Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Israelis and Americans Should Fear Christian Right

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Israelis and Americans Should Fear Christian Right

Article excerpt

Rev. Dr. Donald Wagner of Chicago's North Park University addressed the influence of the Christian Right in the United States.

Reminding listeners that the Christian Right is not "newly" Zionist, Wagner cited an Anglican priest who called for the creation of a Jewish state in 1585 so that Biblical prophecy could be fulfilled. By 1800, Christian Zionism had taken root, he continued, with a variety of fundamentalist theologians arguing that the Bible must be read literally and taken as the infallible word of God. Wagner described the Christian Zionist movement in the U.S. as a very pessimistic theology--not a theology of hope.

The creation of Israel and the 1967 war increased the momentum of Christian Zionists who believed that the following things were necessary to urge along the Rapture:

1. Jews needed to recapture Jerusalem;

2. the Temple needed to be rebuilt--indeed, Wagner said, many Christian Zionist groups are funding the yeshivas in order to move toward this rebuilding of the temple; and;

3. the rise of the antichrist, described as a 10-nation coalition, must occur.

Currently, Wagner noted, Christian Zionists describe the enemy/antichrist as Islam. During the Cold War, however, it was Communism and the U.S.S.R. Wagner distinguished between evangelicalism, which is a movement that emphasizes the Bible, a personal relationship with Jesus and a commitment to mission, and Fundamentalism, which is a branch that has spun off from evangelicalism. …

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