Review of: Christian Zionism: Navigating the Jewish-Christian Border by Faydra L. Shapiro, with Forward by Brad H. Young
Dr Faydra Shapiro, is an award winning author. She has a Ph.D in religious studies and is an Orthodox Jew. Her lifelong interest in Christianity played a part in her education and after immigrating to Israel with her family in 2008, Faydra was eager to bring her academic expertise, unique experience, warmth and charismatic teaching together to have an impact on the ground, for Israel. And thus the Galilee Center for Studies in Jewish-Christian Relations at Yezreel Valley College was born. . Her insights into the challenges and possibilities within Jewish and Christian engagement are well researched and hopeful.
Her book, Christian Zionism: Navigating the Jewish-Christian Border illustrates that optimism.
This book, as its title declares, explores Christian Zionism (Christians who support Israel), the borders between that separate them from contemporary views of Judaism that are Zionists as well. Zionism, as an idea has been controversial from the mid twentieth century and perhaps before, however, the idea of a Christian Zionist is often seen as an oxymoron, or worse than that, a political and religious dogfight between Christians and Jews. However, Dr. Shapiro’s aim is to “offer a fuller understanding with an additional lens of some of the broader issues and implications of a Christian Zionism (p.4)
In my opinion she achieves this goal and more. Dr. Shapiro sensitively explores the waters of a Christianity whose members are aware of their connection to Judaism and who want to more authentically follow the Jesus they serve. While some may have other motives, the majority of those seeking to ‘bless Israel’ do so with a heart for the God of Israel who, in their eyes, commands them to do so. I believe that this book achieves its aim. It is a good contribution to the field of Judeo-Christian relations in a post Holocaust world because it goes beyond the attempts of Catholic and liberal Protestant attempts to ‘dialogue’ and touches on somewhat gritty topics that are verboten in those venues.
Dr. Shapiro’s ability to articulate a clear vision of the various ‘sects’ of Christian Zionism is refreshing and very welcome. As a believer who lives in the No-Man’s zone and a professor at an Evangelical Divinity School, I applaud her desire to ‘flesh’ out not only the differences but also the common ground.
I found this book delightful to read and found myself cheering for the insights and what seemed to be a mutual desired outcome; a coming together of Christians and Jews to nurture the growth of God’s people and His Land. The author’s optimistic attitude toward both Christians and Jews was a delight.
I would recommend this book to all of my students and colleagues at the Divinity School and to anyone interested in the borders or common ground between Jews and Christians. It is a quick read, because it is well written and the reader will come away with a positive view of both groups and a hopeful attitude toward change.
Cheryl Durham, Ph.D.
Cheryl is the Executive Director at Living Truth. She is also currently Dean of Students and Professor of New Testament Culture and History at Master's International University of Divinity. She holds a Bachelor and Master's Degree in Biblical Counseling, a Doctor of Biblical Studies in Worldview and a Ph.D. in New Testament History and Culture.