• FEATURES \ Jun 20, 2003
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    Evangelical Scholar Challenges Christian Zionism
Evangelical Scholar Challenges Christian Zionism

CLEVELAND?Wheaton College New Testament scholar Gary M. Burge challenges the "unqualified endorsement of Israel?s politics" by Evangelical conservative Christians who wed apocalyptic biblical passages with Israel?s political agenda and its policies toward the Palestinians. The movement of many Evangelical leaders, churches, and parachurch organizations that interpret biblical faithfulness in terms of an uncritical fidelity to Israel?s future has been dubbed "Christian Zionism" by its proponents.

In his just released book, "Whose Land? Whose Promise? What Christians Are Not Being Told about Israel and the Palestinians," published by Cleveland-based The Pilgrim Press, Burge, an ordained Presbyterian minister, asserts that the book is a practical, rather than an academic, guide to contentious issues in the Middle East: "It is written for the average Christian who, like me, struggles on a basic personal level with the dilemma of Israel and the Palestinians within a conservative theological framework." In particular, he charges that Israel disregards its own theological heritage when it violates the human rights of Palestinians?both Christians and Muslims.

In its pages Burge addresses a number of difficult issues for himself and likewise for other Christians committed to peace with justice in the Holy Land: How do I embrace my commitment to Judaism, a commitment to which I am bound by the Bible, when I sense in my deepest being that there is a profound injustice afoot in Israel. How do I celebrate the birth of this nation Israel when I also mourn the suffering of Arab Christians who are equally my brothers and sisters in Christ? How do I love those Palestinian Muslims who are deeply misunderstood by all parties in this conflict?

Christianity Today magazine editor David Neff says this of Burge?s work: "`Whose Land? Whose Promise?? is an excellent introduction to the complications of geography, history, and geopolitics that have wounded and weakened both Israelis and Palestinians. But above all this book challenges us to love?and to love concretely."

A former student at the American University in Beirut, Lebanon, Gary M. Burge earned his Ph.D. at King?s College in Aberdeen, Scotland and is professor of New Testament at Wheaton College & Graduate School in Wheaton, Illinois, an institution often referred to as the "Evangelical Harvard." He is the author of numerous books, including "The Anointed Community: The Holy Spirit in the Johannine Tradition"(1987), "Who Are God?s People in the Middle East?" (1993), and "Interpreting the Gospel of John: Guide to New Testament Exegesis" (1998). He is president of Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding, a Christian advocacy network promoting understanding and partnerships between Arab and Western churches.

Read the following review of the book

The following is the information about the book and how it can be obtained in North America

"Whose Land? Whose Promise?: What Christians Are Not Being Told about Israel and the Palestinians"
ISBN 0-8298-1545-7
304 pages?hardcover with dust jacket
US $25.00 / CAN $40.00

Order from The Pilgrim Press, 230 Sheldon Road, Berea, Ohio 44017-1234.
Toll-free: (800) 537-3394
FAX: (800) 537-2206