For the Love of Zion
by Elwood McQuaid
Bellmawr, N.J.: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc., 2007. 294 pp. $12.95
Reviewed by David H. Wenkel
Wonder Lake, Ill.
Middle East Quarterly
McQuaid, editor-in-chief of Israel My Glory magazine, wrote For the Love of Zion from a self-avowed evangelical stance, and the book will interest journalists and researchers striving to understand Christian Zionism. While seeking "fair concessions from both sides," he staunchly supports the Jewish state and avers that it must use military power in order to survive. His intention is to locate Israel within a Middle Eastern narrative that goes beyond the headlines.
Beyond sketching a broad story line, it is hard to identify whether McQuaid is writing for the church or the state. At times, he appears to be writing about political solutions such as "survival through strength," and other times, he appears to be writing about ecclesiastical solutions such as "liberation that comes through faith." The lack of a clear strand tying his meta-narrative together gives the reader the impression that McQuaid has written a string of pearls. Further, he does not cite any evangelical commentaries when he exposits biblical passages although he does have a firm understanding of relevant theological systems such as dispensationalism and replacement theology. Most of his biblical exposition is typical for classical dispensationalists.
McQuaid refers to many primary sources, such as newspapers and speeches. His style is accessible to a wide audience, and he does not assume a technical knowledge on the part of the reader. The expert on the Middle East will probably not gain much factual knowledge but will benefit from how the narrative is portrayed.
What is particularly interesting about his "evangelical" narrative of the Middle East is the shallowness of discussion about evangelizing. Whereas traditional evangelicals stress missionary activity among non-Christian populations, McQuaid does not. Nor does he sketch how it would relate to public policy. Again, this problem may be related to the way in which the obligations for the church and state are mixed together in For the Love of Zion. Seeking military and political justice is entirely compatible with the Christian message and his dispensational theology, e.g., Rom 13, but this should be carried out by the state. The church, on the other hand, privileges loving enemies, e.g., Matt 5:44. For trend watchers, such confusion may be this book's most important element.
Related Topics: Arab-Israeli debate in the U.S. | Summer 2008 MEQ
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