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Zion's Christian Soldiers?: The Bible, Israel and the Church [Paperback]

Stephen Sizer
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
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Book Description

19 Oct 2007
Many Bible-believing Christians are convinced that God blesses those nations that stand with Israel and curses those that don't. This belief has had a significant influence on attitudes towards the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the Middle East. Claims made in books like the Scofield Reference Bible and Hal Lindsey's 'The Late Great Planet Earth' have fed into the contemporary Christian Zionism movement, with radical implications for how we view our faith and the world in which we live.
Stephen Sizer contends that this view is based on misinterpretation of the Bible. He provides an introduction to Christian Zionism and a clear response and positive alternative based on a careful study of relevant biblical texts. His intention is to encourage dialogue on the relationship between Israel and the Christian church and offer a more constructive view of the future and our role in it.

This accessible volume includes numerous tables and diagrams, questions for Bible study and further reflection, and a glossary of terms. It concludes with a previously unpublished sermon by John Stott on 'The Place of Israel'.


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Zion's Christian Soldiers?: The Bible, Israel and the Church + Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon? + The Last Days of Dispensationalism: A Scholarly Critique of Popular Misconceptions
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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Inter-Varsity Press (19 Oct 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844742148
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844742141
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 255,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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From the Author

Whether you have been recommended this book or have just picked it up out of curiosity, I've probably got only another thirty seconds to convince you to read it. So let me ask you this question: What subject do Christians find most controversial? Abortion? Sex? Climate change? The correct answer is probably Israel. No other subject ignites such strong emotions.

A large proportion of Bible-believing Christians are convinced that God blesses those nations that stand with Israel and curses those that don't. This movement, known as Christian Zionism, provides a biblical justification for US intervention in the Middle East. It is deeply mistrustful of the United Nations and the European Community and actively opposes the implementation of international law and the right of Palestinians to a sovereign state alongside Israel.

It is my contention that this world-view is not shaped by the Bible. As a young Christian, I was raised on books like the Scofield Reference Bible and Hal Lindsey's 'The Late Great Planet Earth'. It took me a while to appreciate that the theology these books assume has radical implications for how we view our faith and the world we live in. The church in Palestine is close to extinction. Jewish Zionism, militant Islam and Christian indifference exacerbate it, but Christian Zionism probably has a greater detrimental effect than the other three causes combined.

Ten years ago, apart from Colin Chapman's 'Whose Promised Land?', Gary Burge's 'Who Are God's People in the Middle East?', Grace Halsell's 'Forcing God's Hand' and Donald Wagner's 'Anxious for Armageddon', no other evangelicals seemed bold enough to tackle the subject. It is still largely uncharted territory, and that is why I published 'Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon?' When IVP invited me to write a second book for a wider readership, I needed no convincing.

Writing this book has got me into a lot of hot water and made me a few enemies along the way. Type my name into Google and you will soon discover who they are. It has also been a lonely journey; there are few evangelicals, it seems, who are willing to challenge the assumption that Bible-believing Christians will automatically support Israel. Why is that? The fear of being labelled 'anti-Semitic' is a powerful disincentive. The power of the pro-Israeli, Christian Right in the USA is very strong and opposes anyone who criticizes Israel or defends the Palestinians. Christian publishers are boycotted, sponsorship for academic institutions is denied and subscriptions to Christian journals are cancelled.

The battle over intellectual freedom is waged in universities on both sides of the Atlantic. Organizations such as Campus Watch and the Union of Jewish Students monitor staff and students and put pressure on the authorities to censure them. Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) has sought to counter this pressure through their own website. Called rather appropriately, Muzzlewatch, JVP exposes efforts (written and verbal) to prevent open debate about US-Israeli foreign policy. Not surprisingly, they have come under severe attack in the US for doing this.

There are plenty of books that examine 'Zionism' and 'Bible prophecy'. There are few, however, that explain the relationship between the two from a biblical perspective. This one does. My hope is that it will also encourage dialogue on the relationship between Israel and the church, and offer a more constructive view of the future and our role in it. ...

I owe a deep debt of gratitude to a handful of writers who have had the courage to address aspects of this subject and from whom I have learnt so much. They include Don Wagner, Gary Burge, Colin Chapman, Peter Walker, Gilbert Bilezikian, Naim Ateek, Timothy Weber, John Stott, Gary DeMar, Hank Hanegraaff and Garth Hewitt.

Finally, I want to thank John Stott for his inspiration and leadership, and for an unpublished sermon included here, entitled 'The Place of Israel', which he preached in London many years ago. We have indeed saved the best till last.

