Anti-Semitism Arises Once Again – What is the Biblical Basis to Oppose it?
It’s quite unusual to find a Christian author or teacher that favors Israel who isn’t also a dispensationalist. And it is difficult to find a dispensationalist who isn’t also a Christian Zionist. Nevertheless, in Gerald McDermott, we have an Anglican theologian, Israel scholar, and author who is not dispensational, but who advocates for Jews everywhere, especially those living in the present state of Israel. McDermott has written extensively on the subject of why Israel should be valued by Christians rather than repudiated for their historical rejection of Jesus as the Messiah. Given the intensifying controversy surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the growing disapproval of the Israeli government by many Christian groups, a timely analysis of the situation appears most warranted.
In this article, I begin by pointing out while McDermott’s advocacy of Israel is welcomed and proceeds from an eschatological basis, his rationale owes as much to “Christian guilt” over our historical treatment of the Jews, as it does to truly biblical commitments for why Israel should matter to Christians. To be more specific, his theological basis dismisses the dispensational hermeneutic, seeing Dispensationalism as a birthplace for wild prophetic speculation and fundamentalist dogma. McDermott offers an alternative basis for favoring Israel. His viewpoint is gaining traction and thus, it is worthy of consideration. My goal in penning this piece affords only a short analysis of his perspective, it is a relevant way to begin when considering the conventional basis for supporting Israel, commonly identified as Dispensationalism. Additionally, while affirming Zionism (limited in its proper meaning here, advocating solely for Israel’s right to exist in its historic Middle Eastern land), I will provide a counter-argument to McDermott’s point of view, which comprises my main reason for writing; that is, asserting that Dispensationalism is a respectable, historical, and indeed, the strongest hermeneutic for why Christians should care about Israel. Obviously, one could write an entire book on the subject. This I hope to do in the months ahead. Here I will provide what amounts to no more than a prolog.