Friday, January 13, 2006

An Especially Good Article

by Fr. Tucker of Dappled things on God, Jews, and Christians.

When Pat Robertson last week suggested that Ariel Sharon's stroke was God's punishment for his returning the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians, there was a well-deserved outcry over this most recent nuttiness from the aging Protestant minister, and it seems to have cost him his proposed fundamentalist theme park in Israel. What went fairly un-commented upon was the fact that his conclusion is a rather natural extension of a peculiar sort of theology prevalent among many evangelical and fundamentalist Protestants in the United States: that the Israel of the Old Testament exists as an entity separate from and parallel to the Church; that the Old Covenants are in full force; that the physical descendents of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have an eternal title-deed to the Biblical Land of Israel; and that God will punish those who get in the way of the Old Law, and will reward those Jews who keep it. If you believe that sort of thing, then it's rather logical to suppose that God may be punishing the man who gives back territory that you believe God wants those with Jewish DNA to possess. Pat Robertson just said it out loud. And if you believe this sort of thing, then what might otherwise be simply a pro-Israel political outlook becomes an article of religious faith. There's a very interesting article in today's Washington Post on this (at first sight) odd Evangelical Protestant theological alliance with Orthodox Jews. For a little more history of this line of thinking, one can take a look at the Wikipedia entry on dispensationalism.

This same kind of thinking poses a real threat to the Middle-East peace process. Just as there are extremists on one side who refuse ever to accept any possibility for any sort of Jewish State in Palestine, there are those who refuse to accept non-Jewish control of any of the land that once comprised the ancient Land of Israel. Pat Robertson falls into that second camp, which is the inevitable result of the kind of theology that he embraces.

There's a lot more in the actual post.

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