Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Film: Christian Zionists: On the Road to Armageddon by Stephen Sizer

Christian Zionists: On the Road to Armageddon. By Stephen Sizer. Distributed by Presence Media.

2 DVDs with six 20-minute segments.

These six segments are lectures by Dr. Stephen Sizer ( which trace the historical roots, theological bases and political consequences of Christian Zionism. The DVDs come with a study guide to facilitate discussion.

The weakest part of this DVD is the section on historical roots, and I think that is primarily due to the lack of time to explain to those unfamiliar with dispensationalism the importance of this doctrine. It was shocking to me to learn that many high-ranking British politicians, including Lord Balfour, the author of the Balfour Declaration, followed this strand of Anglo-Protestantism. Another piece of news to me was that the principal editor of the version of the Bible used by American fundamentalist Protestants, Cyrus Ingerson Scofield, was a disciple of John Nelson Darby, the leading proponent of dispensationalism.

The second section, theological bases, is best suited to an audience able to understand Christian doctrines. I believed Dr. Sizer did a good job, and I felt I understand this segment, but I think it would be difficult for someone unfamiliar with Christian theological doctrines. I hope that a reader with more background in this area might add some additional comments to this blog entry concerning this section.

The third section, political consequences, is accessible to all, and it is of course the reason why this video can appeal to those who seek some peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Book Review: A Deadly Misunderstanding: A Congressman’s Quest to Bridge the Muslim-Christian Divide by Mark D. Siljander

A Deadly Misunderstanding: A Congressman’s Quest to Bridge the Muslim-Christian Divide. By Mark D. Siljander. New York: HarperCollins; 2008. pp. 260. ISBN: 978-0-06-143828-8.
Mark Siljander served his Michigan district in the United States House of Representatives from 1981 to 1987. He came into office supporting Ronald Reagan’s, Newt Gingrich’s and Tom DeLay’s policies of economic deregulation, supply-side economics and confrontation with the Soviet Union and other communist and socialist nations. In a conversation with a trusted advisor, he revealed all he needed to know and all he wanted to know about Muslims and Islam:
… if I didn’t mind his asking, as a follower of Jesus, what was my strategy in relation to other people in my travels around the world? I replied without hesitation: it was to convert them to the Christian faith. [p. 16]

Review: Tears of the Desert by Halima Bashir and Damien Lewis

Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfur. By Halima Bashir with Damien Lewis. 2008. One World Books. Hardcover. 316 pp. ISBN 978-0-345-50625-2.
Reading this book should strengthen one’s resolution to oppose the falsehoods that one person is better than another by virtue of one’s birth and that one person should usurp the rights of another if the opportunity presents itself. It is the failure of peoples of the world to nip these falsehoods in the bud which lead to the massive casualties the author Dr. Halima Bashir describes in Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfur.