Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Seeds of Turmoil by Bryant Wright

Part One of the book (two thirds of the text) is a retelling of the biblical story of Abraham through Jacob (with several pages of Scripture quoted). Part Two gives some information on Muhammad, the origin of Islam, and some modern history of Muslim countries. Wright draws attention to the utopian nature of Islam, “…that there will be no peace in this world until everyone submits to their ideology.” (143) Muslims, like Nazis and Marxists, “…are about winning people to their viewpoint, not through love and persuasion, but by power, force, intimidation, and fear.” (143)

Wright admits that his writing is biased. “It is impossible for me as a Christian to give an unbiased account of the Jewish perspective.” (120) He believes the Jews are still the “chosen” people of God (162) and God’s “special people” (166). He is adamant that God promised the Holy Land to Abraham’s physical descendants as an “everlasting possession.” He even intimidates the reader by saying, “It’s hard to see how a Bible-believing Christian could not be supportive of Israel’s ownership of the land.” (33)
Here’s how: Wright, for example, is convinced of a “spiritual” fulfillment of God’s promise to David that his throne would be eternal and there would always be one of his descendants upon it (2 Sam. 7:12-13,16). Jesus is the fulfillment of that promise, Wright says (126), although there is no physical throne we can see upon which Jesus sits.
If Wright is willing to believe a “spiritual” fulfillment of that promise, then he also needs to consider a “spiritual” fulfillment of the promise to Abraham. Biblical writer Paul says that Christ is the fulfillment of the promises made to Abraham (Gal. 3:16). Paul also says that Christians are now the true descendants of Abraham and the heirs of the promises to him (Gal. 3:7,29). But then, if we consider a “spiritual” fulfillment of the promises to Abraham, perhaps it is not a physical land at all (just as it is not a physical throne of David) but the spiritual land of rest in Christ the author of Hebrews talks about in Hebrews 3:7 to 4:13.
Dare I say, “It is hard for me to see how any Bible-believing and Galatians-reading Christian could be supportive of Israel’s ownership of the land?” (I deliberately play on Wright’s statement I quoted above.)
If one has read any other book on the Israeli Arab conflict there will be essentially nothing new here. If one is totally ignorant on the biblical story of Abraham through Jacob and the founding of the Jewish people, or is ignorant on the history of Islam, one can read about them both, and the origins of the current conflict, but at the whim of a biased author.

This book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.
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