Evangelical Christianity and Judaism

August 15, 2000

Source: The Washington Post

On August 15, 2000, The Washington Post published an article entitled "Hymning Jesus And Lieberman; Some Evangelical Christian Groups Embrace Jewish Roots and Rituals." Sandy Grady, a member of the evangelical Glory Tabernacle in Washington exclaims, "We are so excited about Joe Lieberman. God is sending a message through him: Let the right man arise at this hour."

"Discussions of how evangelical Christians might respond to an Orthodox Jewish vice president tend to focus on the potential discomfort they may feel for an unfamiliar religion. And polls show many of those who identify themselves as members of the Christian right consider Lieberman's views on Jesus a strike against him. Yet these analyses miss one important sociological twist: Over the last two decades evangelical Christians have become increasingly philosemitic, exhibiting an intense interest in Israel and all things Jewish. And while it is unclear how that might affect actual voting, it at least scrambles the conventional assumptions...A few days after Lieberman was announced, Southern Baptist leaders began proudly highlighting parallels between their practices and those of Orthodox Jews: Both refuse to ordain women, one press release noted, and both 'believe in the authenticity of the Bible...' Evangelicals' interest intensified when Israel became a nation in 1948. The gathering of the Jews in one nation and the unification of Jerusalem were taken as signs of the second coming of Christ." Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews based in Chicago and Jerusalem, explains, "It confirmed their belief in the authority and inerrancy of Scripture. That led in the past 20 years to people touring in Israel, connecting to the land and the Jewish people, trying to change the perception they have of each other."