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Christian Zionism, Europe, and Israel

A234
Panel Chair: Göran Gunner | Tuesday, August 25, 1:30-3 p.m. | Venue

For many scholars around the world, Christian Zionism is understood to be a paradigmatically American phenomenon associated with the United States that is typically described as dispensationalist and oftentimes connected to charismatic and/or extreme Jewish nationalist movements. In this panel, we will explore different forms of Christian Zionism that have emerged from non-U.S. contexts where these characteristics may or may not be the most prominent. Our international panelists examine a significantly understudied though fast-growing global phenomenon. Of special interest are European Christian Zionist approaches to Israel, Islam, and the search for peace in the Middle East.

Kristian Steiner

The Hope for Peace in Christian Zionism: A Comparative Analysis of German and Swedish Christian Zionist Movements

According to previous research on Christian Zionist literature, Christian Zionism demonstrates very little hope for peace in the Middle East. Humanity is flawed. Islam, Muslims, and Arabs are depicted as an obstacle to peace, and inferior. Jews and Israel are given appreciative attributes but also seen as God’s tool in history, and thus instrumentalized. Human history is predestined; violence will peak before the return of Christ. The readership of this literature is required to pray for Israel, but dissuaded from supporting peace initiatives, and from saving Jews from Armageddon. In this paper I will present current research assessing the ongoing status of these notions.

Curtis Hutt

The Battle for Jerusalem: Marcel Dubois' Challenge to Roman Catholics, Israeli Jews, and Christian Zionists

For several decades, the face of Christian Zionism in Jerusalem was not the International Christian Embassy or John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel but a French/Israeli Professor of Philosophy at the Hebrew University – the Dominican priest, Fr. Marcel-Jacques Dubois. In this paper, Dubois’ once influential form of Christian Zionism is discussed. While few today outside of Israel and Rome are familiar with his brand of non-premillenial dispensationalist Christian Zionism, I will lay out the persuasive relevance and challenge of his work for those making claims on Jerusalem today.

Aron Engberg

Ambassadors for the Kingdom: Narrative Sense Making among Evangelical Volunteers in Jerusalem

In the study of contemporary Protestant affinity with the state of Israel, or “Christian Zionism” the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem provides a particularly interesting case. Not only is it special in its European origin and its close historical ties to South Africa and Europe, but also in its very global constituency today. Drawing upon field work among evangelical volunteer workers of European, African, Latin & North American origin I argue that the volunteers represent themselves as less motivated by dispensationalism, or various end time scenarios than as ambassadors for the kingdom of heaven. As such they negotiate the boundaries between the future and the here and now, the private and the public as well as between the “political” and the “religious”. They are “ambassadors” for a non-state of divine origin, not yet, but hopefully soon in existence.

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Thematic Outline

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