Book Review: Zion’s Christian Soldiers? by Stephen Sizer

A few years ago, one of my Seminary professors said to me that the greatest threat to peace in the Middle East comes from American Christians who have bad theology. While I agreed that many Christians do have bad theology in relationship to the Middle East, I was not so cynical to believe that Christians have that much influence and power to keep peace from being achieved in the Middle East. In this book, Stephen Sizer explained to me that my professor was right.
It took me some two paragraphs into the preface before I knew that I would like and promote the theology of Stephen Sizer. In this book, Sizer gives a Biblical framework to interpret the events of the Middle East and those concerning the end-times, which is far different than what the traditional evangelical line promotes.
There are not too many Christian authors who write a critique of Christian Zionism, so I welcome the writing and leadership of Sizer in the ongoing discourse on how Christians ought to think about the Middle East. I know of only one other author, Colin Chapman (Whose Promised Land?) who has written extensively on the issue from a perspective that is more in line with my understanding of Scripture and theology.
In contrast to Chapman, who does more to explain his amillennialism theology, Sizer takes on an offensive stance against the premillenialists who promote a political and theological position that are not only unbiblical, but dangerous. He goes after the likes of John Hagee of Cornerstone Church, Hal Lindsey of The Great Late Planet Earth, and the Dispensationalists such as Scoffield, tearing down their theology and eschatology. He concedes that his theology is in the minority in the United States, and this book is a sort of appeal not only to American Christians, but Christians everywhere to reject the bad theology that has become the norm in most Christian circles.
At the very onset of the book, Sizer laments that the greatest threat to the church among the Palestinians has been the theology of Christian Zionists. He convincingly argues that Christian Zionism “probably has a greater detrimental effect” (on the Church) than Jewish Zionism, militant Islam and Christian indifference combined. Christian Zionists (most of whom are Dispensationalists) believe that the creation of the state of Israel was a prophetic event in history that more or less hastened the return of Jesus. Their theology basically says that those who bless Israel will be blessed and those who curse it will be cursed (taken from God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12).
In this book, Sizer debunks this sort of thinking and provides an alternative interpretation on how God relates to the Jews, how to read the prophesies, and how to understand the end-times. In addition to a more Biblical understanding of the End Times and the theology of Israel, Sizer also raises the warnings of allowing Dispensiational theology to continue to define American and Christian foreign policy.
Christians in the United States continue to lead the way in funding organizations and ministries in Israel who are focused on making sure that the “Biblical” boundaries of Israel are respected and that the temple is rebuilt on the Temple Mount (which would mean the destruction of one of the holiest Islamic shrines). Christian Zionism is a dangerous theo-political position that is hell-bent on supporting the state of Israel by all means possible, while turning a blind eye to the teachings of Jesus and Scripture.
In this book, Sizer says that Googling his name will turn out the ways that he has been criticized and demonized. I hope that my post here will provide some support for an author who has taken a courageous stand in defending Scripture and the plight of the Palestinian people.