BY Chelsen Vicari, Juicy Ecumenism—
Evangelicals find themselves divided by age when it comes to beloved support of Israel. Lifeway Research released a new survey on December 4, 2017, showing Evangelicals age 65 and older in full support of Israel’s existence, security, and prosperity as a nation-state. By contrast, Millennial Evangelicals ages 18-34 are simply less concerned with Israel’s affairs, if not downright hostile.
According to Lifeway, 41 percent of younger Evangelicals have no strong feelings about Israel’s survival. Nineteen percent of younger Evangelicals are more likely to view the 1948 rebirth of Israel as an injustice against Palestinians.
Sentiments among older Evangelicals are quite different, with 76 percent hold a positive view of Israel. Older Evangelicals also disagree (62 percent) that the birth of Israel posed any injustice.
These survey results confirm what many Evangelicals probably witness already within their local church communities. That is, a growing number of younger Evangelicals are shifting their support away from Israel based on emotivism.
As I’ve previously written, efforts exist among the political and religious Left to attempt to dismantle Evangelical support of Israel by appealing to younger Evangelicals’ feelings rather than intellectual arguments rooted in history, foreign affairs, and theology. Often conducted under an elusive “Pro-Israel, Pro-Palestine, Pro-Peace” banner, Israel’s opponents suggest a vague David versus Goliath scenario. In this cut-and-dry narrative, Israel is the bully and Palestinians are the underdog.
On such efforts to shift younger Evangelicals’ support away from Israel, the Institute on Religion and Democracy’s President Mark Tooley has said, “Unfortunately, their perspective ignores the nasty reality of the Middle East, where democracy, human rights and religious liberty are largely confined to Israel and absent nearly everywhere else.”
So what will it take to strengthen younger Evangelicals’ support of Israel? According to author and Lifeway survey contributor, Joel Rosenberg, the answer is a holistic approach.
“Unless the church gives younger believers a healthy, balanced, solidly biblical understanding of God’s love and plan for Israel, overall evangelical support for the Jewish state could very well plummet over the next decade as millennials represent an ever-larger percentage of the overall church body,” Joel Rosenberg said.