Growing a Global Love for Israel
Last December the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO) invited me to the sixth annual Christian Media Summit, a three-day event in Jerusalem for Christian journalists to learn firsthand about the events happening in the Holy Land. The itinerary was packed from morning to evening with meetings; travel; and discussions with leading Israeli journalists, politicians, and army officials.
During one session, Jeremy Weber, global director of Christianity Today, described the condition of evangelicalism and support for Israel worldwide. I found his statistics both exciting and ominous.
Over the past century, the global spread of evangelicalism has undergone a drastic shift—and that’s a good thing. The numbers show that as the gospel continues to be shared around the world, more and more people are giving their lives to Jesus Christ.
But the locations of the growth of evangelicalism have changed dramatically. In 1900, North America and Europe housed 92 percent of evangelicals globally; but today, 72 percent live in South America, Africa, and Asia, while those from North America and Europe only make up 23 percent.
Support for Israel among American evangelicals ages 18–29 is steadily declining, with some polls showing only 33.6 percent support the Jewish state. However, all is not lost—nearly half of the evangelical young adults polled are unsure of what they believe about Israel and whose side they should take in the Middle East conflict.
That percentage represents a large number of undecided Christians who need to hear God’s biblical plan for Israel and the Jewish people. To be sure, we need a concerted effort to reach these young American and European Christians; but how can we reach the other 77 percent of evangelicals around the world?
Many of our international brothers and sisters in Christ are already on the right track. Guatemala, for example, is one of the few countries that moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Sara Angelina Solis, Guatemala’s ambassador to Israel, credited the embassy move to her country’s evangelical support for Israel, saying, “People in Guatemala pray for the peace in this region, pray for Jerusalem, and they are excited. I feel this is a gift from God. I know that a lot of blessings will come after this decision. This is a promise in the Bible, in Genesis, and I don’t [only] think, I’m sure many blessings will come for Guatemala.”
As biblical supporters of Israel, we need a more global outlook on teaching Christians about God’s love for Israel and the Jewish people. This task is formidable; but I found hope at the Christian Media Summit while surrounded by 150 like-minded journalists from 30 countries spanning the continents of Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America.
According to the Israeli GPO, Christian media reaches nearly 1 billion Christians around the world from various backgrounds, ethnicities, and denominations—from Ethiopia to Estonia, from Canada to China, from Germany to Guatemala, from India to Indonesia, from South Korea to Sweden, from Ukraine to the United States. Evangelical organizations produce and publish biblical truth about Israel every day via television, radio, podcasts, printed materials, online resources, social media, and more.
But it’s vital that we do more to expand our efforts to reach those areas of the world where evangelicalism is growing and individuals are coming to faith in Christ. They need to know what the Bible teaches about Israel. They need to learn how they can love the Jewish people better. They need to understand how their faith in Christ fits into God’s divine plan that reaches back to the promise made to Abraham. And when they do, God will bless them for blessing His Chosen People (Gen. 12:3).