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Should Christians Support Israel? Most Pastors Think So

About 7 in 10 (69 percent) say the modern nation of Israel was formed as result of biblical prophecy. A similar number (70 percent) say God has a special relationship with the modern nation of Israel. And nearly three-fourths of evangelicals (73 percent) say events in Israel are part of the prophecies in the Book of Revelation.

While evangelicals remain convinced about a tie between Israel and God’s plans, Americans generally are less certain.

Less than half (46 percent) believe the formation of modern Israel is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy. More than a third (36 percent) disagree, while 17 percent aren’t sure.

Americans are split down the middle over whether Jews are God’s chosen people as referenced in the Bible, with just under half (46 percent) saying they agree. A similar number (44 percent) disagree, while 10 percent are not sure.

And some Americans think God was closer to ancient Israel than to the modern-day nation.

Also earlier this morning, Christianity Today included our data in another story, explaining:

Overall, about half (48 percent) of Americans say God has a special relationship with modern Israel, according to a report released Tuesday by Nashville-based LifeWay Research. (By contrast, an earlier LifeWay Research report found 53 percent believe God has a special relationship with the United States).

About 4 in 10 (39 percent) disagree that God has a special relationship with modern Israel, while 13 percent are not sure.

Here’s more from the LifeWay Research release:

Supporters are split on the reasons they back Israel. Sixteen percent say the Bible tells them to, and 9 percent say it’s because Israel is important for biblical prophecy.

Some (13 percent) say they support Israel primarily because Israel is America’s best friend in the Middle East. Others say it’s because Jews needed a refuge after the Holocaust (11 percent) or because Israel is the one and only Jewish homeland (15 percent).

Though the term Zionist is synonymous with believing Jews should have their own state, only 8 percent of Americans claim this label. A third (32 percent) of Americans are not sure whether they are Zionist.

Among the most ardent of Israel’s supporters are senior pastors of Protestant churches. Most (80 percent) agree “Christians should support Israel.” About 1 in 7 (14 percent) disagrees.

Even though they support Israel, some pastors have their doubts about Israel’s military actions. About 4 in 10 (41 percent) agree with the statement, “It is hard to defend Israel’s military tactics.” Fifty percent disagree, while 9 percent are not sure.

What do you think? Should Christians support Israel and why? How does that affect how we view the deal with Iran? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., is a professor and dean at Wheaton College where he also serves as Executive Director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, has earned two master’s degrees and two doctorates, and has written hundreds of articles and a dozen books. He is Regional Director for Lausanne North America, is the editor-in-chief of Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited in, interviewed by, and writes for news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He is the Founding Editor of The Gospel Project, a curriculum used by more than 1.7 million individuals each week for bible story. His national radio show, Ed Stetzer Live, airs Saturdays on Moody Radio and affiliates. He serves as interim teaching pastor of Calvary Church in New York City and serves as teaching pastor at Highpoint Church.