Following on from our post on the Brown/Sizer debate -Is Christian Zionism Christian, we have Baruch Maoz, a veteran Jewish Christian church-planter in Israel, who has some good points to make in his article about Christian Zionism, but they are often overshadowed when he makes stunningly broad, unverified and polemical claims, such as:
“Christian Zionism is wrong, on every point.”
Every point? What, even their faith that Jesus is the Messiah! Here and here
Maoz also opines:
“Christian Zionism is sub-Christian because ignores moral considerations, and because it identifies a political platform with the Gospel, enlisting God in support this form of national selfishness.”
However where is the evidence to prove such a bold claim? None is offered, rather what we get is a sermonic denunciation of Christians whom he considers to love Jewish stuff just a little too much.
Where is the evidence that Christian Zionism ignores moral consideration, what exactly does this mean? Is it simply because they claim Bible support for a political agenda? I have never yet heard a Christian Zionist confuse the Gospel with their own version of eschatologically inspired political activism. Eschatology is not the Gospel, therefore the claim Maoz makes is very serious if it is true, however no documentary evidence is provided to demonstrate this to be true of one Christian Zionist leader let alone the whole diverse movement. I am not saying there is not one CZ leader who is theologically confused or off balanced in some way, rather I have not seen any of them identify the Gospel with a political platform, eschatology, evangelism yes, but not the Gospel.
Christian Zionism is not the Gospel, but neither is anti-Christian Zionism. However, how we view God’s ability to keep the covenants he made with Israel does impinge on the character and integrity of God, and whether He keeps His covenants as promised, or not.
Would Maoz also condemn all other theologically driven political activism by Christians in such a way, or is it just political activism with a Christian agenda for Israel that bothers him?
Maoz claims to be a Zionist himself:
“Let me be clear: I’m a Zionist. I am a Christian and I am a Zionist. But I am not a Christian Zionist”
Yet Maoz calls Zionism a form of “national selfishness”! This sounds at odds with another statement he makes in the same article:
“We Jews have an historic, moral right to live in the land of our forefathers and there to freely conduct our national life.”
“I affirm Zionism as a legitimate, morally valid option; the only reasonable option for my people.”
Maoz claims that Christian Zionist support of Israel is based on some future-Holocaust-end-times-death-wish which dehumanises Jewish people and turns them into and end-times marker. This istrue of a small percentage of Christian Zionists, but certainly not all. Studies into the very complex nature of the motivation of Christians who support Israel reveals a wide spectrum of motives, not just this myopic eschatalogical one. One book investigating the history of this complex movement is Philosemitism: Admiration and Support in the English-Speaking World for Jews, 1840-1939: Admiration and Support for Jews in the English-speaking World, 1840-1939 by William D. Rubinstein and Hilary L. Rubinstein.
Much of what Maoz criticizes in terms of the fortune-telling aspect of Christian Zionism I can agree with, but I feel he goes too far, claims too much and does not substantiate any of his wilder accusations.
“Nor is Christian Zionism’s professed love for Israel sincere. It is, rather, a fascination, largely borne on the grounds of eschatological speculations that change every time the events of the world take a new turn.”
Maoz is careful to reduce this vast spectrum of a movement into one easy to manage caricature and judge every one to be insincere in their motive and ‘professed love’.
Another claim that is a wild exaggeration is:
“Christian Zionists refuse to criticize Israel.”
Many Christian Zionists are very careful to acknowledge that Israel is an imperfect State that has, and does make many mistakes and injustices. Mark Dunman’s book, which I will mention shortly, is a recent example of this, proving the fallacious nature of Maoz’ comment.
Maoz does seem more to be attacking Charismatic and Arminian Christianity as it is manifested generally in the Christian Zionist movement than a researched, thoughtful critique of the flaws and pit-falls of Christian Zionism, a diverse movement that, as all movements have, weak points and extreme elements.
Equally, his lambasting of Christian Zionists for ignoring the Palestinians, may also be true of some, but certainly not all. Once again no evidence is offered for yet another bold, polemic claim. A more serious introduction to thinking about some weak areas of Christian Zionism can be read in Mark Dunman’s Has God Really Finished with Israel?
In short Maoz is a Zionist, but decries Christian Zionists for being Zionists for a Christian reason rather than a Jewish one!
Maoz’ post can been seen in full here