All Israel

On THE ROSENBERG REPORT: Why is the next generation of Evangelicals drifting away from support for Israel?

In interview with two American Jewish professors, host Joel Rosenberg explores Evangelical attitudes toward Israel and the reasons behind them

(Photo: Screenshot/TBN's The Rosenberg Report)

Why does the bulk of support for Israel in the United States come from Evangelical Christians?

Is this support more political or religious in nature? Is it sustainable?

There is a relatively small group of Jewish political leaders or political social scientists who occupy themselves with these questions.

In this week’s episode of THE ROSENBERG REPORT on TBN, the editor-in-chief of ALL ISRAEL NEWS, Joel Rosenberg, spoke to two Jewish American professors who authored the book, "Christian Zionism in the Twenty-First Century: American Evangelical Opinion on Israel."

“Piece by piece, we were able to see the big picture of what motivates Evangelicals to support Israel or not to support Israel. It's not necessarily that there's just one way of looking at Israel,” said Dr. Mordechai (Motti) Inbari, a professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina Pembroke.

Inbari became intrigued with religious support for Israel after he started teaching in the Bible Belt.

His fellow researcher, Dr. Kirill Bumin, grew up as an atheist in the Soviet Union. He became fascinated with the Book of Revelations after reading the Bible and developed a desire to understand how “poignant, strong language” impacts public attitudes towards a “very contemporary and very difficult to resolve ethnic conflict.”

(Photo: Screenshot/TBN's The Rosenberg Report)

Bumin explained that among the factors that shape Evangelical support for Israel – political ideology and partisanship play a prime role.  

“Historically, conservatives and Republican Party identifiers have been more supportive of Israel than Democrats and liberals. This has become a much more pronounced trend over the last 20 years and one that we observe both among young Evangelicals, as well as well as Evangelicals of all ages,” Bumin told Rosenberg.

He also cited theological and eschatological reasons for supporting Israel, discussed interpreting the Bible literally, and addressed what he termed "social socialization

“In simple terms, you are who you hang out with. If you spend a lot of time with a pro-Israel group, if you discuss the importance of Israel with other Christians, you are far more likely to support Israel,” he explained.

(Photo: Screenshot/TBN's The Rosenberg Report)

Rosenberg has known Dr. Bumin and Dr. Inbari for years. Along with his colleagues, he partially helped to fund some of their insightful surveys, including one exploring what Israelis believe about the Messiah.  

During THE ROSENBERG REPORT interview, Rosenberg revealed that one of the reasons he chose to get involved was out of concern for younger Evangelical generations.

“Anecdotally, Evangelical leaders were sensing young people were turning against Israel. Now, I think that may not actually be true, but it felt true,” Rosenberg admitted.

“What would you say are the top two or three reasons that younger Evangelicals under the age of 30, are not seeing Israel with the same rock-solid support that their parents and grandparents have demonstrated?” he asked the two professors.

Dr. Inbari and Dr. Bumin received 700 responses to this question. The top answer is rooted in a generational divide.

“Younger generations think differently about social and political aspects and they express it. They say, ‘We are just different. We are not the same people as our parents. We are not clones of our parents,’” Inbari explained.

What other reasons are driving young Evangelicals away from supporting Israel?

Are they in any way related to their understanding of the Bible?

“We have a very serious problem,” Rosenberg asserted. “Evangelical parents and grandparents are not passing along a biblical understanding of lots of issues that would be true of marriage, of a man, a woman, biblical marriage, the pro-life issue and other elements of biblical theology. We're not passing those down effectively to younger evangelicals, and they are drifting from core orthodox biblical views. And their views on Israel is one of those issues.”

Does Rosenberg believe this is reversible?

Is this a lost battle for the next generations of Evangelicals?

Don’t miss this week’s episode.

THE ROSENBERG REPORT airs Thursday nights at 9 p.m. EST and Saturday nights at 9:30 p.m. EST – on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), the most-watched Christian television network in the United States.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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