Theologian discusses impact of religious chasm in Israel

07/17/07 Robert Lorei
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Internationally renowned theologian, the Rev. Dr. Stephen Sizer, vicar of Christ Church in the United Kingdom was in Tampa recently. He's the author of several books including "Christian Zionism." He stopped by the WMNF studios for an interview with Rob Lorei.

Sizer's 13th book, "Zion's Christian Soldiers?" will be released in this fall.

On WMNF he discussed how the state of Israel and American foreign policy, combined with the theology promoted in the "Left Behind" and "Late Great Planet Earth" series have contributed to the expansion of the Israeli settlements (with much help from Americans) and the preparation by some in the region for Armegeddon.

Sizer says: "The presence of the descendents of the first century Christians has decreased from 20 percent of the total population of the Holy Land to less than 1.3 percent since 1948."

Rev. Sizer discussed how U.S. evangelical support for the most conservative elements in Israel is viewed by Palestinians who have been displaced by Israel. Sizer says that Arabs and Muslims who live in the former Palestinian lands (which are now tightly controlled by Israel) are angry at American foreign policy.

He says there are moderates on the Israeli, Christian and Palestinian sides in the region and that those elements must be encouraged and supported by people in the West.

Don Wagner is a professor at North Park University in Chicago. He is also author of "Anxious for Armageddon & Dying in the Land of Promise."

Wagner had this to say about Sizer:

"Stephen Sizer's work on Christian Zionism is the most important and comprehensive on the subject to date, and should be read by all students of the Middle East and by Christians concerned about a just resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

"Christian Zionism raises vital theological and political challenges that must be addressed head-on by Christians in the West, particularly evangelicals. The impact of this terribly misguided movement is increasingly putting Christians in the Middle East at risk, and it seems a far cry from the witness and message of Jesus Christ."

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