Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of Ministry and Theology
Volume: JMAT 10:1 (Spring 2006)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

On the Road to Armageddon: How Evangelicals Became Israel’s Best Friend. Timothy P. Weber. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004.

In the 1990s the so-called “evangelical critique” literature exploded on the scene as those within the ranks of evangelicalism such as D. A. Carson, David Wells, and Mark Noll attempted to identify what was wrong with the movement as a whole. Now, the first decade of the twenty-first century is seeing an explosion of “dispensational critique” literature in which dispensationalism (especially the more traditional version of the movement) is being analyzed and criticized hermeneutically, historically, politically, and ethically. However, most of this literature is not “in-house.” It is being written by those outside of the dispensational movement. One such writer is former dispensationalist Timothy Weber who has had for almost thirty years an interest in the history of dispensationalism and premillennialism from an outsider’s perspective.

Weber’s most recent work is On the Road to Armageddon. The subtitle yields some of the concerns which Weber voices. Although he uses the word evangelical in the subtitle (“How Evangelicals Became Israel’s Best Friend”), the work by the historian Weber is actually a negative analysis of how dispensationalism has influenced evangelicalism toward a pro-Israel position in Middle-Eastern political affairs. In the introductory chapter, Weber notes that his book “tells the story of how dispensationalist evangelicals became Israel’s best friends in the last part of the twentieth century and what difference that friendship has made in recent times” (9). The last section of that chapter, entitled “This Book in a Nutshell,” fleshes this out in more detail:

The book’s thesis is easily stated: Before the founding and expansion of Israel, dispensationalists were more or less content to teach their doctrine, look for signs of the times, and predict in sometimes great detail what was going to happen in the future … .

But all that changed after Israel reclaimed its place in Palestine and expanded its borders. For the first time, dispensationalists believed that it was necessary to leave the bleachers and get onto the playing field to make sure the game ended according to the divine script. As the world edged closer and closer to the end, dispensationalists became important players in their own game. When they shifted from observers to participants, they ran the risk of turning their predictions into self-fulfilling prophecies (15).

In the end, Weber’s main concern appears to be ethical: “Dispensationalists’ views of Bible prophecy also make them skeptical about ...

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