Item description for Zion's Christian Soldiers?: The Bible, Israel and the Church by Stephen Sizer...
Overview Many Bible-believing Christians are convinced that God blesses those nations that stand with Israel and curses those that don't. Stephen Sizer contends that this view is based on misinterpretation of the Bible. He provides an introduction to Christian Zionism and a clear response and positive alternative based on a careful study of relevant biblical texts.
Publishers Description Many Bible-believing Christians are convinced that God blesses those nations that stand with Israel and curses those that don't. This belief has had a significant influence on attitudes toward the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the Middle East. Claims made in books like The Scofield Reference Bible and Hal Lindsey's The Late Great Planet Earth have fed into contemporary Christian Zionism, with radical implications for how we view our faith and the world in which we life. Stephen Sizer contends that this view is based on misinterpretation of the Bible. He provides an introduction to Christian Zionism and a clear response and positive alternative based on a careful study of relevant biblical texts. This clear, straightforward volume includes tables and diagrams, questions for Bible study and further reflection, and a glossary of terms. It concludes with a previously unpublished sermon by John Stott titled "The Place of Israel." Here Sizer offers encouragement for readers to dialogue on the relationship between Israel and the Christian church and a more constructive view of the future and our role in it.
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Stephen Sizer is the vicar of Christ Church, Virginia Water, Surrey (England), and a visiting lecturer at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, and various other seminaries and theological colleges in the United States, Britain and the Middle East. He is chairman of the International Bible Society U.K. and a director and trustee of the Amos Trust, Friends of Sabeel and Highway Projects. Sizer is the author ofA Panorama of the Bible Lands and In the Footsteps of Jesus and the Apostles. He has written extensively on the church in the Middle East, the ethics of pilgrimages, dispensationalism and Christian Zionism. He is a frequent visitor to the Middle East.
Reviews - What do customers think about Zion's Christian Soldiers?: The Bible, Israel and the Church?
Zion's Christian Soldiers? or Palestinians' Christian Army? Oct 26, 2009
My main objection to Stephen Sizer's Zion's Christian Soldiers is his failure to present fairly both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He has done a good job of presenting injustices perpetrated against Palestinians by the State of Israel, but he is silent regarding injustices perperpetrated by Palestinians against Israelis. In particular, he is silent regarding the influence of jihadism on various Palestinian nationalistic orgaizations such as Hamas which groups advocate the elimination of Israel in their charters.
I also objected to his treatment of any Christian supporting the State of Israel (Zion's Christian Soldiers) as "dangerous." His characterization of Christian supporters of Israel as being responsible for much of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would make a good novel, but Sizer's accusations directed at Christian supporters of Israel fall into the realm of conspiracy theory with no real factual support.
Sizer does a good job of exposing weaknesses in Dispensational theology, but he is oblivious to weaknesses in his own Reformed theology. It is curious that he disagrees with John Stott in the interpretation of Romans 11:26 -- although Sizer quotes him at length. His disagreement with Stott hinges on Stott's conviction that there will be a large future ingathering of Jewish believers into the church in the end times. This Sizer cannot accept. He cannot accept that anything special could happen to Jews in the end times.
A much more balanced book on the subject is: The Jews, Modern Israel and the New Supercessionism.
Stephen Sizer takes on John Hagee and Hal Lindsey! Jun 27, 2009
This book is a must read for anyone that's been raised on "Left Behind Theology" and is having a hard time with the militarism that often accompanies it. I met Stephen Sizer a couple of years ago at the annual Cornerstone Music Festival. At the festival, Sizer gave a workshop entitled "I Left Rapture Theology Behind." I remember that Sizer's workshop was one of the most popular ones that year. Sizer specifically said that one of the reasons he wrote this book is because he saw that the Bible has been twisted to justify colonialism and oppression against the Palestinian people. In this book, Sizer does an excellent job debunking the ways popular authors like Hal Lindsey and John Hagee misuse Old Testament prophecy scriptures to wage an all-out war on Palestinian land rights today. What follows is a common-sense systematic theology that does justice to both the Old and New Testaments and what they say about the relationship between the Church and Israel. The greatest insight in the book for me was what Sizer calls the "achilles heel of ultra literalism." You'll have to read the book to find out what I'm talking about.
Aaron D. Taylor, author of Alone with A Jihadist: A Biblical Response To Holy War
Important considerations Oct 3, 2008
I have frequently shied away from the topic of Israel for a variety of reasons.
1) Its highly controversial among Christians, particularly in the US 2) I'm embarrassed by The Left Behind books 3) I'm not a theologian or eschatologist and the issues seem highly complex
However, as I continue to ponder the implications of the unquestioned support of Israel as a means of justifying war in the Middle East, I grow disturbed at the implications for global Christians. Enter: Zion's Christian Soldiers by Stephen Sizer. In his book, Sizer addresses the claims of Christian Zionism and its ties to the conservative religious right. He claims,
"It is time to speak out because Christian Zionism has become a formidable and dangerous movement. By portraying the modern state of Israel as God's chosen people on earth, the role of the church has been reduced in the eyes of many to providing moral and biblical justification for Israel's colonization of Palestine. Those who oppose her are demonized. While not all Christian Zionists endorse the apocalyptic views of Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye, the movement as a whole is nevertheless leading the West, and the church with it, into a confrontation with Islam. Using biblical terminology to justify a pre-emptive global war against the `axis of evil' merely reinforces stereotypes, fuels extremism, incites fundamentalism and increases the likelihood of nuclear war."
Sizer then spends the next six chapters delving into the details of what the Bible says about literalism, Israel, the Promised Land, Jerusalem, the temple, and Armageddon. At times, I found his arguments a bit difficult to follow (more likely due to issues in my brain, not his), and the charts slightly difficult to understand given my lack of theological training and the complexity of the topic. In spite of my own inability to understand, for those interested in examining an alternative perspective to Christian Zionism, his work is well researched, supported and organized.
As a global Christian, the issues brought up in Sizer's book stir significant concern within. He asks difficult questions regarding US foreign policy:
* Is the way we view Israel and the church assisting or hindering God's plan? * Are we `doing justice and loving mercy' in the Middle East, or are we exacerbating tensions? * Are we walking in the way of peace or are we hindering reconciliation between Arabs and Israelis?
He ultimately claims that Christian Zionism is:
"an exclusive theology driving a political agenda which elevates one nation over others, rather than an inclusive theology centered on Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. In its worst forms, Christian Zionism uses the Bible to justify racial superiority, land expropriation, home demolitions, population transfer, colonial settlements, the denial of international law, and the dehumanization of Arabs. It fuels not only Islamophobia but also anti-Semitism and Islamist retaliation against Christians."
Strong statements to be sure. I'm a bit of a newbie to this discussion, so I'd love some comments on this. Sizer's claims resonate strongly with me and strike chords of deep discomfort I've had all along watching US foreign policy in the Middle East. It was a relief to read a perspective which stands against to the prevailing American Christian views.
A thorough refute of fanatical Christian Zionism Jul 29, 2008
It's great to see an evangelical using the bible for a good purpose. Sizer sets up a careful scriptural argument against misinterpreting the bible for harmful unjust political ends and reveals the fallacious assumptions of todays TV preachers.
Theology for the Everyman Mar 27, 2008
This is a great follow up to Sizer's previous bookChristian Zionism: Road-Map to Armageddon? It is easier to read and less dense but just as informative and just as fair. Good examination of how misguided Christian theology can bring about a militaristic society and outlook. Read it - it's essential knowledge if you want to know how fundamentalist US Christians are playing with the future of not only the Mid-East but the world.