Adherents to Neo-Christian Zionism theology are doing their best to appear part of mainstream Christianity, with a theology they claim, dates to the early days of Christianity. This 13 minute podcast is an introduction to a series of programs that we will look into the various claims and aspects of “Christian Zionism”. We’ll be looking into such confusing terms as “dispensationalism,” “Christian Palestinianism,” “replacement theology” and “The Rapture.” Below is a background paper by Craig Hanson on Dr. Paul Wilkinson, mentioned in our podcast. References: “Brutality Blind Churches Invent Labels for Palestine Sympathetic Christians,” “Prophets Who Prohesy Lies in My Name” (posted below) [Ed.-TEC]
Looking At Dr. Paul Wilkinson’s Defense of Christian Zionism Theology
by Craig Hanson
Since we have been discussing Replacement Theology, Fulfillment Theology, and Supersessionism during our We Hold These Truths Speaks Out podcasts, I thought it would be a good exercise to see what the ardent Christian Zionists have to say about those topics. Doing a little internet searching, I came across The Berean Call Ministry, which is a real treasure trove of Christian Zionist, Premillennial
The article that I would like to bring to your attention is a 2011 publication by Dr. Paul Wilkinson of England, which is entitled, “Prophets Who Prophecy Lies in My Name.” This article is offered in a PDF format and posted at the end of this article.
Proverbs states: “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.”
Dr. Wilkinson makes some very good points, and sounds very convincing, that is until his presuppositions are examined and the things that he say are examined as well. As Dr. Wilkinson attempts to deconstruct what he calls Christian Palestinianism, he fails to discuss the elephant in the room. What is that elephant? The huge question: “Who is a Jew?” He starts starts with his presupposition of equivalency. That equivalency can be stated as follows: “The Jews of today have a direct ancestral link to the Hebrews of the Old Testament and thereby are entitled to the promises and prophecies that were given by the prophets of old.” What evidence does Dr. Wilkinson give for that assertion? Absolutely NONE!!!
If Wilkinson were to follow how rabbinic Judaism decides who is “Jewish” with it’s matri-lineal proof of Jewishness, not only do the land promises disappear, since inheritances were transferred through paternal lineage (and can not be ascertained today) but Jesus ends up not being “Jewish” because of King David’s Moabite grandmother Ruth and his Canaanite great-grandmother Rahab. So what we are left with is a group of people who have a common belief in some form of the Talmudic/Kabbalistic religion of Judaism, with absolutely no way to prove a direct lineage to Abraham or anyone else! (Of course Wilkinson does not even hint of the mass conversion of the Khazarian gentiles to Judaism in the 8th century!)
Here are some of the weaknesses in his other arguments: In denouncing the current Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the State of Israel Wilkinson states on p.18: “On April 1, 1933, just one week after taking power in Germany, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler ordered a boycott of Jewish shops, banks, and businesses.The same anti-Semitic spirit which drove the Nazi regime in 1933 and beyond is today driving the ‘Boycott Israeli Goods’ campaign, which many Christian leaders, mainstream denominations, and the World Council of Churches have unashamedly and irresponsibly endorsed.”
In the category of “what he failed to mention” was the fact that the German boycott of Jewish goods was a direct result of International Jewry declaring war on Germany through boycotts of German goods the month before. Read here. The dark side of this whole boycott episode was that the Zionist leaders worked with the Nazi’s to end the Jewish boycott and emigrate the Jews to Palestine. see here
Wilkinson, in defending the pre-millennial views of John Nelson Darby, makes the case that pre-millennialism doctrine was present in the 1st century church, known at that time as chiliasm, and was repressed by church fathers such as Augustine and Origen. Again what he leaves out is the why chiliasm was rejected by the early church. A good article on chiliasm can be found here. What that article fails to mention, was that a “1000 year reign” was a common idea through many pagan cultures and had crept into Judaism during the intertestamental period, specifically through Zoroastrianism. And that’s why the Judeans of Jesus day were expecting Him to set up His earthly kingdom! When Jesus said “My Kingdom is not of this world” that got Him crucified.
On page 39 Wilkinson states: “Like Goliath before the armies of Israel, Christian Palestinianists stand and taunt Christians who interpret the biblical promises and prophecies relating to Israel’s national restoration literally.” and then goes on to quote Colin Chapman in his essay, ‘Ten Questions for a Theology of the Land’.
Chapman writes: “A Challenge: can Christian Zionists support their case with recent scholarship? Can work of this quality be matched by Christian Zionists, or are they simply, dare I say, repeating the same old arguments that have been put forward in the past?” Wilkinson doesn’t even try to answer the question that Chapman poses!
So why should you take the time to read Wilkinson’s article? I believe the best reason is that he presents quite an anthology of books and authors that speak out against the errors of Christian Zionism, of course deriding them. He left out quite a few that I have on my shelves that I would highly recommend to anyone who wants to understand the (ir)rationale of Christian Zionism.
I would add to Wilkinson’s list:
For those of you who would like some audio to listen to as well on this subject,The Berean Call carries a 5 part interview with Dr. Paul Wilkinson on Christian Palestinianism as they dissect a Hank Hanegraaff interview with Gary Burge. McMahon and Wilkinson allow Hannegraaff/Burge to explain why Christian Zionism is Biblically defective and McMahon/Wilkinson can only comeback with the old line “I will bless those you bless you, and curse those who curse you”. But they do offer to pray for the heretics that don’t agree with them!!
My favorite lapse of logic in the interviews goes like this: “All the nations that have attacked Israel are no more – Assyrian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman”. So the message is don’t get cross-wise with Israel or God will get you! I so wanted to ask what happened to the Mayan, Aztec, and Chinese Dynasties – did they oppose Israel too????
Christian Zionism is fatally flawed – scripturally, morally, and most importantly – fails to reflect Jesus who is the physical representation of the invisible God.