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From the Reformation to the Twenty-First Century

This book is about an idea―namely, that Scripture mandates a Jewish return to the historical region of Palestine―which in turn morphed into a political movement, rallied around a popular slogan ("A country without a nation for a nation without a country"), and eventually contributed to the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. Christian Zionism continues to influence global politics, especially U.S. foreign policy, and has deeply affected Jewish–Christian and Muslim–Christian relations. Donald M. Lewis seeks to provide a fair-minded, longitudinal study of this dynamic yet controversial movement as he traces its lineage from biblical sources through the Reformation to various movements of today. He explores Christian Zionism's interaction with other movements, forces, and discourses, especially in eschatological and political thought, and why it is now flourishing beyond the English-speaking world. Throughout he demonstrates how it has helped British and American Protestants frame and shape their identity. A Short History of Christian Zionism seeks to bring clarity and context to often-heated discussions.


1. From the Early Church to the Reformation
2. Geneva and the Jews: Tectonic Shifts in the Landscape of Jewish-Christian Relations
3. English Puritanism and the Jews
4. The German Pietists and the Jews: Philo-Semitism and the New Evangelistic Imperative
5. Restorationism in America: From the Early American Puritans to the American Revolution
6. The Jews and Nineteenth-Century British Evangelicalism: Restorationism Morphs into Christian Zionism
7. Preparing the Ground for the Balfour Declaration
8. Restorationism and Christian Zionism in America from the Revolution to 1914
9. The Balfour Declaration of 1917
10. American Christian Zionism from 1914 to 1948: World War I and the Vindication of Premillennialism
11. Christian Zionism and Developments in Palestine: From the Balfour Declaration to Israeli Independence
12. American Christian Zionism Since 1948
13. American Christian Zionist Activities and Organizations
14. Christian Zionism in Renewalist and Global Movements
15. Christian Zionism Today: A "New" Christian Zionism
General Index
Scripture Index



David Bebbington

Emeritus Professor of History

University of Stirling

"Christian Zionism is the conviction that the Jewish people have a biblically sanctioned claim to a homeland in Palestine. Donald M. Lewis traces the convoluted history of this belief, pointing out its antecedents in post-Reformation thought, its development by nineteenth-century evangelicals with Lord Shaftesbury at their head, and its subsequent flowering in modified dispensationalist teaching. Lewis insists that while Christian Zionism has become a powerful bulwark of the state of Israel, its theological basis is still shifting under the influence of global charismatic renewal. He is a fair-minded and sure-footed guide through the intricacies of prophetic belief and international politics."

Yaakov Ariel

Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

"Donald M. Lewis has done a heroic work in exploring the history of Christian Zionism from its inception in the Reformation era until our times. The book is, to date, the most comprehensive and thorough study of the topic and offers an excellent overview of a highly important religious and political movement. The book is a must-read for anyone taking interest in Christian messianic beliefs and their impact on mission, diplomacy, and interfaith relations."

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Daniel G. Hummel

Author of Covenant Brothers: Evangelicals, Jews, and U.S.-Israeli Relations

"This comprehensive history of Christian Zionism will help every reader get a handle on its complex theological and historical dimensions. Donald Lewis's scope is impressive, as is the care he uses to address highly contentious debates, many of which have spanned centuries."

Bruce Waltke

Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies, Regent College, Vancouver 


Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, Knox Theological Seminary

"In this short history of Christian Zionism, Professor Lewis has given to the church a rich treasure. The history of the belief that 'the Jewish people have a biblically mandated claim to their ancient homeland in the Middle East' is complicated, convoluted, and controversial. Nevertheless, in this well-researched (i.e., thorough), well-reasoned (i.e., unbiased), and well-written book (i.e., with clarity) Lewis successfully traces the many threads that make up the tapestry of this evolving, theologically driven, political movement. It should be a must-read. This is so because Christian Zionism shapes the identity of the church and its mission, impacts international politics, and gives to many their meaning in history."


Paul Freston
Professor of Religion and Politics in Global Context
Wilfred Laurier University, Canada

"Donald Lewis's A Short History of Christian Zionism is in fact a wide-ranging account of this important phenomenon. While the topic is highly controversial, Lewis's tone is academic and irenic, seeking to understand and analyze, not polemicize. The importance of understanding evolving Christian attitudes toward Israel and Palestine could hardly be greater; the contemporary conflict has large geopolitical implications, is one of the chief factors in global instability, and represents an ongoing, unresolved dilemma of the Christian tradition."

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