarus asks the question “Must Christians always support Israel?” in his comments about the recent conflict in the Middle East at http://alesrarus.funkydung.com/archives/2414/ Leslie Carbone takes issue with Senator Ron Wyden’s Tax Reform initiative but agrees the tax code needs reform because it is unwise, unjust and immoral in Is the Tax Reform Man Coming?

  2. From Mike McLoughlin's Blog :: Main Page on 07 Sep 2006 at 9:56 pm

    that should be maintained by ministers and indeed all the faithful at Ministry with an attitude. Eric Williams in Ales Rarus asks the question “Must Christians always support Israel?” in his comments about the recent conflict in the Middle East at http://alesrarus.funkydung.com/archives/2414/ Leslie Carbone takes issue with Senator Ron Wyden’s Tax Reform initiative but agrees the tax code needs reform because it is unwise, unjust and immoral in Is the Tax Reform Man Coming? Mark Olson at

  3. From Elige Ergo Vitam on 26 Jul 2006 at 11:46 pm

    On a somewhat related note, given the nature of Hamas and Hezbollah, Fr. Jim Tucker (Dappled Things) links to an article by Karen Armstrong which discusses extremist Muslims vs. Islam itself, or extremist Muslims as heretics. Eric Williams (Ales Rarus) asks: must Christians support Israel? Specifically, Eric wonders if Israel is still to be considered a nation of God’s chosen people. Here’s an interesting answer from Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, editor of the

  4. From > the smedley log on 25 Jul 2006 at 10:45 pm

    At Ales Rarus, Eric asks the question, “Must Christians Support Israel?” And debate on the topic is lively. As a Christian, I’ve often wondered (especially in recent days) about the foundation for the unwavering support of Israel by some Christian leaders. I often suspect the dynamic is more political than spiritual.

  5. From The Daily Scribe on 24 Jul 2006 at 8:54 pm

    Ales Rarus has a great post on Christians and Israel: Must Christians Support Israel? One of the main arguments that conservative Christians give in their support for Israel is that the God has ordained Israel as a chosen nation. Is this really true any more? Did not Jesus change this?

  6. From Ales Rarus - A Rare Bird, A Strange Duck, One Funky Blog » The Right to be Wrong on 29 Jul 2006 at 5:26 pm

    […] Being off topic doesn?t make the discussion irrelevant or uninteresting, though. So, in order to ?purify? the original comment thread and continue the other conversations, I?ve moved the distracting comments here. […]

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