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Zion’s Christian Soldiers? The Bible, Israel and the Church

By Stephen Sizer
June 2008 | Review by William Horsburgh

Synopsis

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. Stephen Sizer contends that this view is based on the 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.

  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • ISBN: 978-1844742141
  • Pages: 176
  • Price: £5.18
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Book Review

This well-timed biblical review of God’s purposes for Israel and the Church is set against the background of much contemporary Christian teaching and literature on this subject. Explaining and examining the relationship between ‘Christian Zionism’ and ‘Biblical Prophecy’, he describes how they have had, and continue to have an influence on USA politics. I found helpful the way he graciously shows that those who disagree with the Christian Zionist’s point of view should not be negatively dismissed as holding to ‘replacement theology’.

Asking questions such as ‘Is it possible to take the Bible too literally?’ and ‘Who are God’s chosen people?’ he discusses the nature of the promised land, the future of Jerusalem, rebuilding the temple and finally the battle of Armageddon – challenging his readers to recognise the need for careful exegesis of Scripture rather than ‘exegesis by current events’ (a phrase borrowed from the writings of C. H. Spurgeon!)

The book concludes with a previously unpublished sermon of John Stott entitled ‘The Place of Israel’, in which he demonstrates that there are at least four ways to use the word ‘Israel’ and shows why care needs to be exercised to distinguish between them.

Sizer’s book deals with matters of biblical interpretation on which there is much disagreement but, nonetheless, I think it should almost be compulsory reading for the Lord’s people today – if only to enable informed discussion. But I think it has potential to accomplish much more than that.

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