Special report from Jerusalem: Is the Holy Land the Promised Land?

A white bird flutters over a woman being immersed at Yardenit, a Jordan River baptismal site. Photo by Bobby Ross Jr.

Leading evangelical supporters of President Trump tout the modern state of Israel as a fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Scholars in Churches of Christ take a different view.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

JERUSALEM — To prominent evangelical allies of President Donald Trump, “the Lord is at work” in the administration’s high-profile backing of Israel.

From moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem to recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights, Trump has delighted evangelicals who view the modern Jewish state as a fulfillment of biblical prophecy.

“The fact is, I think President Trump has been raised up by God to help protect the Jewish people,” said Robert Jeffress, senior pastor for the First Baptist Church of Dallas and a Trump adviser who gave the opening prayer at the embassy dedication last year.

Eighty percent of Americans with evangelical beliefs say God promised the land of Israel to Abraham and his descendants for all time, according to a survey by Nashville, Tenn.-based LifeWay Research.

But Churches of Christ — with an estimated 1.4 million adherents in 12,000 autonomous congregations in the United States — generally don’t share that theology, according to scholars interviewed by The Christian Chronicle.

“The political question you’re asking really requires one to make a distinction between the modern state of Israel and Israel in the Bible,” said Evertt Huffard, professor of leadership and missions at Harding School of Theology in Memphis, Tenn. “There’s absolutely no connection, and to make that connection is really a mistake.”

Read the full story.

This story appears in the May 2019 print edition of The Christian Chronicle.

Related: In Israel, a missile attack and a monk stir reflection (reporting from Jerusalem)

Author: Bobby Ross Jr.

Bobby Ross Jr. is an award-winning journalist who has reported from all 50 states and 14 countries.