As I prepare for a forthcoming television debate on Israel I've been doing a little research into how the issue is currently being played out in the Church. One is immediately struck by some of the extreme and pejorative language employed by some Christians against others, for example describing Christian Zionism/Zionists as deviant, heresy/heretics, apostasy/apostates, or even "an abomination" who have rejected Jesus.
Such language belies a lack of sophistication (Christian Zionism is hardly theologically or politically homogenous, while does a belief in a Jewish homeland - however that may be constructed or whatever its exact borders - really make one a heretic? That's an awful lot of Christians who love Jesus unnecessarily besmirched and excommunicated). Also, extreme language is often employed by people who lack reasoned arguments and evidence, and history is replete with fanatics and idealogues relying on invective to conceal weak arguments. It is a salutary reminder to those of us supporting the view that God retains a plan and purpose for the Jewish people not, in our zeal and passion, to fall into the same trap. Thus, for example, labeling anyone espousing replacement theology an anti-Semite is not only unhelpful, untrue and unChristlike, it arguably suggests an inability to challenge soundly this theological view. To be sure, some individuals espousing replacement theology have crossed over into anti-Semitism, and given the Church somewhat inglorious history on this score it is essential to identify and challenge it whenever it rears its ugly head. But overuse merely cheapens its currency.