9 November 2012
I would add a fourth proposition, assumed as self evident, especially among Evangelicals, that, as God’s ‘chosen people’ the security of the State of Israel is synonymous with US interests in the Middle East and her God ordained role.
The problem is that the Arab world and Muslims, in particular, do not only not share these propositions, they repudiate them theologically. It is not that they do not aspire to political freedom from despotic rulers and oppressive governments. The Arab Spring has shown that many do indeed hunger for freedom. The problem is, observes Bacevich, “that 21 century definition of it – a definition increasingly devoid of moral content.”century Muslims don’t necessarily buy America’s 21
Why has Israel been able to develop chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, disregarding every international treaty, while Iran is threatened with pre-emptive attack for undertaking nuclear research? Why has Israel been the subject of more UN Resolutions than any other country in the world? And why has the USA vetoed virtually every single one of them? Why when the USA has been the pioneer of the ‘Two State’ solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, based on the rule of international law and 1967 borders, did it then deny Palestinians UN recognition?
In 1804, Louis Napoleon had been crowned Emperor in the reluctant presence of the Pope. In 1807 he plotted the division of Europe with the Czar of Russia and began a blockade of British sea trade with Europe. Two years later he arrested the Pope and annexed the Papal States. He then began the systematic destruction of the Roman Catholic Church in France, seizing its assets, executing priests and exiling the Pope from Rome. By 1815, Napoleon’s armies had fought, invaded or subjugated most of Europe and the Middle East, including Italy, Austria, Germany, Poland, Russia, Palestine and Egypt.
During the Colonial period and even beyond the Civil War (1861-1865), American Christianity, was essentially postmillennial in outlook. Strengthened by the Wesleyan Holiness movement, there was a strong focus on evangelism, personal morality and civil responsibility. The Revolutionary War provided a stimulus to popular apocalyptic speculation and by 1773, King George III was being portrayed as the Antichrist and the war a ‘holy crusade’ that would usher in the millennium. In parallel with Britain, the late 18 and early 19 Century also saw an explosion of millennial sects including the Shakers, Mormons and Millerites. Influenced by the French Revolution and the destruction of the Papacy in France, historic Premillennialism gradually became more popular. Between 1859 and 1872, resulting from his extensive tours throughout America, and reinforced by the trauma of the Civil War, Darby’s premillennial dispensational views about a ‘failing’ Church and revived Israel came to have a profound and increasing influence upon American Evangelicalism. It resulted not only in the birth of American Dispensationalism but also influenced the Millenarianism associated with the Prophecy Conference Movement, as well as later, Fundamentalism. Darby’s influence on end-time thinking was ‘perhaps more than that of anyone else in the last two centuries.’ In the absence of a strong Jewish Zionist movement, American Christian Zionism arose from the confluence of these associations, evangelical, premillennial, dispensational, millenarian, and fundamentalist. Those most closely influenced by and associated with Darby were James Brookes, Arno Gaebelein, D. L. Moody, William E. Blackstone and C. I. Scofield.