Written by Jim Fletcher
What is emerging in the modern Church? In America - historically Israel's greatest friend - there is a growing dislike of the Jewish state among certain Christian groups. This follows a downturn in interest in Bible prophecy teaching in U.S. churches. What are the reasons for that decline? There are many, but a major one is the emergence of the "Emerging Church."
Emergents still identify themselves as evangelicals, which is clever since they share many of the same views as radical scholars like Marcus Borg or John Spong (who don't believe any of the fundamentals of the faith). Emergents, though, embrace many views that have always been the domain of left-wing Christians. It is not surprising, then, that Emergent leaders like Brian McLaren really don't like dispensationalists and supporters of Israel. Not that McLaren would put it that way.
McLaren, former pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church in Maryland, defines himself as an "activist," and is now so popular on the speaking circuit that he has become entrenched in the publishing houses of Zondervan and Jossey-Bass, high-powered Christian and secular companies. With a BA in English from the University of Maryland, McLaren is articulate and seemingly self-effacing.
These qualities make him a star with the Christianity Today crowd, but they also put him at odds with Bible-believing Christians that he considers do not practice "careful thinking" where theology is concerned. In the world of moderate/liberal Christians, careful thinking is code for rejecting young-earth creationism or Christian Zionism.
In an interview with Virgil Vaduva of "Preterist Planet," McLaren makes the following statement, when discussing what he calls the "eschatology of abandonment":
"The rights of Palestinians are ignored in favor of the Israeli state - as if God is happy to bless some people at the expense of others."
The Christian Left, of course, can't tolerate a world in which Israel is entitled to the land given her by the God of her forefathers. You see, to many in the liberal/Emergent camp, the Pentateuch is not real history. Therefore, what valid claim do the Jews have to the land?
And Christians who believe that Christ will return to the earth are accused by McLaren and his friends of "abandoning" the issues Emergent considers most important: eradication of poverty, peace and justice, and ecology. champion for Israel and deeply involved with relief efforts to the poor. David was also an early pioneer in bringing Israelis and Palestinians together in dialogue.
So much for McLaren's "eschatology of abandonment" tag. The truth is, Emergent smear tactics aimed at Christian Zionists don't hold water. But it's a handy straw-man argument used to, among other things, elevate the Palestinians while subtly demonizing Israel.
As we move forward through the last days that Brian McLaren doesn't believe exist, we must re-double our efforts to stand with Israel, our great friends who have fulfilled the hopes and dreams of their forefathers.
About the Author:
Jim Fletcher is director of Prophecy Matters. The longtime editor for Master Books, the world’s largest publisher of creationism books, Jim now travels and speaks on the subject of apologetics. Incorporating his impressions gleaned from numerous trips to Israel, and with a keen eye on the culture, his talks are up-to-date and relevant. Jim writes for a variety of publications, including the Jerusalem Post, WorldNetDaily, and OneNewsNow. He blogs weekly at the “Israel Watch” section of RaptureReady (www.raptureready.com).