All the best material has been borrowed from these people. I gladly accept responsibility for the rest.

Stephen Sizer
Ash Wednesday 2007

From the Back Cover

''Zion's Christian Soldiers' ought to be on the required reading list for all students of the Bible. Here is basic and fundamental methodology which challenges many evangelical assumptions about "end times prophecy." Here is a sound-minded, Christ-centered critique of a popularly accepted but nonetheless fatally flawed perspective that leads to many spiritual dysfunctions. If you find yourself troubled by sabre-rattling political rhetoric coming from many pulpits, "Zion's Christian Soldiers" will reacquaint you with the Prince of peace.'
Greg Albrecht, President of Plain Truth Ministries.

'This is a clarion call to Evangelical Christians to study the Bible more carefully because of the political implications of their beliefs. Stephen Sizer shows that many Christians are espousing views, that they claim come from the Bible, that are in fact leading to bloodshed, dispossession and division in the Middle East. Stephen calls for a more careful look at the Bible that reflects the call of Jesus to be peacemakers.'
Garth Hewitt, Founder and International Director of the Amos Trust.

'A workmanlike study that confronts many treasured and traditional opinions with frankness and sensitivity. An added bonus is the Stott sermon, hitherto unpublished, a masterpiece of clarity in an area marked too often by confusion and unjustified assertions.'
Prebendary Dick Lucas, Chairman of the Proclamation Trust and Rector Emeritus of St Helen's, Bishopsgate, London.

'A timely and important book. Controversial but persuasive, it deserves to be read by everyone who is prepared to think afresh about God's purposes for the church, Israel and the politics of the Middle East.'
Dr Stephen Travis, former Vice-Principal, St John's College, Nottingham.


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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Stephen Sizer (b. 1953): Zion’s Christian Soldiers. The Bible, Israel and the Church. Including “The Place of Israel” by John Stott (1921 – 2011). Nottingham: IVP Books, 2007. 199 pages, paperback. . ISBN 978-1-84474-214-1.

Let me first establish that despite the somewhat attention-drawing cover, this is in no way a sensationalist or in any way militaristic book. Rather the opposite: Stephen Sizer, vicar of an Anglican congregation in Virginia Water, Surrey, has written a very sober book that is both theologically and politically balanced. Despite this, the book has been seen as very controversial, and Sizer has himself has been subjected to some vitriolic attacks. Why?

This is how, as a Christian living in Germany, I would explain it: In 19th century Britain a form of Christian faith came into being which re-interpreted the Bible. The followers of this new approach were soon to be found in all churches and denominations, but their spiritual “home” was, from the beginning, the Brethren movement, whose founder, John Nelson Darby (1800 – 1882), is generally considered to be the first representative of “dispensationalism”, a system according to which the Bible, including the Old Testament, should always be taken “literally”. Darby’s ideas spread quickly abroad, above all in the United States, thanks to the notorious edition of the Bible published by that dubious “theologian”, Cyrus Ingerson Scofield (1843 – 1921). Scofield’s dispensationalism and, above all, his view of the “end times” soon became the accepted standard in evangelical, Bible-believing churches all over America. This view of things is still propagated today by the likes of Hal Lindsey, John Hagee and Tim LaHaye, whose books and sermons have been printed and distributed in their millions.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Is it our Christian duty to 'stand with Israel?' 31 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I strongly recommend this book to any Christians who are feeling conflicted about what's going on in Gaza. On the one hand, they have been taught that it is their Christian duty to 'stand with Israel' and that what we see on our TV screens is simply media manipulation, but on the other, they realise that the children dying in front of them are not actors. There is real suffering going on and it is not justified.
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By BgB71
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The author of this book has been wrongfully maligned by pro Zionists as being an anti-semite. Nothing could be further from the truth. in fact it's the truth from this book that has them pointing the hateful fingers of accusation.
If you're serious about learning what the Bible has to say about God's chosen people then there is no better place to start than this fine piece of Bible teaching. Jews who reject Christ need to be saved as much as the next man....there is no special dispensation for anyone.
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Format:Paperback
Highly recommend this well written and plainly presented book. Systematically demonstrates the biblical view of end time events, Christian Zionism and the modern state of Israel. This will challenge your ideas and thinking. Well researched and cited. Mr Sizer throws down a gauntlet that you will have to pick up ! Find out if there are two plans of salvation at work in God's salvific plan for mankind. One of chosenness for the Jews and one by faith for the Gentile ? Understand fulfillment theology from the Old Testament to the New by hermeneutic and systematic study.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Covenantal hermeneutics 16 Oct 2008
Format:Paperback
Sizer has produced an excellent primer on understanding God's purposes for his people according to a covenantal understanding of Scripture. We are bombarded by the Christian Zionists who think that Scripture foretells the establishment of the present state of Israel and the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. Sizer tells us that the New Testament has no teaching about a return to the land. God's promises centre on Christ and his gospel going out into all the world. The church, uniting Jews and gentiles in one new people is now the Israel of God. He knows such a stance will be unjustly accused of anti-Semitism but he is in favour of the State of Israel existing and being able to live in peace with secure borders. He is no anti-Semite but a man concerned for peace in Jerusalem and justice for all. He views Zionism as inimical to the peace of the Middle East. He gives a biblical critique of the dispensational hermeneutic which sadly leads many Christians to support political Israel whether it is right or wrong in its policies. I note two minor omissions. There is no reference to the ultra-orthodox Lubavitch Jews who are not Zionists, nor is there any subject index.
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17 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some Reviews of Zion's Christian Soldiers 24 Mar 2008
Format:Paperback
"Zion's Christian Soldiers" ought to be on the required reading list for all students of the Bible. Here is basic and fundamental methodology which challenges many evangelical assumptions about "end times prophecy." Here is a sound-minded, Christ-centered critique of a popularly accepted but nonetheless fatally flawed perspective that leads to many spiritual dysfunctions. If you find yourself troubled by saber-rattling political rhetoric coming from many pulpits, "Zion's Christian Soldiers" will reacquaint you with the Prince of peace. Greg Albrecht, President of Plain Truth Ministries, and Editor-in-Chief, The Plain Truth magazine.

