This is a study of Christian Zionism and the ways that religion and politics converge in American evangelicals' love and support for Israel and the Jewish people. Because of evangelicals' influence on the Middle East policies of George W. Bush, this is a topic of immense current importance. It bears on some of the most difficult and dangerous global issues -- not only the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but also the relationship between the West and the Islamic world.
Christian Zionism is often said to stem from the belief that the Jews must return to their ancestral home in the Holy Land as a precondition for Christ's return. Observers also point to the evangelicals' frequent citation of Genesis 12: 3, in which God promises that He will bless those who bless Abraham and his descendants, and curse those who curse them.
Spector shows, however, that conservative Christians' motives for supporting the Jewish state are much more complex and diverse than previous studies have noted. Among these motives are gratitude to the Jews for contributing the theological foundations of Christianity, and for being the source of the prophets and Jesus; remorse for the Church's history of anti-Semitism; and fear that God will judge the nations at the end of time on the basis of how they treated the Jewish people. Moreover, Israel is for evangelicals God's prophetic clock, irrefutable proof that prophecy is true and is coming to pass in our lifetime. Some are also motivated by theologically based enmity towards Islam, seeing Arabs and other Muslims as Satan's agents in disrupting God's plan for the salvation of all humankind.
Spector draws on information from Christian Zionist websites andpublications, journalistic and academic sources, and a hundred original interviews. He has spoken with evangelicals in Jerusalem and across the U.S., and with Israeli and American officials, including current and former White House advisers. He has also talked with people who studied the Bible with Bush in Midland, Texas. Spector's conclusions will correct much speculation about the president's personal faith, and about evangelical influence on American policy in the Middle East, all the while providing the fullest and most nuanced account of the theology behind Christian Zionism to date.