• Journal of Lutheran Ethics (May 2007) focuses on Christian Zionism, with an article by Munib Younan.
• When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture by Paul Boyer (Belknap Press, 1992).
• Allies for Armageddon: The Rise of Christian Zionism by Victoria Clark (Yale University Press, 2007).
• Christians and a Land Called Holy by Charles P. Lutz and Robert O. Smith (Fortress Press, 2006).
• The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount by Gershom Gorenberg (Free Press, 2000; available from Amazon).
• American Christians and Islam: Evangelical Culture and Muslims from the Colonial Period to the Age of Terrorism by Thomas S. Kidd (Princeton University Press, 2008).
• The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation by Barbara R. Rossing (Basic Books, 2005).
• On the Road to Armageddon: How Evangelicals Became Israel’s Best Friend by Timothy P. Weber (Baker Academic, 2004).
Christian Zionists believe restoration of Israel and the Jewish temple is a key to God's salvation plan. The idea, say mainline Christian theologians, arises from a selective misreading of Scripture.
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Lutheran theology and biblical interpretation haven’t traditionally been focused on “cosmic drama.” Although Lutherans live in the apocalyptic (see "Key terms") hope that Jesus will return and the brokenness and sin of this world will be corrected, God calls us to live in the here-and-now, serving our neighbors and strengthening human community. The only cosmic drama that draws our attention is the scandal of the cross.
How can Lutherans respond to Christian Zionism? The best way is to recover a clearer expression of Lutheran commitments. The ELCA Book of Faith initiative, for instance, helps us to recover and reassert Lutheran ways of reading the Bible. And resources like Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago professor Barbara Rossing’s book, The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation, help Lutherans recover Martin Luther’s sense of apocalyptic hope — a witness counter to apocalyptic destruction.
Another way to counter the most harmful effects of Christian Zionism is to listen carefully to Jewish and Muslim neighbors. Seek to understand their hopes and fears for Israelis and Palestinians. Within our communion, increase your awareness of Palestinian Lutheran views and the accompaniment relationship between the ELCA and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land.
Listening to our neighbors can help us break through the simplistic rhetoric that too often surrounds the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Christ’s command to love our neighbor extends first to the other we perceive to be most different from us, and even to our enemies (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 5:44; Luke 10:36-37). In Christian Zionism we find ways of thinking that support policies harmful to our neighbors — especially those Christians, Muslims and Jews who live in the land we call holy.
These are complex conversations, filled with political import and religious conviction. We haven’t been called to simplify what is complex. We are not pundits, but peacemakers (Matthew 5:9). We have been called to the more difficult discipleship of a ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18), a ministry that fosters peace between the diverse neighbors we are called to serve and love.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers