Saturday, February 25, 2012

Do U.S. Dispensationalists Want All Out War?

Especially one fought over Israel? Do some fundamentalist Christians in the U.S. actually want war with Iran - not to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons and make the world a safer place, but for demented religious reasons?  And if so, who are these dangerous religious wackos?  Are any of them Republican presidential nominees?  "Dispensationalism is a 19th century evangelical development based on a futurist biblical hermeneutic that sees a series of chronologically successive "dispensations" or periods in history in which God relates to human beings in different ways under different Biblical covenants. It consists of a distinctive "end times" perspective. They believe that God has yet to fulfill His promises to the nation (not necessarily the state) of Israel, including land promises, which in the future world to come result in a millennial kingdom where Christ will rule the world from Jerusalem for a thousand years. With the rise of dispensationalism, some conservative Protestants came to interpret the Book of Revelation as predicting future events (futurism). Dispensationalists begin with progressive revelation in the Old Testament and read forward in a historical sense. Another important theological concept is the "literal" interpretation of Scripture. The vast majority of dispensationalists hold to a pretribulation rapture [Balf: and thus don't fear their own annihilation]. Dispensationalist beliefs about the fate of the Jews and the re-establishment of the Kingdom of Israel put dispensationalists at the forefront of Christian Zionism, and have become very popular with American evangelicalism, especially among nondenominational Bible churches, Baptists, Pentecostal and Charismatic groups. Most mainline Protestants generally reject dispensationalism as a heresy. Nevertheless, it has had a pronounced effect on [U.S.] Christians' attitude toward Israel. Dispensationalists tend to have special interest in the Jews because the dispensationalist hermeneutic honors Biblical passages that list Jews as amongst God's chosen people. Dispensationalists are usually not inclined to look upon the actions of the United Nations with favor, because they view this entity as working toward ungodly goals, such as contributing to the erection of the superstructure for the coming government of the Antichrist. Almost all dispensationalists reject the idea that a lasting peace can be attained by human effort in the Middle East, and believe instead that "wars and rumors of wars" (Matt. 24:6) will increase as the end times approach. Political analyst Richard Allen Greene has argued that dispensationalism has had a major influence on the foreign policy of the United States. Political commentator Kevin Phillips points out in his book American Theocracy (2006) how dispensationalists and other fundamentalist Christians provided political support for the invasion of Iraq in 2003." (Wikipedia)  Religion is the root of all evil.