Thursday, June 14, 2018

Israel, the Church, and the Middle East: A biblical response to the current conflict Paperback – April 24, 2018 by Darrell L. Bock (Editor), Mitch Glaser (Editor), Joel C. Rosenberg (Foreword), Richard E. Averbeck (Contributor), Mark L. Bailey (Contributor), Craig Blaising (Contributor), Mike Brown (Contributor), Tom Doyle (Contributor), Jr Walter C. Kaiser (Contributor), Craig Parshall (Contributor), Michael Rydelnik (Contributor), Erez Soref (Contributor), Michael J. Vlach (Contributor), Mark Yarbrough (Contributor) (Kregel Publications)

This book, written to commemorate the anniversary of the establishment of the modern state of Israel, is a collection of essays on the important issues identified in the title. It defends the modern state of Israel as a fulfillment of biblical prophecy; many readers will be skeptical. It defends the distinction between Israel and the church against supersessionism (several authors persist in calling it "replacement theology). This dispensational view will not be accepted by all readers. And it defends the right of the modern state of Israel to exist within the boundaries established in the Bible (see the earlier issue). The focus is narrow, to "challenge the Supersessionist drift of the modern Church, arguing that God retains a plan and purpose for the Jewish people while also addressing a number of divisive issues raised by authors critical of Israel, including many justice-related issues which so many young adults are concerned with regarding the Middle East conflict" (loc 114). To that end, the book succeeds.

In the "Conclusion," Bock writes, "Anyone reading the chapters in this book immediately senses the web of complexities the region presents. Multiple millennia of conflicts and proposed solutions will certainly not be reversed overnight. With so many faiths present, establishing productive and irenic dialogue, as well as trust, is a significant challenge. Because violence is so often an act of first resort peaceful solutions have proven to be elusive. Nevertheless, it is the conviction of the authors of these chapters that there is a way forward--which begins with a deeper understanding of the role of Israel in God's plan" (loc 5994). Even those who disagree with the perspective of these authors can agree that there are deep and complex challenges. To those who want to understand this Christian perspective, this book is recommended.

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