Dr. Calvin Smith of Midlands Bible College is in the middle of doing some research for a new book and he would like some help with comments and different opinions from all over the blogosphere.
So, first things first, the following is just a blurb about what it is he is actually doing and how anyone else can help if they feel they want to …!!!!
“What of Israel?” This is for two reasons. First, I want the new category to serve as a resource for those interested in Christian responses to Israel. Moreover, while I have strong views on this issue, it is important that this resource posits alternative views, questions, doubts, and concerns which need to be explored and dealt with. Only by exploring the whole range of Evangelical opinion can such a work be considered truly authoritative and scholarly.
This leads to the second reason for my desire to create a new category on this issue. Of course, I regularly interact with students and fellow colleagues on a whole range of theological issues. But my desire is that as I research this subject, distance learning students, friends of the college, and other Christians can also contribute to the debate, thus ensuring the whole effort is at least a collaborative one. So I am not simply looking for agreement with my views (though it is nice to know when arguments crafted are both persuasive and effective). In fact, I am interested in hearing from both sympathisers AND opponents, as ultimately this will enable me to consider and deal with the full range of issues. All we ask is that contributions are thoughtful, genuinely concerned with establishing truth (a concept out of fashion in today’s postmodern milieu), and which are not unnecessarily aggresive (though we encourage passionate expression of views).
Thus, my request from our readers is simple. First, please circulate details of this blog and particularly the “What of Israel?” category as widely as possible, to fellow Christians, your church, and elsewhere, both as a resource and to encourage Christian to debate the subject of Israel. Second, please contribute your thoughts, questions, and ideas to this section of the blog as much as possible. Some of these will help me, as well as also challenge readers, so making all of us more effective in our views. (The phrase “iron sharpens iron” comes to mind). Third, just as you contribute to this particular discussion (or in New Labour parlance, a “Grand Conversation”), be prepared to engage with the issues raised and the views of others fairly, openly, and above all from a biblical perspective. My aim is for a collaborative effort that produces a debate which seeks biblically-sound, theologically-viable, politically-sophisticated and non-rhetorically-driven conclusions on the very many facets of this issue.
I make no apologies for taking a pro-Israel stance, which is where I currently stand at the present stage in my research (though my position is far from slavish or subjective… I have grappled with these issues for years). It has led to the college being singled out by at least one Christian organisation as one of only three or four UK mainstream Bible colleges that take a position in support of Israel on the issue, though it should be noted that our faculty have a free view on the issue. Neither does the college include a statement along these lines in its core beliefs and values. Moreover, yet once again for the record I reject an “Israel right or wrong” stance. After all, if biblical Israel sinned and angered God, it is folly to say, as some extreme Christian Zionists suggest, that Israel today is totally guiltless of sin and can do no wrong. All such views do is make support for modern Israel all the more difficult to justify. So honesty rooted in good biblical theology, devoid of the philosophical agenda of the current political Zeitgeist, is what I am after.
Therefore, please help me in this project as I seek genuine discussion which is biblically-based and prayerfully-driven. I want to hear all views, regardless of how far advanced in your studies you are, or how much (or little) time you have devoted to this issue. Even the simplest of questions demonstrate what the current Evangelical thought on the the issue might be and how Christians should respond. Thank you.
© Calvin L. Smith 2007.
You can find more at the ‘Midlands Bible College Blog’ under the category called ‘What of Israel?‘.
So go on over and have a read of some of his posts and add your comments, keep it respectful and remember he wants to hear it all, the good with the bad!