From The House Of Jacob To The Iowa Caucuses: The Future Of Israel In Contemporary Evangelical Political Ethics -- By: Russell D. Moore

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 11:4 (Winter 2007)
Article: From The House Of Jacob To The Iowa Caucuses: The Future Of Israel In Contemporary Evangelical Political Ethics
Author: Russell D. Moore


From The House Of Jacob To The Iowa Caucuses: The Future Of Israel In Contemporary Evangelical Political Ethics

Russell D. Moore

Russell D. Moore is Senior Vice President for Academic Administration and Dean of the School of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he also serves as associate professor of Christian Theology and Ethics. Dr. Moore is the Executive Director of the Carl F. H. Henry Institute for Evangelical Engagement and a Senior Editor of Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity. He is the author of The Kingdom of Christ: The New Evangelical Perspective (Crossway, 2004).

In the year 2000, then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton revealed in her financial disclosure statements for her campaign for the United States Senate from New York that she had received a contribution from the “American Museum Association.” The New York press corps painted the spelling error, actually the American Muslim Association, as an artful dodge designed to protect the candidate from too close an alliance with what is seen as an anti-Israel group in a state with a large Jewish population. This was especially relevant for Clinton, given the fact that her budding political career had been jeopardized by a videotaped image of her kissing the cheek of the “First Lady” of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, a group dedicated to the destruction of the State of Israel. This was significant because Israel is more than just another foreign policy concern, and Jewish voters are more than just another ethnic constituency. Wrapped up in a politician’s support for Israel—or lack thereof—is an entire set of foreign and domestic policy commitments. And in the background of every decision related to Israel is a twentieth-century of bloody state-sponsored anti-Semitic genocide and a twenty-first century of potentially nuclear-armed nations devoted to the destruction of the Israeli state. A candidate’s views on the security of Israel signal in many ways that candidate’s vision for the future—and his or her view of the past.

If Israel is complicated for candidates for public office in the national political arena, though, it is even more so among evangelical Christians seeking to apply a “Christian worldview” to the social and political arenas of the era. A comprehensively Christian approach to socio-political concerns cannot ignore the most politically incendiary stretch of land on the globe, particularly when the name of the stretch of land takes up one-third of the pages in one’s Bible concordance. Unlike some issues—such as the sanctity of unborn life, for instance—evangelicals have longstanding internal divisions over the nation of Israel. Moreover, these divisions are not incidental to the theological background of evangelical pol...

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