An Obstacle to Peace
1. Summarize the central themes, theses, issues, or arguments of the reading assignment.
The reading centered on the different views regarding the question of whether the Bible provides any indication that the Israeli Jews deserve preferential treatment especially when it comes to the placement of Israeli borders (Wolf, 2006). In particular, this reading discussed Christian Zionism, particularly dispensationalism, which opposes the statehood of Palestine based on the belief that Palestinian land belongs to Israel, as stated in the Bible.
The author discussed how the dispensationalism concept came to be and pondered on whether it was more religious or political in nature. The author discussed how such an ideology can be an obstacle to peace and finally provided some ideas that can help in removing such an obstacle for the sake of maintaining the peace.
2. Summarize at least four key points made by the authors. In the case of multiple authors, indicate which author you are referring to for each point.
One key point that the author made was that biblical interpretation has become a geopolitical issue as the dispensationalist interpretation of the Bible has resulted in “negative attitudes toward the Palestinians and any proposed solution that includes an independent Palestinian state” (Wolf, p. 114). He also pointed out that the spread of dispensationalism can be attributed to Christians' ignorance of the true teachings of the Torah and the Bible as well as their conceptions and perceptions of Zionism, which are greatly influenced by the media.
A third point the he made was that to remove the obstacle that Christian Zionism an d dispensationalism posed, it would be necessary to “tone down the extreme obsession with Israel that characterizes Christian Zionism” (Wolf, p. 128). This is the advocacy of a movement called progressive dispensationalism, which also strongly emphasizes on the interrelationship of divine dispensations in history” and their “overall orientation to the kingdom of God (Wolf, p. 128-130). Finally, Wolf pointed out that it would also be necessary to remove the radical division between Israel and the Church and to emphasize a continuity between the Old and New Testament. This is a concept referred to as historic premillenialism, which follows the teachings of George E. Laad.
3. Raise at least two or more questions, critical or informational, related to the reading.
One question that immediately comes to mind is why the dispensationalists seem so focused on just one aspect of the Scripture, which is that Israel is the Holy Land. If they are so passionate about their faith and revere Jesus Christ the way they claim, I wonder why they fail to consider the more important parts of the Scriptures. For instance, the Bible says that Jesus’ greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as you love yourself. It’s so ironic that the way they treat the Palestinians is so contradictory to this important teaching.
Another question that I can’t help pondering about is why such intelligent and distinguished men such as President George W. Bush and J. P. Morgan still fall prey to this seemingly outdated way of thinking. While the public cannot be blamed entirely for their ignorance, I wonder why these intelligent people seem so blinded and biased.
4. In a paragraph, characterize your critical reflections on the ideas presented in this reading assignment.
This reading made me realize how dangerous fanaticism is. While fanaticism is usually – and probably wrongly – associated to Islam, this reading made me realize that any religion or faith can be subjected to fanaticism. For one, it can mar the objectivity of the key people in our society, which can in turn affect the decisions they make. For another, fanaticism can be so widespread that it can drastically change people’s way of thinking to the point that the distinction between right and wrong becomes blurred. As such, it would then be best to strike a balance in everything, including our beliefs – that is, to look at both sides of a story and to not be so accepting of everything that we see and hear.
Wolf, A. D. (2006). Christian Zionism: An obstacle to peace. In S. Trifkoviv, (Ed.),
Peace in the Promised Land: A Realist Scenario (pp. 113-134). Rockford, IL: