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The New Christian Zionism





Robert Stearns is mobilizing churches to stand with Israel as it faces some of the most difficult threats to its existencef-Strang-ChristianZionism

 

Christian Zionism is not a new phenomenon created by the religious right. In fact it predates the Jewish Zionist movement. So says David Brog in his excellent book Standing With Israel.  

As a historian, Brog documents how William Hechler, a deeply religious Christian, was one of the first allies in 1896 of Theodor Herzl—a Jew who was the father of the modern Zionist movement.

Fast-forward 120 years. The state of Israel exists against all odds today, while facing some of the most difficult threats to its existence. Israel has few friends in the world more devoted than the evangelical (particularly charismatic) Christian community.

My love for Israel and strong Zionist zeal is deep, genuine and long-standing.  That’s why I wanted to devote this issue of Ministry Today to this topic.

I invited my long-time friend Robert Stearns, who represents a new generation of Christian Zionists, to serve as guest editor. Some strong Zionists like Jerry Falwell have passed on. Others like Pat Robertson and John Hagee are nearing retirement. Robert, at only 43, has accomplished a great deal. To me, he’s the face of the new Christian Zionism.

In 1994, Robert founded Eagles’ Wings, a network of churches and ministries involved in global outreach. More than 300 young people from 17 nations have been discipled through the Eagles’ Wings Internship Program.

In 2002, Robert founded the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem (DPPJ), which he co-chairs with Jack Hayford. Observed every year during the first Sunday in October, DPPJ features the participation of 300,000 churches and millions of believers in 175 nations—making it the largest Jerusalem-focused prayer movement in history.

To train the next generation, Robert formed the Israel Experience College Scholarship, an intensive 3.5-week training program in which young leaders from Harvard University, Pepperdine University and various other top universities have been given a biblical and relevant education regarding Israel and the Middle East. 

Robert has personally been responsible for helping nearly 10,000 Christians visit Israel through Eagles’ Wings tours and Watchmen pilgrimages.

Also known as an anointed worship leader, Robert has 12 live recordings, and has led worship worldwide, often at the Feast of Tabernacles celebration in Jerusalem. 

Robert’s writings have been translated into seven languages, and he has ministered in 40 nations. 

In addition, he started the Jerusalem Banquet in 2003—a gathering of high-level Jewish and Christian leaders held every year in New York and Los Angeles. I had the privilege of attending the first banquet. This year’s event will be May 17-18 in New York City, featuring Israel’s recently appointed ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor. For more information, go to www.jerusalembanquet.org or www.eagleswings.to.

While some pro-Zionist Christians support Israel in mostly a political sense, Robert brings in the spiritual. He has also rallied thousands to protest Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaking at the United Nations. But how much more important is the spiritual dimension of getting the church (as Scripture commands) to pray for the peace of Jerusalem?

I’ve been to many pro-Israel events where Zionist zealots waved Israel flags, sang “Hatikva” (the Israeli national anthem) and avoided everything slightly Christian that might offend any Jews in attendance.

While Robert is one of the most gentle people I know who wants to avoid offending anyone, he is also true to what he believes. So when Christians come together at his events, they sing to Jesus, pray to Jesus and follow their faith, which links them to their Jewish roots. It seems that the Jews who attend seem to understand and appreciate his integrity. He is highly respected for a man so new on the national and international scene.

Maybe because he’s young himself, Robert has the heart of a new generation, and he invited many younger writers to contribute to this issue. It was his idea to call it “The New Zionism.” I think he and his team did an outstanding job, and I invite you to enjoy this issue.

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