Tag Archives: zionism

When A Jew Rules the World: Joel Richardson’s Defense of Future Israel, An Extended Review

Young author, Joel Richardson, makes a measured yet passionate plea for a premillennial view of the End Times, that includes a definite future for ethnic Israel, as an antidote to Christian Antisemitic sentiment.

Prophecy teacher and author, Joel Richardson, makes a measured yet passionate plea for a premillennial view of the End Times, that includes a definite future for ethnic, national Israel. But hold onto your Bible: Is this an antidote to Christian Antisemitism?

And now, time for an in-depth book review… so pour yourself a beverage, before you dive in…

Are Christians in danger of forgetting national, ethnic Israel’s role in God’s “End Times” program?

According to New York Times bestselling author, Joel Richardson, the answer is “yes.” Joel Richardson is a fairly young, articulate spokesperson promoting Christian Zionism, hosting an Internet biblical prophecy program, “The Underground.” Joel Richardson travels widely in the Middle East, with a genuine excitement about God’s mission to proclaim the Gospel in that part of the world. He is passionate about keeping Christians informed about the Middle East through various books and films. Nevertheless, Joel Richardson is deeply concerned. In a promotional advertisement for Richardson’s 2015 book, When a Jew Rules the World: What the Bible Really Says About Israel and the Plan of God, we read, “In the past thirty years, the trend among American evangelical’s view of Israel has shifted dramatically.”

As Richardson’s ad continues on later, “A new generation of Christians are not only turning away from traditional support for Israel, but from the very belief that there yet remains any ongoing calling and election upon the Jewish people. As this portentous shift is seen on a growing number of evangelical seminaries, and even on Facebook, are Scripturally-grounded Christians prepared to provide solid responses?

When A Jew Rules the World, which I recently finished in an audiobook form, is designed to present arguments to reverse this trend. I wanted to read this book, since I keep hearing quite a bit about the dangers of so-called “replacement theology” these days. The terminology of “replacement theology” was something unknown to me until about five years ago, so I wanted to understand what the fuss was all about. If “replacement theology” was a theological error that needed to be addressed in the evangelical church, I figured that Joel Richardson might be able to help me out.

Prophecy teacher Joel Richardson impresses me as an articulate, well-informed defender of an Israel-centric view of the End Times, which stands at the heart of the concern over “replacement theology.” This is a hard-hitting book, and it deserves wider exposure, for those not familiar with the arguments proposed by folks like Richardson. But I would be careful before you raise the issues that concern Richardson in your small group Bible study. For example, in that same Richardson ad, there is also an extraordinary claim: “There is a sudden rise of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment among Christians today. ”

There is? Really? In the wider culture, I thought being Jewish was cool. In a post-Holocaust era, with movies like Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List permeating popular consciousness, have Christians bucked the cultural trend and grown more hateful towards Jewish people in recent years? Continue reading


Is Islam a Religion of Peace?

Robert Spencer's The Truth about Muhammad paints a very different portrait of the founder of Islam, as compared to the work of popular author Karen Armstrong, who describes Islam as a religion of peace. How do you figure out who is telling the right story?

Robert Spencer’s The Truth about Muhammad paints a very different portrait of the founder of Islam, as compared to the work of popular author Karen Armstrong, who describes Islam as a religion of peace. How do you figure out who is telling the right story?

Within a few weeks of the 911 attack on the World Trade Center, Karen Armstrong, a former Catholic nun, who now specializes as a scholar of comparative religion, and very popular author, wrote an essay for TIME magazine. In the essay, Armstrong makes the case that the terrorists who destroyed the twin towers did not represent the true face of Islam. The prophet Muhammad, she argues, sought to heal the rifts between different, warring tribal factions in 7th century (A.D.) Arabia.  In portraying true Islam as a religion of peace, she concludes:

The vast majority of Muslims, who are horrified by the atrocity of Sept. 11, must reclaim their faith from those who have so violently hijacked it.

I have been listening to an audiobook by a Catholic popularizer of contemporary scholarship, who specializes in Islamic history, Robert Spencer. Listening to The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion has been a challenging experience. Spencer notes that while some Koranic texts do suggest that in Muhammad’s early career, the prophet did seek to promote peace, the story of his later life suggests a more complicated, and much darker story. According to Spencer, the theology of jihad, or “struggle,” was used to justify violence against Jews, Christians, and others who resisted Muhammad’s message towards the end of his prophetic career. This tradition is still appealed to today by the followers of extreme Islamic groups, such as ISIS, who are demonstrating their commitment to erase Christian believers from much of Syria and Iraq.

Karen Armstrong, who champions efforts to bring peace between different religious traditions, and who wrote her own book about the life of Muhammad, begins her review of Spencer’s book this way, “Like any book written in hatred, his new work is a depressing read. Spencer makes no attempt to explain the historical, political, economic and spiritual circumstances of 7th-century Arabia, without which it is impossible to understand the complexities of Muhammad’s life.”  Spencer, the intellectual force behind JihadWatch.org, and no stranger to visceral public debate, responds with:

“Reading this, I doubt Armstrong actually read the book. Or maybe she just wants to make sure no one else reads it.” (retrieved from jihadwatch.org).

So, which narrative is correct? Is Islam a religion of peace, or a religion of violence?

Strangely, I know many Christians who never give much thought to the study of religious history, considering the matter to be of little consequence to their daily lives. Yet I would contend that such ignorance provides little consolation to the families of those who lost loved ones during the 911 attacks, or to the millions of Syrian refugees fleeing ISIS, looking for sanctuary in Western countries in our current time.