"Thank God, here comes at last a book that challenges the pseudo-theology which, by giving precedence to the Old Covenant over the New, relegates the Church to the status of concubine in order to make Israel the Bride of Christ. In clear and measured terms, the author demonstrates from Scripture that God's purposes for history are not driven by a narrowly selective racist obsession but rather by his eternal design to create the Church, the new community dearly secured through the cross for all Christ-followers, both Jews and Gentiles." Professor Gilbert Bilezikian, Professor Emeritus, Wheaton College and a founding leader of Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, Illinois.

"In this very readable new work, Anglican vicar Stephen Sizer offers a biblically-based interpretation of the relationship of Israel and the Christian church. Turning to the current upsurge of Christian Zionism, Sizer examines its deeply flawed misreadings of key biblical texts and its troubling public-policy implications.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Revelatory - read it.
Revelatory.
Published 1 month ago by D. Black
1.0 out of 5 stars Terribly flawed, theologically unsound
I am not a "Chrstian Zoinist". I do not agree with Dispensationism and I do not think political Israel can do no wrong. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Stephen Redstone
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!!!
Author clearly explains from the Bible the place of Israel and it's relation to the Church. Stephen Sizer has great knowledge, humility and boldness to write these things. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Bookman
5.0 out of 5 stars A Relief to read!
Unquestioning support for the right of the state of Israel to exist, it's establishment as being the fulfillment of Biblical prophesy, and the subsequent easy conclusion that... Read more
Published 22 months ago by sam
5.0 out of 5 stars very readable
This is a very readable little book. I might have seen it under another name 'The Promised Land: a Critical Investigation of Evangelical Christian Zionism in Britain and the United... Read more
Published on 9 Dec 2010 by mysterioustraveller
1.0 out of 5 stars Replacement Theological Tragedy
If one applies a consistent grammatical historical hermenutic to all of Scripture then they will be Dispensational and a Christian Zionist. Read more
Published on 3 April 2010 by Mr. A. R. Nixon MPS
5.0 out of 5 stars THE TRUTH WILL SET US FREE.
I looked forward to reading this book immensely, and I was not disappointed. I also highly recommend to read the following "CENSORED" books:

1) "THE HOAX OF THE... Read more
Published on 15 Mar 2010 by Nathaniel "Nate" Berkley
2.0 out of 5 stars Criticism of the misguided is not the path to Truth
The book is well-written, very interesting and readable. It makes some very strong points, but it falls down in one very major respect, such that the whole structure of his... Read more
Published on 12 Jan 2010 by J W Barrie
5.0 out of 5 stars Some Biblical clarity instead of unscriptural sensationalism
A serious book on a serius subject, but you can't help laughing when Sizer gets on to the special red heifer Zionists are looking for once the temple sacrifices are restored. Read more
Published on 9 April 2009 by T. G. S. Hawksley
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