18 February 2011

Evangelicals Turning to Jewish Customs? It's Complicated

Evangelicals Turning To Jewish Customs? It's Complicated, by Theo Hobson (The Guardian [UK], 17 February 2011)

What's going on here? Why are evangelicals so keen on Jewish traditions? It is, of course, complicated. There is no single explanation for the philosemitism that has blossomed in evangelical theology and culture in recent decades. The assumption of the liberal observer is that the key factor is Zionism, political support for Israel. These Christians are Zionists because they believe that Christ's second coming will be heralded by a powerful Jewish state (a theory called premillennial dispensationalism). Maybe some evangelicals do indeed have a rigid belief in this account of eschatology, but I don't see this as the source of evangelical philosemitism; it is more a symptom of it. The key point, surely, is that evangelicals admire aspects of Jewish religion and culture: the emphasis on the family, and community, the clear moral precepts, and the biblical fusion of religion and nationhood. They are drawn to the idea of religion permeating every aspect of cultural life, rather than being an optional event on Sundays.
Link: Evangelicals Turning To Jewish Customs? It's Complicated