Lurking behind this debate over Islam is the debate among Christians as to the history of violence even in the Bible. I have been studying the Book of Joshua for the past few weeks, and I am struck by the message that God gave to Joshua to drive the Canaanites out of the land, and to claim the ancient land promise given to Abraham and his descendants (see these Veracity posts on Christian Zionism). Here are some vital questions for believers today:

  • Is the Book of Joshua a justification of ethnic genocide, or was it a directive by God to execute judgment against the wickedness of the Canaanites? Would God ever command Christians to do the same today?
  • What does it mean to “trust God” in the face of evil and wickedness, and to what extent are believers to engage in combating such evil and wickedness?
  • What should be our priority, sharing our faith with non-believers, or doing what we can to prevent or restrain acts of violence?

Such questions require thoughtful consideration by Christians. The questions are complicated because people are complicated. For example, while it is surely true that Islamic extremists threaten with acts of violence, the vast majority of Muslims regard their faith as essentially peaceful. Islam is not a monolithic movement. But should our view of Islamic extremism cause us to love our Muslim friends and neighbors any less? I hope not. I hope that we as believers would make the sharing of our faith, the Good News of the Gospel, our highest priority.

Where do we go to sort out these things? For me, I have been strongly encouraged by the testimony of Nabeel Qureshi. Qureshi grew up in high school in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in a family of Muslims who belong to an Islamic sect that strongly believe Islam to be a religion of peace. Yet when Qureshi attended Old Dominion University, he met a Christian friend who challenged his understanding of Islam. After several years of friendly, yet intense, back and forth dialogue, Nabeel Qureshi became a follower of Jesus. Over the years, Qureshi has had a powerful ministry with Ravi Zacharias, encouraging other Muslims to reconsider their understanding of Islam and consider afresh the claims of Christianity. Below is a five minute clip where Qureshi addresses the tough questions (PLEASE NOTE: Nabeel Qureshi recently announced that he has been diagnosed with stomach cancer and his survival chances over the next few years is quite low. Please pray for him and his family).


VIDEO: Romans 9-11 Panel Discussion Night Two

Veracity thanks everyone who participated in the panel discussion over the past two weeks in the Williamsburg area, those on the panel, as well as everyone who put their questions forward. I personally learned a lot, and it prompts me to study God’s Word even more! Hopefully, this will be a blessing for those who wrestle these issues, engaging the heart and the mind.

UPDATE: 10/19/2016

Hunter Ruch went to the trouble of going through the video and marking the time segments, allowing you to skip to particular questions you are interested in.  Thanks, Hunter (though it was his wife’s idea to do this)!

WEEK 2 (9/4):

  • Introduction, Review & Definition of Terms by Clarke Morledge (0:00-23:11)
  • Question #1: Election and Salvation? Why do I need to understand the theory of election? (23:12-34:11)
  • Question #2: Clarify the use of “Hebrew,” “Israelites,” and “Jews.” (34:12-42:26)
  • Question #3: The Land of Israel? (42:27-1:00:45)
  • Question #4: One or Two Paths to God? (1:00:46-1:02:44)
  • Question #5:  The Dangers of Neglecting Ethnic Israel? (1:02:45-1:08:49)
  • Question #6: Obsession vs. Negative Views of Israel? (1:08:49-1:18:57)
  • Conclusion by Travis Simone (1:18:58-1:37:44)

 


VIDEO: Romans 9-11 Panel Discussion Night One

Veracity invites everyone interested, in the Williamsburg area, to attend next week’s conclusion to our Romans 9-11 Panel Discussion. Enjoy the video from this past week!

  • Williamsburg Community Chapel, 3899 John Tyler Highway, Williamsburg VA, 23185
  • Student Ministries Worship Room
  • Sunday, September 4, 6:30 – 8:00 pm

UPDATE: 10/19/2016

Hunter Ruch went to the trouble of going through the video and marking the time segments, allowing you to skip to particular questions you are interested in.  Thanks, Hunter (though it was his wife’s idea to do this)!

WEEK 1 (8/28):

  • Introduction by Clarke Morledge (0:00-25:28)
  • Question #1: Why is Paul so burdened about his fellow Israelites? (25:29-31:07)
  • Question #2: Why would a knowledge of the Old Testament help us to understand what Paul is trying to say in Romans 9-11? (31:08-37:43)
  • Question #3: What is “election?” (37:44-1:02:18)
  • Question #4: Does God still have a plan for ethnic Israel? (1:02:19-1:18:24)
  • Question #5: Final panelist questions  (1:18:25-1:22:00)
  • Question #6: Who is “all Israel?” (1:22:01-1:24:58)
  • Wrap Up & Prayer by Clarke Morledge (1:24:59-1:27:20)

 


Questions about Romans 9-11?

Plumb LineAs part of the two-week Sunday evening panel discussion at the Williamsburg Community Chapel, Sundays, August 28 and September 4, I wanted to provide a web portal for where you can submit your questions to be asked of our pastoral panel. Simply go to the bottom of this blog post and find the comments section entitled, “What do you think?”  Enter your question as a comment and then post it, and I will do my best to make sure your question is addressed by the panel. If your question does not get answered at the panel discussion, we will do what we can to provide you an answer after the panel discussion is over.

To receive future announcements of new posts on the Veracity blog, simply click the “Follow” button under where is says “Follow Veracity” on the right hand side of this web page.

To prime your thoughts in asking questions, I have uploaded the outline and questions from night one, plus a couple of sample questions below that in the post, with a few answers, just to get you thinking. Please remember: God’s Word is the “plumb line” for discerning truth:

ROMANS 9-11 OUTLINE with QUESTIONS FROM NIGHT ONE (pdf format)

Romans9-11-NightOne.pdf

 

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