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The Balfour Declaration: Scottish Presbyterian Eschatology and British Policy Towards Palestine

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Tome huitième: Celebrating 500 Years since the Reformation, 1518-2018. Contemporary Perspectives on History and Theology in British Baptist Thought. Scottish and English Baptists on Salvation, Politics, and the End of Times. Issue editor: Alasdair Black


This article considers the theological influences on the Balfour Declaration which was made on the 2 November 1917 and for the first time gave British governmental support to the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. It explores the principal personalities and political workings behind the Declaration before going on to argue the statement cannot be entirely divested from the religious sympathies of those involved, especially Lord Balfour. Thereafter, the paper explores the rise of Christian Restorationism in the context of Scottish Presbyterianism, charting how the influence of Jonathan Edwards shaped the thought of Thomas Chalmers on the role of the Jews in salvation history which in turn influenced the premillennialism of Edward Irving and his Judeo-centric eschatology. The paper then considers the way this eschatology became the basis of John Darby’s premillennial dispensationalism and how in an American context this theology began to shape the thinking of Christian evangelicals and through the work of William Blackstone provide the basis of popular and political support for Zionism. However, it also argues the political expressions of premillennial dispensationalism only occurred in America because the Chicago evangelist Dwight L. Moody was exposed to the evolving thinking of Scottish Presbyterians regarding Jewish restoration. This thinking had emerged from a Church of Scotland ‘Mission of Inquiry’ to Palestine in 1839 and been advanced by Alexander Keith, Horatius Bonar and David Brown. Finally, the paper explores how this Scottish Presbyterian heritage influenced the rise of Zionism and Balfour and his political judgements.

Calendario de la edición:
3 veces al año
Temas de la revista:
Theology and Religion, General Topics and Biblical Reception