As Israel seizes her second aid ship in a week it is becoming evident that there is international discontent with Israeli policies on this matter. Whether or not Israel is justified in their behaviors is a matter of debate to which I will not speak. It is my assumption that if the United States felt threatened by another nation, and suddenly the international community was sending humanitarian supplies, our military would be just as concerned with what may really be on that boat as Israel’s. One can see why this makes Israel seem like a bully though since most people assume these are harmless aid ships.

My concern is not necessarily one’s position on this matter as it relates to international politics. Rather, I am disturbed by Christian Zionist who automatically side with Israel on all matters due to eschatological convictions. Most of these are the sort of old dispensationalism types, but I am sure it is not limited to that.

This mindset has directly influence a part of my own personal history that I can barely stand to acknowledge. The school where I did my undergraduate studies (with which I refuse to associate while blushing at their continued existence) has been taken over by a hyper-Zionist college president. The school produces a small magazine for its students that is available online. On the front page the theme is essentially militant Israeli Zionism. The school where I graduated has succumbed to equating these types of political policies as essential elements of authentic Christian dogma. It is a sad state.

What has happened to this school is dispensationalist eschatology has merged with fervent Zionist politics creating something called Christian that hardly resembles Christianity at all.

A few days ago T.C. Robinson asked if we should support Israel at all cost (here). It seemed like most comments rightly acknowledged that there is a difference between supporting and caring for the Jewish people (as the Apostle Paul suggested we should do as grateful Christians in his epistle to Rome, or in the action of taking up the Jerusalem offering) and assuming that we must be militantly in favor of a nation of Israel because of the belief that this is eschatologically essential.

I am of the school of thought that the land promise has been expanded in the New Covenant to include the whole world and not that sliver along the Mediterranean. I do not expect a brick-and-mortar temple to be built for Messiah when it appears most evident that New Covenant writers understood Jesus and his people to be the true fulfillment of what it means for God to dwell in his temple amongst humanity. The whole creation is now the temple of God with his people serving as priest as it was intended in Eden.

Even if you disagree with me on this it should be noted that those who are militantly in support of all Israeli policies because of the presupposition that Israel must exist as a nation for certain eschatological events to become a reality do not necessarily need to forsake Christian ethics. We were called by Christ to be people who do not respond to violence with violence. In AD 70 or several decades later during the Bar Kochba rebellion if the early Christians thought a national Israel must exist without being a sovereign act of God it seems that there would have been more Christians fighting on behalf of the Jewish rebels. This did not happen. Neither Jesus, nor Paul, nor any early Christian seems to have felt obligated to preserve Israel’s national existence (if it can even be said they had such a thing at that point). What they did feel obligated toward is the Kingdom of God which leaves these things in the hands of the Father.

So my concern is not so much whether or not you think Israel is justified in their actions, or that the United States should remain allies with Israel, or if we have a moral obligation in a post-Holocaust world to seek policies that will present anything like that from ever happening again. Those are different subjects worth discussing. My concern is blind allegiance to all things Israeli and to Christian being involved politically in support of actions that are often contrary to our own beliefs.

If you really think that the Scriptures declare that there must be a national Israel for certain events to take place than why do you fear that Israel will fail? You can be critical of their actions if unethical. You can disagree with their policies. You can maintain the Christian ethic against violence. All that is necessary is a trust that God is sovereign and that if Israel must be part of the big picture as a nation then God will not let her die whether or not you support them politically. Whatever we do let us not forsake our Christian allegiance and testimony to the model of Christ in favor of the odd assumption that we cannot let God fail by letting Israel fail.