With Israel in the news related to Iran nuclear negotiations and the formation of a coalition government following the reelection of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in March, conservative evangelicals largely agree that Christians should support the Jewish state. But they don’t agree on the reason for that support.
“When you boil it right down, there’s not that much of a difference” in the policies most evangelicals believe the U.S. should adopt relative to Israel, said Chad Brand, editor of “Perspectives on Israel and the Church: Four Views,” published by B&H Academic earlier this year. The book explains four distinct belief systems among evangelicals regarding Israel, and Brand said there are yet others.
The four views identified in Brand’s book are the traditional covenantal view, the traditional dispensational view, the progressive dispensational view and the progressive covenantal view.
Among the debated issues are whether the church has replaced Israel as God’s chosen people; whether the Jewish people have a God-given right to the land on which the modern state of Israel sits; and whether God will maintain an eternal distinction between Jews and Gentiles.
Evangelicals who believe the Bible is inerrant ascribe to all four views outlined in the book. The labels Brand associates with these views commonly reference theological systems that address multiple issues, but the following descriptions are limited to how the various systems address the specific topic of Israel.
Southern Baptist Convention resolutions have expressed support for the modern state of Israel twice since 2002, but neither resolution addressed whether contemporary Jews are God’s chosen people in the same sense as Old Testament Israel. Southern Baptists repeatedly have affirmed the need to share the Gospel with Jewish men and women, including in a 1996 SBC resolution on Jewish evangelism.
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SOURCE: Baptist Press