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J. Luis Dizon
5 Stars Out Of 5
An excellent expos on Christian Zionism
September 21, 2015
J. Luis Dizon
Stephen Sizer is perhaps one of the best theologians alive today when it comes to exposing and criticizing Dispensationalism and Christian Zionism, and his book, Christian Zionism: Road Map to Armageddon, is one of the best books on that topic.
Part one, The Historical Roots of Christian Zionism since 1800, covers the history of the Dispensational system, showing its questionable origins in 19th century preachers such as Irving and Darby, and how the system became popular in Britain and the United States during the 20th century, influencing politicians and affecting modern history up the present day.
The theology of Dispensational Zionism is laid bare in part two, The Theological Emphases of Christian Zionism, where Dispensationalisms distinct emphases are examined and critiqued. Here it is shown how it differs from historic Christian doctrine and makes a mess of the unity and clarity of Scriptural principles.
Finally, in part three of the book, The Political Implications of Christian Zionism, the present day ramifications of Dispensational Zionism are shown. Sizer shows how detrimental this theological view is to respect for human rights, particularly those of indigenous Christians living in the Holy Land (as well as their Muslim neighbours).
Sizer concludes by arguing that only a robust Covenantal view of the Bible can do justice to redemptive history and avoid the chaos, confusion and suffering that has been caused by adherence of many people to a Dispensational view of ecclesiology and eschatology. This is great for showing how the debate over Covenantal versus Dispensational theology isnt just a dry academic debate, but has real world implications that affect many lives, often in a negative manner.
Stephen Sizer's book is very interesting, in its description of the evolution of the different branches of Christian Zionist movements.He expresses himself from a "covenantal" (i.e. amillenarist or postmillenarist) point of view.Though his negative views need to be heard about some extreme dispensationalist positions, he seems to neglect the balanced opinions of many premillenialists most of the time.He doesn't develop his own positions a lot, either.His political positions express themselves with harsh words against Israel. He speaks of "apartheid", for an example, to describe the way the State of Israel treats the Palestinians (he doesn't go as far as calling Jews "Nazis", however). He has no positive words for the Jewish State - which means he has taken sides and that he is not working for a real peaceful dialog between both parties.One has the impression that, either one believes that God has a special plan for Israel and one then is a despicable "Zionist", or one has to abandon that idea totally, and rejoin the convenantalists.So, as a moderate premillianalist, I appreciated some of his criticisms against extreme positions, but I would have liked to see more self-criticism about his own doctrinal choices - as I believe that the eschatological questions are too complicated and delicate to have one "side" being totally right and the other one totally wrong.One can believe in the special destiny of Israel, while criticizing some of the decisions of the State of Israel and being touched by the difficulties that one's Christian Palestinian brethren in Christ are suffering, for an example.As a whole, this book is a useful read, but lacks some important developments. It remains polemical, without seriously opening a door for a useful dialog between balanced Christians of differing opinions.